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Clifton R. and Dolores D. Wharton collection

 Collection — Box: 6766
Identifier: UA-17.428

Scope and Contents

Note: This collection is currently being processed. The finding aid here in not in a final form. It will be updated to reflect changes and newly added materials.

The collection consists of the papers of Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. and his wife, Dolores D. Wharton. The papers primarily related to his time after MSU at SUNY, Department of State and as a trustee on various boards. Although there are some materials related to his time in college and at MSU.


  • 1943 - 2017


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Restricted folders are noted in the collection inventory.

Conditions Governing Use

Permission to publish material from this collection must be obtained from University Archives & Historical Collections, Michigan State University.

Biographical Note

Michigan State University's fourteenth President, Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., was born in Boston, Massachusetts on September 13, 1926. Wharton's father served as a career diplomat in the United States Foreign Service for forty years.

At the age of sixteen, Wharton entered Harvard University and graduated in 1947 with a B.A. in history. He received a Master's Degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in 1948. After working five years at the American International Association for Economic and Social Development, Wharton earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in economics from the University of Chicago. In 1957, he joined the Agricultural Development Council, a Rockefeller Family Foundation. As a council associate stationed in Malaysia, Wharton directed programs in Vietnam, Thailand and Cambodia. He also taught and conducted research as a visiting professor at the Universities of Malaysia and Singapore. Wharton later became Vice President of the Council, a position he held until his accession the presidency of MSU in January 1970.

His term of office was often a turbulent one, featuring student demonstrations in 1970 and 1972 as well as a National Collegiate Athletic Association investigation of the MSU football program. Fiscal problems resulting from budget cuts remained a constant problem throughout Wharton's tenure. His major achievements were his successful efforts to maintain the quality of MSU's academic programs despite budget reductions, his commitment to the education of the economically and educationally disadvantaged, and the integration of the School of Osteopathic Medicine with the other medical schools. Major innovations implemented under Wharton's tenure included the Presidential Commission on Admissions and Student Body Composition to study future enrollment policies and a Presidential Fellows Program to allow selected students and junior faculty members to gain experience in university administration. 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 Wharton and his wife, Dolores, in recognition of the strong support, which they gave the project.

Wharton resigned from Michigan State University in December 1977 to accept the Chancellorship of the State University of New York.


470 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Legal Status

Donor(s) have transferred any applicable copyright to Michigan State University but the collection may contain third-party materials for which copyright was not transferred. Copyright restrictions may apply. Property Rights: Michigan State University.

Processing Information

These papers were given a UA 17.428 record group number because they were donated by the Whartons rather than the MSU Office of the President.

Clifton R. and Dolores D. Wharton collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

Conrad Hall
943 Conrad Road, Room 101
East Lansing MI 48824 US