University of Arkansas

Walton College

The Sam M. Walton College of Business

Sam M. Walton


Sam M. Walton

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Bentonville, Arkansas


The late Sam M. Walton, founder of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., opened the first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Ark., in 1962, borrowing heavily on his vision that the American consumer was shifting to a different type of general store. At that time no one imagined he was introducing a retailing formula that within a generation would impact the lives of millions of people. Today, his gamble is a global company, the largest corporation in the world. Under Walton's drive, vision and inspiration, Wal-Mart's phenomenal growth and pursuit of excellence is unparalleled.

Walton received a BA in economics degree from the University of Missouri in 1940. He served as a captain in the U.S. Army Intelligence Corps from 1942 to 1945. He gained retail experience at JC Penney and operated a variety store in Newport and Bentonville before opening that first Wal-Mart. Before his death, Walton received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President George Bush, the highest honor the country bestows on its private citizens. In 1998, Time magazine and CBS News recognized Sam Walton as one of the 20 most influential business geniuses of the 20th century.


View All Arkansas Business Hall of Fame Inductees