Wal-Mart CEO gives $1 million to UA business college

Posted: April 17, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. President and CEO Doug McMillon and his wife, Shelley, will give $1 million to the University of Arkansas' business college that will eventually help it house a school for retail innovation, the university said Thursday.

The money will start the McMillon Family Endowed Excellence Fund, which will serve as "the catalyst for a proposed School of Global Retail Operations and Innovation" within the Sam M. Walton College of Business, UA said in a statement.

The retail-innovation school "will have a unique interdisciplinary scope and global focus to engage both undergraduate and graduate students in retail learning and research," according to the statement.

Leaders envision the proposed school "growing to include disciplines from across the university as diverse as agriculture, anthropology, architecture, communication, engineering, psychology, sociology and even areas such as the visual arts" as it advances "the science of retailing," the university said.

“This is a time of great change in the retail industry,” McMillion, who graduated from the Walton College with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1989, said in the statement. “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.”

The proposed school would require additional fundraising and UA board of trustees' approval, the university said.