Professor Jeffrey Wilson

Jeffrey Wilson makes education possible through service

This August, W. P. Carey is celebrating Black Philanthropy Month by delving into what it means to be philanthropic and Black.

In 2021, Associate Dean of Research and Inclusive Excellence Jeffrey Wilson was recognized with the Faculty Service Achievement Award during Founder’s Day, an annual celebration that recognizes seven honorees who exemplify the spirit of ASU’s founders and the university charter.

“While I am appreciative to have received the award, I did not think I deserved such an honor,” says Wilson. “For me, receiving the award outwardly represents how fortunate I feel to have inspired and mentored so many lives in the statistics discipline and STEM area during my career at ASU. But there is still a lot to be done for those who are not included. And so, I continue to serve.”

Wilson has served the Sun Devil community in many roles since becoming a faculty member in 1985. He is a professor of statistics and biostatistics, a co-chair of the Advisory Council on African American Affairs, and head of the W. P. Carey Council for Inclusive Excellence (formerly Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee).

Wilson is passionate about athletics and supporting student-athletes: He is a member and former chair of the Sun Devil Athletics board, former chair of the PAC-12 council, and the current ASU faculty representative for the PAC-12. He oversees the academic performance and well-being of all ASU student-athletes as the ASU FAR representative to the PAC-12 and NCAA and served as the chair of the Gender, Diversity, and Student Well-being subcommittee for the NCAA.

W. P. Carey News caught up with Wilson to learn more about his commitment to inclusivity, education, and serving the Sun Devil community.

Question: You have been a member of numerous boards, committees, and collaborations in and outside ASU. Why do you feel it is important to volunteer your time and expertise to further these organizations and their missions?

Answer: The Black population is not fully realized in academic life, primarily in STEM programs. Having had success in this space, I see it as part of my responsibility to help move the discussion in this direction, and serving allows me to be a voice.

Q: Has philanthropy always been an important part of your life?

A: Not exactly, but generosity has always been an important part of my life. Philanthropy is an extension of generosity. Being philanthropic became a reality once I was in a position to give, and I’ve been philanthropic ever since.

Q: Why are you passionate about giving back to the Sun Devil community by supporting student-athlete rights?

A: In giving back to the Sun Devil community, I am supporting the education of young men and women, many of whom would never have thought about getting a degree without our athletics program. By obtaining a degree, they can create a better life and future for their families. It’s a ripple effect.

Q: In 2021, the Advisory Council on African American Affairs released the LIFT Report: Status of Black and African Americans at Arizona State University. How is the LIFT Initiative continuing to support the lived, teaching, and learning experiences of Black students, faculty, and staff?

A: President Crow’s LIFT Initiative has become part of the fiber of the university, and during the 2023 LIFT Summit, President Crow recognized successes in several areas of this initiative. Some include cluster hires, police relations, multicultural centers, and an increase in postdoc and PhD students.

Q: August is Black Philanthropy Month. How does recognizing and celebrating Black generosity support Black students, staff, faculty, and programs across ASU?

A: Black generosity is extremely beneficial, as are all other groups’ contributions. There is an element of ‘giving back to help others run where you walked’ that exists.

Q: Why is it important for people to invest in their communities through philanthropy?

A: We are responsible for our community; we should all want to leave this world better than we found it, and investing in education is more than investing in an individual: One person’s success leads to others’ success.

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