About Kimberly Andrews Espy
Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., is the 13th president of Wayne State University.
A leader with more than 25 years of experience in higher education, President Espy previously served as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), where she championed social and economic opportunity by promoting affordable access to a top-quality research university education.
During her tenure, UTSA earned the distinction of an R1 classification by the Carnegie Foundation and was invited to join the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities after earning the Seal of Excelencia from Excelencia in Education for its commitment to serving Hispanic students — and, by extension, all students. UTSA also was named a 2022 Degree Completion Finalist by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities. Her work played an important role in making UTSA one of only five research universities nationwide to receive a $40 million gift from Mackenzie Scott in 2021 to advance student success to those underserved by higher education.
As UTSA’s provost, President Espy strived to advance social mobility through improved student learning, which she strengthened through a strong focus on the recruitment and retention of outstanding diverse faculty who are leaders in their disciplines. Working collaboratively across every corner of campus, she furthered an outstanding academic environment, including the establishment of the University of Texas School of Public Health San Antonio (in partnership with UT Health San Antonio); the merger with Southwest School of Art; and the reorganization of the College for Health, Community and Policy and the Klesse College of Engineering and Integrated Design.
Under her tenure, UTSA strengthened its commitment to preparing students for success beyond graduation in collaboration with the city’s business and community leaders. In 2020, the university established the Najim Center for Innovation and Career Advancement, which enabled systematic career preparation activities for students across the institution. President Espy also played a key role in UTSA’s contributions to San Antonio’s economic development. The San Pedro 1 Building, the home for UTSA’s School for Data Science, opened in 2022 and was a major university investment in the city’s downtown. For her commitment to the community and her work as an agent of change, she was recognized with a Women’s Leadership Award from the San Antonio Business Journal.
Prior to serving as UTSA’s provost, President Espy was senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona, where research and development awards increased to record levels. Focusing on strategic external partnerships, she was a member of the leadership team that established the historic academic partnership with Banner Health, and also worked with industry and government partners to stand up the Defense Security Research Institute that supported mission-focused applications. She also served as vice president for research and innovation and dean of the graduate school at the University of Oregon, where she helped secure funding from the Oregon state legislature to advance economic development and value to the state. At the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, President Espy developed collaborative interdisciplinary teams for large-scale proposals, including the ADVANCE initiative that increased the number of female and other diverse STEM faculty. She started her academic career at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, a rural, community-oriented medical school where she taught first-year medical student neuroscience using the then-pioneering problem-based learning curriculum, which has been widely adopted across the United States.
President Espy is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Her work has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 2002, and she has earned more than $22 million in funding to study how young children control their attention to promote later learning, academic and health outcomes, and how such skills can be affected by medical, environmental or social factors. As both an American Psychological Association Division 40 Early Career Award winner and Elected Fellow, President Espy has chaired NIH study sections, served other review panels and actively contributes to the scientific literature in her field.
President Espy has served on numerous national and state leadership boards and committees, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable, Council on Competitiveness, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protection Programs, the Institute for Research on Innovation and Science, Arizona Technology Council, Governor’s (OR) Regional Solutions Committee, and Shawnee Health Services.
President Espy received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rice University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology from the University of Houston. She also completed a clinical/pediatric psychology internship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine/Bingham Child Guidance Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine. She is a licensed clinical psychologist, and a native of Cincinnati.
President Espy was the Wayne State Board of Governors’ unanimous choice for president. She is the first woman to serve in this role in the institution’s history.
At a glance
B.A., Rice University
M.A., Ph.D., University of Houston
Clinical internship, University of Louisville School of Medicine
Postdoctoral fellowship, University of Arizona College of Medicine
Translational neuroscience; executive control development, predictors and outcomes; statistical modeling.
Current and former leadership
- Elected Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science
- Executive Committee Member, APLU Council on Academic Affairs, APLU Council on Research
- Elected Member, Board of Directors, Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy
- Member, Board of Directors, Association for the Accreditation of Human Research Protections Programs
- Member, Board of Directors, Institute for Research on Innovation and Science
- Member, Task Force on Laboratory Safety, APLU
- Elected Member, Board of Directors, San Antonio Medical Foundation
- Member, Board of Directors, Campus Research Corporation
- Member, Arizona Bioscience Roadmap Steering Committee
- Member, Board of Directors, Arizona Alzheimer’s Consortium
- Executive Committee Member, Arizona Technology Council
- Member, Governor’s Regional Solutions Committee, South Willamette Valley, OR
- Member, Executive Board, Regional Accelerator & Innovation Network
- Fellow, American Psychological Association
- Chair, NIH Child Psychopathy & Developmental Disabilities Study Section
WSU standing committees
- President’s Commission on the Status of Women
- President’s Standing Committee on Environmental Initiatives
- President’s Community Advisory Group
- Murray E. Jackson Creative Scholar in the Arts Award Committee