“Students are what the U of A is all about. If we want the students of Arkansas to have the best opportunities possible, then we need a top-notch faculty that is appropriately paid.”
– Ted (B.Arch. ’81) and Leslie Belden (B.Arch. ’79, Ph.D. ’05)
Names and Numbers
What’s in a naming? For the newly named William Dillard Department of Accounting, it means extensive benefits to the department, its faculty and its students.
Thanks to a planned total gift of $10 million from William T. Dillard II, current chairman and chief executive officer of Dillard’s Inc., the accounting department in the Sam M. Walton College of Business is now named in his father’s memory. The William Dillard Department of Accounting is one of only two named departments on the University of Arkansas campus and will have a transformational impact on its development.
“In accounting, we teach our students the importance of strategic budgeting processes within organizations,” said department chair Gary Peters. “Endowments allow us to do the very same thing in our own department. They allow us to identify, plan and support mission-critical and aspirational activities.”
Peters is familiar with the impact of endowments. As the S. Robson Walton Endowed Professor, he has the opportunity to assist students, reach alumni, elevate the university’s reputation in accounting and interact with others in the accounting profession, thanks to his own endowed position.
“These opportunities fill me with an incredible amount of pride and gratitude to be a part of the University of Arkansas,” he said. “Endowments at the university produce compounding returns for Arkansas and society at large. As a result, we are all allowed to be a part of the larger purpose or story. This is one of the reasons why my family chooses to include the university in our own annual giving plans.”
The late William T. Dillard, who graduated from the university’s College of Business Administration in 1935 with an accounting degree, was responsible for the development of one of the nation’s retail giants. The department named in his memory has four strategic focus areas: advancing student success, fulfilling our research mission, affirming the Arkansas flagship and developing leaders of the accounting profession. Peters says each of these areas involve students, faculty, alumni and external constituents, and the department’s new endowment will allow them to support each of these groups in ways that could not be done previously.
“While most people might view the university through the lens of the classroom, our functions and impact reach much further,” he said. “Hundreds of students already benefit from Mr. Dillard’s generosity every year, but now thousands of students, the accounting profession and the Arkansas business economy will continue to benefit for years to come. As a member of Arkansas’ flagship university, the accounting department has a storied history of contributions to Arkansas’ accounting profession. The Dillard gift expands those contributions and opportunities for students as a nationally recognized program.
“Similar to the adage ‘Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime,’ endowments not only provide the fishing poles, they produce generations of individuals who pass along the lessons.”
Make an Impact Through an Endowment
- To attract – and retain – key researchers, it is important to invest in our faculty, especially in the form of endowed chairs or fellowships.
- In addition to chairs and fellowships, faculty support endowments are another excellent way to ensure our faculty members have the resources needed for success
- When a department, such as the William Dillard Department of Accounting, is endowed through a naming gift, the department can utilize that funding for faculty development and retention, professional outreach, program innovations, research and doctoral funding, accounting analytics and technology curriculum, scholarships and executive-in-residence opportunities.