Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr. has major housekeeping plans for Morehouse College. As many people are challenging the purpose of HBCUs, Dr. Wilson explains why he believes these institutions have failed to acquire financial support from their alums. Morehouse was forced to cut spending and furlough staff members last fall based on a decline in enrollment, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In 2009, President Obama appointed Dr. Wilson to serve as executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. During the latter part of January, Dr. Wilson assumed the role of president of Morehouse College — making him the 11th president of the institution. In an interview with NPR’s Michel Martin on “Tell Me More,” Dr. Wilson explains how he plans to make Morehouse College standout. He also discusses maintaining the core principles of the institution.
On HBCUs and Issues With Financial Aid:
I mean the office that has come up more than any other office is the financial aid office. Most graduates say, “Oh boy, they angered my parents. They lost my money,” or in some cases “I couldn’t get my transcript back” and that kind of thing. So it’s a lack of operational excellence, so I’m going to go down to Morehouse and I’m going to – and I’ve already announced, we are going to be known for our operational excellence.
On Morehouse’s LGBT Course/The Morehouse Brand:
So I would say it is a sign of progress. The danger, and I would say the concern that many alums had, was here you had Morehouse College and, you know, with this great brand and there was something of concern that was conflicting with the brand. We want to make it very clear as we move forward that at Morehouse we produce chemists, we produce biologists, we produce doctors and lawyers and that is our signal. Everything else is noise.
Do you believe operational excellence in the financial aid department will save HBCUs?
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.