Doug McMillon, an alumni of the University of Arkansas, and his wife Shelley donated $1 million toward establishing the McMillon Family Endowed Excellence Fund at the Sam. M. Walton College of Business.
“This gift will be the catalyst to help us eventually establish the proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation. 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,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart.
McMillon, a 1989 graduate from the Walton College at University of Arkansas was named CEO of Wal-Mart Stores Inc. late last year, a role he assumed Feb.1. Over the years he has been outspoken advocate for his alma mater.
“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. As CEO for Walmart and as a volunteer for the university, Doug has established himself as a respected leader, and we are very pleased to have him involved in our efforts. He and Shelley are wonderful friends of the university,” Gearhart said.
The McMillon Family Endowed Excellence Fund provide support for initiatives promoting 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.
“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.”
“This is a time of great change in the retail industry,” he 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. Northwest Arkansas has revolutionized retail before, and the students of the U of A can do it again.”
The proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation will educate future retail leaders and foster research that benefits business by advancing the science of retailing and help to strengthen the college’s pursuit of becoming a top 20 business school.
“The investment is a clear indication of the McMillons’ support of the mission and direction of the Walton (College). Many at Walton (College) have been working toward the creation of such a school, and this gift gets us closer to making it a reality,” said Walton College Dean Eli Jones. “We are hopeful that others will follow the McMillons’ lead and support our vision of building a best-in-class retail school focused on the current and future needs of retailers and suppliers around the world.”