Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, will receive the Legacy Award at Junior Achievement of Arkansas’ first-ever Hall of Fame Gala. The gala, which is scheduled for May 9 at the Statehouse Convention Center in Little Rock, will replace the annual Legacy Award Business Luncheon, said Tonya Villines, president and CEO of Junior Achievement of Arkansas.

 

“We are excited to make history with our inaugural Junior Achievement Hall of Fame Gala,” she said. “This is not just an event; it’s a celebration of success, a tribute to innovation and a recognition of the incredible achievements within our community.”

 

She added that the purpose of the gala is to recognize and celebrate the achievements of outstanding individuals who have supported Junior Achievement’s goals and have had a positive impact on the community, business and education.

 

“Our honorees are trailblazers, visionaries and game changers who have left an incredible mark on the world of business and beyond,” she said. 

 

Junior Achievement and Walmart have partnered to support education and youth development for more than 15 years, she said, which garnered McMillon the Legacy Award.

 

“Doug’s dedication to education and workforce training makes him particularly deserving of this honor,” she said. “He is a role model for our 22,000 students we serve each year. His experiences and success provide an inspiration to the younger generation to pursue their dreams with dedication and hard work.”

 

The Nelson Summit Award, which honors a business that has shown outstanding support of JA’s mission of inspiring and preparing Arkansas youth for success in the global economy, will be presented to Arvest Bank.

 

“We are proud to present the 2024 Nelson Summit Award to Arvest Bank and recognize their positive contributions to the region’s economic development and commitment to business excellence,” she said. “We are grateful to recognize the impact of our Arvest Bank volunteers and the power they give to build stronger communities.”

 

Originally the Summit Business Award, the award was renamed the Nelson Summit Award in 2016 to honor Sheffield Nelson, founder of Junior Achievement of Arkansas, she said, adding that it is incredible that the attorney, businessman and politician, along with founding board members Mack McLarty, who was former President Bill Clinton’s first chief of staff, and Jerry Jones, owner of the Dallas Cowboys, are still involved in JA of Arkansas, which was founded in 1987.

 

Fatima Majid will receive the 2024 Student of the Year Award. Majid is a JA alumnus and volunteer who was the Bank of America Student Leader Summer Intern last year, Villines said. The Bank of America Student Leaders program is aimed at providing young people with leadership development opportunities and exposure to civic engagement so participants can develop leadership and civic engagement skills while gaining work experience, she added.

 

“Fatima has made incredible strides in the community, serving our youth, volunteering and leading up many community service projects across the country,” Villines said. “Fatima has made a remarkable impact on our community, and we are honored to recognize and celebrate her achievements and positive contributions.”

 

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The honorees will receive recognition for their contributions during the awards ceremony, which will showcase their accomplishments as the highlight of the gala. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with individuals from various industries, participate in a live auction and further support JA’s programs. Heather Baker, president and publisher of AY About You and David Bazzel, radio personality at 103.7 the Buzz and former Arkansas Razorback, will emcee the event.

 

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“This event serves as our largest fundraiser to support Junior Achievement’s programs and initiatives,” Villines said. “We invite the community to come together and toast the future and the extraordinary individuals who have shaped it.”

 

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