Posted August 21, 2014

President appoints new senior advisor for community relations and development

  • Joyce Wilkerson appointed senior advisor to the president for community relations and development at Temple University. (photo by Joseph V. Labolito)

President Neil D. Theobald has appointed Joyce Wilkerson as senior advisor for community relations and development.

“Temple University has a deep, rewarding relationship with the North Philadelphia community. As we continue our engagement with this great city, I am very pleased to have Joyce on staff,” said President Theobald. “Joyce’s long history of public service in Philadelphia and her relationships with community leaders make her the ideal choice for this important role.”

As senior advisor, Wilkerson will oversee community-related projects, including pending plans led by Temple and the Laborers’ District Council Education and Training/Apprenticeship fund to establish educational programing and a new Career Technical Education Center at the former site of William Penn High School.

“The redevelopment of William Penn High School is a great project that focuses on the education and training needs of the people in our surrounding community,” said Wilkerson.

“We have an unemployment rate in certain segments of this neighborhood that is in excess of 40 percent,” she said.  “For Temple to be able to partner with the Laborers’ District Council to create programs that focus on the needs of so many in this community is a wonderful challenge and opportunity … that’s what it means to be part of a community.”

A Cleveland native, Wilkerson started her career in Philadelphia as an attorney representing public housing tenants with Community Legal Services of Philadelphia.

She went on to spend nine years at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, where she worked closely with then-Councilman John Street on housing issues in North Philadelphia. In 1992, when Street became City Council president, Wilkerson joined his staff.

She continued to work as Street’s chief of staff when he became mayor in 2000 and played a major role in the development and oversight of his signature program, the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative. During her tenure the initiative invested $350 million to stabilize Philadelphia neighborhoods through blight removal and attracting new businesses to underserved areas.

Most recently, Wilkerson served as executive director of the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority.  For two years she led efforts to restore the historic city’s neighborhoods after Hurricane Katrina.

Wilkerson earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a law degree from the University of California, Berkeley.