Category Archives: Diversity

EPIC Spotlight: Barbara Lofton

As a young girl and teenager, Barbara Lofton stood up to racism in her home state of Mississippi.

She participated in public protests, helped minorities register to vote, picketed businesses that discriminated and got others to change its hiring practices to include minorities.

“If there was a march, I was in it,” says Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Growing up in Jackson, Mississippi’s capital, Lofton got her clothing at a white-operated store – after regular business hours and by entering through the back entrance, where the trash was picked up, so as not to be seen. Railroad tracks divided the city with whites on one side and blacks on the other. When a white man called Lofton a racially offensive name, she swiftly stomped his foot and demanded that he never call her that again. Lofton’s mother used to tell her, “You’re black, baby. This is how they treat us. Be proud of who you are.”

In 1963, the year before President Johnson signed the historic act outlawing discrimination based on race, color, religious, sex and national origin, civil rights activist Medgar Evers was assassinated outside of his Jackson residence, not far from Lofton’s family home. In 1970, two men were shot to death after police opened fire on a crowd of students at Jackson State University, the result of years of racial tension between white motorists who traveled through the campus. Lofton’s brother, though not shot, sustained an injury from the incident. She carries these memories to work each day.

Lofton was born the same year as the famous Brown vs. The Board of Education of Topeka Kansas case changed history. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously that racial segregation in public schools is unconstitutional. Mississippi, however, was slow to adhere to the law. As a result, Lofton attended an all-black school and, for a while, a Catholic school. Education was important to her family. She came from a long line of educators, including her father, who was a principal, and her mother, a teacher. Lofton recalls that black teachers would occasionally visit their students’ homes and push them to be the best they could be. It’s a standard that Lofton brings to the Walton College, like surprising students by visiting their dorm rooms or favorite hangouts just to let them know she cares about them and is there to help.

Lofton and her siblings grew up in a home with a huge yard, which was the gathering place for the neighborhood kids. They played baseball and football in a field next door, and Lofton enjoyed the comradery and competition. Her love for sports led to the discovery of therapeutic recreation as a career. She earned a bachelor of science in education degree in health, physical education and recreation at Jackson State University followed by a master’s in recreation education at the University of Iowa. This led to a move to Chicago, where she worked at a hospital, teaching those with physical and intellectual disabilities to learn basic life skills, often to upbeat music. “We did activities and made them smile,” Lofton says.

Chicago is also where she met John Lofton, whom she married.

In the early 1980s, she worked at Grambling State University in Louisiana to help create a graduate sports management program and secured federal grants for its expansion. She also helped the university become the first in the country to have an accredited recreation program and developed programs for non-teaching majors and senior citizens – all while earning a doctorate in education degree as she and her husband raised their children.

After a decade at Grambling, Lofton went to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to help develop its recreation program and work with the university’s continuing education program, which included teaching health education to inmates at the Arkansas Department of Correction’s Varner and Tucker units.

Her husband, however, was working toward his Ph.D. at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, but there were no opportunities there in the recreation education at that time. Barbara Taylor, then associate vice chancellor for human resources at the University of Arkansas, contacted Lofton about an opening at Walton’s newly created Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Lofton wasn’t sure, at first, if she was a good fit. The Walton College, however, recognized that she was, and she got the job.

Walton’s diversity office, which opened in 1994, has the mission to support, advocate and assist the college in developing plans for diversity throughout the college. During the school year, the office helps students in a multitude of ways, including finding them scholarships and study-abroad opportunities, aid in career placement and more. Lofton also teaches both undergraduate and doctoral students, including the class, The African American Experience in Business.

Except for the COVID-19 interrupted summer of 2020, the diversity office sponsors programs for junior high, high school and incoming freshmen students, such as the Business Leadership Academy, Fleischer Scholars Program, the Accounting Career Awareness Program and Technology Awareness Program.

Through her office and its programs, she hopes that her students – present, past and those who have yet to enroll – will gain a lasting impression and that she has built a strong foundation of what’s to come, she says.

Lofton especially rallies behind underrepresented students.

“She was creating programs that were designed for kids like me,” says Synetra Hughes, a first-generation college graduate who worked with Lofton when Hughes was program director for the university’s Center for Retailing Excellence. Hughes now serves as associate director of Walton’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion and sees the impact Lofton has on students daily.

