William Julius Wilson is Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. Only 19 of Harvard’s professor currently hold University Professorships, Harvard’s highest professional distinction. He is also the Director of the Joblessness and Urban Poverty Research Program. After receiving his Ph.D. from Washington State University in 1966, Professor Wilson taught sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, before joining the University of Chicago faculty in 1972. In 1990 he was appointed the Lucy Flower University Professor and director of the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Urban Inequality. He joined the faculty at Harvard in July of 1996.
Past President of the American Sociological Association, Professor Wilson has received 41 honorary degrees, including honorary doctorates from Princeton, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern, John Hopkins, Dartmouth, and the University of Amsterdam in Holland. A Macarthur Prize fellow, Professor Wilson has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, The American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. In June 1996 he was selected by Time magazine as one of America’s 25 Most Influential People. He is a recipient of the 1998 National Medal of Science, the highest scientific honor in the United States.
Wilson is the author of numerous publications, including The Declining Significance of Race, winner of the American Sociological Association’s Sydney Spivack Award;The Truly Disadvantaged, which was selected by the editors of The New York Times Book Review as one of the 16 best books of 1987, and received theWashington Monthly Annual Book Award and the Society for the Study of Social Problems’ C. Wright Mills Award; Tally’s Corner: A Study of Negro Streetcorner Men; and When Work Disappears: The World of the New Urban Poor, which was chosen as one of the notable books of 1996 by the editors of the New York Times Book Review and received the Sidney Hillman Foundation Award. His most recent book, More Than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City, aims to change the thinking of problems of race and urban poverty in public policy.
Other honors granted to Wilson include the Seidaman Award in Political Economy (the first and only non-economist to receive the Award); the Golden Plate Achievement Award; the distinguished Alumnus Award, Washington State University; the American Sociological Association’s Dubois, Johnson, Frazier Award (for significant scholarship in the field of inter group relations); the American Sociological Association’s Award (“for outstanding contributions in the field of public policy”); and the Martin Luther King, Jr. National Award (granted by the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Los Angeles).
Professor Wilson has been a member of numerous boards and commissions, including Private/Public Ventures, the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships, The Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, and The Century Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and Bard College. Professor Wilson also served as an advisor to the Obama campaign.