by Lance Turner
Posted 4/17/2014 10:59 am
Updated 6 months ago
Doug McMillon, CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. of Bentonville, and his wife, Shelley, are giving $1 million to the University of Arkansas' Sam M. Walton College of Business.
The UA said the money will establish the McMillion Family Endowed Excellence Fund, which will help the UA create the proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation within the business college.
"The school has the potential to offer interdisciplinary programs in retail, generate international prominence and establish ourselves as the premier location for consumer research and retail education," UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart said in a news release. "The McMillons’ generous contribution will positively impact both the Walton College and the University of Arkansas as a whole, as each one will benefit from the other’s success."
Doug McMillon became CEO of the world's largest retailer earlier this year. The Jonesboro native is a 1989 graduate of the UA business college, which is named for the late founder of Wal-Mart.
"It’s an honor and a joy to help launch the School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation at Walton College," Doug McMillon said. "The University of Arkansas has given us so much, and Shelley and I appreciate the chance to give back."
At the UA, the McMillon fund will support consumer sciences and consumer behavior-related research. Summer support for faculty members, doctoral student stipends and retail research stipends will all qualify for funding, as will graduate-level retail curriculum and faculty travel to key conferences to promote the proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation, the university said.
The proposed school, which will include graduate and undergraduate students, will require more fundraising efforts. Its goal is to educate future retail leaders and foster research that benefits business by advancing the science of retailing. Initially, the school will draw on the expertise of all departments and outreach centers within the business college, but the UA envisions a school that eventually will include disciplines from across the university.
The UA casts the school as a key piece of its goal to make the Walton College "a top 20 business school."
"This is a time of great change in the retail industry," McMillon said. "We need to invest in a new generation of innovative leaders, and Walton College can play a unique role as a destination for cutting-edge retail education.
"We hope this fund will increase opportunities for students and faculty members, strengthen the college and lay the foundation for many promising careers around the world," he said. "Northwest Arkansas has revolutionized retail before, and the students of the U of A can do it again."