“She inspires me, and her enthusiasm fuels my passion for giving back to underrepresented students from places like my hometown of West Memphis,” Hughes says.

Erica Holliday, lecturer with Walton’s Department of Information Systems, was a graduate assistant when she began working with Lofton back when Walton’s diversity and inclusion office consisted of only Lofton and an administrative assistant. Holliday, who spends summers assisting the diversity office’s summer programs, immediately recognized that Lofton wanted and demanded excellence in her mission to make Walton inclusive. That hasn’t changed.

“She wanted students who never thought they could come to the University of Arkansas,” Holliday says. “She wanted them to realize their dream.”

Lofton’s passion wasn’t reserved for just undergraduates, either.

Ken Ford, a finance assistant professor at Wake Forest University at Winston-Salem, North Carolina, turned to Lofton for support while earning his Ph.D. at Walton. He says Lofton’s daughter babysat for Ford and his wife so that the couple could have a “date night.”

“It was clear that she cared – that she was going to be on your side – and that was very comforting to me,” Ford says.

Ebony Wyatt says that when she was on the job market as a Walton student, she sought Lofton for advice when she was confused why General Mills never followed up after she had a promising interview with the company. Lofton strongly urged her to call them. She did and learned that a representative had left her a message she never received. As a result, she was offered a job. “Had Dr. Lofton not told me to reach out, I probably would not be working here 17 years later,” says Wyatt, who is now sales director for General Mills.

During her first year at the Walton College, about 50 percent of the students she dealt with were losing their scholarships on a regular basis. By the end of her second year on the job, she closed that gap substantially.

This was also before smartphones and the widespread use of emails and text messages. Lofton makes it clear to her students that all conversations must take place in person.

That was never an issue for Ford.

“I would walk by her office every day to see if she was there just to say ‘hi,’” he says. “My day wasn’t complete – in fact, I couldn’t get my day started without that – because she meant so much.”

Lofton says that when the diversity and inclusion office began, the focus was on student recruitment and graduation. However, she wanted it to do more. She wanted to see her students get internships, go to graduate school and find jobs. She wanted to mentor them to be their best and prepare them for the future.

The office also serves as sponsors and, at times, its staff serve as historians. As a result, Lofton has a legacy of “strong, fierce students,” Holliday says.

Lofton says her job is far from complete. With the growing diverse population in Northwest Arkansas, she would like to create classes that will enable minorities from all backgrounds to make their mark in the business world.

But diversity goes beyond the color of one’s skin or ethnicity. Lofton tells people that everyone, should they live long enough, will become a member of an underrepresented demographic: senior citizens. “If you think you will never become part of a diverse population, you will,” Lofton says.

Lofton’s accolades are many and include receiving the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award from the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation, a Staff Gold Medal from the university’s Office of Nationally Competitive Awards and being named an honorary alumna by the university’s Black Alumni Society. The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education presented Lofton with the AABHE Exemplary Public Service Award for her work to improve the lives of African Americans, and the Northwest Arkansas Martin Luther King Jr. Council honored Lofton with a lifetime achievement award. She was awarded a scholarship to attend a leadership forum sponsored by the American Council on Education and the Management Development Institute at Harvard.

Her legacy continues on through her students. “They come back and pay it forward,” Hughes says.

Wyatt is one of them.

“For me, she was my first role model outside of my hometown, so I want to do the same things that Dr. Lofton does for students,” Wyatt says. “Now, I’m one of the people she calls when she needs something for a current student.”

Ford says Lofton is so much to so many.

“In some ways, she wears a motherly hat to us,” he says. “And, in some ways, she’s wearing a sister hat. And, in some ways, she’s wearing your best friend’s hat. And she had a way to switch and put on a new hat when they needed to be worn and, for me, and the people that I’ve observed who used her services, that was tremendous.”

When asked about goals for the diversity office, Lofton doesn’t miss a beat. She would like to see it become endowed, facilitate more scholarships – especially four-year scholarships – provide a visiting faculty position and build on research and teaching. She would also like to build connections with universities and high schools with a strong minority student population.

“These are dreams,” she says. “But dreams do come true.”

