Richard F. Wilson returned to Illinois Wesleyan as Acting President in the summer of 2019. He retired as the University's 18th president in 2015.
During his previous 11-year tenure, Wilson led two strategic planning efforts and conducted the largest fundraising campaign in Illinois Wesleyan's history.
These efforts resulted in progress on many strategic initiatives, including increased attention to assessment of student learning in academic programs, expansion of efforts related to community engagement and life in a global society, growth in domestic and international student diversity, and increased commitment to sustainability, including construction of the first LEED-certified building on the Illinois Wesleyan campus.
The Transforming Lives campaign, which surpassed its $125 million goal and raised $141 million, produced significant support for student scholarships and endowed professorships for faculty.
Important capital projects completed during Wilson's tenure from 2004-15 included the State Farm Hall classroom building and Kemp Commencement Plaza, Minor Myers, jr. Welcome Center, Joslin Atrium, Joyce Eichhorn Ames School of Art Rotunda, the Gates at Wesleyan student apartments and installation of artificial turf at Tucci Stadium.
Wilson earned master and doctoral degrees in higher education from the University of Michigan. He holds a bachelor’s degree in education from Alderson-Broaddus College, West Virginia. He is a member of both Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi national honor societies.
Prior to his appointment at Illinois Wesleyan, Wilson held several leadership positions over a 26-year period at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, culminating as Associate Chancellor for Development and Vice President of the University of Illinois Foundation.
An interim president will be named to serve Illinois Wesleyan during the 2019-20 academic year, while the University conducts a national search for a successor to its 19th president, Eric Jensen, who retired at the end of May.