Despite financial problems, Cheyney University is keeping its accreditation

Cheyney University (Philadelphia Tribune photo by Michael D'Onofrio)

By Christina Kristofic

PHILADELPHIA — Cheyney University will keep its accreditation, state leaders and university administrators announced in a letter to faculty, staff and students Monday.

The nation’s oldest Black university is “in the midst of a major transformation,” the letter says. “Corporate partnerships, intensive alumni engagement, ambitious and successful fundraising targets and strong enrollment growth are breathing life back into a university that has overcome many difficult challenges over the last several years.”

The letter was signed by Gov. Tom Wolf, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Board of Governors Chairwoman Cynthia Sherpa, Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Chancellor David Greenstein, university Council of Trustees Chairman Robert W. Bogle and university President Aaron Walton.

Cheyney University’s future at stake as accreditation panel meets

“This is significant for the future of Cheyney University,” said Bogle, who is also publisher of The Philadelphia Tribune. “A lot of people made this happen. First, the president of the university, Aaron Walton; the governor of the commonwealth, the trustees and the members of the university family. They all participated in the positive outcome. Cheyney is prepared to look to the future in a very positive way.”

Bogle said Cheyney will continue to live with a balanced budget, work on heavy recruiting of new students and maintain a strong view of “being the very best.”

The ruling from Middle States Commission on Higher Education comes after several years of struggle at the nation’s oldest Black university.

Middle States, the regional accrediting body, first placed Cheyney on probation in 2015 over compliance issues related to financial mismanagement. It then gave the university two extensions of its accreditation.

In a statement, House Democratic Whip Jordan Harris, of Philadelphia, said “Cheyney University retaining its accreditation is excellent news for not simply the university, but for Pennsylvania and the African American community at large.

As the oldest historically black institution of higher learning in the nation and the conscience of the African American community, Cheyney represents an integral cultural piece of the African American experience in higher education,” Harris, who is Black, said. “As a former chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, the PLBC and I were very involved in investigating and helping to form solutions to right the ship at Cheyney and I’m proud that that same passion has been continued by current PLBC Chairman Stephen Kinsey and his leadership team.”

Christina Kristofic is the City Editor of the Philadelphia Tribune, where this story first appeared. Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek contributed.