Lofton reflects on her favorite saying, which is from Dr. Freeman Hrabowski II, president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County:

Watch your thoughts; they become your words.
Watch your words; they become your actions.
Watch your actions; they become your habits.
Watch your habits, they become your character.
Watcher your character; it becomes your destiny.

How Business Schools Can Be a Part of the Solution to Racism

By Barbara A. Lofton and Matthew A. Waller 

When injustice is exposed, especially dramatically and graphically like with the recent death of George Floyd and so many other blacks in the last few years, we are left with struggling emotions, including rightful anger. And there’s often a feeling of helplessness for those who earnestly want to make a positive difference. Continue reading How Business Schools Can Be a Part of the Solution to Racism

University of Arkansas Represented at AACSB International Diversity and Inclusion Summit

Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, and Elecia Smith, executive director of the U of A’s IDEALS Institute, presented the workshop “In Too Deep: Managing Stress and Preventing Burnout” at the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International Diversity and Inclusion Summit on Nov. 13 in New Orleans.

The summit took place as part of the AACSB’s International Associate Deans Conference held Nov. 13-15. The AACSB is the international accrediting organization for collegiate business schools.

At a recent AACSB conference, Barbara Lofton (left) and Elecia Smith (right) presented a workshop on how to alleviate stress.
At a recent AACSB conference, Barbara Lofton (left) and Elecia Smith (right) presented a workshop on how to alleviate stress.

The presentation focused on the causes of stress for diversity professionals and resources and tactics available to lessen the stress.

“Stress and burnout are all too common for diversity professionals,” Lofton said. “I want to support other professionals by providing resources to them and advocating for them. I believe in paying it forward.”

Lofton also presented “To Have or Not to Have an Office of Diversity Within a College” to the Diversity and Inclusion Network Affinity Group meeting held at the conclusion of the summit. She discussed best practices, missions and strategies employed by collegiate diversity programs. Lofton served as the session moderator.

“Diversity helps teams think differently and create smarter products and programs,” Lofton said. “It is the right thing to do, but it is also a smart and profitable thing to implement in business or academia, whether referring to diverse hires, diverse thought, or products and programs that speak to diverse audiences. It all matters.”

Walton College boasts the oldest diversity and inclusion office at any Southeastern Conference business school. It celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2019. Lofton has served as its director for 24 years.

Lofton Receives Diversity Champion Award

Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion in the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, received the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award from the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation Nov. 20, 2019, to acknowledge her work to support and promote diversity and inclusion in Northwest Arkansas, the U of A and Walton College.

Lofton was recognized at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville during the 40th anniversary tour of Con-Real, a real estate, construction and development company in Arlington, Texas, which is touring the regions in which it serves.

Gerald Alley (left), Tony Walker and Troy Alley (right) present Barbara Lofton with the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award on Nov. 20, 2019, in Bentonville, Ark., during the 40th anniversary celebration for Con-Real construction and real estate company.
Gerald Alley (left), Tony Walker and Troy Alley (right) present Barbara Lofton with the Tony Walker Diversity Champion Award on Nov. 20, 2019, in Bentonville, Ark., during the 40th anniversary celebration for Con-Real construction and real estate company.

Gerald Alley, president and chief executive officer of Con-Real, presented Lofton with the award.

“I was so surprised and humbled by this recognition. I do things because it’s the right thing to do,” Lofton said. “If I want to leave the world better than I found it, I have to do my part.”

Lofton and her team provide support services for undergraduate and graduate students at the Walton College. In addition, the office hosts summer camps for high school students to attract minorities and women to business programs. Her team also serves as advisers to several registered student organizations that promote diversity in business.

Alley is a member of the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board. His brother Troy Alley Jr., executive vice president and real estate leader at Con-Real, serves on the University of Arkansas College of Engineering Advisory Council. Both are graduates of the U of A. The Alleys support several outreach programs at Walton College through the Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation and Alley Scholars, a nonprofit organization founded by Troy and his wife Unnice, which promotes and supports education through scholarships, networking events and business competitions.

