WILBERFORCE — The distance from Wilberforce to Columbus became a little shorter on Thursday when presidents from Central State and Ohio State formed a new partnership.
During a ceremony on the Central State campus, CSU President Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond and OSU President Dr. Michael V. Drake entered into a memo of understanding in which the two 1890 Land Grant Institutions will provide agricultural extension services to Ohio’s rural and urban communities.
The collaboration was made possible last year when CSU received land grant status, a status which will provide access to millions of dollars in federal funding. OSU is the state’s only other land grant institution.
“Two very vital universities will be able to provide critically-needed extension services to the citizens of Ohio,” Jackson-Hammond said. “Ohio State University and Central State University will collaborate to … provide services in agriculture and family consumerism. It’s important the community know we are there to serve them.”
Central State had tried for years to attain 1890 Land Grant Institution status. Without it, the university would not financially be able to expand its mission to include teaching, research and the extension outreach efforts in the areas of sustainable agriculture, natural resources, food science and nutritional disparities.
According to the Morrill Act of 1862, the mission of an LGI is to focus on the teaching of practical agriculture, science, military science and engineering as a response to the industrial revolution and changing social class.
The collaboration, which really began before Thursday, improves both schools’ abilities to increase opportunities for research, student exchanges, internships and experience.
“It just allows us to do a better job of fulfilling our mission of being a land grant institution,” Drake said. “The faculty and staff are very excited to get started on developing joint programs.”