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From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

December 29, 2021

Spring Semester Opening

I hope your holidays were joyful and restful. As the 2021 holiday season comes to an end, it is time to turn our attention to welcoming our students, faculty, and staff for the Spring semester. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic remains an ever-present threat to our safety and well-being and the emergence of the omicron variant has occasioned renewed vigilance and intention to careful and informed decision-making and action. As they have been since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, our decisions and actions will be informed by the prevailing scientific and medical information and public health recommendations and protocols. We will also note the decisions and actions of our peers while we consider the uniqueness of the Wilberforce University institutional culture. Keeping all members of the university campus community as safe as possible will always be at the center of our decision-making and actions.

Given the virulence of the omicron variant and increasing infection rates across the nation, we have made the following decisions regarding the Spring semester; please read carefully:

· The University will open for the Spring semester on Monday, January 3, 2022. All University personnel are expected to report to campus to resume the operations of the University. We will adhere to the COVID-19 protocols already in place to maintain a safe workplace environment, which notably includes, wearing masks in all buildings at all times. The message from the medical and public health communities is that the current COVID-19 pandemic, including the emergence of the omicron variant is largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated. While the University has not yet mandated vaccinations, we strongly encourage you, for your well-being and that of all members of the University community to be regularly tested and vaccinated. Testing and vaccinations will be available at the Wilberforce-Premier Health Student Clinic on campus. We will continue the four -day in person work week and virtual Fridays until further notice.

· For students and faculty, virtual instruction will begin on Wednesday, January 5, 2022. In-person instruction will begin on Tuesday, January 18, 2022. Students will not return to campus until January 18, 2022. A communication from the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Johnny Jones and the Vice President for Student Engagement and Success, Dr. Parris Carter, will be sent to students outlining their options and the timeline and requirements for returning to campus. Students returning to campus will be required to provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test within 48 hours of returning to campus.

The decision to delay in person instruction until January 18, 2022, and to require evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from returning students are two additional steps in our overall strategy to contain the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. However, while the University can establish protocols and policies to assure our safety, each member of the University community must also assume personal responsibility for adhering to the protocols and making intelligent choices

about your individual health. To that end, there is compelling evidence that being regularly tested and vaccinated can save your life and significantly decrease morbidity if you are infected.

With intelligence, care, and vigilance, we can keep our campus community safe from the spread of COVID-19. Let us each commit to doing our part in keeping each other safe and healthy; that is the true meaning of community.

I extend a warm welcome back to campus and all good wishes for a safe and successful Spring semester.

We are Wilberforce: The First and The Future.

Suo Marte.


August 5, 2021

We thought we were coming to the end of this pandemic, and we prepared to slowly return to our pre-COVID-19 lives. It appears, however, that our excitement and relief were premature. The public health community has informed us that a variant of the coronavirus has now taken hold and we find ourselves, yet again, vulnerable to this virus and its devastating impact on individual lives and communities.

At Wilberforce, we are unwavering in our commitment to assuring the health and safety of every member of the campus community. Fortunately, the public health community has provided guidelines and protocols that can keep us safe and significantly lower the risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus. To that end, the University will continue to maintain the public health protocols that were instituted at the beginning of the pandemic. This will include mask wearing in public and shared spaces, temperature checks, regular COVID-19 testing and social distancing. We have also made available the option of virtual learning for those students who are not prepared to return to campus for face-to-face instruction.

Equally as important is the personal responsibility we must each assume to assure our individual safety and that of the campus community we share. While we have not required a COVID-19 vaccination, we are strongly recommending that all members of the campus community be vaccinated. We will have vaccine clinics available on campus throughout the fall semester.

We have the information, tools, and power to keep ourselves and our campus community safe. Doing so is both an act of self-love and respect for our colleagues and friends with whom we live, learn and work as a community.

For regular information on the University’s response to the COVID-19 and other useful information, please visit:

Together we can control the impact of the COVID-19 virus on our lives and our community.

Suo Marte.


From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

August 8, 2020 

Over the last several weeks, the circumstances that occasioned our initial decision to return in a hybrid teaching and learning format for the fall semester have changed significantly. We have been forced to recognize our vulnerability to the coronavirus and our inability to control behavior and the subsequent spread of the coronavirus. The public health community has forecast growing rates of infection in the mid-west and increasing numbers of our students, faculty, and staff have expressed their concern about the risk to their health and well-being if they return to campus.

