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Princeton Scholar James A. Wilson Jr. to Lead Prairie View A&M Honors Program

PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas–Talented students and scholars who excel academically and deserve an enriched and challenging collegiate environment will now have Prairie View A&M University’s Honors Program as an option to consider. To manage its emerging Honors Program, PVAMU has appointed James A. Wilson, Jr. as its honors program director. He starts Sept. 1.

Under Wilson’s leadership, Prairie View A&M University’s Honors Program will serve as an expanded service to gifted students and will aid the university in producing highly trained graduates qualified for highly competitive graduate programs and for roles in academia, business and professions in Texas, the U.S. and in the international community.
Dr. James A. Wilson Jr.

“Prairie View A&M University continues to attract outstanding students from competitive academic environments. I believe that our Honors Program will assist in attracting those extraordinary minds to our campus and engage them in an extraordinary academic community,” said PVAMU Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs E. Joahanne Thomas-Smith. “Moreover, Dr. Wilson has a wealth of experience in developing students and I’m excited about the vision he will bring to our overall academic programming. Dr. Wilson truly represents the right person at the right time.”

In his new role, Wilson will work collaboratively with various academic units to create a comprehensive academic environment and lead the expansion of the PVAMU University Scholars program activities into an actual Honors College. His specific duties will include coordinating the Honors Program curricula, recruiting faculty, hiring staff and mentoring students and assisting students with the process of to applying for competitive awards and scholarships. The university once operated the Benjamin Banneker Honors College, which was later replaced by the University Scholars program.

Prior to his post at Prairie View A&M, he served as an assistant professor of history at both the University of Texas at Austin and Wake Forest University in North Carolina. He is also a noted scholar of the political history in educational reform in Kenya and East Africa. Wilson has been published in academic journals on the African Diaspora and world civilizations.

Once an active Peace Corps volunteer in Kenya, Wilson has mentored numerous Peace Corps participants and has received awards and fellowships including a Mellon Foundation faculty grant and grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.

Wilson has more than a decade of teaching experience and is an accomplished historian, professor and researcher. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Austin, a master’s degree in professional studies from Cornell University and both a master’s and doctoral degree in history from Princeton University.

About Prairie View A&M University
Prairie View A&M University was founded in 1876 and is the second-oldest public institution of higher education in Texas. With an established reputation for producing engineers, corporate leaders, nurses and educators, the university offers a variety of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs through eight colleges and schools. Prairie View A&M recently named its College of Engineering for alumnus Roy G. Perry and the university’s marching band, The Marching Storm, was featured as the lead band in the 2009 Rose Parade. A member of The Texas A&M University System, the university is dedicated to fulfilling its land-grant mission of achieving excellence in teaching, research and service. During the university’s 132-year history, more than 51,500 academic degrees have been awarded. For more information regarding PVAMU, visit

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