Category Archives: Employee

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.”

Parker Selected as Walton College Employee of the Quarter

2019 EOQ Q2 Autumn Parker
Dean Matt Waller recognizes Autumn Parker as Employee of the 2nd Quarter for Walton College.

Autumn Parker, director for undergraduate recruitment and enrollment management, has been named employee of the second quarter by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Along with Parker, Carolyn Eiler, stewardship & events manager; Michael Gibbs, associate director of enterprise technology; and Christina LaChance, administrative specialist II in Undergraduate Programs, were also nominated for their contributions to Walton College.

The winner receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, the assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.

Moore Selected as Walton College Employee of the Quarter

Amy Moore, administrative specialist III for outreach, has been named employee of the first quarter by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Along with Moore, Alice Frizzell, assistant director of information systems graduate programs; Monica Gammill, assistant director in the accounting center; Rachel Hobby, assistant MBA director at the Graduate School of Business; and Amanda Waters, administrative specialist II in the Department of Management, were also nominated for their contributions to Walton College.

The winner receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, the assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.

Jebaraj to Serve on National Economics Board

Mervin Jebaraj, director of the Center for Business and Economic Research center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, has been selected to serve on the board of the Association for University Business and Economic Research.

The Association for University Business and Economic Research is a professional association of leading university-based economic research centers and affiliate organizations across the United States.

“I am excited to represent the University of Arkansas at a national level on AUBER’s board,” Jebaraj said. “This position will allow wonderful collaborations, encourage sharing of best practices and provide the latest in research.”

Kathy Deck, the 2017-18 AUBER president, director of Community and Economic Research Partnerships at the University of Alabama’s Culverhouse College of Business and former Walton College director of the Center for Business and Economic Research center, welcomed new board members.

“The AUBER organization continues to add value for regional economic experts at universities across the United States,” Deck said. “The newly elected board of directors bring their enthusiasm and talent to AUBER and will continue the good work of supporting our membership with vital programming and connection opportunities.”

The board elections were announced October 16 at AUBER’s 2018 conference held in Salt Lake City, Utah, which was hosted by the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute at the University of Utah.

For more information about AUBER, visit auber.org.

Thomas Roy McKinnon Leader. Teacher. Mentor. Friend.

In Memoriam:  Thomas Roy McKinnon
April 4, 1935 – August 10, 2018

Soft spoken. Gentle. Athletic. Trusted. Leader. Teacher. Mentor. Friend.

Just a few of the words friends and colleagues used to describe Thomas “Tom” Roy McKinnon, emeritus university professor of economics, who died August 10.

Former colleagues at the Walton College describe McKinnon – known to many as TMac – in glowing terms as they reminisced about their friendship with him and his impact on the college.

“He was just Tom,” said Bill Curington, emeritus university professor of economics and former chair of the Department of Economics. “He always cooperated. If there was a controversy in the department, he looked for solutions. Everybody valued his input.”

“He was the Pied Piper of economics,” said David Gay, retired university professor of economics who worked with McKinnon. “He had a way of getting people to feel comfortable and relax and have a better understanding of economics, to expand their boundaries as teachers or as students.”

Tom McKinnonApril 4, 1935 – August 10, 2018
Tom McKinnon
April 4, 1935 – August 10, 2018

McKinnon earned a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Southern State College (now known as Southern Arkansas University) in 1956. He met his wife Frances there. After a stint in the U.S. Army, McKinnon began his professional career teaching history and social studies in 1959 to high school students in El Dorado. He completed his master’s degree in secondary education from the University of Arkansas in 1960. Within a few years, he became an assistant principal at the high school in El Dorado.

In 1968, McKinnon completed his master’s degree in economics at the University of Illinois. He then moved his family to Oxford, Miss., to earn his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Mississippi in 1972. After earning his doctorate, McKinnon moved back to Fayetteville and began work as an assistant professor of economics at the University of Arkansas. In the process, he made lifelong friends at the School of Business Administration, now known as the Walton College.

A Lasting Legacy
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, McKinnon worked with Bessie B. Moore, an influential educator and the first executive director of the Arkansas Council on Economic Education, the predecessor to Economics Arkansas. Moore asked McKinnon to assist with economic workshops for teachers and encouraged him to acquire his doctorate.

With his background in secondary education, both as a teacher and an administrator, and his new position as an assistant professor in economics, Moore felt McKinnon would be a strong director for a new economic education center at the university. With that position in mind, Moore recruited McKinnon, who help to found the Center for Economic Education in 1978.  He served as the director of the center from 1979 through 2004.

Since 1979, the Bessie B. Moore Center for Economic Education has been training Arkansas teachers to teach primary and secondary students economics through innovative, hands-on workshops, creative curriculums and interactive projects. Countless Arkansans have learned basic economics through the center’s programs.

Now “every kid has to have economics in high school,” Curington said.

“He created a large contingency of informed decision makers,” said Rita Littrell, current director of the Bessie B. Moore Center for Economic Education. “Every student was important.”

