The Nation’s Largest African American Video Oral History Collection Mobile search icon Mobile close search icon
Advanced Biography Search
Mobile navigation icon Close mobile navigation icon

Harrison B. Wilson

Share on Social Media

Information about Harrison B. Wilson

Profile image of Harrison B. Wilson

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
University President
College Basketball Coach

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ham, Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saratoga, New York
Favorite Quote:
God Bless America.

Birthplace

Born:
4/21/1925
Birth Location:
Amsterdam, New York

Profession

Category:
EducationMakers
SportsMakers
Occupation(s):
University President
College Basketball Coach

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Blue
Favorite Food:
Ham, Chicken
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Saratoga, New York
Favorite Quote:
God Bless America.

Birthplace

Born:
4/21/1925
Birth Location:
Amsterdam
See how Harrison B. Wilson is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

University President and College Basketball Coach Harrison B. Wilson was born on April 21, 1925 and is a native of Amsterdam, New York. Wilson is the fifth of seven siblings. His mother was a school teacher and his father worked in construction. Wilson served in the United States Navy from 1945 until 1947, when he enrolled at Kentucky State University at the age of nineteen. There he received his B.S. degree, was an honor student and a star athlete in basketball, football, baseball and track.

In the early 1950s Wilson received his M.A. degree and his D.H.S. in health science and administration from Indiana University. Between the ages of twenty-three and thirty-nine, Wilson worked as a professor, administrator and coach at Jackson State College (now Jackson State University). Wilson was the head basketball coach from 1951 to 1960. He then became chairman of the Department of Health and Physical Education from 1960 until 1967. Additionally, he became chairman and professor of health and physical education at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee that same year as well. Wilson then briefly worked at Fisk University as the assistant to the President of Fisk before being named President of Norfolk State University in 1975. During Wilson’s term at Norfolk, which spanned over three decades from 1975 until 1997, Norfolk State University’s annual budget increased from $14 million to $86 million, enrollment increased from 6,700 students to 8,100 students, and the number of faculty and staff has grown from 377 to 412, with a student-faculty ratio of twenty-two-one. The University also added fourteen new buildings and acquired fifty-one acres of land during Wilson’s tenure.

Upon his retirement in 1997, Wilson was honored by Old Dominion University as one of their Strong Men and Women Excellence in Leadership series. Wilson is active in a number of boards and organizations, including the board of directors of Virginia National Bank, the lay advisory board of DePaul Hospital, the Virginia State Advanced Council on Vocational Education, and the board of directors of the Virginia Health, Welfare, and Recreation Planning Council. Wilson is also a member of the Alpha Kappa Mu fraternity.

Wilson is married to Dr. Lucy Wilson, and he is the father of six children.

Harrison B. Wilson was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 11, 2010.

See how Harrison B. Wilson is related to other HistoryMakers
Loading...
Click Here To Explore The Archive Today!
  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Harrison B. Wilson's interview, session 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 1
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 2
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal great-grandfather, pt. 3
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his paternal grandfather's life after the Civil War
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's inheritance
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his mother's family
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his paternal uncles
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his father's move to Amsterdam, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his early years in Amsterdam, New York
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson describes the president's house at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his father
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his siblings
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Amsterdam, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls Theodore Roosevelt Junior High School in Amsterdam, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers the influence of Joe Louis
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls boxing throughout his childhood
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his father's discovery of his boxing activities
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his reckless teenage behavior
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his competition with classmate Rocco Petrone
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers being denied from the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls joining the U.S. Navy
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about serving at Naval Station Pearl Harbor in Hawaii
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his service as a corpsman
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about World War II
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers working as a surgical assistant
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers visiting the South, pt. 1
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers visiting the South, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Kentucky State College for Negroes in Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Jackson State College
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers meeting a Chicago Bears football player
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how his college work prepared him for Mississippi
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about changes in Mississippi collegiate sports
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about Medgar Evers
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being arrested in Mississippi
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes Medgar Evers' personality
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls the civil rights activities in Mississippi
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls leaving Jackson State College in Jackson, Mississippi
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers becoming reacquainted with Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers becoming reacquainted with Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls proposing to Lucy R. Wilson
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers marrying Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about Walter S. Davis
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers marrying Lucy R. Wilson, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls negotiating his wife's salary, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls negotiating his wife's salary, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his work at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers the speakers at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University and Fisk University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his duties at Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State University
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers buying his home in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 1
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers buying his home in Nashville, Tennessee, pt. 2
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls being hired at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his first impression of Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his work at Fisk University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls the support of his wife
  • Tape: 9 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his challenges at Fisk University
  • Tape: 9 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls his interviews for university president positions
  • Tape: 9 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his qualifications for university president
  • Tape: 9 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers vying for the presidency at Norfolk State University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 9 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers vying for the presidency at Norfolk State University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his leadership of the Norfolk State University board
  • Tape: 10 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his friendship with Virginia Governor Mills Godwin
  • Tape: 10 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his father's legacy
  • Tape: 10 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers his early work as president of Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 10 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the president's home at Norfolk State University
  • Tape: 10 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his political moves as Norfolk State University president, pt. 1
  • Tape: 10 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his political moves as Norfolk State University president, pt. 2
  • Tape: 10 Story: 8 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson remembers improvements he made at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia
  • Tape: 11 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the athletic facility at Norfolk State University, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson recalls building the athletic facility at Norfolk State University, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 4 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his life
  • Tape: 11 Story: 5 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his legacy, pt. 1
  • Tape: 11 Story: 6 - Harrison B. Wilson reflects upon his legacy, pt. 2
  • Tape: 11 Story: 7 - Harrison B. Wilson describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 12 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 1
  • Tape: 12 Story: 2 - Harrison B. Wilson describes how he would like to be remembered, pt. 2
  • Tape: 12 Story: 3 - Harrison B. Wilson talks about his fighting background
  • Tape: 13 Story: 1 - Harrison B. Wilson narrates his photographs