In the mid-2000s, while serving as the CEO & President of Murphy Oil Company in El Dorado, Ark., Claiborne Deming read a Wall Street Journal story about The Kalamazoo Promise in Michigan. Faced with workforce issues in El Dorado, the notion of building, attracting and retaining talent was certainly a concern.
But for Deming, it wasn’t just about business interest. He was also committed to the city and its residents, offering, “Education is the one thing you can provide people that can permanently change their lives.”
So under Deming’s watch, Murphy Oil committed $50 million to establish the El Dorado Promise, which was announced in 2007. The announcement seemed to transform the city overnight. Not only has academic performance improved, the citizens passed a tax increase for the first time in three decades. El Dorado also became a more attractive place to live.
Deming — who is now the chairman of the Board of Directors for Murphy Oil and the president of the El Dorado Education Foundation — remains invested in higher education as a member of the Law School Dean’s Advisory Board and the A.B. Freeman School of Business Council at his alma mater, Tulane University in New Orleans. Deming is also a member of the Vanderbilt University Board of Trust and the Board of Directors of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation of the University of Virginia.