William Wilson: 2023 Wall of Fame Inductee

November 14, 2023 - JJ Thomas

William Wilson is a 2023 inductee into the MSU School of Criminal Justice Wall of Fame

Born and raised in suburban Chicago, William (Bill) Wilson’s childhood was full of storied adventures. An
avid reader from a young age, Bill was fascinated with the accounts found in the worlds of Batman, Sherlock Holmes, and Ellery Queen mysteries. He also had a deep appreciation for true detective tales and of notorious criminals being brought to justice by the FBI.

Photo of William Wilson, an indcutee into the 2023 School of Criminal Justice Wall of Fame

This passion for justice and public service led Bill to the University of Illinois. Originally, he enrolled as a pre-med student, unaware of the prospects in Forensic Science. It was a chance encounter with a course catalog from Michigan State University that would change his future. This catalog highlighted the School of Criminal Justice’s course offerings in physical evidence analysis and crime scene investigation. Bill knew immediately that this was the path he wanted to pursue for his career.

Bill transferred to MSU for his junior year and immediately connected with Professors Ralph Turner and Robert Trojanowicz, among others. Bill says that these two had such an impact on him that he has kept the textbooks and handwritten notes from their classes to this day. Bill says, “I credit the teachers and professors at the MSU SCJ with instilling in me a desire to be more, do more, and think harder than I had before in my life.” He graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice.

His education at the School of Criminal Justice laid the foundation for Bill to earn a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science from George Washington University. At the time, a Master’s Degree in Forensic Science was not common, and this degree opened many doors for Bill in his profession. He has received certifications in the fields of both Forensic Science and Medicolegal Death Investigation.

Bill has had an incredible career that has included working in multiple disciplines in Forensic Science and testifying as an Expert Witness in courts across the Midwest; he is currently working as a Medicolegal Death Investigator at the Cook County Office of the Medical Examiner. Bill has also helped train the next generation of forensic experts as an Adjunct Professor at National Louis University and as a guest instructor at schools and colleges around the country, including here at Michigan State University.

When he is not working, Bill enjoys spending time with his family; he and his wife regularly visit both their son and daughter and their families who live nearby. Bill maintains a dedicated running routine, walks his dog twice a day, continues to be an avid reader – often having two books going at once – and is active in his church community. Bill says that he “is always busy with the house, cars, writing, teaching, and consulting on cold case investigations.” He also has no interest in retirement anytime soon.

Bill’s life and career are a result of passion, curiosity, and determination. His advice to students is to embrace the desire to learn and to not let anything stand in the way of being the best you can be. Many times throughout his career, Bill followed his own advice; he would attend every training opportunity or class that he could, even if it meant taking personal vacation time or paying for seminars out of his own pocket. Bill says that it is all due to “the strong determination to grow personally and professionally that was nurtured at Michigan State and has never diminished or subsided.”