Central State University’s history begins with our parent institution Wilberforce University, named in honor of the great abolitionist William Wilberforce. Established at Tawawa Springs, Ohio in 1856, it is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church and is one of the oldest Black-administered institutions of higher education in the nation.
In 1887, the Ohio General Assembly enacted legislation that created a Combined Normal and Industrial Department at Wilberforce University. The objectives of this new state-sponsored department were to provide teacher training and vocational education, and to stabilize these programs by assuring a financial base similar to that of other state-supported institutions.

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