In September 1892, a visionary saw his dream realized when Slater Industrial Academy was founded. This month, we congratulate Winston-Salem State University as the institution celebrates its 125th anniversary of educating students.

Beginning with founder Dr. Simon Green Atkins and continuing to current Chancellor Dr. Elwood L. Robinson, the institution continues to flourish. Though the name has changed over the years – from Slater Industrial Academy to Slater Industrial and State Normal School to Winston-Salem Teachers College to Winston-Salem State University – its mission has been consistent: “Preparing diverse students for success … through excellence in teaching, scholarship and service.”

Since its founding, this magnificent institution has grown from a one-room frame structure to more than three dozen buildings on more than 100 acres, from one teacher to more than 300 faculty members, and from twenty-five pupils to a student body of more than 5,000.

In respect of this monumental achievement, we are dedicating this issue of Black Business Ink to WSSU – and we’re honored to do so. As you will see in this special edition, Winston-Salem State has a rich history and is poised for continued growth and success. Over the past decade, the university has experienced tremendous development, both in terms of infrastructure with state-of-the-art “green” buildings, as well as in programs offered and in the caliber of students the university attracts.

WSSU has received national acclaim by being recognized as one of the best colleges in the South and one of the top HBCUs in the nation. A 2014 study found that WSSU ranks first in the UNC System for graduates receiving jobs in North Carolina after graduation and tops in the Triad for highest salary after receiving an undergraduate degree.

While WSSU hails as the first African American institution in the U.S. to grant degrees in elementary teacher education, the university over the years has greatly diversified its academic portfolio, which is partially outlined in Chancellor Robinson’s column. Many of the achievements Chancellor Robinson highlights are further detailed throughout this special edition.

We would like to thank Jaime Hunt, Sigrid Hall, Jay Davis and the rest of the university’s marketing and communications team for assisting us in pulling together a variety of articles that illustrates that WSSU is a transformative and revolutionary institution of higher learning.

I also congratulate Black Business Ink’s design team, headed by Donnie Butler and assisted by Deboice Robertson and several other graphics designers – whose lives, to be sure, I must have made exceedingly difficult over the past two months – for pulling together this commemorative issue.

Congratulations, WSSU. We are extremely proud to dedicate this issue of Black Business Ink magazine to your rich and storied history.

We certainly agree with Chancellor Robinson, who says in this month’s cover story that “WSSU’s future is incredibly bright.”