In September 2020, Matt Wilson returned to Temple University as Dean and President of its campus in Tokyo. During his tenure, Wilson has helped spearhead record enrollments, elevate the focus on student success, direct an innovative strategic plan, and shepherd the largest gift ever in the history of Temple University, Japan Campus (TUJ).
In his first three years, undergraduate enrollments at TUJ increased by 75% and entering student credentials hit all-time high marks. Wilson was instrumental in doubling the size of TUJ’s full-time faculty, expanding TUJ’s computer science program, and introducing Temple’s globally renowned Tourism and Hospitality degree program to the Tokyo campus. Wilson orchestrated new leadership and esports programs, entered into cooperation agreements with Yamanashi prefecture and the City of Setagaya, secured assistance for nine Ukrainian evacuees to complete their university education at TUJ, and devised creative approaches to make it more affordable for TUJ students to study at Temple’s main campus in Philadelphia.
Leading up to this appointment, Wilson served as president of the University of Akron (Ohio, USA) and president of Missouri Western State University (Missouri, USA). In leading various universities, Wilson has consistently placed students first while emphasizing academic quality, innovation, practical learning, globalization, entrepreneurship, flexibility, and affordability.
While president at the University of Akron, Wilson helped lead the university to a remarkable two-year budgetary turnaround, eliminating a projected $30 million deficit in 2016-2017 and adding $12 million to reserves. Wilson also participated in fundraising efforts that saw a substantial increase in donations including a $20 million Making a Difference Moving Forward student scholarship campaign and the largest single gift in university history. He also oversaw innovative approaches to student recruitment, retention, and internationalization.
Prior to serving as president, Wilson was dean of the University of Akron School of Law, where he oversaw a successful $21 million debt-free renovation and fundraising campaign for the law school facilities and helped achieve a 40 % increase in new student enrollment over two years. He also served as associate dean of the University of Wyoming College of Law and senior associate dean and general counsel of Temple University Japan. He taught a wide variety of law courses at all three schools. He also served as a visiting professor at four universities in Asia (Japan, South Korea and China). Wilson has also lectured extensively across the country and world. He has made appearances on national television and radio in Japan and South Korea.
Before beginning his higher education career, Wilson was a lawyer for Akerman Senterfitt P.A. in Orlando, Florida and general counsel for YPD.com/Advanced Telecommunications Network, Inc., in New Jersey and Tampa, Florida. Wilson is an active member of the Florida State Bar Association, Law & Society Association, and Asian Law & Society Association. Most recently, he served as presidential representative on the NCAA esports working group. In addition to his higher education and legal career, Wilson has worked for several Japanese companies including a hydrological and meteorological instruments manufacturer, a large electronics maker, and medical instruments manufacturer.
Wilson received a Bachelor of Science in Political Science and a Bachelor of Arts in Asian Studies with a Japanese minor from the University of Utah. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from Temple University Beasley School of Law. He and his wife, Noriko, have four children and five grandchildren.