Former MSU President and Trailblazer Returns to MSU as Part of Discussion Series

When Dr. Clifton R. Wharton Jr. was elected president of Michigan State University in 1970, he became the first African American president of a major U.S. university.

Dr. Wharton was also the first African American Chairman and CEO of a major U.S. corporation, and he served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of State under President Bill Clinton. He has been a leading hand in foreign economic development and also spent time in Malaysia and Singapore as Vice President of the Agricultural Development Council of the Rockefeller Family Foundation.

MSU President Emeritus Wharton has a long history in university life. He received a BA in History from Harvard University, an MA from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies, and an MA and PhD in Economics from the University of Chicago. During his MSU presidency from 1970-78, one of Dr. Wharton’s most lasting contribution to the University was the completion of a new center for the performing arts. The building, dedicated in 1982, was named in honor of Dr. Wharton and his wife, Dolores, in recognition of the strong support that they gave the project.

His new autobiography, published by MSU Press entitled Privilege and Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer, details these life events.

Coinciding with Dr. Wharton’s new book, a public discussion with Dr. Wharton himself will be held on Monday, November 2 at 7:30 pm at Wharton Center with MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon.  The discussion is a must-see event and is free of charge for all MSU students and current or retired MSU faculty and staff.

Watch this PBS Newshour interview of Dr. Wharton to hear more about the difference he’s made in the world.

For more information about Dr. Wharton and tickets for the discussion, go to

By Wharton Center intern Miranda Madro.

Posted in Wharton Center News

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