R. Wiley Bourne, Jr.
2001 Outstanding Alumni
Striving for academic excellence has taken R. Wiley Bourne, Jr., from the classroom all the way to the executive boardroom, and his love of knowledge has benefited ETSU tremendously. Bourne, a native of Spartanburg, S. C., received his B.S. degree from Duke University in mechanical engineering in 1959. He was named an Angier B. Duke Scholar and invited into the membership of Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, and Tau Beta Pi honorary societies. He was also an active member of Alpha Tau Omega social fraternity.
After completing his degree at Duke, Bourne joined the Eastman Kodak Company as a mechanical engineer. He worked for the company for 25 years. In 1983, Bourne was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and earned an M.S. degree in management there in 1984.
In 1986, Bourne was named assistant general manager of Eastman Chemicals Division and vice president of Eastman Kodak Company. Through hard work and dedication, he earned another promotion three years later when he was named executive vice president of Eastman Chemical Company and vice president of Kodak. He held the office of vice president of Eastman Kodak Company until the spin-off of Eastman Chemical Company in 1993. When Eastman Chemical became an independent public company, Bourne was named executive vice president and vice chairman of the board of directors.
Bourne was a member of the board of directors until his retirement from Eastman Chemical Company in March 2000. However, he continues to serve on the board of directors of Unifi, Inc., the Massachusetts Institute of Technology society of Sloan Fellows, and the East Tennessee State University Foundation. He also serves on the board of trustees of Tennessee Wesleyan College and the Visiting Committee of ETSU's James H. Quillen College of Medicine.
During his extensive career at Eastman Chemical Company, Bourne has been a facilitator of the relationship between ETSU and Eastman. He has supported the efforts of ETSU to become the "University of Choice" for the region through financial support and service as a longtime member of the ETSU Foundation. He has also served on the Foundation's Board of Directors for six years. His dedication to the idea of regionalism has made many obstacles disappear as this goal has been realized in the Tri-Cities Tennessee/Virginia.
Bourne is married to Elinor Glenn Bourne and has one son, Richmond, and two daughters, Katherine and Elizabeth.