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Arkansas Business Hall of Fame

The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame was created by the Sam M. Walton College of Business at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in 1999. The objectives of the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame are to honor outstanding business leaders whose accomplishments have brought lasting fame to Arkansas, to highlight the growing economy of Arkansas and its wide range of opportunities, and to preserve the legacy of Arkansas’s finest business leaders for generations to come.

For many decades, Arkansas had the reputation—both within the state and nationally—of being a low-income, backward state. The Walton College saw a need to recognize publicly those Arkansas business leaders who have made enormous economic contributions to the state, the nation, and, in many instances, the world. Arkansas has produced such major business leaders as Sam Walton, Don Tyson, William Dillard, Jack Stephens, and J. B. and Johnelle Hunt.

The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame annually inducts no more than four outstanding business leaders who are Arkansans by birth or by choice. The selection process begins with a grassroots effort requesting nominations from individuals around the state. A nominating committee of volunteer business and community leaders also encourages communities and organizations to submit nominations. Criteria for consideration include a significant impact as a business leader, concern for improving the community, a display of ethics in all business dealings, and an age over sixty. The Walton College reaches across the state and even outside the state to gain a representative group of nominations. Next, a selection committee of business leaders meets to determine the inductees. All nominations are kept on file for five years.

The Walton College hosts an induction dinner each February in Little Rock (Pulaski County). The after-dinner program celebrates each of the inductees through a video biography, a personal introduction by a UA representative or volunteer, and an acceptance speech by the inductee (or, in the case of a deceased inductee, a member of the family). Inductees are presented with a medal and a glass-and-metal award.

The permanent Arkansas Business Hall of Fame is housed in the visitors’ atrium of the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Enterprise Development, the conference facility of the Walton College on the UA campus. As of the 2007 induction ceremony, thirty-eight business leaders have been inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame



William T. Dillard Sr.

Charles H. Murphy Jr.

Jackson T. Stephens

Sam M. Walton

Dillard’s, Inc.

Murphy Oil Corporation

Stephens Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.



Joe T. Ford

Harvey Jones

Donald W. Reynolds

Don J. Tyson

Alltel Corporation

Jones Truck Lines

Donrey Media Group

Tyson Foods, Inc.



Thomas H. Barton

William E. Darby

J. B. and Johnelle Hunt

John H. Johnson

Lion Oil Company

National Old Line Insurance Company

J. B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc.

Johnson Publishing Company, Inc.



Roland S. Boreham Jr.

F. Sheridan Garrison

Gene George

Walter V. Smiley

Baldor Electric Company

American Freightways, Inc.

George’s, Inc.

Smiley Investment Company



Richard E. Bell

David D. Glass

Robert D. Nabholz Sr.

Louis L. Ramsay Jr.

Riceland Foods, Inc.

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Nabholz Construction Corporation

Simmons First National Corporation



John A. Cooper Sr.

Frank Lyon Sr.

Charles D. Morgan

Robert A. Young Jr.

Cooper Communities, Inc.

Frank Lyon Company

Acxiom Corporation

Arkansas Best Corporation



Dave Grundfest Sr.

James T. “Red” Hudson

Edward M. Penick Sr.

Donald Munro

Sterling Stores Company, Inc.

Hudson Foods, Inc.

Worthen Banking Corporation

Munro & Company, Inc.



Frank D. Hickingbotham

Doyle Rogers Sr.

William F. “Billy” Rector

Forrest L. Wood

TCBY Enterprises, Inc.

Metropolitan National Bank

Rector Phillips Morse Inc.

Wood Manufacturing Company, Inc.



Delbert E. Allen Sr.

Ernest P. Sr. and Thelma L. Joshua

Kenneth Pat Wilson

Albert R. Yarnell

Allen Canning Company

J. M. Products Inc.

First Arkansas BancShares, Inc.

Yarnell Ice Cream Co.



Lee Bodenhamer

Harvey C. Couch

William H. Bowen

William H. Kennedy Jr.

Meridian Management Company

Arkansas Power & Light

First Commercial Bank

National Bank of Commerce



Chesley Pruet

Raymond Rebsamen

Willis Shaw

Jim Yates

Pruet Drilling Co.

Rebsamen Insurance Co.

Willis Shaw Express Inc.

E-Z Mart Stores Inc.



William E. “Bill” Clark

James E. “Jim” Lindsey

Jerral Wayne “Jerry” Jones

J. Thomas “Tommy” May

CDI Contractors

Lindsey Management, Inc.

Dallas Cowboys Football Club, Inc.

Simmons First National Corporation


L. Dickson Flake

Donald G. Soderquist

Wallace W. Fowler

Leland E. Tollett

Colliers International

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.

Liberty Bank of Arkansas/Fowler Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc.



John Ed Anthony

Wayne Cranford

Walter E. Hussman Jr.

Jack C. Shewmaker

Anthony Timberlands, Inc.

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.


Thomas E. Boyer

W. C. “Buddy” Coleman Jr.

William L. Cravens

Frank Fletcher Jr.

Micro Images

Coleman Dairy

Oaklawn Jockey Club

Frank Fletcher Companies


James H. Faulkner

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty

Stanley E. Reed

Mark C. Simmons

Faulkner and Associates

McLarty Associates

Arkansas Farm Bureau

Simmons Foods Inc.



Al Bell

Stephen L. LaFrance Sr.

Millie Ward

Donald E. “Buddy” Wray

Stax Records

USA Drug

Stone Ward

Tyson Foods



William T. Dillard II

George K. Mitchell

Winthrop Rockefeller

Patricia P. Upton

Dillard’s, Inc.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Winrock Farms


 For additional information:
Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. (accessed October 9, 2014).

Dixie T. Kline
Sam M. Walton College of Business

Last Updated 10/14/2015

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