Black History: Clifton R. Wharton & Titus Awokuse

The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources celebrates leaders in our college and Michigan State University who built a legacy now and in the past.

Then: Clifton R. Wharton, Ph.D.

Clifton R. Wharton

Clifton R. Wharton was the first black president of a major U.S. university. Wharton began his eight-year presidency at Michigan State University in 1970 and won national acclaim for his participatory leadership style and handling of student unrest on campus.

Appointed at a time of great social change in the United States, Wharton was committed to the education of the economically and educationally disadvantaged. Major contributions during his tenure included establishment of the Presidential Commission on Admissions and Student Body Composition, the Presidential Fellows Program, and the building of a performing arts center, which was later named the Wharton Center for Performing Arts in honor of Wharton and his wife Dolores.

Now: Titus Awokuse, Ph.D.

Titus Awokuse

Titus Awokuse is a professor in the MSU Department of Agricultural, Food and Resource Economics. He is also the associate dean for research and strategic partnerships for MSU International Studies and Programs.

Awokuse is an internationally-respected scholar who has consulted with governmental agencies all over the world, international development agencies, non-governmental organizations and private businesses. He has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in international trade, agricultural and food policy, and applied statistics.

Awokuse’s research interests and publications are focused on empirical and policy analyses in areas that include international trade and foreign investment growth; global food value chains and policy reforms to market institutions and their effects on poverty; and food security policy.

“When there are very few, like President Wharton, you always want to know a little more about them…how did they get to be where they are at, how did they approach their job, what kind of challenges did they face, how did they get through them.” - Titus Awokuse