John S. Wilson, former executive director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black College and Universities, was named the next president of Morehouse College, a small Black, all-male college in Atlanta, Nov. 12.

Wilson, a 1979 Morehouse graduate, is to return to the campus as president in 2013 after running the White House HBCU, a task that President Obama applauded in a statement on the White House web site.

“John has been a trusted voice, helping my administration follow through on our commitment to strengthen historically black colleges and universities,” Obama said in a statement. “I wish John the best.”

Wilson drew criticism from insiders in the Black higher education community for being identified with policies unpopular among HBCU advocates, including tougher requirements for federal Plus student loans.

But his return to his alma mater drew applause among some insiders who said he brings to the institution broad experience in higher education administration and access and knowledge of the political landscape.

A 1979 Morehouse alumnus, he holds degrees from Harvard University, where he got a master’s of theology and masters and doctoral degrees in administration, planning and social policy. His career includes 16 years at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he was director of foundation relations and assistant provost.

He succeeds Dr. Robert Michael Franklin who is stepping down at the end of the year and comes at a time of financial distress in the Atlanta University Center.

According to the {Atlanta Daily World} which cited data supplied by the schools, said Morehouse saw a decrease of 125 students and will cut faculty and reduce other spending soon. Spelman College said enrollment was down by a dozen students and Clark Atlanta University found 433 fewer students enrolled this year.