David Wilson, Ed.D., the 10th president of Morgan State University, has a long record of accomplishments and more than 30 years of experience in higher education administration. Dr. Wilson holds four academic degrees: a B.S. in political science and an M.S. in education from Tuskegee University; an Ed.M. in educational planning and administration from Harvard University; and an Ed.D. in administration, planning and social policy, also from Harvard. He came to Morgan from the University of Wisconsin, where he was chancellor of both the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin–Extension. Before that, he held numerous other administrative posts in academia, including vice president for University Outreach and associate provost at Auburn University, and associate provost of Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.
Dr. Wilson’s tenure as Morgan’s president, which began on July 1, 2010, has been characterized by great gains and an era of unprecedented transformation for the University. Among Morgan’s most recent highlights during his leadership are:
The elevation of Morgan from a moderate research classification of R3 (a ranking it had held since 2006), to an elevated classification of R2, a status reserved for doctoral universities with high research activity;
A second-year retention rate of above 70% for the past 10 consecutive years;
An alumni participation-in-giving rate of 17%, a rate higher than at most private HBCUs and higher than at many public regional universities nationwide;
The highest graduation rates in Morgan’s history, trending toward achieving a 50 percent graduation rate by the year 2025;
The historic completion of the University’s $250-million Anniversary Campaign, the largest development effort in Morgan’s history;
Procurement of the University’s largest-ever research contract, a $28.5-million, five-year contract from NASA, with an additional $18-million, five-year renewal;
The founding of a new school, the School of Global Journalism and Communication;
More than $1 billion in construction and planned construction of multiple state-of-the-art facilities, including Tyler Hall Student Service Building, Martin D. Jenkins Hall, Morgan Business Center, Northwood Commons and a new health and human services building; and approval for a state-of-the-art, $240-million science building, scheduled for opening in 2027; and
The continuation of Morgan’s status as the No. 1 HBCU in production of Fulbright scholars and grantees, with 149 who have received awards for study, research or teaching in 44 countries around the world.
Dr. Wilson has authored two books and more than 20 articles in scholarly journals and other publications. Among the many honors and recognitions he has received for his work: he was named one of the nation’s top 100 leaders in higher education by the American Association of Higher Education in 1998; was selected as one of The Daily Record newspaper’s Influential Marylanders for 2011, 2016 and 2018 and has been inducted into its Circle of Influence; and was honored by the University of Alabama with an award for outstanding leadership in engaged scholarship in April 2011. He was also selected by the Baltimore Business Journal as a top 10 CEO in 2019 and was inducted into the Baltimore Sun’s Business Civic Hall of Fame in 2021.
In April 2019, Dr. Wilson was appointed to serve on the NCAA Board of Governors and Division I Board of Directors. He is also a member of the NCAA Finance Committee. In 2018, the Lumina Foundation elected Dr. Wilson to serve on its Board of Directors. Prior to this election, the U.S Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology had appointed him to serve a three-year term as a member of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST’s) Visiting Committee on Advanced Technology. He is the chairman of the HBCU/China Network, a member of the Maryland Cybersecurity Council and the Maryland Longitudinal Data System Governing Board and serves on the Boards of Directors of the Greater Baltimore Committee, the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and the Association of American Colleges and Universities, for which he chairs the Finance Committee. In 2010, former President Barack Obama appointed him to his 11-member Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Dr. Wilson served on the Board of United Way of Central Maryland and on numerous other boards.
Dr. Wilson’s achievements as leader of Maryland’s Preeminent Public Urban Research University have clearly been strong, but it is the character he brings to the presidency, a character shaped by the intangibles of his background, that is perhaps most impressive of all. Dr. Wilson grew up with 10 siblings on a sharecropper farm outside the small town of McKinley, Alabama. Through hard work, tenacity and the encouragement of his father and his teachers, he became the first person in his family to attend college. Dr. Wilson builds upon that legacy as the proud father of Nyere Brown Wilson, who earned a bachelor’s degree in sports administration at Morgan.
Dr. Wilson’s educational philosophy is to put the students’ experience first. As a leader, he is a consensus builder and a strong believer in transparency of process. His goal is to make Morgan a leader in producing the next wave of innovators in the U.S.