Category Archives: Events

Yell Retires After 40 Years of Service

In the summer of 1976, Gerald Ford was president, Apple Computer Company was just getting started, a gallon of gas cost 59 cents, and Susan Imes Yell was a rising senior at Fayetteville High School. She was also a new part time staff member at the School of Law’s Admissions Office. She worked half a day and, in the fall, went to school half a day.

Little did Yell know that this part time job would lead to a 40-year journey at the University of Arkansas. She worked for the School of Law for five years, then joined the Department of Economics and the International Business Studies program, eventually becoming the administrative support supervisor for the economics department at the College of Business Administration, as it was known at the time.

From 1976 to 2016, Yell has seen many changes at the university, especially with technology and its influence on student engagement.

“Probably the biggest change was the introduction of computers. Our department had the first one in the college,” said Yell. “It required the use of floppy disks. The program was on one disk, spell check was on another disk, etc. That first computer was stolen, along with the printer and everything that went with it, when several people propped doors open from the second floor and went through the ceiling tiles into the main office. It took a while to get a replacement, since it was not covered by insurance. And, no one ever said you need to back up your work. Everything was lost and to my knowledge, the culprits were never apprehended.”

“Always do the right thing, no matter what.  And, if you see an injustice, do something about it.”

Per Yell, technology has also changed the way staff members interact with students. With more centralized registration and other electronic processes, students spend less time engaging staff and faculty.

“When I first started, we would sit in the halls and hand out printed cards for registration.  When you ran out of cards, the class was full.  The students would then take their packets to the Union, to stand in a huge, long line to register,” said Yell.  “Later, the U of A used the Hog Call system and students would register on the phone.  We had to process overrides using this system.  It would literally take weeks.  We were very busy with students then.  Now, with centralized advising and everything online, we don’t have much student interaction, except with our graduate students.”

Susan Yell
Susan’s office features hundreds of postcards from around the world sent by students and faculty.

Yet Yell does interact with students as evidenced by the hundreds of post cards adorning her office walls. Each day she works surrounded by post cards sent to her from around the world from students and faculty who have studied and/or traveled abroad. She has collected them since the ’80s.

She values the economics faculty and is impressed with their research and how much they care about their students. While she thinks they are one of the best things about the college, she has learned to say no when it comes to dissertations.

“Right after I first started working in business administration, one of my new faculty asked me to type his dissertation. Now, if you have ever seen an economics dissertation, you might know that it is FULL of equations. He showed me the first chapter, which was mostly text, so I agreed to type it for him,” said Yell. “Over the duration of my first pregnancy, I worked on it using a manual typewriter.  It required using three different elements. So, when you would type text that took one element, an equation, one or two other elements. Every time there were any changes from his advisor, the entire chapter would have to be retyped, since there were strict rules about margins, etc.  We joked whether I would finish the dissertation first, or would have my daughter first.  I don’t even remember who ‘won.’ I can laugh about it now, but it wasn’t very funny then!”

“I also cherish my WOW friends…a group of ladies…Women of Walton…with whom I have remained friends for years and years…and we still have lunch at least once a week.”

While the faculty and students are one of the best things about work, Yell has experienced significant obstacles as well.

“My biggest challenge occurred when my department chair suffered a catastrophic accident,” said Yell. “It completely changed the face of the department and my position.  For a short time, I was in charge of the department.  It was a very difficult time.”

Throughout the years, Yell has served on numerous committees for the college and has raised funds for local nonprofits. She is the departmental representative for United Way and has helped raise money for the American Diabetes Association, Big Brothers Big Sisters, University of Arkansas Staff Senate Scholarship fund, Northwest Arkansas Food Bank and Full Circle Campus Food Pantry among others. She was a member of the Walton College team on the Habitat for Humanity the House That Jane Built project.

Yell has represented Walton College at the university level as a staff senator, staff senate secretary, staff senate scholarship committee, by-laws committee, elections committee, internal affairs committee, Employee of the Year for the university and Employee of the Quarter for Walton College.

