In an effort to further its diversity initiatives, Harvard University has enlisted the help of former Morehouse College president John S. Wilson, the Atlanta Business Chronicle reported.
Wilson will be brought on board as a senior adviser and strategist for the institution’s diversity and inclusion programs, the news outlet writes. In his role, he will examine the Ivy League experience from the perspectives of students who come from diverse backgrounds and develop strategies that will cultivate more of an inclusive environment at Harvard. “We are going to take a look at the experience figure out what initiative, what programs, what funding we need,” Wilson told the Atlanta Business Chronicle. “We want to do whatever is required to have better outcomes in the way that people experience Harvard.”
Wilson’s ties to the institution run deep. After graduating from Morehouse in 1979, he pursued both his master’s and doctoral degrees at Harvard. He was also president of the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) Alumni Council and spent time as a teaching fellow within the university’s department of Afro-American Studies. After leaving Morehouse in 2017—where he served as president for four years—he became a “president in residence” at the Ivy League school. He’s dedicated his career to advocating for diversity and inclusion; serving as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities and holding other positions at institutions like George Washington University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Wilson is taking on the role at a time where the lack of diversity in higher education—especially at Ivy League institutions—has become a pressing issue. According to a 2017 College Vine study, African Americans only made up 13.7 percent of the student body at Harvard. Several projects have been launched to capture the Black experience at Ivy League schools. A docu-series dubbed Now in Color delved into the lives of six students of color who are pursuing degrees at Yale University.