AICUNJ President John B. Wilson Presented with 32nd Annual Henry Paley Memorial Award

February 06, 2018

WASHINGTON, DC  – John B. Wilson, president and CEO of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey, is the recipient of the 32nd Annual Henry Paley Memorial Award presented during the 2018 Annual Meeting of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU).
John B. Wilson, president and CEO of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in New Jersey, accepts the Henry Paley Memorial Award from NAICU President David L. Warren, Ph.D., North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities President A. Hope Williams, and NAICU Director of Outreach and State Relations Robert “Bo” Newsome.

Named for the late Henry Paley, president of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York from 1975 until 1984, the Paley Award recognizes an individual who embodies his spirit of unfailing service toward the students and faculty of independent higher education.  The recipients of this award have set an example for all who would seek to advance educational opportunity in the United States.

Wilson has had a long and distinguished career working and advocating for New Jersey's private, nonprofit colleges and universities.  A native of Jersey City, he served as director of athletics and vice president of development at Saint Peter’s University (NJ) for 16 years, and assistant vice president of Seton Hall University (NJ) for five years, directing campaigns that collectively added more than $35 million to the infrastructure of both campuses. He also is one of the founders of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

In 1990, he moved to the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey (AICUNJ) and the Independent College Fund of New Jersey (ICFNJ).

Wilson quickly became an active member in NAICU and a tireless advocate for independent education. He became a familiar face in Washington, D.C., communicating the value of the private college sector and advocating for federal support to help fund institutions and students. He has regularly led presidential visits to Capitol Hill, working to bring the private college message to the influential New Jersey delegation.

Wilson has served as a member of NAICU’s Legal Services Review Panel (LSRP) for a quarter of a century, including the past three years as chairman. The LSRP evaluates legal issues affecting independent colleges and universities, and advises members on the implications of precedent-setting litigation. Wilson has played an instrumental role in guiding NAICU’s response to legal issues concerning free speech on campus, diversity in admissions, Title IX and athletics, campus security, taxation of college property, and the general challenges of intrusive and excessive regulation. The Legal Services Review Panel was presented the Paley Award in 2014.

He also is past chair of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities State Executives and the Policy Analysis and Public Relations Committee (PAPR), the first state executive to chair one of NAICU’s standing committees. During his tenure on the PAPR committee, NAICU identified the six key characteristics of private colleges used in its communications: Diverse, Affordable, Personal, Involved, Flexible and Successful.

Wilson was the presiding officer of The Foundation for Independent Higher Education during its 2010 merger into the Council for Independent Colleges. Recently, he was tapped to serve as the interim board chair for the Coalition for College Cost Savings. Since joining the Coalition in 2011, Wilson has served in various capacities, including vice-chair of the board.

As president of AICUNJ and the ICFNJ, Wilson has worked tirelessly to raise funds that support scholarships and academic programs at New Jersey’s independent colleges and universities. During his 27-year tenure, the organization has distributed more than $46 million to advance the futures of students through scholarships and institutional support for the operating budgets of its members. Last year alone, ICFNJ awarded $409,900 in scholarships to 129 deserving students.

New Jersey’s 14 independent colleges and universities play a vital role in the state, with an economic impact of more than $3.5 billion annually, employing more than 18,000 people, enrolling 65,000 students, and awarding nearly 14,000 degrees each year.

In New Jersey, Wilson has worked to sustain the state’s support for private colleges which includes funds for direct operating expenses, financial aid, and capital expenditures. He has worked on the passage of six higher education bond issues, including the $750 million Building Our Future Bond Act of 2013 which provided $52.5 million in state construction bonds for private institutions.

Wilson has dedicated his career to advancing the New Jersey business community by helping to provide the skilled workforce that is central to economic growth. With STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields projected to continue to drive New Jersey’s economic growth for the next decade or more, employers are increasingly turning to the state’s independent colleges and universities for highly-educated graduates. To foster STEM education, ICFNJ sponsors the annual Undergraduate Research Symposium at Liberty Science Center, showcasing semester-long undergraduate research projects funded through ICFNJ. Wilson’s expertise ensures that these opportunities—which are so vital to the state’s economy—are available to talented students.

Building stronger New Jersey communities also is important to him. Wilson chairs the board at Liberty Savings Federal Credit Union and is immediate past chair of the New Jersey Alliance for Action, which represents 2,500 top corporate, labor, professional, academic and government representatives working to improve the state’s economy through the promotion of capital construction and infrastructure investment. He also is active with the Newark Rotary Club, and is slated to serve as Rotary District Governor in 2018. In addition, Wilson is a member of the capital campaign committee at Marist High School, a board member at Christ the King Preparatory School in Newark, NJ, and has served as secretary of the Sales Executives Foundation, supporting the M.B.A. program at Rutgers School of Business.

A longtime volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America, he was honored with the Patriot’s Path Council Lifetime Achievement Award. Other accolades include the Saint Peter’s University Distinguished Alumni Award, the Foundation for Independent Higher Education Outstanding Service Award, and the New Jersey Alliance for Action Richard Hale Chairman’s Award. For his 25th anniversary with ICFNJ in 2016, the fund created the John B. and Joyce Wilson Silver Anniversary Scholarship to recognize the outstanding accomplishments in higher education of Wilson, and the support of his wife, Joyce.

Wilson graduated from Marist High School in Bayonne, NJ, and attended the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, before earning an undergraduate degree from Saint Peter’s University (NJ), an MBA from Rutgers University, and a law degree from Seton Hall University (NJ).

Henry Paley Memorial Award Recipients
2018    John B. Wilson, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of New Jersey and the             
               Independent College Fund in New Jersey
2017    William E. “Bill” Troutt, Rhodes College (TN)
2016    John Bassett, Heritage University (WA), Clark University (MA)
2015    Christopher B. Nelson, St. John’s College (MD)
2014    NAICU Legal Services Review Panel
2013    Bernard Fryshman, Association of Advanced Rabbinical and Talmudic Schools
2012    Patricia A. McGuire, Trinity Washington University (DC)
2011    The Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J., Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities
2010    Sister Kathleen Ross, SNJM, Heritage University (WA)
2009    Morgan Odell, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
2008    The Rev. Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., University of Notre Dame (IN)
2007    Alexander W. (Sandy) Astin, Higher Education Research Institute, University of California
2006    Clare Cotton, The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts
2005    Robert N. Kelly, Kansas Independent College Association
2004    Michael S. McPherson, Spencer Foundation, Macalester College (MN)
2003    James C. Ross, Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities of New York
2002    Allen P. Splete, Council of Independent Colleges
2001    (Special NAICU 25th Anniversary Meeting recognizing all previous recipients – no new award given)
2000    Sr. Mary Andrew Matesich, Ohio Dominican College
1999    David Irwin, Washington Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
1998    Rev. William J. Sullivan, Seattle University (WA)
1997    James Whalen, Ithaca College (NY)
1996    John Frazer, Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges and Universities
1995    Richard F. Rosser, National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities
1994    Sr. Dorothy Ann Kelly, College of New Rochelle (NY)
1993    Derek Bok, Harvard University
1992    (Special Summit Meeting – no award was given)
1991    Francis "Mike" Michelini, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania
1990    The Honorable Silvio Conte, U.S. House of Representatives
1989    The Honorable Thomas H. Kean, Governor, New Jersey
1988    The Honorable William H. Natcher, U.S. House of Representatives
1987    Frank "Sandy" Tredinnick, Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts
1986    James Ream, Pennsylvania Association of Colleges and Universities
1985    Rev. Timothy S. Healy, Georgetown University (DC)

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