Today, August 1, marks my ninth anniversary as president of Wayne State University. There is never a perfect time for such an announcement, but I want the university community to know that the upcoming 2022-23 academic year will be my last as president. I’ve informed the Board of Governors that I do not intend to seek either a renewal or extension of my current contract, which concludes on July 31, 2023.
I’ve reflected deeply on this decision and have had many conversations with family, friends and colleagues. I believe that the time is right for a leadership transition. On a personal level, at the conclusion of my current contract, I will have served as college dean or university chancellor or president for 30 years. And while my energy and passion for academic leadership is as strong as ever, I realize that 10 of those years will have been at Wayne State, and that seems like an optimum duration — long enough to accomplish most goals and short enough to not tempt complacency — to serve as university president. Although I do not yet know the next path I will embark upon, I do not intend to retire and am excited about adding several interesting and productive chapters to my career.
At an institutional level, Wayne State today is strong and has a promising future. It is well positioned to move on to its next stage: becoming the top urban research university for social mobility in the nation. Together we have made great strides, and I am proud to have served with you.
After leading multiple institutions, I had come to realize that a leader is most effective when they find their voice. For that reason, nine years ago, I sought to lead a university with institutional attributes — public, urban, diverse, very high research and inextricably connected to its community — that closely aligned with my personal values. I knew when I first stepped on campus and explored the surrounding community that Wayne State was just such a university. Wayne State gave me my voice, and I am deeply appreciative.
Jacqueline and I offer our heartfelt gratitude to the Wayne State community — students, faculty, staff — as well as the broader community for allowing us the privilege of being a part of you. I did not have a place that I called home when I first came here. Going forward, I will proudly call Wayne State and Detroit my home.
M. Roy Wilson