Lofton has served as the director of diversity and inclusion at Walton College for 24 years. She also teaches diversity classes at Walton College. Previously, Lofton worked as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Grambling State University. She received an Ed.D. in higher education from Grambling State University, M.A. from the University of Iowa and a B.S.E.D. from Jackson State University. She is a member of the American Association for Blacks in Higher Education.

Walton College Engages Students Through Summer Programs

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted four residential summer camps in June to introduce high school students to the University of Arkansas and Walton College.

The four camps introduce high ability minority students to career options, campus resources and campus life.

“Introducing college life to high school kids who may not otherwise have this opportunity is life changing,” said Barbara Lofton, director of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Walton College. “Through our summer camp programs, these students meet faculty and staff, stay in dorm rooms and eat meals on campus, participate in research and learn about academic and career opportunities available to them.

“It changes their perception of college and makes them feel at home here.”

The Business Leadership Academy, held June 9-13, introduced newly admitted freshmen to campus life. The students enhanced leadership skills through team projects and met Walton staff and faculty. The program also told students about career opportunities in retail and marketing.

The Fleischer Scholars Program, held June 16-21, hosted two camps for low income high school juniors and seniors whose parents did not attend college. Fleischer Scholars Program I was for students new to the program. Fleischer Scholars Program II welcomed back students who attended the camp previously.

The weeklong camps taught students how to research, develop and present a business plan and helped them transition from high school to college. The Fleischer Scholars Program provides a four-year partial college scholarship to participants.

The Accounting Career Awareness Program was held June 23-28 for underrepresented high school juniors and seniors interested in pursuing careers in accounting. Students attended undergraduate classes and networked with accouting professionals. Workshops focused on basic skills needed for accounting careers, business etiquette and requirements for certified public accountants.

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion was established in 1994 to support, advocate and assist Walton College in developing plans for diversity and supporting students throughout the college. It is the oldest office of diversity at an Southeastern Conference business school and recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. For more information regarding the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, visit walton.uark.edu/diversity.

 About the University of Arkansas:The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 2.7 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Office of Diversity & Inclusion Celebrates 25 Years at Walton College

On Friday, April 5, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted an award ceremony and reception at the Chancellor Hotel in Fayetteville to mark its 25thanniversary at the University of Arkansas.

Jim Coleman, provost and executive vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Arkansas, recognized Barbara Lofton, Ed.D., for her 23 years of service as the director for the Office of Diversity & Inclusion – the oldest diversity office at a Southeastern Conference business school.

“Barbara is a beacon on the hill for us,” Coleman said.  “The fact the Office of Diversity & Inclusion has been here 25 years is a testament to Walton College’s commitment.”

“I’m proud of the work Barbara and her team have done to recruit and retain such excellent students over the years,” said Matt Waller, Walton College dean. “Barbara’s leadership and her attention to students has been life changing for many young people.”

(l-r) Matt Waller, Barbara Lofton and Ebony Wyatt ask attendees to toast the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in honor of its 25th anniversary.
(l-r) Matt Waller, Barbara Lofton and Ebony Wyatt ask attendees to toast the Office of Diversity & Inclusion in honor of its 25th anniversary.

Ebony Wyatt, director of sales at General Mills, emceed the event. Wyatt, a Walton College alumna, shared her own memories of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion. She first learned about Walton College through the Accounting Career Awareness Program summer camp hosted by the diversity office when Wyatt was a junior in high school. She also credits Lofton with helping her secure her first professional job with General Mills. Wyatt now teams up with Lofton and the Office of Diversity & Inclusion to host career workshops focused on helping students successfully secure a full-time job.

“She’s like a mother hen,” Wyatt said of Lofton. “She is always there to help support you, push you and encourage you to be your best!”

The Office of Diversity & Inclusion named two individuals Diversity Champions for their work to support minorities, students and entrepreneurs:  Lonnie R. Williams, Ed.D., special assistant to the chancellor at Arkansas State University and former assistant vice chancellor for student affairs at the University of Arkansas, and Oliver L. Sims III,

America’s technical sales leader for CA Technologies, a division of Broadcom, the managing partner of Oliver Sims Advisors and Investors and co-founder of Henry Health, a mental health and self care support digital platform.

