Morehouse College has a new president, John Silvanus Wilson Jr., who was the executive director of President Obama’s White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
According to the AJC:
Wilson will be the 11th president in the Atlanta school’s 145-year history. He will follow Robert Franklin and be tasked with maintaining the college’s reputation while making advances in fundraising, graduation rates and retention.
A 1979 graduate, Wilson is no stranger to Morehouse. In 2007, he and Calvin Butts, pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, were finalists for the presidency, which went to Franklin.
At the White House Initiative, Wilson tried to strengthen the capacity of the nation’s 105 recognized black colleges by working with the White House, federal agencies and private corporations to secure funding. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Obama, who called on Wilson to continue “to inspire more of our nation’s youth to pursue higher education,” raved about the hiring.
“John has been a trusted voice, helping my administration follow through on our commitment to strengthen historically black colleges and universities, ” Obama said in a statement. “I wish John the best.”
Marybeth Gasman, a professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania who has written extensively about black colleges, said Morehouse should benefit by getting someone with deep ties to the Obama administration. “He is on the radar of the Department of Education and the White House, ” Gasman said. “They respect him immensely. ”
Wilson returns to Morehouse with more than a quarter century of higher education and institutional leadership roles. After graduating from Morehouse, he attended Harvard University, where he got a master’s of theology and master’s and doctoral degrees in administration, planning and social policy. He spent the first 16 years of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, including stints as director of foundation relations and assistant provost.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog