Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference (WMY)
To design and implement programs that will serve as a vehicle for economic
development in the Black community.
Through the Conference, the African-American community at the Wharton School acknowledges and
memorializes the contributions and ideals of Whitney M. Young, Jr. An educator, humanitarian, author
and civil rights leader, Young dedicated his life to full participation of African-Americans in the nation’s
economic and political systems. For more than two decades, he led the National Urban League in its effort
to improve the economic status of African-Americans. Young accomplished this by working within the
economic and political systems to achieve equal opportunities.
Young firmly believed that full participation of African-Americans in the American business community
would ultimately strengthen the fiber of our society. His vision transcended the boundaries of our nation,
as he foresaw the need to strengthen the critical link between the United States and the global economy.
Young received his undergraduate degree from Kentucky State College. After a brief stint in the U.S. Army,
he continued his formal education at the University of Minnesota, where he received a Master of Arts degree
in Social Work. After obtaining this degree, Young accepted his first position with the National Urban League
as the Director of Industrial Relations and Vocational Guidance in St. Paul, Minnesota. In 1953, he took a
brief hiatus from the Urban League to become the Dean of Atlanta University’s Graduate School of Social Work.
Young served in that position until he was appointed as Executive Director of the National Urban League in 1961.
On March 11, 1971, Whitney Young died while attending the African-American dialogue (a Conference held
to strengthen the relationship between people of African descent throughout the Diaspora) in Lagos, Nigeria.
The Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Conference began as a lecture series in 1973 and has evolved into an annual three-day event consisting of a career fair, panel discussions, workshops and receptions. It is an opportunity for African-American students, alumni, educators, professionals and entrepreneurs to network, share ideas and gain knowledge about professional business industries and issues of interest to members of the African Diaspora.
In 1996, we leveraged our distinction as one of the largest student-organized business Conferences in the world to raise $1.30 million to endow an African-American Professorship. Thus, Wharton became the first leading business school to name a faculty position in honor of an African-American professor
WMY Conference Accomplishments
The Conference continues to exist and grow because of the dedication of sponsors and AAMBAA students
and their firm commitment to the ideals of Dr. Young. In its 32-year existence, the Conference has
made a significant impact on The Wharton School and the nation.
The following is a list of achievements and contributions of past Conferences:
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professorship – An ongoing Conference fundraising drive raised $1.25 million
to name a faculty position in honor of Dr. Young. We are proud to have Dr. Bernard Anderson as the first
Whitney M. Young, Jr. Professor. Professor Anderson teaches in the Management Department at Wharton
focusing on workplace and employment standards, workforce diversity, international labor standards,
and wage determination.
New Venture Competition – This business plan competition was established at the 23rd Annual Conference,
and the winner of the competition was awarded $5,000. The prize money has increased over the years,
and the competition has helped to further economic empowerment of African-American communities.
Enterprise Center – AAMBAA sponsors the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Library at the Enterprise Center, which is a business accelerator that serves local Philadelphia businesses, and engages in commercial corridor revitalization and community development.
Community Education Center (CEC) – The CEC is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 by local area residents to promote the arts and education in Philadelphia. The Conference’s contribution was used to
improve the center’s business/technology programs.
Howard E. Mitchell Fellowship Fund – The Conference has made significant monetary contributions that
have been used for merit-based scholarship awards for first-year minority candidates.
Black Wharton Undergraduate Association (BWUA) - AAMBAA aims to strengthen the links between
the MBA and undergraduate populations by mentoring BWUA students and reciprocating support for events.
The Conference sponsors a scholarship supporting the academic pursuits of a BWUA member.
Leadership Education and Development Program in Business (LEAD) - The LEAD program encourages outstanding high school juniors from diverse backgrounds and historically underserved communities to pursue careers in business. In the spirit of helping the next generation, the Conference supports the students who participate in LEAD’s Summer Business Institute at Wharton, one of the 10 schools in the program.