Walton College students were also honored for their leadership in the National Association of Black Accountants and the Students of Retailing Excellence student organizations. Recognized were Eric Mays – accounting senior, Joe Bradley Jr. – accounting senior, Victoria Fields – management senior, De’Stani Clark – marketing senior, Malik Dedner – Master of Accountancy candidate, Fredrica Harris – MBA candidate and Jada Gaspard – marketing senior.

Keynote speaker student De’Stani Clark shared how the Office of Diversity & Inclusion had personally encouraged her as a student at the university. Before starting college, Clark’s mother was diagnosed with stage 4 brain cancer, which left Clark with serious choices. Clark was not sure she should leave her family to attend college due to her mother’s illness but chose to attend with her mother’s encouragement.  At the end of her spring semester freshman year, Clark’s mother passed away. Clark struggled emotionally the following academic year and leaned on the Office of Diversity & Inclusion.

“I felt the light of love and support of Dr. Lofton, Dr. Hughes, Mrs. Anne and Ryan,” Clark said. “I challenge you to find two students in need and let them know they have the power to choose.”

Keynote speaker De’Stani Clark, a marketing senior, hugs Barbara Lofton as she completes her speech.
Keynote speaker De’Stani Clark, a marketing senior, hugs Barbara Lofton as she completes her speech.

The Gerald and Candace Alley Foundation, Con-Real, LP, and Ernst & Young sponsored the 25thanniversary event.

About the Office of Diversity & Inclusion

Created in 1994, the Office of Diversity & Inclusion supports, advocates and assists the Walton College in developing plans for diversity throughout the school to increase representation, integration and the fundamentals of equality among all faculty, staff and students.

The department manages four summer outreach programs to educate high school students about business careers and opportunities at Walton College. The office also oversees several scholarship programs and business competitions for Walton College students.

Lofton Receives National Public Service Award

The American Association of Blacks in Higher Education presented Barbara Lofton, director of Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, with the AABHE Exemplary Public Service Award on Monday, March 25, for her work to improve the lives of African Americans. Lofton received the award in Indianapolis at the AABHE’s annual national conference.

“I am so proud of Barbara and the work she does for Walton College and for higher education throughout the SEC,” said Matt Waller, dean for the Walton College. “She works tirelessly on behalf of the University of Arkansas to recruit and retain students here on campus through a variety of programs, scholarships and activities. She is a true gem.”

The public service award recognizes recipients for their work to develop and implement community, political or business programs to encourage black Americans in those sectors. In addition, the award reflects the honoree’s commitment to the AABHE and its mission.

Barbara A. Lofton, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.
Barbara A. Lofton, Ph.D., is the director of the Office of Diversity & Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Lofton served as past president of the AABHE from 2011 to 2013, served on its executive board from 2006 to 2106 and was a founding member of AABHE when it was formed in 2006.  As president, she increased the organization’s membership, built partnerships with outside organizations and added a service component to its annual conference. The service projects raised funds to provide books, technology or food for underserved communities. Lofton also raised $200,000 through sponsorships for the national conference.

In addition to her executive duties with AABHE, Lofton was co-author of the book Priorities of the Professoriate: Engaging Multiple Forms of Scholarship across Rural and Urban Institutions. She was co-editor for the National Journal of Urban Education & Practice, a journal for the AABHE in 2012.

At Walton College, Lofton oversees diversity programs and scholarships. As part of her position, she manages programs to recruit and retain minority students including summer camps and business competitions. Additionally, Lofton teaches classes in the Walton College and serves as a consultant to several Southeastern Conference business schools to establish and support their diversity programs.  

“I learned that leadership is not about you, but the people you serve,” Lofton said. “My reward comes when you have the opportunity to see the benefits of your work for those you serve and for yourself.”

Urban League Honors Dean Matthew Waller

Matthew A. Waller, dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas, will receive the Whitney M. Young Award for his work to improve the lives of underserved Arkansans at a luncheon hosted by the Urban League of the State of Arkansas on Dec. 5 at the Wyndham Riverfront Hotel in North Little Rock.

“It is quite an honor for me to be a recognized by the Urban League,” said Waller. “An integral part of the Walton College mission is to serve all Arkansans, something I take seriously. To aid us in our mission, Walton College leans on our Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the oldest diversity office of any SEC business college. We also provide scholarships and academic support resources to assist and retain students. This support is important to our school, industry and state.”

