Walton Family Foundation hires longtime Texas entrepreneur as director of university partnerships

by Paul Gatling (pgatling@nwabj.com) 1,026 views 

Louise Epstein has been hired by the Walton Family Foundation as director of university partnerships. The announcement was made Thursday (Aug. 23).

Epstein was previously managing director of the Innovation Center in the Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas in her hometown of Austin.

Her role with the WFF is defined as a liaison with partners in higher education “with a strong emphasis on collaborations with the University of Arkansas,” according to a news release.

“We’re enthusiastic about the role Louise will play as a thought partner who will shape initiatives that meet shared goals with the University of Arkansas and other universities nationwide,” WFF executive director Kyle Peterson said in a statement.

Epstein will have oversight of designing programs at higher education institutions that fit the WFF’s vision, as well as developing and managing “high-impact” grantmaking.

Specifically, with the UA, Epstein will continually “adjust and sharpen” the strategy for initiatives funded by the Walton Family Foundation.

Louise Epstein

“I look forward to building on the strong programs and initiatives of the University of Arkansas to create a hub for innovation, prosperity, economic development and collaboration throughout the two-county region,” Epstein said in a statement.

Epstein is a fellow at UT’s IC2 Institute, a think tank that focuses on technological innovation by catalyzing regional economic development through active and directional collaboration. Previously, she was entrepreneur-in-residence at the McCombs School of Business in the Herb Kelleher Center for Entrepreneurship where she mentored students. Epstein was the founder of Charge-Off Clearinghouse, a distressed debt company that valued, purchased and sold $1 billion of charged-off credit cards. In addition, she was one of the first women investment bankers in Texas and was elected to the Austin City Council.

Epstein received her master’s in business administration from UT where she also graduated from the Plan II Honors Program with a bachelor’s degree in history.

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