Arkansas Business Hall of Fame 2012: Walter E. Hussman Jr.

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Jan. 30, 2012 12:00 am  

Walter HussmanPublisher, Arkansas Democrat-GazettePresident/CEO, WEHCO Media, Inc.

He has served as chairman of the board of the P.A.R.K. Foundation since its founding in 1993. P.A.R.K. is Positive Atmosphere Reaches Kids, an after-school program for at risk teens founded by Keith Jackson, a former all-pro tight end for the Green Bay Packers. The Hussman Foundation funded the construction of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Learning Center for the P.A.R.K. program. The learning center provides computers and textbooks.

He is also a great supporter of the arts in Arkansas, serving on the Arkansas Arts Center board of directors from 1974 to 1977, on the board of the Arkansas Repertory Theater from 1988 to 1995 and on the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Society board of directors from 1997 to 1988.

While on the symphony board, he started Pops on the River, a patriotic symphony concert and fireworks show on the Arkansas River in Little Rock. His company also donated over 40,000 square feet of space for the Museum of Discovery in Little Rock for 99 years.

In addition to being named Publisher of the Year, Hussman was the recipient of Little Rock Downtown Partnership’s Top of the Rock Award for 2008, was awarded the Lions World Services for the Blind’s Vision Award for 2008 and the Legacy Award from Junior Achievement for 2009. More recently, Hussman received the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Distinguished Alumnus Award in October 2009.

Hussman also has served as both president and chair of the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association. He was president of the Arkansas Symphony and chairman of the Anthony School board and the Gladney Society in Fort Worth, Texas.

He served on the board of overseers for the Hoover Institution at Stanford University from 2004 to 2011 and was on the University of North Carolina’s board of visitors from 1993 to 1997. He was chairman of the board of the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce in 1995, the year Pulaski County voters approved construction of the Verizon Arena. He also served on the Chamber’s executive committee and board of directors from 1992 to 1998.

Hussman has been a member of the board of trustees of the George W. Donaghey Foundation since 1989 and served as its president from 1998 to 2000.

Other awards given to Hussman over the years include being the first recipient of The Frank W. Mayborn Leadership Award from the Southern Newspaper Publishers Association, the Nature Conservancy of Arkansas’ Hero Award, the Arkansas Community Foundation’s Roots & Wings Award, the Rotary Club of Little Rock’s Businessman of the Year award and the Little Rock Arts and Humanities Commission’s Outstanding Individual Contribution to the Humanities award.

In its November 2009 cover story, Atlantic magazine listed Hussman as one of 27 brave thinkers who are shaping the future. In its January 2010 issue, Monocle Magazine (U.K.) gave its annual roundup of “20 heroes worldwide who deserve a bigger stage.” Hussman was one of two listed from the United States.

The Hussman saga has always been a family one, and the chapter about Walter E. Hussman Jr. is no different. He is married to Robena (“Ben”) Kendrick Hussman, who has served on numerous boards including president and chairman of the Arkansas Arts Center.

They have three children – their son, Palmer, and twin daughters Olivia and Eliza. They also have one grandson, Thad Hussman.



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