Emery Hall, Central State University
Central State University Ohio Historical Marker
Backstory and Context
Methodist Episcopal Church established Wilberforce University in 1856. There were at least 200 students and most of the them were biracial children of Southern planters. In 1862, Wilberforce closed and the African Methodist Episcopal Church purchased the facility in 1863. Wilberforce became the first school to be operated and owned by African Americans.
In 1974, a severe tornado destroyed half of the Central State campus. In 2014, the university received land grant status which provided funding to help expand the STEM fields and furthers research.
A notable attendee of the university is Nancy Wilson, a jazz singer who attended the school for a year to secure a teaching degree. Wilson dropped out in hope of going after her dream profession as a jazz artist.