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Online poll leads to Central State University receiving $30,000 endowment, $15,000 scholarship from



August 8, 2023 Wilberforce, Ohio The social media power of Central State University’s robust community has culminated in the institution’s winning of an online poll, earning both a $30,000 endowment and a $15,000 scholarship fund for the school’s 2023-24 academic year. Provided by massively popular digital outlet The Shade Room (TSR), the combined financial gift was a prize offered to a nationwide list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities that could drive students, faculty, and supporters to vote for their school as the recipient. After the 24 hour long virtual contest went live on May 29, Central State earned a substantial enough percentage of the more than 63,000 votes cast to be declared the victor. Founded by Angie Nwandu in 2014, TSR boasts millions of followers (aka “Roommates”) and billions of impressions across its gargantuan web presence. In 2019, TSR received the second most likes and comments of any Instagram publisher. At first a site that trafficked in gossip and commentary focusing predominantly on the Black experience, Nwandu’s ever-expanding brand has swiftly matured in recent years into what Fast Company has referred to as a full-fledged “media empire.” Appropriately enough, Nwandu’s journey toward explosive success with TSR began with the earning of her own grant – a $5,000 writing prize through the Sundance Institute, which led to the creation of her award-winning 2018 film “Night Comes On.” During the process of producing her debut movie, Nwandu left her job as accountant at a motorcycle shop to pursue her creative passions full-time, all the while choosing to distill her love of pop culture into what she hoped would be a commercial venture: the founding of TSR. Clearly, that gamble paid off. Now, Nwandu wishes to do what she can to bolster fellow young members of her community to achieve their dreams, too. Central State will recognize the charitable entrepreneur’s generosity by welcoming her as a special guest at the upcoming Chicago Football Classic on Sept. 2 and is, according to Vice President of Institutional Advancement Tiffiney Gray, grateful for what will likely be a fruitful relationship between Nwandu and the University for years to come. “We are absolutely delighted to have the support of The Shade Room to create scholarships at Central State University for promising students with unmet tuition needs,” Gray said. “Our team is thrilled and thankful for Angelica Nwandu’s spirit of giving and looks to her as an aspirational inspiration in the realms of business, media, and philanthropy.” As far as why he believes Central State was able to galvanize enough supporters to win TSR’s online poll, Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Ryan Griffin posited the notion that “a lot of Central State has become reenergized over the last few years, especially a lot of our students who are part of our Marauder Leadership and Engagement.” “We have a new royal court, a new Student Government Association president and vice president,” Griffin continued. “The enthusiasm of these student leaders has really beefed up that pride in the mission and vision of our institution. They then were able to push their fellow students to vote, share, and repost the poll. Plus, you also have quite a bit of alumni who remain very connected to the institution, as well.”

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About Central State University: Central State University is a public HBCU and 1890 Land-Grant Institution with a 135-year tradition of preparing students from diverse backgrounds and experiences for leadership, research, and service. Central State ranks among U.S. News & World Report’s best colleges in five categories, including Best Undergraduate Engineering Program and Top Public Schools. The University fosters academic excellence within a nurturing environment and provides a solid liberal arts foundation and STEM-Ag curriculum leading to professional careers and advanced studies globally.

EEO Statement: Central State University, an 1890 Land Grant Institution, is committed to the full inclusion of all people and does not discriminate based on race, age, ancestry, color, disability, gender identity or expression, genetic information, HIV / AIDS states, marital or family status, military status, national origin political beliefs, religion, sex, sexual orientation, or veteran status. If reasonable accommodation is needed, please contact the Department of Human Resources at (937) 376-6540. Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity institution


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