William Julius Wilson is a sociologist, known for his research on race and class in the United States. He was born in Derry, Pennsylvania in 1938. He received a BA in Sociology from Wilberforce University in 1958. At Wilberforce, Wilson became interested in urban sociology and race relations. Wilson received a M.A. and Ph.D. in Sociology from Bowling State University and Washington State University respectively.
Currently, Wilson is the Lewis P. and Linda L. Geyser University Professor at Harvard University. He has taught at Harvard since 1996 and prior to that, taught at the University of Chicago for 25 years. Wilson has published a number of acclaimed books and articles. In 2010, he was awarded the Anisfield-Wolf Book award in nonfiction.
Wilson has received over a dozen honorary doctorate degrees. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. He served as the 80th president of the American Sociology Association. From 1987 to 1992, Wilson was a MacArthur Prize Fellow. Wilson served as an advisor to President Bill Clinton during his 1992 campaign. Clinton continued to seek Wilson's advice throughout his presidential term.