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Executive Director of White House Initiative to Speak at Graduation Ceremony


Dr. John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) will present the keynote address at Drake State’s graduation ceremony.  Approximately two hundred and eighty students will be graduating from the college on Thursday, May 12 at 6:00 pm in the Von Braun Center South Hall.

Dr. Wilson was appointed by President Barack Obama to serve as the executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). He has over twenty-five years of experience in higher education.   Prior to his appointment, Wilson was an associate professor of higher education in the Graduate School of Education, and an executive dean at the George Washington University. He spent the first 16 years of his career at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he ultimately served as director of foundation relations and assistant provost. Wilson received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard University, and both a master’s and a doctoral degree in administration, planning and social policy, also from Harvard University. While working at MIT, he served as a teaching fellow in Harvard University’s Afro-American Studies Department as well as in Harvard’s Graduate School of Education.

Wilson has served as a board member for Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, and for the Independent Federal Savings Bank in Washington, D.C. He has also served as an official advisor to a variety of efforts to improve black colleges, including initiatives led by the Kresge Foundation, the Mott Foundation, and the United Negro College Fund.

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