Alice Walton, the daughter of Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife Helen, is slated to deliver the commencement address at the University of Arkansas on Saturday, May 12.
She will also receive an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degree. She is being honored for a lifetime of transformative achievements that have made an unprecedented impact on the people and the state of Arkansas, according to a press release from the University announcing the honorary degree and her involvement in commencement ceremonies. Walton’s accomplishments include a leading role in construction of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport, her guiding position in the Walton Family Foundation, which has made significant donations to the University of Arkansas and her creation of the stunning Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, which opened last fall.
Overshadowed by Walton’s selection to deliver the all university address is a commencement speech to be delivered the following week by Walmart’s EVP and general counsel, Jeff Gearhart, who will address graduates of the University’s school of law. Gearhart graduated with high honors from the School of Law in 1989, and served as an editor of the Arkansas Law Review. He served as a partner at the Rose Law Firm and Kutak Rock LLP before joining Walmart in 2003. He has served as general counsel since 2009 and was promoted to corporate secretary in 2010.