Rhodes to Award Honorary Degree to Memphis Mayor A C Wharton
Publication Date: 4/27/2010
Mayor of Memphis A C Wharton, Jr., will receive the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree at the 161st Commencement of Rhodes College on Saturday, May 15. The ceremony begins at 9:30 a.m. in Fisher Garden on the Rhodes campus. Tickets are required for seating. In the event of rain, commencement will take place in the multi-sports forum of the Bryan Campus Life Center on campus. President William E. Troutt will preside over the ceremony.
Wharton grew up in Lebanon, Tenn., and earned a political science degree from Tennessee State University and a law degree from the University of Mississippi Law School. Early in his career, he was an investigator for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in Washington, D.C., and an attorney for the Lawyers′ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. In 1980, Wharton was tapped as head of the Shelby County Office of the Public Defender, and eventually he and his wife Ruby-- with whom he has raised six sons--formed the Wharton and Wharton law firm.
Prior to being elected Mayor of Memphis in a special election in October 2009, Wharton served as mayor of Shelby County, Tenn. He has been a strong advocate of the Books from Birth early childhood education program which under his leadership provided books for more than 28,000 children annually. He also has been a crusader for environmental awareness and entered into a conservancy agreement with the Land Trust of Tennessee to ensure that Shelby Farms would be saved from commercial development and enjoyed for generations to come.
In addition, Wharton has been involved with the renowned Brookings Institution as a partner with its Blueprint for American Prosperity study. This report and accompanying policy initiative outline the importance of metropolitan regions as economic drivers in the Mid-South.
For more than 25 years, Wharton has maintained a position as adjunct professor of law at the University of Mississippi teaching areas of employment, rights of the elderly, legal problems of the indigent and administrative law.
“We are pleased to award the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree to Mayor Wharton, who reflects the passion for learning, leadership and civic engagement we aspire for our students at Rhodes,” according to President Troutt.