Wal-Mart vice president to speak at MU

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 | 3:49 p.m. CDT; updated 6:39 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 12, 2008

COLUMBIA — Beth Schommer, a Wal-Mart senior vice president and merchandise manager, will give three lectures at MU on Wednesday.

Schommer oversees the home merchandising division at Wal-Mart, the nation’s largest retailer. One of her lectures will focus on Wal-Mart’s attempt to become more environmentally conscious.

Schedule of Schommer’s lectures for Sept. 26

Advice to My Younger Self 9-9:50 a.m., Monsanto Auditorium, Christopher S. Bond Life Sciences Building, MU
Challenges and Changes: Evolution or Revolution? 11-11:50 a.m., Jesse Wrench Auditorium, Memorial Union, MU
Going Global, Going Green: The Wal-Mart Way 2-2:50 p.m., Room 22, Tate Hall, MU

Kitty Dickerson, chair of Textile and Apparel Management, believes Schommer’s lectures will be of particular interest to Textile and Apparel Management students and business people, but anyone may attend.

Schommer has had a relationship with the department for the past 1½ years. In addition to being an “executive in residence” in the MU Textile and Apparel Management department, she is also on the advisory board of the department.

Dickerson said Schommer last visited MU in March.

“We were so impressed with her we wanted her back for more,” Dickerson said.

Dickerson said members of the Textile and Apparel Management department visited Wal-Mart’s Bentonville, Ark., headquarters in May 2006 to enhance their relationship with the company. Schommer decided to be the department’s Wal-Mart sponsor before the visit.

“We felt it was such a good fit that we asked her to be on our advisory board,” Dickerson said, “[The board is] supportive of our program in many ways.”

According to the Textile and Apparel Management Web site, the advisory board has 20 members, including the CEO of a clothing Web site, a textile and trade specialist and the manager of a department store. Board members, according to the Web site, serve as role models for students, provide internships and scholarships and speak on campus.

Wal-Mart’s roots in Columbia are deep. Sam Walton, who started the business with his brother, Bud, graduated from MU. Both brothers also attended Hickman High School. The daughters of Bud Walton, Ann Kroenke and Nancy Laurie, reside in Columbia.

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