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 2021 induction ceremony was cancelled due to ongoing uncertainty over the COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

1999 William T. Dillard Sr.

Charles H. Murphy Jr.

Jackson T. Stephens

Sam M. Walton

Dillard’s, Inc.

Murphy Oil Corporation

Stephens Inc.

Walmart Inc.

2000 Joe T. Ford

Harvey Jones

Donald W. Reynolds

Don J. Tyson

Alltel Corporation

Jones Truck Lines

Donrey Media Group

Tyson Foods, Inc.

2001 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.

2002 Roland S. Boreham Jr.

F. Sheridan Garrison

Gene George

Walter V. Smiley

Baldor Electric Company

American Freightways, Inc.

George’s, Inc.

Smiley Investment Company

2003 Richard E. Bell

David D. Glass

Robert D. Nabholz Sr.

Louis L. Ramsay Jr.

Riceland Foods, Inc.

Walmart Inc.

Nabholz Construction Corporation

Simmons First National Corporation

2004 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

2005 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.

2006 Frank D. Hickingbotham

Doyle Rogers Sr.

William F. “Billy” Rector Sr.

Forrest L. Wood

TCBY Enterprises, Inc.

Metropolitan National Bank

Rector Phillips Morse Inc.

Wood Manufacturing Company, Inc.

2007 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.

2008 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

2009 Chesley Pruet

Raymond Rebsamen

Willis Shaw

Jim Yates

Pruet Drilling Co.

Rebsamen Insurance Co.

Willis Shaw Express Inc.

E-Z Mart Stores Inc.

2010 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

2011 L. Dickson Flake

Donald G. Soderquist

Wallace W. Fowler

Leland E. Tollett

Colliers International

Walmart Inc.

Liberty Bank of Arkansas/Fowler Foods

Tyson Foods, Inc.

2012 John Ed Anthony

Wayne Cranford

Walter E. Hussman Jr.

Jack C. Shewmaker

Anthony Timberlands, Inc.

Cranford Johnson Robinson Woods

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Walmart Inc.

2013 Thomas E. Boyer

W. C. “Buddy” Coleman Jr.

William L. Cravens

Frank Fletcher Jr.

Micro Images

Coleman Dairy

Oaklawn Jockey Club

Frank Fletcher Companies

2014 James H. Faulkner

Thomas F. “Mack” McLarty

Stanley E. Reed

Mark C. Simmons

Faulkner and Associates

McLarty Associates

Arkansas Farm Bureau

Simmons Foods Inc.

2015 Al Bell

Stephen L. LaFrance Sr.

Millie Ward

Donald E. “Buddy” Wray

Stax Records

USA Drug

Stone Ward

Tyson Foods

2016 William T. Dillard II

George K. Mitchell

Winthrop Rockefeller

Patricia P. Upton

Dillard’s, Inc.

Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield

Winrock Farms


2017 Charles E. Scharlau

Thomas B. Schueck

Sherman E. Tate

Gus M. Vratsinas

Southwestern Energy Co.

Lexicon Inc.

Tate & Associates Management

Bailey Construction and Consulting LLC

2018 James A. (Jim) Bottin

John D. Correnti

Herbert H. McAdams II

James Kirk Thompson

ABC Financial

Big River Steel

Citizens Bank of Jonesboro

J. B. Hunt Transport

2019 Claiborne P. Deming

Warren A. Stephens

Joe M. Steele

John W. Tyson

Murphy Oil Corporation

Stephens, Inc.

Steele Canning Co.

Tyson Foods

2020 Gerald Alley

Olivia Farrell

Charles Nabholz

Reynie Rutledge

Con-Real LP

Arkansas Business Publishing Group

Nabholz Corp.

First Security Bancorp


2022 Peggy Clark

Tom Faust

George Gleason

Ginger Graham

Clark Timberlands

Morgan Stanley Investment Management

Bank OZK

Ginger and Baker

2023 Curt Bradburry

E. Fletcher Lord Jr.

Judy McReynolds

Ross Whipple

Stephens, Inc.

Bumper to Bumper/Crow-Burlingame Co.

ArcBest Corp.

Horizon Capital Partners and Horizon Timber Services

2024 John Conner Jr.

Gary George

Eric Jackson

Dhu Thompson

Holden Conner

George’s Poultry

Oaklawn Racing and Gaming

U.S. Irrigation

For additional information:
Arkansas Business Hall of Fame. (accessed February 17, 2023).

Dixie T. Kline
Sam M. Walton College of Business


No comments on this entry yet.