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Wayne State's new first lady tackles homelessness

December 15, 2013

Jacqueline Wilson was at a reception at Wayne State University when she heard about a graduate student who was homeless and living out of her car. Wilson, who married WSU President M. Roy Wilson on Dec. 7, couldn't believe it. Soon after, she decided to find ways to ease the challenges homeless students face so they could get their degrees and turn their lives around. With the support of her husband and others, Jacqueline Wilson intends to champion the cause of homelessness on campus and in Detroit as Wayne State's first lady. "It says a lot about the character of people who are trying to get an education and better themselves with the odds against them," said Wilson. "I believe we are all a paycheck away from being homeless." Last month, at the Max Jacob House on WSU's campus, doors opened on Thanksgiving for about 40 students to eat and celebrate the holiday with Jacqueline Wilson. It was the first event to launch her project, known as Wayne State HIGH, which stands for Helping Individuals Go Higher. The project is expected to evolve and include a food pantry and other services to help homeless students complete their education, such as helping them get books and prepaid cellphones. M. Roy Wilson said he's always known his new wife to be passionate about helping others, especially the homeless. He said he's pleased his wife will be assisting him during his tenure as the school's 12th president. "Two people are always better than one," he said. "We're a team."