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Wilberforce U. to honor retiring president

Wilberforce University will hold a special event today to honor retiring President Patricia Lofton Hardaway.

The 11 a.m. convocation, to be held at the Alumni Multiplex, will recognize Hardaway’s four years of service as 19th president of the nation’s oldest historically black university, Wilberforce announced.

Hardaway’s last day at her alma mater will be Dec. 31. She graduated from the university in 1969 with a degree in sociology; went onto to work in law, private industry and academic administration; and returned in 2007 as provost.

Hardaway announced her retirement in July, months after 100 students, staff and faculty held a protest calling for her resignation and dissolution of the school’s board of trustees over what they called the “continued negligence, incompetence and mismanagement of university assets.”

Students also held protests in October 2012 and threatened to withdraw if the private university did not address dwindling enrollment, living conditions on campus, declining students services and pay of faculty.

After a yearlong investigation, the Ohio Attorney General’s Office announced in November 2012 it did not find evidence to support claims that the university leadership was violating its fiduciary duties.

At the time of her retirement, the board of trustees called her “an innovator.”

Wilberforce has not announced the status of its presidential search. A spokesman could not be reached Monday to provide an update.

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