The Wayne State University Board of Governors unanimously approved Dr. M. Roy Wilson as the school’s next President Wednesday.
Wilson is currently a deputy director at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. An ophthalmologist by training, he comes from a background in medical research that spans government and academia.
“I sense great things moving forward,” Wilson said about Wayne State, calling it a “public institution…with a noble vision.”
He told reporters he plans to live on campus, and thinks the university can play a positive role in Detroit and the state.
Wilson gave few specific answers about his priorities for university, saying he needs time to wander the campus, getting acquainted and gathering information.
But he did offer some hints about possible areas of focus for research, noting one big opportunity is in brain research.
“It’s truly multi-disciplinary. And I think that’s one area that’s going to get a lot of money over the next 10 years,” he said.
Wilson inherits a university that faces challenges, among them cuts to federal research spending and the largest black-white graduation gap in of any university in the country.
But Wayne State also boasts a diverse student body, and some high-caliber research and graduate programs. Faculty recently signed onto an 8-year labor contract with the university.
Wilson is set to officially take over from retiring President Allan Gilmour August 1.