Eileen B. Wilson-Oyelaran
Dr. Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran assumed the role of 17th President of Kalamazoo College in July 2005 with an energy and excitement that has generated great expectations among the college’s constituents. She brings to her work a record of distinction in the realm of higher education and early child development, both in this country and abroad, and she is well equipped to lead Kalamazoo College as it moves to greater eminence.
A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran earned her B.A. in sociology from Pomona College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in education from the Claremont Graduate University. She was no stranger to international education, having completed an undergraduate study abroad experience in England where she studied the education of immigrant children. She was also the recipient of the Thomas J. Watson Traveling Fellowship, which enabled her to execute independent research in Ghana, Nigeria, and Tanzania. After completing her doctoral work in early childhood development, she accepted her first academic position at the University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria, teaching in both the departments of education and psychology. Ife, where she served as a department chair and Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences, would be her academic home for 14 years.
Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran’s scholarly focus is in child development and education in cross-cultural context, and she has published widely in this area. While in Nigeria she served as a consultant for UNICEF (Nigeria) and designed a series of baseline surveys that became the model for assessing the status of children under five throughout the country.
In 1988 when her family left Nigeria for the United States, Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran became visiting scholar in education at North Carolina Wesleyan College and then associate professor and chair of the department of education at Winston-Salem State University. In 1995, she became Dean of the College at Salem College, and rose to the position of Vice President of Salem Academy and College and Dean of the College. She also served as acting president of Salem College for a brief period.
Her honors and awards are legion and include the Kent Fellowship, American Council on Education Fellowship and the Visionary Leadership Award presented by the Claremont Colleges Intercollegiate Office of Black Studies. A strong proponent of equity and inclusion, Dr. Wilson-Oyelaran has been honored nationally and locally for her work on behalf of young women and girls. She is the recipient of the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (AACTE) Gender Equity Architect Award, the Salvation Army’s Strong, Smart, and Bold Award, and the YWCA Woman of Vision.
She is married to Dr. Olasope Oyelaran and they have raised four wonderful children-Adedoyin, Oyindasola, Omosalewa, and Oyeyinka.