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KNOXVILLE — Charles E. Wharton, Shelbyville native and a Tennessee Walking Horse director, has been elected chairman of the University of Tennessee Development Council.

Wharton, executive director of one of Los Angeles’ largest law firms, will begin his two-year term this fall. The council assists the university’s development staff in fund-raising activities that benefit all UT campuses and units.

“I’m looking forward to continuing the tremendous tradition of volunteer leadership and gifts the university enjoys,” Wharton said. “I am convinced an investment of time and resources in the University of Tennessee will pay high dividends.”

Wharton, who earned a bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering at UT and a master of business administration from the University of Chicago, directs O’Melveny & Myers, Los Angeles’ oldest law firm. It has more than 750 attorneys.

The Whartons’ live in Altadena, Calif.

An avid horse breeder and exhibitor, he is vice president and a director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association. He and his wife, Julie, have supported UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine for several years.

“Veterinary medicine is one of the university’s strongest and most competitive programs – due in no small part to Charlie and Julie Wharton’s leadership and support over the years,” UT President J. Wade Gilley said.