In addition to his duties as an economics professor and center director, McKinnon served as the interim dean of the college from 1992 to 1993, prior to Doyle Z. Williams being hired. McKinnon also served as co-director of the Center for Teaching Effectiveness, chair of the re-accreditation team and participated and led numerous college and departmental committees.

McKinnon’s influence reached beyond the college to the university. He served as chair of the Campus Council, co-director of the Center for Teaching and Faculty Support, president of the Teaching Academy and helped to establish the Faculty Senate for the university.

On a national level, McKinnon had an impact on economics through various journals and associations. He served on editorial boards for the Journal of Economics and Finance, Journal of Business Leadership andJournal of the International Associations of Children’s Social and Economic Education. He also served as a reviewer for the Journal of Economic Education, Southwest Economic Review and theForum of the Association of Arid Lands Studies.

People and Places

Tom McKinnon traveling in England
Tom McKinnon traveling in England

McKinnon’s  life outside the university was just as full with travel, athletics, family, friends and fun. He enjoyed traveling to countries to learn new cultures and meet new people.

McKinnon, often accompanied by his wife Frances, traveled with study abroad and exchange programs to Lithuania, Croatia, Italy, Kazakhstan, Turkey and more. Twice he taught a semester at sea, traveling around the globe.

For several years in the early 1990s, he would join fellow Walton professors for a rim-to-rim hiking excursion in the Grand Canyon the day after commencement.

“He was the strongest hiker among us,” Curington said.

Former professors and friends, (l-r) Jim Millar, Tom McKinnon, Don White, Bill Curington and Joe Ziegler hike the Grand Canyon after attending spring commencement in 1994. The group made the trek for several years in the early 1990s.
Former professors and friends, (l-r) Jim Millar, Tom McKinnon, Don White, Bill Curington and Joe Ziegler hike the Grand Canyon after attending spring commencement in 1994. The group made the trek for several years in the early 1990s.

Outside the U.S., McKinnon – at age 76 – hiked Machu Pichu, a 27-mile hike in Peru with a maximum height of 13,776 feet. At age 78, he also hiked sections of the Camino De Santiago pilgrimage, a 500-mile trek in Spain.

In addition to hiking, McKinnon ran three marathons, played baseball and basketball and led Walton College Dead Day Float trips with colleagues on the Buffalo River.

In 1988, McKinnon was chosen to appear on the game show “The Price Is Right,” alongside celebrity Bob Barker, and won a 2-door Subaru coupe. His experience was highlighted in the local paper.

In Tom’s later years, he wrote a book, Footprints in the Sand, for his children and grandchildren about his life as a child. He took art classes so that he could illustrate the book.

“Tom embraced everything,” Littrell said. “Whatever the experience, Tom was going to be part of it. He lived life to the fullest.”

Paying It Forward
Littrell met McKinnon through workshops he held for Arkansas teachers. Working in nearby Springdale, Littrell often assisted him with workshops and seminars, training teachers how to integrate economics into their curriculums.

“I’d been a school administrator four years – I was ready for a change,” Littrell said.

During Doyle Williams’ tenure as dean, McKinnon created a part-time center position for Littrell. He encouraged her to attain her doctorate, just as Bessie Moore had encouraged him to do the same. In 1997, Littrell became the assistant director for the economic education center.

In June 2004, McKinnon retired and Littrell was named his successor as center director in August.

“If you measured your pedigree by your mentors, I would have the highest pedigree,” Littrell said.

McKinnon is survived by his wife of 60 years, Frances, daughters Laura Harrison and Lisa Wilson, son Alex McKinnon and their spouses and children.

“People like Tom are difficult to find,” Gay said. “Find someone like Tom McKinnon.  Find them. Get to know them.  Treasure them.”

Miller Selected Walton College Employee of the Year

Kim Miller, facilities coordinator at the Walton Conference Hub, has been named the 2018 Employee of the Year for the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Nominees were Miller, Pamela Heinzel of the Department of Marketing, Sheree Smith of the Department of Information Systems and Casey Spatz of the Department of Supply Chain Management.

The winner of the award receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.

Heinzel Named Walton College Employee of the Quarter

Pamela Heinzel, administrative support supervisor for the Department of Marketing, has been named employee of the fourth quarter by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Along with Heinzel, Rachel Hancock, academic advisor for the Honors Program, was nominated for her contributions to Walton College.

The winner receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, the assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.

Miller Named Walton College Employee of the Quarter

Kim Miller, facilities coordinator for the Walton Conference Hub, has been named employee of the third quarter by the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

Anyone in the college may nominate colleagues for the award, which is given to employees who show superior customer service that enhances the image of the college, above and beyond the scope of that employee’s job description.

Along with Miller, this quarter’s nominees were Pamela Heinzel of the Department of Marketing, Julie Stagner of the Graduate School of Business, Jason Adams of the Honors Program, Jeff Hood of Undergraduate Programs, and Lee Ann Looney also of Undergraduate Programs.

The winner receives a certificate of appreciation and a cash prize. Winners are chosen by Walton College Dean Matt Waller, the associate deans, the assistant deans and the Walton College Staff Council.