President Wilson Speaker Biography
Dr. Barbara J. Wilson is the 22nd president of the University of Iowa. Her leadership priorities are focused on people, and in her first year, the university finalized a new five-year strategic plan, launched transformative faculty recruitment and retention programs, and, through the recently inaugurated First Gen Hawks program, saw increased retention rates among students who are first-in-family to attend college. As well, President Wilson and her development team raised over $400 million to support the university, including the largest gift in the 175-year history of the University of Iowa.
President Wilson earned her bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s and PhD degrees in communication arts from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She came to Iowa having served as the executive vice president/vice president for academic affairs of the University of Illinois System. Prior to that, she served in several administrative positions, including interim chancellor, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where she was a member of the communication faculty for 21 years. She was also a professor of communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the University of Louisville. President Wilson’s research focuses on the social and psychological effects of the media, particularly on youth.
President Wilson’s spouse, John Lammers, is a retired professor of communication. They have two grown daughters.