1917 – 1993
Dr. Rembert E. Stokes was the Dean of the Payne Theological Seminary and then President of Wilberforce University from 1956 to 1976. Wilberforce was founded in 1856, well before the Emancipation Proclamation, and is the country’s oldest institution of higher education founded and operated by Black Americans. Under the leadership of Dr. Stokes, Wilberforce saw an unprecedented expansion of the University’s physical plant, enrollment, and prestige. During his tenure several new academic initiatives were introduced, including the creation of a four year mandatory cooperative education program; a dual degree program in Engineering with the University of Dayton; and a student exchange program with the University of Hull in England, birthplace of William Wilberforce. Dr. Stokes dedicated his life to helping others increase their success in college. He was a staunch humanitarian committed to providing academically excellent and relevant higher education.