News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


clifton r. wharton jr.

NORTHRUP: Whartons Best President, First Lady We Never Had

Whartons Best President,

First Lady We Never Had

Dolores Wharton, whose book, “A Multicultured Life,” will be available on Sept. 1, and her husband, former SUNY Chancellor Clifton R. Wharton Jr. (Jim Kevlin/

To the Editor:

Your newspaper did us all a great favor with its coverage of Dolores Wharton’s autobiography, which serves as a fine complement to her husband’s book. You have helped put the Whartons in their proper historical context – they were pillars in the advancement of minority meritocracy in the United States, moreso than any ballplayer in the Hall of Fame.

Because, while Jackie Robinson proved that a black man could play in the Major Leagues, the Whartons proved minorities could rise to the top in the real-world major leagues of commerce, international relations, finance, government and the arts. And, in so doing, they paved the way for the advancement of the next generation of minority leaders – Barack Obama,
Julián Castro and Kamala Harris.

The Whartons may well be the best President and First Lady that the United States never had.


From Harlem Aristocracy, She Reached Nation’s Heights


From Harlem Aristocracy,

She Reached Nation’s Heights

Dolores Wharton, the SUNY system’s former first lady, with a copy of her memoir, “A Multicultured Life,” which will be available Sept. 1 on and (Jim Kevlin/

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to

Dolores with her husband, Clifton R. Wharton, Jr., with copies of their respective autobiographies, complementary accounts of the life they’ve lived together.

COOPERSTOWN – Lee Brathwaite, a rising executive as NYTel evolved into Verizon, found himself in a tough transition – from operations to sales.

Lee Brathwaite

“It was the most challenging transition of my career,” said Brathwaite, now CEO of Apex Construction, a Harlem-based company building commercial and multiple-unit residential structures and a board member for the Golub Company, which operates Price Chopper.

Among other things, in sales, his salary and his team’s paychecks depended on results.

He discovered communications skills – sharpened at Dolores Wharton’s Fund for Corporate Initiatives (FCI) through interactions with other young execs and captains of industry – enabled him to pull his team together, to develop a rapport with clients, and to close deals.

By the end of the second year, his team was routinely winning his corporation’s sales awards.

“It was the best experience of my career,” said Brathwaite, he said of his FCI experience.

As it happens, Wharton – she and husband Clifton R. Wharton Jr., the former SUNY chancellor, have owned a home above Otsego Lake for three decades – considers FCI as the pinnacle of her wide range of achievements.

Clifton R. Wharton Jr.’s Autobiography Published

Clifton R. Wharton Jr.’s

Autobiography Published

Clifton R. Wharton Jr., the retired SUNY chancellor and former deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, surveys the landscape from his home above Otsego Lake. (Jim Kevlin/
Clifton R. Wharton Jr., the retired SUNY chancellor and former deputy Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration, surveys the landscape from his home above Otsego Lake. (Jim Kevlin/

County Resident, Retired SUNY Chancellor Remembers

COOPERSTOWN – Clifton R. Wharton Jr., former SUNY chancellor, deputy secretary of state, Michigan State president,  president of Fortune 500 TIAA-CREF and former Rockefeller Foundation chair, has published his memoir, “Privilege And Prejudice.”

As the book tour begins, he will be interviewed this week by Bill Moyers at an event at the TIAA-CREF headquarters, then will appeared at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, at The Fenimore Art Museum Auditorium for a lecture and book-signing; retired SUNY Oneonta President Alan B. Donovan will emcee.  To reserve seats, e-mail or call  547-1433.

book coverEditor’s Note:  Here is an excerpt from “The Titan Among Us,” an examination of Dr. Wharton’s life and book that appears in this week’s Freeman’s Journal and Hometown Oneonta.


Clifton R. Wharton Jr.’s archive, thousands of square feet set in a hillside off Glimmerglen Road, captures the scope of the enterprise: Row upon row of file cabinets; rows of shelving stacked with those heavy cardboard file boxes, hundreds of them, records of a life fully lived, fully achieved.

The final scene of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” comes to mind, where that government functionary boxes the invaluable artifact and rolls it down a long aisle, into oblivion, in a government warehouse that extends as far as the eye can see. Gone forever, the viewer concludes.

Not so with Dr. Wharton’s warehouse.  Son of a ground-breaking black U.S. diplomat, pioneering Harvard undergrad, former Rockefeller Foundation emissary (and later, chairman), Chicago Ph.D., Michigan State president, SUNY chancellor, Fortune 500 CEO and assistant secretary of state, Wharton has spent his retirement, more than two decades now, turning millions of records – letters from his mother, reports and studies from academe, memos from the heights of commerce and government, even an occasional Hy Rosen cartoon – into a unique and compelling memoir.

“Privilege And Prejudice: The Life of a Black Pioneer,” was published Sept. 1 by the Michigan State University Press …



PBS NEWSHOUR:  American Trailblazer Fears

We’re Losing Next Generation of Black Pioneers

Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103