Apr 27 2012


The University of Montana will present an honorary degree to the great-grandson of Oscar Craig, the University’s first president, during 2012 Commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 12.

A. Warren Wilcox, a Missoula native and UM graduate who has played an active role in local businesses and community organizations, will receive an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. UM’s School of Business Administration nominated him for the honor.

“The fact that Warren is a native Missoulian, graduated from Missoula County High School, completed his higher education at The University of Montana and built and developed all of his business interests from Missoula makes him a ‘local hero,’” wrote business school Dean Larry Gianchetta in his nomination of Wilcox. “The extent to which he has shared his professional success throughout the community of Missoula and with The University of Montana explains the personal qualities that led to his success.”

Wilcox studied accounting at UM and was a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He became a certified public accountant following graduation in 1965 and worked in accounting until 1968, when local meat-packing company John R. Daily Inc. hired him to institute a cost-accounting program to revitalize the business. He worked for the company for nearly four decades, during which he became part of the management team that decided to expand the company to Salt Lake City and specialize in bacon production.

After selling John R. Daily Inc. in 2005, Wilcox took on several entrepreneurial endeavors, including Ascent Airborne LLC, which manages three separate startup entities in the aircraft leasing and aerospace industries. He also serves as a director of Rocky Mountain Biologicals Inc., among other leadership roles.

In addition to his involvement in the Missoula community, Wilcox maintains close ties to the University. First elected to the UM Foundation Board of Trustees in 1996, he went on to serve as its vice chairman and chairman. Wilcox and his wife, Betsy, have supported several causes at UM, including the business school’s Wilcox Faculty Fellowship, the Phyllis J. Washington Education Center and the Gilkey Executive Education Center. He also received the business school’s Outstanding Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2007.

Wilcox remains active in many business and community organizations. In addition to serving on the board of the National Meat Association and his involvement in several accounting organizations, Wilcox was a founding member of the Missoula Family YMCA. He’s also served on the boards of the Community Medical Center Foundation, Red Cross, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Montana, US Bank and the Montana State Chamber of Commerce.

Wilcox and his wife have two sons, Russell and Andrew; a daughter, Christine; and four grandsons.