The Financial Institutions Management Program is directed by the Weatherford Chair of Finance, one of the College of Business' academic Chairs of Excellence.

The Weatherford Chair of Finance was established in 1986 to honor Jack O. Weatherford, one of Tennessee's most distinguished bankers of the postwar era. A decorated Navy veteran of World War II, Mr. Weatherford completed his education at Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, earning a B.S. degree in business administration in 1949.

He began his banking career at the Murfreesboro Bank and Trust Company, where he rose through the ranks to chairman and CEO in 1970. During the 1970s and 1980s he became widely recognized as one of Tennessee's and the nation's leading community bankers. He was elected president of the Tennessee Bankers Association and also held top positions in national banking organizations, serving as head of the Community Banking Division of the American Bankers Association in 1980 and as ABA's national vice chairman in 1982-83.

During the same period, he led his bank through a series of mergers involving acquisitions of smaller area banks from which it emerged as Mid-South Bank and Trust Co. in 1984. Mid-South was merged into the Third National Bank of Nashville in 1985, with Mr. Weatherford continuing as CEO. He became a vice chairman of the Third National Bank in Nashville when it merged with SunTrust Banks, Inc., of Atlanta, one of America's premier super-regional banks.

In 2003 he led a group of investors who founded the new MidSouth Bank, based in Murfreesboro, where he now serves as Senior Chairman.

About the Chairholder

Professor William F. Ford holds the Weatherford Chair of Finance in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business School at Middle Tennessee State University. He formerly served as Dean of the Business School at the University of Denver; President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; President and COO of First Nationwide Bank; Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Bank; and as Executive Director and Chief Economist of the American Bankers Association. Dr. Ford often appears on nationwide and regional TV and radio business news shows as an economic policy expert and served as TeleCheck's Senior Economic Advisor from 1990 - 2001. He has also authored or coauthored over 100 articles in business and academic journals, has served on the boards of six corporations and as a director of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He is also an elected Fellow of NABE and the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy Submarine Service, he earned his B.A. in economics (summa cum laude) from the University of Texas; his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Michigan and is a graduate of the Senior Executive Program at Stanford University's Graduate School of Business.