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, 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.
When you hear the word, “business,” what comes to mind? Maybe you think about things such as understanding an income statement, managing people or creating a strategy. Business knowledge and skills, like these, are essential in any organization –not just “businesses.” Like for-profit businesses, non-profits and government agencies find themselves managing business functions that often involve large budgets and many people. However, their leaders are often at a disadvantage because they may not have business backgrounds or business training.
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Sam M. Walton College of Business Executive Education will host a conversation and lecture exploring strategic planning with Graham Cobb, president and chief executive officer of the Greater Bentonville Area Chamber of Commerce, on Dec. 3 in Bentonville.
This program provides a roadmap for strategy, from vision to concept and eventually a living product. Cobb will share the strategic implications of the #BecauseBentonville campaign. Walton College Executive Education instructor Blake Woolsey will break down techniques and approaches of strategic conversations.
The event will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Live Room at Haxton Road Studios located at 222 SE 2nd St., #100, in Bentonville. Pre-registration is required. Registration costs $75 and includes appetizers with beverages.
“Woooo Pigs Soey! Great game for the hogs. This copy of the paper came out after I had you a copy of the quilter program. I will bore you with another copy of events in Ruston.”
The Razorbacks were on the mind of 98-year-old Lundy E. Cavender as he wrote a quick note to accompany a newspaper article he sent to his two great nieces Lisa and Cara of Harrison, Arkansas.
Although he has lived in Ruston, Louisiana, since 1961, Lundy is a proud graduate of the University of Arkansas and several generations of Cavenders have followed in his footsteps to the university.
The Sam M. Walton College of Business recently solicited stories of multi-generational Razorbacks to learn why Walton College and the University of Arkansas is a way of life for many families. With four generations of graduates, the Cavender family of the Cavender Greek Seasoning fame shows how allegiance to the U of A is often a family affair.
“I got my degree on June 3, 1950, in business administration,” Lundy said. “All of my time at the university was just great. At that time, Fayetteville was filled up with veterans.”
Lundy, who was “almost 99” when he was interviewed, served in the U.S. Navy during World War II as a senior radioman. He supervised a team of 38 on the USS Louisville and directed gunfire for the ship. While doing so, he lost his hearing in his right ear due to the loud ammunition.
“I was awarded 10 battle stars.”
Originally from Idabel, Oklahoma, Lundy met and married a young woman from Little Rock after the war. He attended a community college in Little Rock and then moved to Fayetteville to complete his degree.
“The professors were so nice to me when I told them I had no hearing in my right ear,” Lundy said. “They’d put me on the front row. I was so thankful. They treated us like kings.”
His studies focused on marketing. His favorite subjects were sales and distribution. His least favorite class was accounting.
Due to a housing shortage, Lundy had to find accommodations off campus.
“For one year, I had to live in Prairie Grove. We arranged carpools to go to school. The last year I lived in Fayetteville in a little bitty apartment. The kitchen barely had enough room to get in it. But we survived it!”
“All the football games were on Saturday afternoons because Fayetteville didn’t have lights. I had a car and there would be only 10 or 15 cars on the north side of the stadium.”
The university built a special platform at Razorback Stadium on the 50-yard line for graduation, which was where Lundy received his diploma.
“I watch all the Razorback games I can,” said Lundy, the father of three daughters and one son. “But there’s a conflict at my house.”
While eldest daughter Barbara graduated with honors from the University of Arkansas, daughter Beverly graduated from Louisiana State University. The family calls Louisiana home now and he cheers for LSU … when they play anyone but the University of Arkansas.
“I still call for the Razorbacks! Remember when we beat Duke for the (NCAA basketball) championship?”
After completing his degree, he lived with his wife Mary Joan and 3-year-old daughter Barbara in California while working at the North American Aviation Company for only four months before being called back to active duty.
In his second stint with the Navy, Lundy traveled from Oakland, California, to the Panama Canal, up to Greenland and the Artic Circle on the USS Oakhill. At the end of his military service, he decided to visit friends in Fayetteville. One friend helped him get a job for the Chamber of Commerce in Helena, Arkansas, which was a stepping-stone for a job for the Chamber of Commerce in Shreveport, Louisiana, and then the Chamber of Commerce in Ruston in 1961.
