Reginald Wilkinson has become the newest member of the Tiffin University Board of Trustees.
Wilkinson is president and CEO of the Ohio College Access Network. OCAN provides advocacy and support for members of the network by building partnerships with national, state and local entities to increase capacity and strengthen the network of innovative programs in order to increase the number of individuals who access and complete a post-secondary education.
Born in Detroit, Wilkinson and his family moved to Cleveland when he was a teenager. Wilkinson now resides in Columbus.
"My big goal growing up was not directly related to a career," Wilkinson said. "I wanted to go to college. I would be the first in my family to do so. Thus, I thought college would help answer the career question for me."
Prior to holding the position with OCAN, he was executive director of the Ohio Business Alliance for Higher Education and the Economy.
Wilkinson retired in April 2006 after 33 years with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction; he served as the agency's director since 1991. At the time of his retirement, he was the
longest-serving director of a state corrections agency in the nation.
He is the former chairman and current member of the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board, as well as chairman of the national Prison Rape Review Panel. He is a past president of the American Correctional Association, the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the International Association of Reentry.
When Wilkinson was working on a master's degree in higher education administration, he aspired to be a university president. He furthered his education by pursuing and receiving a doctorate in education. In 1973, fresh out of school, he got a job in prison administration at the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction and, by 1991, he was named director.
"I began to develop my worldviews on life as a corrections administrator. Early on, I realized that prison, parolees and juveniles deserved to be treated with respect. Throughout my career in corrections, I was always haunted by answering the question, 'What is the right thing to do?'" Wilkinson said.
As to his dream of becoming a university president, Wilkinson said, "Running a prison is actually not that much different than running a university. When they leave you, they have to be better prepared for life than when you got them."
Wilkinson was voted to the TU board over the summer. He said he fell in love with TU's entreprenual spirit.
As for the future of TU, Wilkinson said he believes the school's online offerings will continue to grow along with its sport venues, expressing they "are top shelf."