Oakwood University

Est. 1896
Huntsville, AL

UNCF Member Institution
Transformation Partner since 2016


Motto: “Enter to Learn, Depart to Serve”
Website: oakwood.edu

Oakwood continues to stand as a tower of academic excellence, spiritual leadership, and social consciousness.

Dr. Leslie N. Pollard President, Oakwood University

Oakwood University, in Huntsville, Alabama, was founded by the Seventh-Day Adventist Church (SDA) in 1896 to educate the recently freed-African Americans of the South. Drawing upon its Christian faith and the emancipation of enslaved people by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the institution believed that “all people are created equal,” and they deserved the opportunity to learn a trade.

Today, Oakwood continues to exemplify its mission of transforming students through biblically-based education to serve God and humanity.

Through engagement in its transformation work, Oakwood University has achieved several goals to benefit students, faculty and staff. One such goal was to cultivate competency gains by offering degree program certifications. The university introduced new graduate certifications in public health and nutrition, fitness health, promotion and behavior, Christian ministry and strategic leadership through the initiative.

IBM certifications were made available to faculty and students, and IBM SPSS® software, a platform offering advanced statistical analysis, was installed on all University computers utilized by students. Most notably, over 12,000 degree-program-specific certifications were earned by the students, with 1041 specific to tech literacy.

The OU Connect app, developed on the Ready Education platform, and launched in August 2020 to digitize student success services on a private social network, now has over 1400 regular users. The platform has already demonstrated its ability to improve student retention. The university experienced an 80% retention rate for sophomores and increased its enrollment of full-time students.

Facilitated through the Institute for Capacity Building, the institution is now a UNCF cohort member in the HBCU Transformation Project, a first-of-its-kind effort to improve student enrollment, graduate success and institutional effectiveness rates at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

I fulfill the promise of Black higher education by implementing and working with programs that speak to the success of Black students.

Dr. Monica Sudeall
Director for Faculty Development
An Online Hub for Learning and Community Building

An Online Hub for Learning and Community Building

The United Negro College Fund is launching a new online learning platform where HBCU students and scholars at different institutions across the country can learn and connect.

Anthology Works to Strengthen Network for HBCUs

Anthology Works to Strengthen Network for HBCUs

Supporting student success outcomes requires a culture of data fluency. ICB and Anthology partner on HBCU Data and Analytics Credential.

Black Educators and Leaders Gather in Atlanta for UNCF’s UNITE 2022

Black Educators and Leaders Gather in Atlanta for UNCF’s UNITE 2022

UNCF convened for UNITE 2022, the organization’s summit for students, educators and professional stakeholders at HBCUs.

Coming Together for HBCU Student Success Excellence

Coming Together for HBCU Student Success Excellence

UNCF and InsideTrack partners to help students return to school in the midst of the pandemic. A new case study reveals lessons learned.

Dr. Rochelle Ford Named Next President of Dillard University

Dr. Rochelle Ford Named Next President of Dillard University

Dr. Ford will become the next president of Dillard University, a historically Black university in New Orleans. Ford is currently the dean of Elon University's School of Communications.

Forgotten Leaders – How HBCUs and PBIs Can Amplify Black Women’s Roles in Social Justice Movements

Forgotten Leaders – How HBCUs and PBIs Can Amplify Black Women’s Roles in Social Justice Movements

UNCF’s Executive Leadership Institute gatherings, focused on how HBCUs and PBIs can support women advocates by putting more women in positions of leadership.

Good News for HBCUs

Good News for HBCUs

For decades, Black colleges have been portrayed as deficient. What changed?

HBCU aims to achieve its goal of enrolling 10,000 students well ahead of schedule

HBCU aims to achieve its goal of enrolling 10,000 students well ahead of schedule

Morgan State University has announced historic enrollment figures for a second consecutive year.

HBCU Transformation Project Launched with $60 Million

HBCU Transformation Project Launched with $60 Million

The HBCU Transformation Project aims to increase HBCU health and sustainability, improve student outcomes in retention and graduation rates, expand enrollment, and bolster capacity building with faculty and staff.

ICB and Partners Reflect on Career Pathways Initiative

ICB and Partners Reflect on Career Pathways Initiative

UNCF and partners reflected on the successes of the Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) funded by a $50 million Lilly Endowment investment that helps HBCUs and PBIs strengthen institutional career placement outcomes.

Innovative Partnerships with Community Development Financial Institutions

Innovative Partnerships with Community Development Financial Institutions

CDFIs like Reinvestment Fund are positioned to connect the dots between community partners, financial institutions and policymakers to help drive healthy and equitable communities.

It’s time to uplift Black cities by investing in HBCUs

It’s time to uplift Black cities by investing in HBCUs

If HBCUs are to realize their full potential as a driver of economic and community development, their value and impact must be recognized by the capital markets.