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Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. papers

 Record Group
Identifier: UA-2.1.14

Scope and Contents

(1) BOARD OF TRUSTEES FILES. 1969-1977. 3 cu. ft.

Records documenting Wharton's relations with the Michigan State University Board of Trustees. The files consist largely of correspondence and memoranda between Wharton and various board members concerning all facets of university governance. The folders of general correspondence and correspondence with individual board members are particularly valuable for providing insight into the various issues dealt with in the board meetings. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

(2) MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY SUBJECT FILES. 1950-1958, 1964, 1969-1977. 14.6 cu. ft.

This diverse series includes all materials directly related to the operation of the university except for records included in the BOARD OF TRUSTEES and UNIVERSITY COMMITTEES series. The files were maintained in a hierarchical arrangement with individual academic departments filed under the college to which they belonged. The records are mainly correspondence and memoranda, but also include reports and working papers. Arranged alphabetically by subject.

(3) UNIVERSITY COMMITTEES. 1970-1977. 1.7 cu. ft.

Records various committees and governing boards which existed under the Wharton administration. Record types include correspondence, reports and meeting minutes. Arranged alphabetically by committee name.

(4) INTERCOLLEGIATE ORGANIZATIONS. 1970-1977. 3.5 cu. ft.

Correspondence, reports and meeting minutes of various academic organizations to which Wharton and MSU belonged. The records are useful in documenting institutional cooperation between MSU and other universities through the office of the President. Arranged alphabetically by name of organization.

(5) FOUNDATIONS AND CORPORATIONS. 1970-1977. 1.1 cu. ft.

Correspondence documenting Wharton's relationship with various foundations and corporations. Most of the materials deal with the University's attempts to secure funding for various research and building projects. Arranged alphabetically by name of foundation or corporation.

(6) STATE GOVERNMENT. 1970-1977. 1.7 cu. ft.

Records dealing with the University and the State of Michigan. The files consist mostly of correspondence dealing with various aspects of state appropriation for the university. The records are organized by the various offices and agencies of the state government. Arranged alphabetically by department name.

(7) FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. 1971-1977. 0.9 cu. ft.

Correspondence documenting the University's relationship with the federal government. Organized similarly to STATE GOVERNMENT series above. Arranged alphabetically by name of government agency.

(8) SPEECHES AND STATEMENTS. 1970-1977. 0.3 cu. ft.

Copies of Wharton's speeches and statements delivered during his term as President. The bulk of the speeches are included in the two bound volumes. At the front of each volume of speeches can be found a chronological listing of speeches with title and brief description of the event. A number of speeches not found in the volumes are also included in the series. Of particular interest is a folder of "Reports from the President" issued at the end of each academic year in which Wharton reviewed the accomplishments and problems of the year. See container listing for arrangement.

(9) RESTRICTED FILES. 1963, 1970-1977. 0.8 cu. ft.

Records which must be considered confidential under University Statutes governing right to privacy.

(10) LATIN AMERICA. 1947-1959. 1.5 cu. ft.

Correspondence and reports related to Technical Assistance in Latin America. This series relates to Dr. Wharton's professional/personel interest in Latin America.

(11) PHOTOGRAPHS. 1969-1977.

Photographs of Wharton in University-related activities.



  • Creation: 1947 - 1977


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. Series (9) RESTRICTED FILES has restricted access. This includes materials in boxes 419, 473, 501, 502 and Cassette 1202.

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.


28.3 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials



Organized into 12 series. 1. Board of Trustee Files. 2. Michigan State University Subject Files. 3. University Committees. 4. Intercollegiate Organizations. 5. Foundations and Corporations. 6. State Government. 7. Federal Goverment. 8. Speeches and Statements. 9. Restricted files. 10. Latin American Studies Center. 11. Photographs. 12. Additional Materials.

Custodial History

Records were transferred by the Office of the President.

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.

Office of the President. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. Papers
4 Published And Cataloged
W. McDaid
January 1983
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives and Historical Collections Repository

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