Milken Institute chair Michael Milken is keynote speaker for annual Business Forecast Luncheon

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Michael Milken

Michael Milken, chair of the Milken Institute, will be the featured speaker for the 24th-annual Business Forecast Luncheon, coordinated by the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business and its Center for Business and Economic Research.

The luncheon is scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the John Q. Hammons Convention Center in Rogers.

Milken is a philanthropist and former financier, noted for his role in creating thousands of companies and his work developing the high-yield bond market.

Milken will speak on macroeconomic trends and on the theme “restoring the American dream for all citizens,” according to a UA press release.

“This is the key economic outlook event of the year for business and community leaders from across Arkansas and the surrounding region,” Walton College Dean Matt Waller said in the release. “Having Michael Milken as the keynote speaker for the 2018 luncheon is outstanding. I look forward to hearing his insights into macroeconomic trends for the year to come.”

Milken co-founded the Milken Family Foundation in 1982 and has since helped fund medical research, education, public health and access to capital, according to the UA.

“Fortune magazine called him ‘The Man Who Changed Medicine’ and Forbes listed him among ‘Visionaries Reimagining Our Children’s Future,’” according to the UA.

The Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University recognizes an institute gift. He and his wife, Lori, are members of the Giving Pledge and Founding Donors of the National Museum of African American History and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution, according to the UA.

Ross DeVol, Walton Fellow of the Walton Family Foundation and former chief research officer for the Milken Institute, will moderate a question-and-answer session with Milken following his speech. DeVol was hired by the WFF earlier this year.

The Walton Fellow program enlists subject-matter representatives to conduct research and develop strategy to support the foundation’s philanthropic efforts.

“DeVol studies national economic trends and how they impact the American heartland. He is assessing opportunities for regional innovation ecosystems which foster job creation, wage gains and economic growth for the non-coastal areas of the nation. DeVol will work with universities, colleges, the business community, public policy leaders and philanthropy to analyze resources supporting the startup community and identify workforce and talent gaps,” according to the UA.

Jim Walton, chair and CEO of Arvest Bank Group, will introduce Milken and DeVol.

Mervin Jebaraj, interim director of the CBER, will provide the forecast for the local, state and regional economy.

“This will be the 24th consecutive year that the Business Forecast Luncheon brings outstanding speakers to Northwest Arkansas to talk about the latest economic trends,” Jebaraj said in the release. “Our speakers never fail to provide insight into the economy for the coming year. We know that attendees use the information provided by these experts to build stronger, smarter companies.”

Registration is available online at the CBER website. More information on sponsorships or reservations for Business Forecast 2018 is available through the CBER at the Willard J. Walker Hall 538, 1 University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, by calling 479-575-4151 or through email.