Oakwood University, the only Seventh-Day Adventist HBCU reached another milestone. They celebrated 125 years of “delivering service to God and humanity.”
Once a slave plantation, Oakwood Industrial School in Huntsville, Alabama, opened in 1896 with 16 students. The Seventh-day Adventist Church founded the school to educate freed African-American slaves.
Oakwood went through a number of name changes as it expanded over the years. In 2008, it gained university status when they added its first graduate program, a Master of Arts Degree in Pastoral Studies. According to U.S. News & World Report Oakwood University is a top-tier, private liberal arts colleges and universities in the South.
The University’s impact on the community is massive. They own a variety of businesses, including a laundry that supports both Huntsville and the Redstone Arsenal, two Edible Arrangements franchises, the Oakwood Farms Market, and the Oakwood University Memorial Gardens Cemetery. Money from the businesses keep tuition low by turning funds back to the campus. They also employ students and teaching them the value of entrepreneurship. One of the University’s goals is to reduce reliance on student tuition as the sole source of revenue. Profits from these industries support student scholarships and overall educational needs.
Presently, Oakwood University serves over 1,400 students, offering sixteen academic departments across five schools, 58 undergraduate degrees, and four graduate degree programs.
Happy birthday, Oakwood; and here’s to many more!