Yell was nominated for the Arkansas State Employees Association Outstanding State Employee Award in 2005 and 2010 and was chosen as a finalist in 2010. In 2006, the Department of Economics faculty established the Susan Imes Yell Staff Senate Scholarship in her honor. This scholarship was created to help promote and encourage staff development through higher education.

After 40 years of service, Yell retired from her job in December 2016. She is married to Garlen and has two daughters, Erin, who teaches French at Springdale High School, and Sara, who is the manager of special programs in the Walton College Career Center. In retirement, she plans to spend more time with her family and her young grandchildren, Nora and Silas.

Walton College Institute Hosts IT Showcase

What is IT?

The Information Technology Research Institute in the Sam M. Walton College of Business will help answer this question by hosting an Information Technology Showcase where current University of Arkansas students can learn about the field, meet information technology leaders and be entered to win lunch with executives. The event is scheduled for Monday, Oct. 31, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Willard J. Walker Hall atrium. All students are welcome.

Tables will feature professionals by job type. Representatives from Arvest, Teradata, Walmart and others will be on hand to answer questions about information technology careers such as business analyst, IT manager, database administrator, data analyst, programmer, developer or information security analyst. Professionals will answer questions regarding which degrees are needed for various careers.

Students are encouraged to visit all the tables, get an IT Showcase card stamped and be entered for a chance to win lunch with executives. Winners will be announced on the institute’s Facebook page and contacted via email.

No RSVP is required. IT Showcase cards must be complete to be entered for the drawing. For more information, contact Elizabeth McCorcle at 479-575-4261 or at emccorcle@walton.uark.edu.

Koru Mindfulness Course to be Offered at Walton College

With increasing student interest in Koru Mindfulness, a second course will be offered this fall at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas. Koru Mindfulness is a four-week course designed for teaching mindfulness, meditation and stress management to college students.

Dan Harris, director, Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College
Dan Harris, director, Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College

“As this program continues to spark interest from students, we have decided to offer a second course this fall,” said Dan Harris, Koru instructor and director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Walton College. “Our hope is this second class is more conveniently located for students who spend most of their time on this side of campus.”

Koru Mindfulness is taught over four weeks in 75-minute classes. Koru is designed for those with all mindfulness experience levels. The four-week course starts Thursday, Oct. 13, at 5 p.m. in WCOB 405, and continues every Thursday until Nov. 3.

Koru Mindfulness
Find less stress through Koru Mindfulness.

This free course, which is open to all students, has shown to have significant benefits on sleep, perceived stress, mindfulness and self-compassion.

“Koru Mindfulness helps put things in perspective so that you can consciously make an effort to think positively and accurately,” said Dr. Ed Mink, director of Wellness and Health Promotion at the Pat Walker Health Center. “This course will help you be aware of the subtleness of life and help you start living a heart-centered life focusing on the NOW.”

Benefits of the Koru Mindfulness course include:

  • feeling less stressed
  • staying calm and worrying less
  • being more mindful
  • sleeping better
  • using less self-judgment

To register for the upcoming Koru Mindfulness class or for more information, email razmind@walton.uark.edu.

For more information about Koru Mindfulness, go to korumindfulness.org.

High School Students Learn Retail and Supply Chain Management

Thirteen rising junior and senior high school students participated in the Retail Supply Chain Management Camp hosted by the Center for Retailing Excellence and the Supply Chain Management Research Center at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Continue reading High School Students Learn Retail and Supply Chain Management

Tournament Highlights Vendors FORE Education

Event raises scholarship funding for university business students, women golfers.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Golfers from across Northwest Arkansas raised $70,000 to support students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the University of Arkansas Women’s Golf Program through the Vendors FORE Education golf tournament held Friday, July 15.

The tournament, sponsored by Walmart vendors, was held at Stonebridge Meadows Golf Club in Fayetteville. Walton College’s Center for Retailing Excellence, working in partnership with Erik Wolff of E-Wolff Sales Solutions and Russ Heithoff of Strategic Retail Solutions, hosts the tournament each year. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the tournament. In celebration of this milestone year, Vendors FORE Education held a special prize drawing for a 1997 30th anniversary edition Chevy Camaro convertible. Continue reading Tournament Highlights Vendors FORE Education

Fleischer Scholars Experience Entrepreneurship and College Life

Thirty-three high school juniors and seniors participated in the Fleischer Scholars summer camp program July 10-15 to learn about entrepreneurship at the Sam M. Walton College of Business. Hosted by the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, the camp introduces first generation, low income and underrepresented students to college life, business classes and entrepreneurship.

