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Wilberforce University in Greene County, Ohio and Kennesaw State University in Cobb County, Georgia are collaborating to advance entrepreneurial and academic opportunities at both institutions.

In a formal agreement, the nation’s first, private, historically Black college/university (HBCU) will collaborate with the Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University in Kennesaw, Georgia.  The newly crafted alliance will promote entrepreneurial practices through student projects, faculty collaboration and research, and mentorship during the 2021-22 academic year.

“The Memorandum of Understanding between Wilberforce University and Kennesaw State University provides a roadmap of how two diverse institutions can enhance education worldwide. 

What makes this opportunity unique, as two diverse historical institutions, we both are proud to serve our students.” – Dr. Johnny D. Jones, provost, Wilberforce University

The partnership was initiated by Atlanta businessman Mark Wilson, who has ties to both universities as a WU alumnus, chair of the Wilberforce board of trustees, the benefactor of the WU Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and a member of the Coles College of Business advisory board.

“The formal establishment of this partnership is an important step toward creating the next generation of entrepreneurs,” said Mark Wilson. “This is extraordinarily exciting for both institutions.”

With faculty members from both universities serving as mentors, Kennesaw State and Wilberforce students will collaborate on entrepreneurship projects aimed at developing and implementing solutions to community based issues. Student activities, such as KSU’s Enactus team that promotes socially responsible entrepreneurship, can serve as a platform for collaboration across student populations.
“Helping students develop an entrepreneurial mindset through our center and degree program is one of Kennesaw State’s priorities, and we look forward to expanding that commitment with Wilberforce University,” said Robin Cheramie, dean of the Coles College of Business. “Entrepreneurship can be career-changing, and even life-changing, for innovators who develop new ventures.” 
Future plans for the partnership include opportunities for joint research, a student-faculty exchange, and other academic initiatives that will promote student and faculty success at both institutions.
Dr. Johnny Jones
Mr. Mark Wilson
Marsha Bonhart
Wilberforce University, located in southwest Ohio, near Dayton, is the nation’s oldest, private historically Black college/university (HBCU). Founded in 1856, the university is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Ohio Link Library Consortium, and the NAIA Conference. According to, Wilberforce University is among the top five HBCUs in the midwest.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the second-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 126 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status.
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