Kennesaw State partnering with historic university to spur entrepreneurship

KENNESAW, Ga. | Sep 3, 2021

Wilberforce partnership
Robin Cheramie, left, and Mark Wilson

Kennesaw State University is teaming with one of the nation’s oldest historically Black universities to advance entrepreneurial and academic opportunities at both institutions.

In a formal agreement, Kennesaw State’s Robin and Doug Shore Entrepreneurship Center in the Michael J. Coles College of Business will partner with Wilberforce University’s Mark and Shelly Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation to promote entrepreneurial practices through student projects, faculty collaboration, research and mentorship during the 2021-22 academic year.

The partnership was initiated by Atlanta businessman Mark Wilson, who has ties to both universities as a Coles College of Business advisory board member and a Wilberforce alumnus and the benefactor of WU’s center. Wilberforce, located near Dayton, Ohio, is the country’s oldest private, historically Black university owned and operated by African Americans.

“Kennesaw State and Wilberforce will benefit from the strength of each university’s unique talents and enable long-term growth of our programs through this sustainable partnership,” said Robin Cheramie, dean of the Coles College of Business. “So much can be gained from sharing diverse ideas and perspectives, and this partnership provides great potential for collaboration between these two outstanding institutions. We thank Mark Wilson for leading this initiative that has the potential to impact many lives.”

With faculty members from both universities serving as mentors, Kennesaw State and Wilberforce students will collaborate on entrepreneurship projects aimed at developing and implementing solutions to community-based issues. Student activities, such as KSU’s Enactus team that promotes socially responsible entrepreneurship, can serve as a platform for collaboration across student populations.

“The memorandum of understanding between Wilberforce University and Kennesaw State University provides a roadmap of how two diverse institutions can enhance education worldwide,” said Johnny D. Jones, provost of Wilberforce University. “What makes this opportunity unique is that, as two diverse historical institutions, we both are proud to serve our students.”

Future plans for the partnership include opportunities for joint research, a student-faculty exchange, and other academic initiatives that will promote student and faculty success at both institutions.

– Paul Floeckher


About Wilberforce University

Wilberforce University, located in southwest Ohio, near Dayton, is the nation’s oldest, private historically Black college/university (HBCU). Founded in 1856, the university is a member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), the Ohio Link Library Consortium, and the NAIA Conference. According to, Wilberforce University is among the top five historically Black colleges/universities in the Midwest.

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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 45,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit