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Photo of John Silvanus Wilson Jr.

John Silvanus Wilson Jr.

President in Residence, Harvard University
  • Biography

    John Silvanus Wilson Jr. currently serves as president in residence at Harvard University. In this role, he researches, writes, teaches, and advises about the future of American higher education, with an emphasis on that of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

    Wilson served with distinction as the 11th president of Morehouse College from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, he served as the executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs.

    Wilson has spent most of his career in higher education. Between 2001 and 2009, he served in several key capacities at the George Washington University, including associate professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education and the executive dean of George Washington University's Virginia campus. He started his career in 1985 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he served for 16 years in various roles, ultimately as the director of foundation relations.

    He received a bachelor of arts from Morehouse College, a master of theological studies degree from Harvard University, and both master's and doctoral degrees in administration, planning, and social policy, also from Harvard. He has served on advisory boards at the Kresge Foundation, the United Negro College Fund, Gallaudet University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Council of Independent Colleges.

    Prior to his current service as a member of the board of overseers at Harvard University (through 2021), he served on the trustee boards of the Samaritans, the Andover Newton Theological School, the Independence Federal Savings Bank, and Spelman College.