Dr. M. Roy Wilson became the 12th president of Wayne State University on August 1, 2013. Since assuming leadership, President Wilson has realigned the university’s numerous research divisions to emphasize team science and cluster hiring of scientists. This effort was reflected in the organization of the science teams in the $90 million IBio multidisciplinary research facility, which opened in 2015. He also developed a strategy to improve the pipeline of underrepresented students toward science careers. As part of this strategy, he formed a coalition of Detroit-based universities and colleges to launch the NIH-funded Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD) Program at the university in 2015.
Enhancing the student experience has been high on President Wilson’s agenda. Campus beautification efforts have included the $26.5 million renovation of the Student Center Building and the redesigned green space surrounding Fountain Court. Plans have been made to expand student housing in order to accommodate a growing demand for on-campus housing as part of the Midtown neighborhood’s revitalization.
In an effort to increase the diversity of Wayne State’s campus, President Wilson created the position of Associate Provost for Diversity and Inclusion and Chief Diversity Officer in 2014. He also created the Office of Multicultural Student Engagement to provide an inclusive environment and promote awareness initiatives that encourage academic success for underrepresented minorities and historically marginalized students.
Prior to joining Wayne State, President Wilson served as deputy director for strategic scientific planning and program coordination at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities of the National Institutes of Health.
Previously, he was dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for health sciences at Creighton University, president of the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and concurrently, chancellor of the University of Colorado Denver and chair of the Board of Directors of University of Colorado Hospital. President Wilson also chaired the Board of Directors of the Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science and was acting president during part of that time.
President Wilson’s research has focused on glaucoma and blindness in populations from the Caribbean to West Africa. He was elected a lifetime member of the National Academy of Medicine in 2003. He received his undergraduate degree from Allegheny College, an M.S. in epidemiology from UCLA, and an M.D. from Harvard Medical School.
Additional honors include the American Academy of Ophthalmology’s Senior Achievement Award, the Distinguished Physician Award from the Minority Health Institute, the Herbert W. Nickens Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges, the NIH Director’s Award, and the Cato T. Laurencin Distinguished Research Career Award from the National Medical Association. He received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Allegheny College in 2016.