Program sponsor Mort Fleischer, the co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE: STOR), has a long reaching vision for the program. His goal is to assist economically disadvantaged students graduate from college and encourage them to invest their time and talent back into to their hometown communities upon graduation. Fleischer calls this the “multiplier effect” and hopes that these future leaders will serve as role models for their community.

“Walton College is proud to partner with Mort Fleischer on this life-changing program for Arkansas students,” Barbara Lofton, director, Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Walton College. “We want to give these students the ongoing support they need to stay in college, get jobs and serve their communities. There is no limit on what these young people can do.”

Four Arkansas banks – Signature Bank, Bank of England, Citizens Bank and First Arkansas Bank and Trust – have committed to fund $50,000 scholarships to pay for the summer camp program and four years base tuition. The banks will also provide local internships once students become juniors and seniors at the University of Arkansas.

To qualify for the college scholarship, students must be admitted to the University of Arkansas, enroll full time, demonstrate leadership and commit to back to their local community through service. To quality for the summer camp program, students must be the first in their family to attend college, be economically disadvantaged, hold high college entrance test scores, are able to overcome challenges and have the drive to complete college.

Camp Introduces Retail Careers to Incoming Freshmen

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Center for Retailing Excellence at the Sam M. Walton College of Business hosted 17 incoming freshman students from Arkansas, Texas, Illinois and Peru during the Business Leadership Academy held June 5-10. The summer residential program creates an awareness of retail career choices and opportunities that exist for Walton College business majors.

The camp exposed students to business and cultural aspects of Northwest Arkansas. The week kicked off with a tour of a Walmart distribution center in Bentonville. Students also visited Crystal Bridges Museum and participated in a retail scavenger hunt at Pinnacle Promenade shopping center and the Northwest Arkansas Mall. In addition to the tours, students participated in training workshops on social and business etiquette, business presentation skills, the McMillon Family Retail Innovation and Technology Lab and the Jane Gearhart Food Pantry.

This year, the students were challenged to launch a pop-up store in the McMillon Innovation Lab, located on the University of Arkansas campus. Each student team had to create a business plan, a strategic marketing plan and a budget for launching a business. The three teams proposed ideas for a 24-hour school supply concierge, an after-hours food delivery service and a frozen yogurt bar and bakery to a panel of judges from Walmart, S.C. Johnson, Shopper Marketing and the Walton College.

Campers Learn Technology Opportunities at Walton

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Twelve high school students from groups underrepresented in technology fields got the opportunity to learn about career opportunities open to them during the 17th Technology Awareness Program at the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas.

The Information Technology Research Institute, the Walton College Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Department of Information Systems hosted the 12 students for a week-long residential camp June 19-24.

“It is vital that technology fields include minorities and women,” said Eric Bradford, managing director of the institute. “Research shows that diversity helps drive innovation, which in turn shapes the future of technology.”

Campers lived in a dorm, ate at Brough Commons dining hall, and met faculty and staff while on campus. Students participated in an information technology project, researched topics at Mullins Library and presented their findings as part of a closing ceremony. Walton College staff discussed with students the potential salaries of technology professionals and how the students can apply for admission to the University of Arkansas.

Campers toured the information systems department at Walmart headquarters to learn more about technology's role in business.
Campers toured the information systems department at Walmart headquarters to learn more about technology’s role in business.

Campers also heard from professionals representing Dillard’s, Acxiom, Walmart, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. and Arvest Bank regarding how those companies use technology daily. Students toured Walmart’s information systems department to see professionals in action.

“These young people came here ready to learn,” said Barbara Lofton, director of Diversity Programs at Walton College. “Based on their research and final presentations, each student would be a welcome addition to any occupation in the field of technology and to the university.”

The camp culminated with three student teams presenting business cases, reflecting how technology could resolve common issues. The lessons learned were summed up by one camper’s parent.

