Photo courtesy Bobbie Wilson
The Jackson State University National Alumni Association named Bobbie Wilson, a Clinton resident who serves on the JSUNAA's regional board, as its 2019 Alumnus of the Year during the JSU Homecoming celebration on Oct. 13, 2019. JSUNAA gives the annual award to alumni who have made significant contributions to the university through volunteering or other activities.
Wilson is one of two members of the Mississippi regional board for JSUNAA, along with Geraldine Sturgis. In her position, she works with alumni chapters to inform them of national requirements, helps to install new chapters after elections and participates in regional meetings on topics such as how best to get funding for the university.
She joined JSUNAA in 1990 and has also served as assistant secretary, secretary and financial secretary for the National Alumni Foundation.
Wilson was born in Bassfield, Miss., and graduated from Bassfield High School there in 1971. She enrolled at JSU and graduated with a bachelor's degree in business education in 1975. She later received a master's degree in business education from JSU in 1983.
While attending JSU, she participated in the university's Reserve Officers' Training Corps program and joined the Army Reserve during her senior year, where she underwent basic training in Aniston, Ala., until the fall of 1975. She served as a legal specialist for the Judge Advocate General's Corps, a military branch that specializes in military justice and law, until 1999, when she began working as an administrative non-commissioned officer for the United States Army Reserves School in Jackson. She has also served as a federal employee with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, from where she retired in January 2013.
Wilson returned to Jackson from basic training in 1975 and took a job with the Southern Farm Bureau insurance company's Jackson office, where she helped draft insurance policies for customers. In 1977, she returned to her alma mater and began working as an administrative assistant in JSU's purchasing department.
"I wanted to come back and work with JSU because you feel like you're part of a family when you're here, with everyone looking out for you," Wilson told the Jackson Free Press. "As for the (JSUNAA), what I love most about it is being able to meet with people from all over the country and get a powerful feeling of belonging while working to get more students to attend JSU and support the school."
In addition to her work with the JSUNAA, Wilson has been a volunteer with the Two Mississippi Museums in downtown since they opened in 2017, greeting visitors and working as a ticket-taker and information guide.
"I just love working with people and giving my time to help them however I can," Wilson says. "People come from all over the world to see the Two Museums, and seeing their reactions after they visit the galleries and see the history on display there encourages me to keep going with what I'm doing for them."
Wilson also volunteers with the Mississippi Blues Marathon and the Mississippi Book Festival. In June 2013, she established the Bobbie Wilson Endowed Book Scholarship at JSU.
Her son, Matthew Brown, is 31 and graduated from JSU like his mother. He is currently a barge worker in Memphis, Tenn.