James R. Wilburn, inaugural dean of the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University and professor of strategy in Pepperdine’s Graziadio School of Business and Management will deliver the Midwestern State University commencement address at the ceremony scheduled for December 11 at 10:00 a.m. The ceremony will take place at Kay Yeager Coliseum. Approximately 492 students are candidates to earn their degrees this December.
Wilburn previously served the University as vice president and as provost and chief operating officer of the University's Los Angeles campus. Before receiving a Ph.D. in economic history from UCLA, Wilburn was awarded an M.A. in history from Midwestern University, where he was the founding director of the Church of Christ Bible Chair serving Midwestern. His undergraduate alma mater is Abilene Christian University where he also received an M.A. in biblical studies. He also holds an MBA from the Presidential/Key Executive program at Pepperdine. The author of several books on history and business leadership, he is the recipient of the McGarvey Award for American History and the George Washington Medal of Freedom from Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge. His most recent book is titled Faith and Public Policy.
While Wilburn was dean of the business school at Pepperdine, it became the third largest MBA program in the nation and developed stronger international programs including the Executive MBA, recently ranked by Businessweek magazine as the number one program globally for teaching business ethics. In 1985 he established, with Baron Edmond de Rothschild, the annual Conference on International Strategic Alliances in Geneva and was invited to address the European Parliament.
At the request of the Yeltsin government, Wilburn chaired the U.S. Committee to Assist Russian Reform through which the U.S. Department of State assisted over 100 Russian CEO’s in military technology manufacturing to convert to peacetime production. He was earlier appointed by President Ronald Reagan to be Chairman of the board of the CFTR Education Foundation, founded by Reagan.
Wilburn has served as corporate director of a dozen U.S. and European companies including four banks and public and private companies in home building, manufacturing, security technology, and venture capital.