Clifton R. Wharton launches WKAR Black History Month series

Feb 1, 2017

WKAR marks Black History Month 2017 with a series of new and archival interviews with Michigan history makers. The story collection starts on the campus of MSU in a conversation with past University President Clifton R. Wharton and WKAR's Mark Bashore.



From 1970 to 1978, Clifton R. Wharton Jr. served as President of Michigan State University. Wharton’s arrival in East Lansing made him the first African-American president of a major U.S. university, but it was only one memorable stop amid an eventful career of firsts. He was the first black student accepted to the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins and the first to receive a doctorate in economics at the University of Chicago.

After MSU, Dr. Wharton became the first black CEO of a Fortune 500 company: TIAA-CREF.

In 2016, Wharton published his written account of his eventful career: “Privilege and Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer.”  It recalls all the chapters of Wharton’s life from his unique perspective as a child of privilege who nevertheless has faced racial discrimination.

Wharton spoke with All Things Considered and Current State host Mark Bashore in this 2016 interview.