William R. Folks, Jr., is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of International Business in the Sonoco International Business Department and Honorary Chair of the Global Advisory Board of the Folks Center for International Business, Darla Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina, Columbia. Professor Folks is a native of Lancaster, South Carolina, was educated in the public schools of Lancaster and at the Hill School, received his A.B. cum laude in General Studies (Mathematics) from Harvard in 1966, and his D.B.A. from the Harvard Business School in 1970. Professor Folks joined the University of South Carolina faculty as Assistant Professor in 1969, was promoted to Associate rank in 1972, and to full Professor in 1976. His primary area of teaching and research was international finance, and he authored over forty research papers, published in journals such as Management Science, Financial Management, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the Journal of International Business Studies, Foreign Language Annals, and the Columbia Journal of World Business. He co-authored the text International Dimensions of Managerial Finance with Raj Aggarwal. He is the co-author of a major study on the impact of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 8 on corporate exchange risk management practices of U.S. multinationals, commissioned by the Financial Accounting Standards Board. Professor Folks has served as a Visiting Professor at Université Catholique de Louvain (BELGIUM), the Helsinki School of Economics and Business Administration (FINLAND), and Xiamen University (CHINA), has taught in numerous executive education and executive MBA programs in the United States, Brazil, Finland, and Abu Dhabi, and served for nineteen years as a member of the faculty of the Graduate School of Banking at LSU.
From 1976 to 1985, Professor Folks served as the first Department Chair of International Business at the University of South Carolina. In this position he and his colleagues were responsible for the development and growth of the nationally prominent academic programs in International Business at the University of South Carolina. While Chair, the Masters of International Business Studies (MIBS) program became recognized as the leading graduate program in International Business in the world, and the International Business Department received high global ranking. He served as Faculty Director of the following programs: Undergraduate International Business Major, the Master in International Business graduate degree program, the International Business and Chinese Enterprise initiative of the University with the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Faculty Development Program in International Business. In his final years at the University, he helped to develop a number of cohort programs at the undergraduate level and dual degree programs for the Masters of International Business program
In 1990, Professor Folks was appointed Director of the Center for International Business Education and Research at USC, a national resource centers supported by funding from the U. S. Department of Education. He served as the first President of the Association for International Business Education and Research (AIBER), the association of CIBER schools. He has twice served on the American Council of Education Task Force on the Reauthorization of Title VI and served on the AACSB Task Force on the National Security Education Program. In 1994-1997 he served on the Council of Advisors to the National Security Education Program, Department of Defense. He has served as the Chair of the Steering Committee of the Consortium for Undergraduate International Business Education (CUIBE). He has served as a consultant on international program development for a number of business schools. He retired from the University of South Carolina in May 2014.
In 2008 Professor Folks was named the International Business Educator of the Year by the Fellows of the Academy of International Business. In 2009 he received the NASBITE International John Otis Lifetime Achievement Award from this distinguished international association of global business professionals.