courtney lockhart

Wooster Welcomes the Return of an NAACP College Chapter

First established in 1964, student organization returns on campus to provide education, leadership opportunities

WOOSTER, Ohio – The College of Wooster is delighted to announce the return of a College Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) on campus. The re-establishment process was recently finalized, with Wooster’s NAACP College Chapter recording its first official meeting in several years.

Wooster has had a long history of student organizations supporting the perspectives of African-Americans, including when Mark Denbeaux ‘65 and other trailblazers first established an NAACP College Chapter back in 1964. However, the chapter gradually became inactive over time.

At the end of the 2018 fall semester, members of the Black Student Association (BSA) as well as other students began working together and formed a committee to bring back the NAACP College Chapter at Wooster. With the NAACP being a national organization—most student groups don’t have such affiliations—the group established a set of guidelines that adhere to both the NAACP and the College rules, plus student activities’ charter protocol.

“We’re going to continue the overall goal and mission of the NAACP in this modern era,” remarked Courtney Lockhart, a senior psychology major from Cleveland who was one of the leaders of the re-establishment committee.

Lockhart noted a couple of key reasons for the organization to be in place is to develop leadership skills among students of color and to educate the campus community as a whole. “It’s similar to other multi-cultural groups on campus, as it is an avenue to cultivate leadership, but the major difference is that it’s supported by an entire national organization. This is important because it gives access to other leaders nationwide from various ages and is a pipeline for the creation of other civil rights movements. The NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization, and as student leaders, it’s important to convey history and create lasting change for posterity. This College Chapter joins the other multicultural student organizations in providing a safe space in the pursuit of equity and inclusion for persons of color. There are various methods of creating change on campus and to the world at large,” she said.

Lockhart, who also serves as the treasurer of the NAACP Ohio Youth Council as well as president of Wooster’s BSA, will graduate in a few months before the aspiring surgeon embarks on a medical career, but is anxious to observe future developments of the refreshed NAACP College Chapter. “It’s my hope that this organization will assist in breaking down the barriers that impede the success of students of color across the nation. With this re-establishment, we have etched our footprints in the sands of time. We are using our voice to speak on behalf of the underserved and teach those that succeed us how to lead,” she stated.

Sixty students are already members of Wooster’s NAACP College Chapter, evidence of a thriving, and much needed, re-establishment.

NAACP dinner celebration
Wooster President Sarah Bolton (far left) hosted a gathering of members of the Black Student Association and the Wooster/Orrville NAACP chapter to celebrate the re-establishment of the NAACP College Chapter.