The Forum | Western Civilization

In Memoriam: John Roderick Wilson

April 27, 2017 by Christine Ravold

ACTA mourns the loss of John Roderick Wilson, a dear ACTA friend and supporter for the past 15 years.

Mr. Wilson had three careers, each highly successful, which reflected his patriotism and vibrant personality. In turns, he was a fighter pilot during the Korean War who attained the rank of Captain in the United States Air Force, a broadcast executive in sales and management, and a philanthropist dedicated to education.

A 1952 graduate of Colgate University and proud Delta Kappa Epsilon brother, Mr. Wilson was a passionate supporter of his alma mater and the Mu of DKE Foundation. He served as a trustee of Colgate University and was a member of the board of directors of A Better Colgate, the university’s independent alumni association dedicated to improving the educational experience of Colgate students. He also served as a trustee of Piedmont College and the Atlanta International School, as well as the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia.

Mr. Wilson’s generous contributions helped ACTA create and grow the Oases of Excellence initiative. This initiative harnesses the power of private philanthropists and entrepreneurial faculty members to create centers that enrich campus communities through intellectually diverse and academically rigorous programming. In addition to supporting the Center for Freedom and Western Civilization, Colgate’s very own Oasis of Excellence, he sponsored the upcoming Oases of Excellence Faculty Conference, which will bring prospective and current faculty leaders together for the first time this summer.

He is survived by his wife, two daughters, four grandchildren, and one great-grandson. ACTA’s staff extends its deepest sympathies to Mr. Wilson’s family. In honor of his contributions to ACTA and American higher education, this summer’s conference will be renamed the John Roderick Wilson Oases of Excellence Faculty Conference in his honor.


Launched in 1995, we are the only organization that works with alumni, donors, trustees, and education leaders across the United States to support liberal arts education, uphold high academic standards, safeguard the free exchange of ideas on campus, and ensure that the next generation receives an intellectually rich, high-quality college education at an affordable price.

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