“It was one of the most incredible displays of coaching, mentoring and teaching that I have seen in a long time,” said Denisho Coleman Sr., an alumnus of the University of Arkansas. “To see those students present subject matter in the order and depth in the short period of time afforded was very emotional to me –- in particular the SWOT analysis, which is a mainstay for how we justify corporate capital expenditures as a routine part of how we do our jobs.”

To attend the camp, participants must hold a 3.0 GPA, submit three essays and be a rising high school junior or senior. The camp was made possible by the Information Technology Research Institute board members: ArcBest Technologies, Arkansas Blue Cross Blue Shield, Arkansas Department of Information Systems, Arvest Bank Group, ConocoPhillips, Dillard’s, Inc., FedEx Services, Hewlett Packard, InContext Solutions, J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Movista, Phillips 66, Teradata, Tyson Foods and Walmart.

Walton College Partners with Signature Bank to Provide Three Fleischer Scholarships

The Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas is joining forces with the Signature Bank of Arkansas to provide three college scholarships through the Fleischer Scholars program for disadvantaged students.

Signature Bank is funding $30,000 annually for five years to support tuition and educational expenses, as well as for a one-week residential summer camp to introduce students to college. Scholarship recipients must live in Arkansas, be first-generation college students with low-to-medium income, have received admission to the University of Arkansas, have demonstrated the ability to overcome obstacles and be motivated to learn.

“Our commitment to the Fleischer Scholars program is an investment in the future of our state and in the betterment of the communities that we serve,” said Gary Head, chairman, chief executive officer and president, Signature Bank of Arkansas. “My hope is that the Fleischer Scholars, supported by Signature Bank of Arkansas, will stimulate community revitalization and economic growth and that each student will return to their communities as role models, creating what Mr. Fleischer calls the human multiplier effect.”

The Fleischer Scholars program, created by Morton H. Fleischer, co-founder and chair of STORE Capital Corp. (NYSE: STOR), teaches entrepreneurship and innovation to first generation, low income and under-represented students. It also provides college scholarships to under-served youth. Fleischer first started the program at Arizona State University and began a second program at the University of Arkansas.

In July 2015, 39 entrepreneurial teens participated in the program at Walton College. Throughout the week, teens lived on campus, participated in business-focused activities, worked on a business plan case study and presented their team solutions.

“Of the 39 scholars participating in the program, 17 are attending the University of Arkansas this fall,” said Matthew A. Waller, dean, Sam M. Walton College of Business. “Walton College is prepared to mentor these students and provide support throughout their college experience. This innovative program is a transformational opportunity for students, Walton College and the state.”

The summer program prepares students for life on campus. Campers live in dorms and attend seminars and lectures. They hear from local business owners and attend workshops regarding business planning, research, marketing, social responsibility, accounting and finance. The program also includes college preparation classes, which focus on ACT college-readiness assessment testing. Faculty, staff and supporters of Walton College work directly with students during the week facilitating workshops, guest speakers and classes.

Once student scholars begin college classes, each is paired with student and faculty mentors to provide support and guidance. Participating banks in the program will offer summer internships to allow students to obtain professional work experience and earn funds to pay for additional college expenses.

About Signature Bank of Arkansas
Signature Bank of Arkansas was established in 2005 by a team of well-respected and experienced local bankers who had the dream of building a bank where decisions were made locally and in the best interests of not only the bank but customers and team members as well. With locations in Northwest Arkansas and Brinkley, Arkansas, each Signature Bank has a local board made up of individuals involved in their communities. The market boards provide insight and guidance to the bank. Learn more about Signature Bank at sbofa.com.

About Sam M. Walton College of Business
Since being founded at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Sam M. Walton College of Business has grown to become a nationally competitive business school. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – AACSB International – first accredited the college in 1931. U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Walton College in the top 30 among the nation’s public undergraduate business schools since 2004. The Walton College creates, applies and disseminates business knowledge using a diverse, inclusive and global perspective to encourage innovation in its primary strategic endeavors: Retail, Business Analytics and Entrepreneurship. Learn more about Walton College at walton.uark.edu.