Central state: From spa town to university in 130 years

Legend

The Carnegie Library at Central State University was built in 1907. It was one of 9 Carnegie Libraries offered to historically black colleges after the turn of the 20th century. Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

An intellectual mecca: Named after William Wilberforce, an 18th-century abolitionist, the hotel and cottages at Tawawa Springs were transformed into Wilberforce University, “to provide an intellectual mecca and refuge from the first rule of slavery: ignorance ”, according to the historical account of the university.

Professional training of students: The new Combined Normal and Industrial Department offered teacher training and vocational education to students. A first catalog listed automobile mechanics, blacksmithing and forging, carpentry, shoe making and repair among the courses.

Native flora: According to historical information provided by the CSU website, every tree native to Ohio and the Midwest is pictured in the Tawawa woods bordering the campus.

In 1887, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation creating a combined normal and industrial department at Wilberforce University which would become Central State University.  The new school offered teacher training and vocational education to students.  A first catalog listed automobile mechanics, blacksmithing and forging, carpentry, shoe making and repair among the courses.  Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Legend

In 1887, the Ohio General Assembly passed legislation creating a combined normal and industrial department at Wilberforce University which would become Central State University. The new school offered teacher training and vocational education to students. A first catalog listed automobile mechanics, blacksmithing and forging, carpentry, shoe making and repair among the courses. Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Four-year diploma: Central State College was formed in 1951. The combined normal and industrial department developed into a four-year program and separated from Wilberforce University in 1947 before being renamed.

A change of status: In 1965, the school obtained university status and became the Central State University.

University leaders: Charles H. Wesley was the first president of Central State University. He served from 1947 to 1965. Dr. Jack Thomas took office as the ninth president of Central State University on July 1, 2020.

A tornado devastates the university: A tornado destroyed more than 80 percent of the campus on April 3, 1974. Four people were killed and more than 20 others were injured. Thirteen buildings were destroyed and 29 others damaged. The damage amounted to $ 30 million.

A scene from a banking course in the combined normal and industrial department of Wilberforce University which would become the Central State University.  Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Legend

A scene from a banking course in the combined normal and industrial department of Wilberforce University which would become the Central State University. Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Spiritual, gospel and jazz: The internationally renowned CSU choir performs in many styles, including African-American spirituals, gospel, and jazz. The group has performed locally with the Dayton Opera and the Dayton Philharmonic, participated in European tours and performed at the White House.

Symbolic gardens for students: The Sunken Gardens form the heart of the campus. Each fall, entering freshmen walk the grounds in a candlelight ceremony. Elderly graduates walk through the sunken gardens before starting.

Central State University has a long history of excellence in music and choir.  Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH
Legend

Central State University has a long history of excellence in music and choir. Reprinted with permission from the Archives of Central State University, Wilberforce, OH

Land grant institution: Central State University was designated a Land-Grant Institution in 2014, a classification it had sought since 1890. It is one of only two universities in the state to achieve the designation.

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