STAUNTON, VIRGINIA— The Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library and Museum today announced that Dr. Don W. Wilson, former Archivist of the United States and Director of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, will become the President of the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library Foundation on July 1, 2009. He will replace Eric Vettel, who has resigned to pursue other interests.
Dr. A. Stanley Link, Jr., Chair of the Board of the WWPL, said, “We are honored that Don Wilson, one of the country’s foremost experts on presidential libraries, has agreed to lead the Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library. We appreciate Dr. Vettel’s leadership over these last four years, and are confident that Dr. Wilson will help us continue to serve our mission of educating people of all ages about President Wilson and his times.”
A Kansas native, Dr. Wilson received his undergraduate degree from Washburn University in 1964 and his Masters in 1965 and Ph.D. in 1972 in American History from the University of Cincinnati. He served as Historian and Deputy Director of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, Kansas, from 1969 to 1978, and Associate Director of the State Historical Society of Wisconsin from 1978 to 1981. From 1981 to 1987, he served as the first Director of the Gerald Ford Presidential Library in Michigan.
In the summer of 1987, President Ronald Reagan appointed Dr. Wilson as the seventh Archivist of the United States. He was confirmed by the United States Senate, and held the position until 1993. As Archivist, Dr. Wilson oversaw the National Archives and Records Administration, which has custody of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Emancipation Proclamation. From 1993 to 1999, as the Executive Director of the George H. W. Bush Presidential Library Foundation, Dr. Wilson was responsible for the establishment and development of that presidential library, which opened in 1997. During his service at these presidential libraries, Dr. Wilson served as a history professor at Kansas State University, the University of Michigan, Washburn University, and Texas A&M University.
In 1999, Dr. Wilson established Don W. Wilson and Associates, a consulting firm, in Staunton, Virginia. His clients have included the Mary Baker Eddy Library and Museum in Boston and Baylor University in Waco, Texas, which Dr. Wilson advised in its efforts to host the George W. Bush Presidential Library.