Class of 2010

Chicago | Northwestern

Wayne Watson was born in Chicago in 1945. His caring parents sacrificed financially to send him to private Catholic schools. Although an average student at Chicago’s Mt. Carmel High School, Wayne excelled in the wrestling program. Following his graduation in 1964, Wayne was invited to try out for the United States Olympic Wrestling Teams.

Wayne continued his education by enrolling in Joliet Junior College. While at Joliet, he went on to win two National Junior College Wrestling Championships, at the same time he earned his Associates Degree. His pursuit of higher learning took him next to Northwestern University, where he eventually acquired three degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1968, a Master of Arts in Education and Sociology in 1970 and a Ph. D. in Educational Administration in 1972.

After his Doctorate, Dr. Watson served as Associate Professor of Education at Shaw University from 1972 to 1975. Flight lessons and pilot training led to two years as General Manager of Wheelchair Airlines, the first African American company offering regularly scheduled flights.. In 1977 and 1978, Dr. Watson served as Headmaster of Boggs Academy. In 1978 he returned to Chicago, accepting a position at Malcolm X College. There, Dr. Watson was appointed Vice-President of Instructional Services where he served from 1980 to 1983. Upon leaving Malcolm X, he was named Vice-President of the City Colleges of Chicago, where he remained until 1986. Dr. Watson went on to become President of both Harold Washington College and Kennedy-King College in the 1990’s.

Dr. Watson was later appointed as Chancellor of the City Colleges of Chicago. This position called for Dr. Watson to be responsible for the programs at the nation’s largest community college system. The seven City Colleges of Chicago (and WYCC-TV) with its more than 950 employees each year had an annual operating budget of $260 million serve an average of 170,000 students each year. In 2009 Dr. Watson, moved on to become President of Chicago State University.

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Dr. Watson to the seven member Bronzeville Committee and the Chicago Fire Department Committee for Promotion and Rank. Dr. Watson also serves as a member of the Fantus Health Center Advisory Board and is Co-Chairman of the Capital Development Board for the Chicago Public Schools. Dr. Watson was recently honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by Northwestern University and was the chairman of the Board of Advisors for School of Education and Social Policy. From 2003 through 2007, Dr. Watson served on the Northwestern Board of Trustees. He has served as member of the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges and in a member of the Board of Directors on the Chicago Botanic Garden and National Association for Equal Opportunity in High Education

Strongly committed to community service, Dr. Watson serves as an advocate of the “Beat the Streets” program which encourages the development of youth wrestling opportunities. At Wright Junior College in April 2004, Dr. Watson teamed up once again with his former training partner and Olympian, Bobby Douglas. In a “Beat the Streets” sponsored wrestling clinic, Dr. Watson and Bobby Douglas shared some of the skills they had developed over their careers. In 2005 the National Hall of Fame and Museum—Illinois Chapter recognized Dr. Watson for his achievement of state and national stature and acclaim in his chosen profession as the recipient of The Outstanding American Award