About Morehouse

Board Appoints John Silvanus Wilson Jr. the
11th President of Morehouse College

November 12, 2012 - Presidential Appointment (pdf)

Dear Morehouse Community:

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson Jr.

Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.
11th President of
Morehouse College
Watch the Special Message

I am very pleased to announce that following a comprehensive and rigorous search process, the Morehouse Board of Trustees, by a unanimous vote, has selected Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. to be the 11th president of the College.

Dr. Wilson has the vision, experience and passion to continue to lead our College in its mission to provide an excellent and relevant academic experience for young men and to further our proud tradition of producing leaders for a global community.

Since January, when Dr. Franklin announced that he would be transitioning from his role at the end of the year, the Presidential Search Committee and I have spent the subsequent months working with the professional search firm Heidrick & Struggles to identify the candidate best qualified to be his successor. That person is Dr. Wilson. His record of academic excellence and public service is exemplary of the standard we hold for Morehouse Men, and I am confident that, with his leadership, we will be well positioned to continue delivering the educational environment that prepares our students for lives of leadership and service.

Dr. Wilson, a 1979 graduate of the College, comes to Morehouse with more than 25 years of leadership in higher education and a strong and successful record in institutional fundraising. In addition, he has extensive expertise in defining and advancing the interests of black colleges through his work as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

When the White House heard the news about Dr. Wilson's appointment, President Barack Obama sent the following statement: “John has been a trusted voice, helping my administration follow through on our commitment to strengthen historically black colleges and universities,” said President Barack Obama. “I wish John the best as he takes on this important new role as the president of Morehouse College and as he continues to inspire more of our nation's youth to pursue higher education."

Before working with the White House Initiative, Dr. Wilson was an associate professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education at George Washington University (GWU). He also served as the executive dean of GWU's Virginia campus, and helped to develop a strategic plan for the university. While at GWU, the focus of his research and teaching included advancement and finance in higher education and the role of black colleges and universities.

Dr. Wilson spent the first 16 years of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), ultimately becoming the director of foundation relations and assistant provost, where he more than doubled the productivity of that office and reached a record annual revenue stream of more than $50 million.

For 10 years, Dr. Wilson served as the president of the Greater Boston Morehouse College Alumni Association. In that role, he led an effort to raise more than half a million dollars toward scholarships and another half million dollars toward community outreach for his alumni chapter. At the 1998 "A Candle In the Dark" Gala, Morehouse awarded him the Bennie Award in leadership.

Wilson recently has served as a consultant to the United Negro College Fund Institute for Capacity Building's HBCU Institutional Advancement Program and on the Kresge Foundation's Black College Advisory Board. From 1996 through 2000, he served as chair of the Alumni Council of the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Dr. Wilson received his bachelor's degree from Morehouse and graduate degrees from Harvard University, including his master of theology and both a master's and a doctoral degree in administration, planning and social policy. While working at MIT, he served as a teaching fellow in Harvard University's Afro-American Studies.

Dr. Wilson will officially assume the role of president at the end of January 2013, and soon you will be notified of opportunities to meet and greet Dr. Wilson. Dr. Willis B. Sheftall will serve as acting president beginning January 1, 2013 until Dr. Wilson arrives on campus.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Wilson back to the Morehouse community.


Robert C. Davidson, Jr.
Chairman of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees

Special Message from Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr.
11th President of Morehouse College

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