Tulane Alumni Association




Dermot McGlinchey Lifetime Achievement Award 2004


James W. Wilson Jr.

As the son of a New Orleans native, Jim Wilson knew which school his father wanted him to attend. The high school football star from Alabama had about 14 universities offering him a scholarship, but it was his father's hometown school, Tulane University, that won out. Now, 40 years later, not only is Mr. Wilson renowned as one of the all-time great Green Wave fans, but he has served on numerous Tulane boards and is the namesake for the university's athletics building.

"I bleed green, no doubt about it," said Mr. Wilson, who has been an enthusiastic Tulane supporter since his days as a student. In addition to playing varsity football, the business major was a member of the T-Club, Scabbard &Blade, and the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. His fond memories of his Tulane years include participating in the Ugly Mug Contest, a charity fund-raiser. "There I was, dressed as a fool, holding a little child's slop jar, and begging for money on Burbon Street," he laughs. But his efforts - and silliness - paid off. He raised more money for the charity than anyone else in the contest.

The fund-raiser, however, is just a reflection of the enthusiasm Mr. Wilson brings to any challenge. In 1975, Mr. Wilson founded Jim Wilson & Associates, Inc., which has developed more than 20 million square feet of a major retail shopping space in 10 different states. Mr. Wilson and his family also own Big 10 Tire Stores, now one of the nation's largest independent tire dealers.

To this day, Tulane still remains close to his heart. Mr. Wilson is now an emeritus member of the Board of Tulane, having served with distinction for 15 years and rarely missing a meeting. He has also served as co-chair of Tulane's Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and as a member of the Business School Council, the President's Council, and the T-Club Board of Directors.

In addition, Mr. Wilson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Montgomery Chamber of Commerce and The National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame. He is past president of the International Council of Shopping Centers and is a member of the Montgomery Business Committee for the Arts, the Alabama Shakespeare Festival Royal Council, and is a trustee of Huntington College.

Although Mr. Wilson's many accomplishments are far removed from the Ugly Mug Contest, his enthusiasm is the same. "My advice to anyone is, if they are going to take on a task, just go for it," said Mr. Wilson. "Don't do anything half-way."

Alumni Relations, Tulane University, 6319 Willow Street, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5901