Birds of a Feather
Like his great-great Uncle Lundy, Austin Price, who graduated from the Walton College in the spring of 2019 with a focus in marketing, has wonderful memories of the university.
“My dad has held the same football tickets since I was six years old,” Price said. His family would attend football games and tailgate with friends. They would toss a football around and then walk to the stadium.
“That’s what got me to love the Razorbacks.”
Price notes four marketing professors that he credits with making the subject interesting and relevant to a part-time job at PAM Transport in Tontitown, Arkansas, where he interned during his last semester at Walton College: Dub Ashton, John Cole, Molly Rapert and Anne Velliquette. In class, he learned a lot about relationships, “the biggest thing in business.”
“I love the campus – the beauty of it,” Price said. “I’ll really miss tailgating as a student. Students are the leaders of the stadium.”
One thing Price won’t miss is walking up the hills! He encourages all freshmen to learn how to hide the huffing and puffing incurred while walking across campus.
He also encourages incoming freshmen to:
Go to class! Even if you are tired, just wake up and go. It is amazing how much better you do.
Meet as many people as you can. Join organizations.
Don’t be afraid to speak up in class.
It is okay if you don’t know what your major is; just take care of classes.
Price comes by his love of the Razorbacks naturally. His mom Lisa Cavender and his aunt Cara Cavender Wohlgemuthare both U of A graduates. They own and operate, along with Cara’s husband Lance, S-C Seasoning Company – the maker of Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning – in Harrison, which is in north central Arkansas not far from the Missouri border.
Lisa and Cara grew up knowing they would attend the university because of their father Steve’s and grandfather Spike’s attitude. Spike, the co-founder of Cavender’s Greek Seasoning, only had an 8thgrade education. Steve, also a co-founder, urged his daughters to get a college education.
“He (dad) was adamant that Cara and I go to college,” Lisa said. “I chose Walton because I wanted a business degree.”
Lisa traveled around the country with her granddad “Spike” Cavender in the mid-1970s when he sold Cavender’s spice out of his car. It is no surprise that she earned a B.S.B.A. in marketing. Her younger sister Cara earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree in education.
“I never thought of going anywhere else,” Cara said. The two siblings lived together during Cara’s freshman year.
“That lasted about three months,” Cara said and laughed.
The two sisters began to work at S-C Seasoning Company in 1994 after their father Steve issued an invitation to both of them and their spouses to join him.
“We were fortunate to have 15 years with our dad,” Lisa said.
“It’s a family business,” Cara added. “We all respect each other.”
When Lisa took her son Austin to Walton College for a tour, she immediately sought counsel from one of her favorite marketing professors Dub Ashton.
“Dub laid out Austin’s four year plan,” Lisa said.
Cara’s two daughters Katherine and Emily also chose the university earning social work and human environment science degrees respectively.
“We have a super sense of pride,” Lisa said of the three cousins. “All three of them have done well.”
With children in Fayetteville and an ongoing love of Razorback sports, Lisa and Cara travel to Fayetteville frequently.
Sam M. Walton College of Business Executive Education will host a conversation and lecture exploring change management with TheatreSquared executive director Martin Miller on Nov. 21.
As executive director, Miller assisted TheatreSquared, Northwest Arkansas’s regional theater company, in building a $160,000 annual budget to more than $4 million, growing from two full-time employees to more than 30 and expanding its audience from 3,000 to 60,000 over the past decade. In August, the company moved into a new 50,000 square-foot home in downtown Fayetteville, adjacent to the Walton Arts Center.
Walton College Executive Education instructor Chris Case and Miller will discuss Miller’s experiences working with a team of artists and community members to expand the organization. Case will deconstruct how to use proactive and creative practices to create positive change management within any organization.
The program will be from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Walker Rehearsal Room at TheatreSquared, located at 477 W. Spring Street in Fayetteville. Pre-registration is required. Registration costs $75 and includes appetizers, beverages and parking. Register now.