Retailing and consumer sciences education programs at the University of Arizona, including out-of-classroom experiences, will be enhanced by contributions of more than $2 million by UA alumnus Terry J. Lundgren and his supporters in the fashion and retailing industries.
The announcement coincides with the UA Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing's 22nd annual Global Retailing Conference, which concludes today at the Westin La Paloma Resort in Tucson. Among conference presenters are senior executives from retailing, consumer brand and technology companies such as Macy's, Walmart, Walgreens, Google, Alibaba, Samsung, Yum! Brands and Hilton.
Lundgren, who recently retired as executive chairman of Macy's Inc., served for 14 years as CEO of the retail company, recognized as a global fashion leader both in stores and online. Lundgren also twice served as chairman of the National Retail Federation, the industry's leading voice. He is a longtime supporter of the UA's retailing program and the Lundgren Center.
The total contributions of more than $2 million represent gifts from Lundgren and his wife, Tina; a gift from Macy's Inc.; and proceeds from a fashion industry dinner held in honor of Lundgren last year.
The funds will be used for a range of programs and educational enhancements, including establishment of the Terry J. Lundgren Endowed Chair within the UA Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences.
In keeping with Lundgren's focus on student engagement, funds attached to the endowed chair will be used to enhance and expand student activities offered by the Lundgren Center for Retailing.
For example, more students and companies will be invited to participate in the new retail innovation lab. Currently, a group of select students is working with two client companies to help solve specific business problems. And a supply chain management study tour is planned for this spring so students can study distribution centers in Phoenix and Los Angeles, as well as the Port of Los Angeles.
In addition, outreach funds will be used to recruit students and educate them and their parents on the career potential of a degree in retailing and consumer sciences.
"Terry Lundgren has been instrumental in shaping the University of Arizona's retailing program as one of the most highly respected in the nation," said UA President Robert C. Robbins. "I am incredibly grateful for this endowed investment in our faculty and students, which ensures that Terry's already outstanding legacy on campus will continue long into the future. I know I am joined by many in my gratitude for everything he has done for the UA."
Scott Hessell, the inaugural holder of the endowed chair, said Lundgren engages with students regularly, showing generosity with his time and expertise.
"Terry's had such a long and distinguished career. Students look to him as someone who has impacted the industry, as someone they aspire to be," said Hessell, who is the Lundgren Center's director and PetSmart Professor of Practice.
"Think of this as an investment in innovation that will propel our industry," Lundgren said. "The UA has a track record of graduating outstanding students who embrace change and spark innovation in retail companies of all types. Going forward, the school will be able to reach more students with deeper insight as it creates the next generation of leaders in an industry that already is the nation's largest employer."
The Lundgren gifts are noteworthy for a number of reasons. "They are a wonderful example of the power of philanthropy at the UA," said John-Paul Roczniak, UA Foundation president and CEO. "Many people came together with a shared desire to champion retailing education and the industry's future in Terry's honor."