Vendors FORE Education Golf Tournament Raises $63,000 for Scholarships

Russ Heithoff, Claudia Mobley, Pam Styles and Erik Wolff
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Russ Heithoff, Claudia Mobley, Pam Styles and Erik Wolff

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Members of the Northwest Arkansas business community once again stepped up for the annual Vendors FORE Education golf tournament to raise money to support students at the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the University of Arkansas women's golf program. 

The tournament, sponsored by Walmart vendors, was held July 11 at Stonebridge Meadows Golf Club in Fayetteville. The Center for Retailing Excellence in the Walton College, working in partnership with Erik Wolff of E-Wolff Sales Solutions and Russ Heithoff of Strategic Retail Solutions, hosts the tournament each year.

The event provides support for the women’s golf program at the University of Arkansas and gives to the Center for Retailing Excellence to provide support for students who may have missed out on other financial aid opportunities. 

 “The Vendors FORE Education student support tournament has distributed nearly $260,000 in financial aid to students since its association with the Center for Retailing Excellence began in 2003,” said Pamela Styles, associate director of outreach for the center. “Additionally, it has provided $70,000 in support to the women’s golf team here at the University of Arkansas.”

“This event takes a lot of planning and hard work,” said Claudia B. Mobley, director of the Center for Retailing Excellence. “After weeks of pre-work, the staff then spends the entire day working outside in what is usually the hottest part of the summer.”

The Vendors FORE Education tournament began in 1996 as a social gathering for the vendor community and a means of building relationships. The group soon realized the event could provide financial assistance for university students who have the potential to become retail industry leaders. A primary mission of the tournament is to foster relationships between industry and academia.

 “The event is often described as one of the most enjoyable days of social networking where everyone is a winner, especially the students,” Styles said. “The vendor community understands that by supporting these young men and women on their road to success we insure they will reciprocate for future generations of students, perpetuating the contributions of today.”

Each year's tournament is a four-person scramble with prizes awarded to the top teams and additional prizes for closest to the pin and other contests. Participation is limited to 30 teams, and this year's event reached maximum capacity in early spring, Styles said.

“Women’s sports often do not receive the same recognition as the men’s programs,” Styles said. “This partnership between the Center for Retailing Excellence and the women’s golf team has allowed the vendor community to see that our women athletes excel both academically and athletically. For the women's golf team, this event supports their competitions and program and enhances recognition of their many achievements.”

“We are fortunate for the intercollegiate relationships here on campus,” she said. “This is one of several success stories in working with other departments and colleges across the university.”

Bridgestone Retail Operations and Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care Division, both center board members of the Center for Retailing Excellence were title sponsors of the event along with Atkins Nutritionals, Hillshire Brands and Hunter & Michaels. Bridgestone Retail Operations is a network of company-owned automotive service providers; Bayer HealthCare Consumer Care Division markets of over-the-counter medications and nutritional supplements; Atkins Nutritionals manufactures and sells bars and shakes designed around the principles of the Atkins Diet; Hillshire Brands features brands such as Jimmy Dean, Ball Park and State Fair; and Hunter & Michaels specializes in placing executives in the consumer package goods industry.

The Center for Retailing Excellence was established in the Walton College in 1998 with a portion of the $50 million endowment from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation.


Pamela D. Styles, Associate Director of Outreach
Center for Retailing Excellence

David Speer, director of communications
Sam M. Walton College of Business

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