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Clifton Reginald Wharton, Jr.

In office
January 27, 1993 – November 8, 1993
President Bill Clinton
Preceded by Lawrence Eagleburger
Succeeded by Strobe Talbott

Born September 13, 1926
Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Clifton Reginald Wharton, Jr. (born September 13, 1926) is an American economist, university president, and corporate executive who served briefly as United States Deputy Secretary of State during the Clinton Administration.[1]

Born in Boston, his father Clifton Reginald Wharton, Sr. was a noted ambassador. After graduating from Boston Latin School, the younger Wharton entered Harvard College at 16. He earned a Master of Arts degree in international affairs from the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, then graduated from University of Chicago with a master of arts and a Ph.D. in economics.

Wharton has worked extensively on the philanthropic interests of the Rockefellers, assisting Nelson A. Rockefeller on Latin American economic development. After receiving his doctorate, Wharton worked with John D. Rockefeller, III at the Agricultural Development Council.

In 1970, Wharton became the first African American president of Michigan State University. The university's Wharton Center for Performing Arts is named for him and for his wife, Dolores.[2]

In 1978, he became Chancellor (President) of the 64-campus State University of New York system.[3]

In 1982 he was named chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1987 he became CEO of TIAA-CREF and this made him first Black chairman and CEO of a major U.S. corporation.[4]

Wharton served as Deputy Secretary of State (the number two position in the Department) from January 27 to November 8, 1993 under President Bill Clinton. He was forced to resign after Secretary Warren Christopher voiced his disappointment with Wharton's performance on the job.[5]

Wharton is co-chairman of the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics.


  1. ^ THE TRANSITION; CHRISTOPHER AND ASPIN NAMED FOR STATE DEPT. AND PENTAGON, The New York Times, 1992-12-23,, retrieved 2008-08-11  
  2. ^ The Wharton Center for Performing Arts. "About". Retrieved 2009-04-06.  
  3. ^ The State University of New York (1985), Sixty-four campuses: the State University of New York to 1985 (1 ed.), Albany, New York: Office of University Affairs and Development, OCLC 12556911  
  4. ^ B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library. "1987". AFRICAN-AMERICANS IN THE TWENTIETH CENTURY. Long Island University. Retrieved 2009-04-06. "Clifton R. Wharton was appointed Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF, the 19th largest U.S. Fortune 500 company (assets of $290 billion), thereby becoming the first Black chairman and CEO of a major U.S. corporation. He served until 1993, when he became Deputy Secretary of State under President Clinton. He was also the first African-American to be elected as chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation in 1982."  
  5. ^ With Foreign Policies Under Fire, Top State Dept. Deputy Is Ousted, The New York Times, 1993-11-09,, retrieved 2008-08-11  

External links

Academic offices
Preceded by
Walter Adams
President of Michigan State University
Succeeded by
Edgar L. Harden
Preceded by
Ernest L. Boyer
Chancellor of the State University of New York
1978 – January 31, 1987
Succeeded by
Jerome B. Komisar (Acting)
Business positions
Preceded by
Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF
February 1987 – January 1993
Succeeded by
John H. Biggs
Political offices
Preceded by
Lawrence S. Eagleburger
U.S. Deputy Secretary of State
January 27, 1993 – November 8, 1993
Succeeded by
Strobe Talbott


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