Two University of Arkansas alumni are making a six-figure gift to create a new supply chain student organization and symposium at the university.
David and Shelley Simpson have committed $175,000 toward the supply chain initiative with the specific goal of addressing gender diversity in the industry. According to Sam M. Walton College of Business dean Matt Waller, the gift will help increase inclusivity and ensure that the supply chain industry provides opportunities for all, regardless of gender.
“We need the study and practice of supply chain to be as inclusive and diverse as possible, with a much better gender balance, and careers in the field to be open and welcoming to all. This gift allows us to better make that happen,” Waller said in a statement.
Of the total gift amount, the Simpsons have designated $75,000 to endow the Women Impacting Supply Chain Excellence (WISE) student group. This Walton College program is aimed at increasing student interest in the supply chain and logistics fields through mentoring, networking and events.
Through the endowment, WISE will have funds to pay for guest speaker fees, conference travel, marketing and more.
The remaining $100,000 will go toward sponsoring a new symposium, entitled the “WISE Future Leaders Symposium, Sponsored by Shelley Simpson of J.B. Hunt.” Gathering male and female undergraduates from around the country, the symposium will examine gender diversity issues in the supply chain industry. The symposium will also serve to connect students to the supply chain industry, introducing them to executives in the Northwest Arkansas region.
“An important part of my job is my obligation to help everyone learn how to connect while offering a female perspective,” Simpson said. “I also believe in helping other women. With an endowment, this becomes more than just a project or trial. It will help the group for years to come.”