Letter from the Chair

Members of the Wayne State campus community,

It gives me great pleasure to announce that the Board of Governors has unanimously elected Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., as the 13th president of Wayne State University, and the first woman to hold this important leadership position, effective August 1, 2023.

The selection of Dr. Espy concludes an extensive national search that began in earnest last fall with campus listening sessions and the assembly of a diverse and thoughtful search committee that included representation from across the university and four members of the Board of Governors.

Dr. Espy currently serves as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), a position she has held since 2018. During her tenure, UTSA earned the distinction of an R1 identification by the Carnegie Foundation and was invited to join the Alliance of Hispanic Serving Research Universities. Under her leadership, UTSA also was named a 2022 Degree Completion Finalist by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities in recognition of a 40% increase in awarded degrees, which marked a 12-point improvement in six-year graduation rates.

While Dr. Espy is a proven leader in higher education and a highly accomplished scholar in her own right, just as importantly, her personal values and areas of focus align with Wayne State in many ways. Throughout her career, she has demonstrated leadership in many areas that are consistent with Wayne State’s mission, including advancing student success and social mobility; ensuring access to a wide diversity of students, including students of color (many of them first generation and traditionally underserved); promotion of research and scholarship; and engaging productively with the community.

Prior to serving as UTSA’s provost, Dr. Espy was senior vice president for research at the University of Arizona, where she increased research and development awards by record amounts. She also served as vice president for research and innovation and dean of the graduate school at the University of Oregon, where she helped secure funding from the Oregon state legislature to advance economic development and value to the state.

Dr. Espy received her undergraduate degree in psychology from Rice University and an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology from the University of Houston. She also completed a clinical/pediatric psychology internship at the University of Louisville School of Medicine/Bingham Child Guidance Center and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.

A licensed clinical psychologist, Dr. Espy is an elected fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected fellow of the American Psychological Association. She has earned more than $22 million in funding to study how young children control their attention to promote learning, academic and health outcomes, and how such skills are related to medical, environmental or social factors. She has also served on several national and state leadership boards and committees, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities and the Government-University-Industry Research Roundtable.

Wayne State’s history as an urban, public, research university known for scholarship and student success inspired a strong pool of qualified candidates from across the nation to apply. The decision to appoint Dr. Espy as our next president, however, was unanimous. We are thrilled she is joining us at Wayne State, and we are confident she will inspire the Wayne State community to achieve its vision of being a preeminent, public, urban research university known for academic and research excellence, success across a diverse student body, and meaningful engagement in its urban community and around the world.

Please join me in extending a warm and hearty welcome to Dr. Espy as our next president and our newest Wayne State Warrior.

Mark Gaffney, Chair
WSU Board of Governors