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Wal-Mart Heirs Donate $300 Million

April 12, 2002|Associated Press

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The family behind the Wal-Mart empire on Thursday gave $300 million to the University of Arkansas, the largest gift on record to a public university in the U.S.

The money, from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation, will establish an undergraduate honors college and also go toward the university's graduate school.

"What the Walton family has done today will improve life in Arkansas for generations to come, and we are grateful beyond words," Chancellor John A. White said.

Sam Walton, who died in 1992, started Bentonville-based Wal-Mart four decades ago. It is now the largest company in the world. Walton's sons Rob and Jim are University of Arkansas alumni. Rob Walton is Wal-Mart chairman.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, the donation is the fifth-largest to any U.S. university, public or private. The largest was $600 million, given last year to Caltech by Intel Corp. founder Gordon Moore and his wife, Betty.

Jay Allen, a Walton foundation spokesman, said Walton family members did not attend the announcement because they wanted the focus to be on the school.

The university's business school already was named for Sam Walton, after a $50-million gift from the family in 1998.

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