About M. Roy Wilson

Dr. M. Roy Wilson became the 12th president of Wayne State University on August 1, 2013. Since assuming leadership, President Wilson has pursued his vision to transform the university into the preeminent, public, urban research university known for academic and research excellence.

Highlights of his tenure:

Student Success and Enrollment

In Fall 2018, Wayne State admitted its largest incoming class ever, a 15 percent increase over the prior year.

The university's improvement in its six-year graduation rate earned the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities' 2018 Degree Completion Award, which recognizes innovative and successful approaches to improve degree completion and ensure educational quality.

Wayne State's graduation rate improvement was the best in the country in 2018. Gains were especially pronounced among first-generation, low-income and minority students.

Diversity

As part of a plan 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.

Research and Public Health

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 $90 million IBio multidisciplinary research facility, which opened in 2015.

He also developed a strategy to improve the pipeline of underrepresented students trained in the biomedical sciences.

As part of this strategy, President Wilson 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.

He also launched the Wayne Med-Direct program—which guarantees exceptionally talented high school students from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds admission to Wayne State's medical school—to develop the next generation of physician leaders.

Development

Wayne State marked the successful conclusion of its Pivotal Moments campaign in late 2019, which raised $776.5 million, significantly surpassing its $750 million goal. This included several large, record-setting gifts and much support from Wayne State employees, alumni, and friends.

Campus Improvements

Campus beautification efforts have included the $26.5 million renovation of the Student Center Building and the redesigned green space surrounding Fountain Court.

In 2016 the university unveiled plans to overhaul student housing to meet the increased demand for living space; the first phase of the Anthony Wayne Drive Apartments opened in August 2018.

Wayne State opened the new Mike Ilitch School of Business located near downtown Detroit in 2018, made possible by a $40 million investment from Mike and Marian Ilitch.

Groundbreaking took place for two major projects in 2018—the $65 million Hilberry Gateway Performance Complex for theatre, music, dance, and the arts, and the renovation of an unused science library into the STEM Innovation Learning Center, an instructional learning environment for undergraduate STEM students.

The university is investing $4 million to upgrade and refresh Wi-Fi across campus to improve connection reliability and speed.

Prior Experience

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/Anschutz Medical Campus 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.

At a glance

Hometown
Yokohama, Japan

Education
B.S., Allegheny College
M.S., UCLA
M.D., Harvard Medical School

Academic Research
Glaucoma and blindness in populations from the Caribbean to West Africa

Professional Affiliations

  • National Academies of Medicine (member)
  • Association of American Medical Colleges (past chair)

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

Family
Wife: Jacqueline Wilson
Children: Presley and Yoshio
First Pup: Quincey

Hobby
Long-distance cycling