Jackson T. Stephens: Arkansas Business Hall of Fame


Jackson T. Stephens

Stephens Inc.

Little Rock, Arkansas


Jackson T. Stephens is chairman of Stephens Inc., a diversified financial group founded in 1933 in Little Rock. The company has been a major underwriter of municipal bonds and corporate equity offerings. It ranks among the 20 largest investment banking firms in the United States in terms of available capital. After graduating from the United States Naval Academy in 1946, he returned to Little Rock and joined his brother, Witt, serving as president of Stephens Inc. from 1957 to 1986. Over the decades Stephens has invested in a great sweep of enterprises, serving in the start-up or expansion of Wal-Mart, Systematics, Federal Express and Tyson Foods, among others.

During his career, Stephens received numerous awards, including the Horatio Alger Award in 1980. He served on the University of Arkansas board of trustees from 1948 to 1958 and was awarded a University honorary Doctor of Law in 1985. In 1989, he was the first recipient of the J. William Fulbright Award given for international trade development.


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