Harold R. Wilde, President Emeritus of North Central College, has been named a Life Trustee of the College. Wilde served as trustee and president for 22 years before his retirement in 2012. Life Trustees are retired from active board status and provide ongoing counsel to the College.
During Wilde’s tenure as North Central’s ninth president, the College saw a tenfold increase in its endowment, continuous balanced budgets, 100 percent growth in full-time undergraduate enrollments, and the largest individual, corporate and foundation gifts and bequests in the College’s history. These gifts made possible 13 endowed faculty chairs and six Ruge Fellows, a 500 percent rise in scholarship support, 15 major construction projects and significant campus expansion.
Some of those campus construction projects included the total renovation of Old Main, Kiekhofer Hall, Meiley-Swallow Hall and the Rolland Center Boilerhouse Café; construction of two stadiums, the 57,000 square-foot Wentz Concert Hall and Fine Arts Center, and three new residence halls, including a 200,000 square-foot LEED Silver residence complex surrounding a recreation center; and the total upgrade of the campus computer system to include wireless connectivity and “smart” classrooms.
Under his leadership the College implemented its first comprehensive new curriculum in 30 years and broadened its commitment to international programming, service-learning, interdisciplinary studies and sustainability initiatives.
Wilde’s legacy will always be the building of a healthy endowment, nurturing great teaching and student achievement, transforming the campus with modern facilities, and a strong vision for enrollment and student life.
Wilde received his undergraduate degree from Amherst College and a Ph.D. in government from Harvard University. A native of Wisconsin, he served several years in Wisconsin state government, including four as insurance commissioner. He was special assistant to the president of the University of Wisconsin System and vice president for external relations at Beloit College, where he served before being named ninth president of North Central College in 1990.
Wilde and his wife Benna live in Chicago.