Barbara-Jan Wilson, vice president for University Relations, recently announced that she will retire in December, ending a Wesleyan career that began in 1982 and included leadership of two major capital campaigns.
Wilson assumed her present role in 1999, but she is also well known to generations of alumni through her prior leadership of Admission and before that, Career Resources – the position she took when she was hired by President Emeritus Colin G. Campbell Hon. ’89.
Her efforts as Wesleyan’s energetic and highly successful fundraiser spanned two presidents and four Board chairs. She worked with President Emeritus Douglas J. Bennet ’59, Hon ’94, P’87, ’94 on a campaign that raised $281 million and more recently with President Michael S. Roth ’78 on the $482 million THIS IS WHY campaign. In announcing Wilson’s plans to the campus community, Roth said her leadership had made an enduring contribution toward establishing a sustainable economic model for Wesleyan and has greatly strengthened Wesleyan’s endowment.
Roth hailed her as “Wesleyan’s biggest fan” and said that “her life’s work has been to help our university reach its full potential. She doesn’t just say ‘Go Wes’ – she makes Wesleyan go.
“Thanks to her and her team,” he added, “Wesleyan’s fundraising complements our high aspirations, though she would be the first to say that we can – and will! – do more.”
Wilson will continue to provide Wesleyan with her expertise and deep knowledge of the university community by being available in the spring after she steps down from her daily responsibilities.
Roth said he would report on next steps to find a successor in the coming months.