Wouldn’t it be amazing if a fairy godparent waved a magic wand and eliminated all of your student loan debt?
On June 5, 2021, Dr. Elfred Anthony Pinkard became that magical godparent for more than 160 graduates at Wilberforce University. At the end of their commencement ceremony, he announced that they would all be graduating debt-free!
Wilberforce University is a private, historically Black college in Wilberforce, Ohio. It was the first university to ever be owned and operated by African Americans, and it’s affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
When the university’s president made this groundbreaking announcement, the students erupted with cheers, tears, and overwhelming gratitude. Dr. Pinkard explained that the school made this decision because of everything their new alumni have been through during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
And finally, members of the class of 2020 and 2021, because we are in awe of your strength and perseverance, because you have made your family and yourselves proud, because you have shown the work, because you have shown you are capable of doing work under difficult circumstances, because you represent the best of your generation, we wish to give you a fresh start.
The money to pay off their collective $375,000 debt came from partnerships with groups like United Negro College Fund, Inc. and Jack and Jill, Inc. It is especially impactful because college debt typically affects African American students more than other groups.
Graduate Rodman Allen said he couldn’t believe his ears when Dr. Pinkard made the announcement. “It’s a blessing,” he added. “I know God will be with me. I’m not worried. I can use that money and invest into my future.”
Dr. Pinkard hopes the incredible gift will encourage their newest alumni to pay it forward in some way. This could be the start of a beautiful cycle of helping others succeed!
What a wonderful surprise for these deserving students! Watch the emotional announcement in the video below, and be sure to share this story.
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