After careful consultation with the Board of Trustees and the leadership team at the University and with the approval of the Board of Trustees, Wilberforce University will provide a virtual teaching, learning, and student engagement experience for the fall semester. We have determined that the risk to the University community, at this time, is too great given the ever-evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. The new beginning of the fall semester will be August 31, 2020.

Although this decision was made because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the risks it poses, we view our pivot to a virtual teaching, learning, and student engagement experience as an opportunity for innovation and creativity. The virtual environment is one where our students have incredible fluency and we are now prepared to offer a Virtual Wilberforce University experience that will be new and exciting. We will continue the work required to assure the very best outcome for every Wilberforce University student. Over the next several days and weeks, you will be receiving information about our path forward in a virtual environment.

We will schedule a virtual Wilberforce University Community Conversation for Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Information on the time along with access information will be forthcoming.

I would remind you to remember that we are the inheritors of a formidable legacy of resilience and strength. Although these are unsettling times, we will thrive because it is who we are as Wilberforceans. Let us embrace this new normal and commit to creating a rich and valuable virtual teaching and learning experience and refuse to allow this pandemic to diminish our academic plans or derail our academic journey. We are Wilberforce Strong.

Suo Marte.


From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

The 2019-2020 academic year is over and despite the challenges of completing the academic year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wilberforce University community prevailed. You, our students, faculty, staff and administrators should be justly congratulated for responding quickly and effectively to circumstances that were unprecedented and for which there was, and is, no playbook. Once again, we have demonstrated our resilience and ability to rise with tenacity to face and overcome a challenge. We must now begin the work of preparing for the 2020-2021 academic year and, most immediately, the fall semester.

I fully recognize that the uncertainty regarding the fall semester is the source of anxiety and disquiet for many in the University community. That sense of the unknown and the stress it causes in predictable and understandable. While we are not alone in determining what the fall semester might be, our path forward will consider the specific institutional reality and needs of the Wilberforce campus community and what will be the best course of action for our students, faculty, staff and administrators.

The health, wellness and safety of the entire Wilberforce University community is at the center of our thinking and paramount to our planning. This is unchartered territory for everyone and we will be thoughtful and well-informed in making decisions that will protect the campus community. We will be guided by science and data and the most up to date information and guidelines on infection control and minimizing the transmission of the coronavirus from the public health community. We will also adhere to guidance from the Office of the Governor and local government officials. We are members of the higher education community and have the additional benefit of engaging in on-going discussions with peer institutions which gives us access to shared experiences, ideas, perspectives and wisdom as we plan.

Because the course of the pandemic and its impact on communities is ever-changing, we have determined that it is premature to make a definitive decision about our fall semester at this time. I will provide periodic updates regarding the University’s plan for the fall semester. I understand that the collegiate future of our current and prospective students require that we make and announce a decision soon. As we attempt to establish and navigate a new normal and mitigate the most egregious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Wilberforce’s future, we ask the patience of the University community. We will continue to bring the full measure of our critical thinking and decision-making to assuring that our University community is risk-free and able to conduct the business of teaching and learning in an on-campus environment that is safe and secure.

We are the inheritors of the formidable spirit of Daniel Alexander Payne, our founder.  This, too, will pass and we will be stronger because of it. We are Wilberforce Strong.



From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

Statement to University Community

March 30, 2020

As we were first confronted with this pandemic and prepared to leave campus and modify campus operations, I promised to keep the University community informed. What we know about the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is ever changing and our decisions continue to be dependent on the most available information from informed and reliable sources and established guidelines for public safety. As governments and public health officials worldwide attempt to control the transmission of the coronavirus (COVID-19), we are all challenged to change our behavior and adjust to a new normal. As a result, we have had to make several decisions regarding activities for the remainder of the 2019-2020 academic year.

Continuing Classes: Wilberforce University will continue on-line instruction for the remainder of the academic year. We will also continue to follow the guidelines regarding physical distancing as have been outlined by the Governor of the State of Ohio. Today, March 30, 2020, the President of the United States announced that the practice of social distancing would be continued until April 30, 2020. At Wilberforce University, we too, will adhere to that deadline regarding on-campus University operations.