The luncheon, chaired by Lottie Shackelford, former mayor of Little Rock, recognizes the contributions of individuals who help provide equal opportunities for all Arkansans.

Waller was chosen for the honor because of his commitment to diversity and inclusion at Walton College and within the state.  Annie Abrams, a longtime civil rights activist, will also be recognized at the event.

For additional information or to purchase tickets for the event, contact the Urban League at info@urbanleagueark.org

Diversity Is EPIC at Walton College

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Walton Career Services at the Sam M. Walton College of Business are hosting a picnic and networking event, panel discussion, recruiting information session and doughnut giveaway Oct. 8-11 to promote diversity in the workplace.

Students, faculty and staff are welcome to attend.

A Diversity in the Workplace discussion will take place in the Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development auditorium on Wednesday, Oct. 10, from 4-5 p.m. with senior leaders from Walmart, General Mills, Academy Sports + Outdoors and J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. Panelists will discuss diversity and inclusion, thought processes and perceptions, and changes in mindset. Pre-registration is required.

Other activities include:

  • Picnic on the Plaza– Find free food and corporate recruiters Monday, Oct. 8, on Shollmier Plaza from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.Bring your resume and your appetite!
  • Women’s Leadership in Business Coffee Chat— Join a small group discussion about women’s leadership in the business world and career development on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 9:30-10:30 a.m., in WJWH 501. Space is limited. Pre-registration is required.
  • Pitched Perfect– Deliver an elevator pitch to corporate recruiters and get their feedback on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 3-5 p.m., in WJWH 203. Pre-registration is required.
  • Company of the Day: Academy Sports + Outdoors– Talk with corporate recruiters about career opportunities and diversity hiring on Wednesday, Oct. 10, in the WCOB second floor atrium 9 a.m.-noon and 1:30-3 p.m.  Info sessions will also be held in WJWH 203 starting at 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.
  • Diversity Doughnut Day– Grab a doughnut on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 8:30 a.m. until they are gone!
  • Pop-Up Shop on Global Intercultural Fluency– Join Walton career coaches on Thursday, Oct. 11, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., in the WJWH atrium for career advice on the go. Multicultural partners will share global engagement opportunities.

Visit Handshake to pre-register and learn more about each event.  For additional information, contact Catherine Beasley, manager for Corporate Programs at CBeasley@Walton.uark.edu or visit Walton Career Services online at walton.uark.edu/career.

Walton College Hosts Accounting Career Awareness Program

The Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the Sam M. Walton College of Business is hosting 19 high school students from Arkansas and Texas at the Accounting Career Awareness Program on the University of Arkansas campus July 15-20. The residential summer camp introduces high ability minority students to career options available in accounting and other fields of business administration.

To kick off the program, Anne O’Leary-Kelly, Walton College senior associate dean; Barbara Lofton, Walton College director of Diversity and Inclusion; andDonell Cunningham, president of the Northwest Arkansas chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants, will speak to students about career and academic options. During the week, students attend short courses in business foundations, accounting, oral and written communications, computer information systems, ACT Prep and multimedia. National Association of Black Accountants members assist and serve as mentors to students.

Accounting executives, business leaders and other professionals talk with students about professional development and opportunities in their field. Campers will tour nearby corporations including Walmart and JB Hunt Transport Services Inc. to learn more about accounting.

“I am thrilled that Walton College is opening doors to professional accounting careers for these students,” Lofton said. “We couldn’t have done it without the generosity of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, the National Association of Black Accountants and other corporate partners. It’s a great investment into our communities, our state and our college.”

This year’s camp is supported by a $14,000 grant from the institute and the national association. An additional $10,000 from a collaborative effort of the Northwest Arkansas chapter, Walmart, KPMG, EY and The Tea Rose Foundation of Northwest Arkansas also supports the summer program.

Walton College hosted the first Accounting Career Awareness Program session in the summer of 1994 and continued the program until 2010 through the support of the Ernst & Young Foundation and the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation. Through their support, the Accounting Career Awareness Program accommodated more than 300 participants.

The Accounting Career Awareness Program was developed by the National Association of Black Accountants in response to the growing need for minorities in accounting and related fields of business.