Wilberforce University cancels debt for graduating class during commencement Saturday

WILBERFORCE — Wilberforce University held a socially distanced graduation ceremony Saturday that ended with a big surprise for students.

During the ceremony, the university’s president, Elfred Anthony Pinkard, announced that their debts and fines owed to the university by students from 2020 and 2021 were canceled.

The university’s debt erasing dollars are resourced from various scholarships such as the United Negro College Fund, Inc., Jack and Jill, Inc., and other institutional funding to help students from last year’s spring and fall semesters and spring 2021 with their higher education finances, according to a release from the university.

“I couldn’t believe it when he said it. I know now God will be with me. Now I can use that money and invest into my future,” Rodman Allen, a new graduate from Detroit said.

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The ceremony began at 8 a.m. in the Gaston Lewis Gymnasium at the Alumni Multiplex.

The university graduated students with degrees in Master’s in Clinical Rehabilitation Counseling, Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and the adult education CLIMB program.

“As these graduates begin their lives as responsible adults, we are honored to be able to give them a fresh start by relieving their student debt to the university,” Pinkard said.