Supply chain woes, environmental sustainability, automation, information security, workforce retention and talent recruitment – these are just a handful of the issues facing the retail sector today. To address these and future retail challenges, a $5 million gift from Terry and Tina Lundgren will fuel innovative research and student opportunities in business, retail and consumer sciences at the University of Arizona.
"People often dismiss the importance of retailing, until retail is disrupted," said Laura Scaramella, head of the UArizona John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences. "Think about what happened during the COVID-19 pandemic; what other industry turned so quickly, on a dime, to meet the needs of consumers?"
The gift announcement coincides with the 26th annual UArizona Global Retailing Ideas Summit, which began Wednesday at the university's Student Union Memorial Center. Among conference presenters are senior executives from retailing, consumer brand and technology companies such as Macy's, Best Buy, Nike, PetSmart, and Levi Strauss and Company.
The gift will establish an endowed faculty chair in both the Eller College of Management and the Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences to help meet the industry's demand for graduates who embrace change and spark innovation in retailing companies of all sizes. It also will provide enhanced scholarship opportunities for community college transfer students.
"I had to work full time and go to school full time. I was the only one out of six kids who went to college. I was desperate to figure out how to graduate because I wanted a better life. I wanted more opportunities," Lundgren said. "There are young people in community college in the same exact situation. If we just give them the opportunity, they will exceed everyone's expectations."