Emergency Assistance: During this time of uncertainty, there are resources available to assist students with completing the semester. Students may complete a request for assistance by visiting the following link – Review of requests will begin April 1 and end April 10, 2020.

Retrieval of Items: As we continue under the direction of the Federal and State government, we are unable to finalize next steps for students to return to campus to retrieve their possessions or complete business. When restrictions on social distancing are relaxed and the campus is open again students will be allowed to return. Specific details will be provided as we announce the official retrieval period. Students should be assured that their possessions are safe and that they will be able to retrieve their positions when the campus is opened again.

Website Updates: We have also created an on-line CO-VID-19 webpage on the Wilberforce University website, Please check this site for University updates and important facts and details about issues that matter to you during this time.

We know that this is an extremely difficult time for everyone. We ask that you continue to take care of yourselves, be kind to yourself and your loved ones and remember that we will get through this. We look forward to welcoming you back to Wilberforce when we are able.

We are Wilberforce!


From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

Statement to the University Community Regarding University Operations

March 16, 2020

We continue to be guided by the most available information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) from the Office of the Governor and federal, state, and local public health organizations to make the best decisions to protect the health and well-being of the Wilberforce University community. Given the latest developments in the state of Ohio with the closing of more public spaces and the mandate to practice social distancing, we have made the decision to further restrict the on-campus operations of the University.

Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the University will operate on reduced hours with designated essential personnel in key offices. The remainder of the University’s workforce will work remotely under the supervision of their respective supervisors.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10:00 am-2:000 pm (EST), personnel in the University Mailroom, IT, Office of Admissions and Enrollment, and the Office of the President will be present on campus.

The University Police will have a 24-hour presence on campus to protect University property and respond to emergencies. Communication to University personnel and students will be through the University’s One Call System. We recognize that these are unsettling times and that new information is uncovered on a daily basis. We commit to providing information to the University community and the decisions that impact the University in an open, honest and disciplined way.

We ask that you keep Wilberforce University in your prayers and that you remember, during these uncertain times, the importance of self-care. We will get past this and we will be stronger because of this experience. We will re-evaluate this decision on April 1, 2020, to determine our path forward.

Suo Marte.


From the Desk of President Elfred Anthony Pinkard

Statement to the University Community

Response to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

March 13, 2020

We value the health and well-being of every member of the Wilberforce University community. As a campus community, we are currently confronted with an unprecedented event in the form of coronavirus (COVID-19). Our primary responsibility is to assure the safety of our students, faculty, staff and administrators and to provide accurate information and make informed decisions. To that end, we have relied on information from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ohio Department of Health and our local health department to keep us fully engaged and informed. We have also consulted with peer institutions to determine their best thinking and practice under the current circumstances.


On March 9, 2020, the Governor of the state of Ohio, Mike DeWine, declared a state of emergency in direct response to the report of three individuals testing positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19) in Ohio. As a result of Governor DeWine’s proclamation, Wilberforce University has initiated the Emergency Preparedness Plan as a proactive step in responding to a looming health crisis.


After careful consideration, effective Monday, March 16, 2020, the University will suspend all face-to-face instruction to include lectures, laboratories, seminars and precepts and will move to remote (on-line) instruction. University faculty will be provided comprehensive training on remote instruction on Thursday, March 12th and Friday, March 13th.


The University will cease on-campus operations until March 31, 2020 and will reevaluate the decision to return to normal operations at that time. All members of the University community will be notified of that decision on or before April 1, 2020.  Essential personnel will be identified and expected to support limited on-campus University operations during the period, March 16th through March 31st.


The Division of Student Engagement and Student Success will assist students as they prepare to depart campus and have developed a set of helpful instructions and protocols which will be distributed to students.

All on campus Dawn Dance/Alumni Weekend events have been cancelled. At this time Commencement 2020 is still scheduled to occur on May 9, 2020. We will continue to monitor coronavirus (COVID-19) and will make decisions based on the most recent and available information from credible and well-respected sources about the virus and its transmission.


While these are certainly unsettling times, it is critical that we continue with our lives while following healthy habits and practicing good hygiene and behaviors outlined by health professionals and health care providers.

For additional information please visit We have established a link on the University’s website to provide updated information on the coronavirus (COVID-19) at


Suo Marte,


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