Study Abroad Experience Inspires Campaign Gift From Roberts Family

John and Tamara Roberts, along with their children Blakely and Connor, have contributed $50,000 to support study abroad scholarships at the University of Arkansas.
Photo by Stephen Thetford Photography

John and Tamara Roberts, along with their children Blakely and Connor, have contributed $50,000 to support study abroad scholarships at the University of Arkansas.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – University of Arkansas alumni John and Tamara Roberts, along with their children — alumnus Connor Roberts and current student Blakely Roberts — have made a family gift through Campaign Arkansas to help support study abroad opportunities at the university. Together, they've contributed $50,000 to create the Roberts Family Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship for students in the Sam M. Walton College of Business.

"One of the many reasons we wanted to support the study abroad program is because we have seen the benefits firsthand — not only with our son, Connor, but with our friends' children as well," said Tamara Roberts. "We would like to give others the real-life experience and opportunity to use the skills they have learned through their curriculum at the U of A."

Connor Roberts completed a study abroad service learning experience in Vietnam under the direction of associate professor Steven Kopp of the Department of Marketing. The program offered students the chance to learn through service and international development in a rural village in the Mekong Delta by working alongside students from the College of Rural Development of Can Tho University.

"It was important to us for Connor to choose a program that was service-oriented," said John Roberts. "The Vietnam trip was in its inaugural year when he attended, so it was exciting to be a part of it."

John and Tamara Roberts note that Connor returned from his study abroad experience with a greater appreciation of the United States and its freedom. Now, the couple hopes their scholarship will give others the same opportunity their son had before graduating and starting his career. 

The Roberts Family Endowed Study Abroad Scholarship will support one or more students in the Walton College who are participating in a study abroad program. Preference will be given to students participating in a global community development program or a study abroad program with a service learning component who have financial need.

"The Walton College appreciates this generous gift from the Roberts family supporting study abroad for our students," said Matt Waller, dean and Sam M. Walton Leadership Chair. "The opportunity to study abroad, especially in our service learning and community building programs, benefits the student, the university and ultimately the entire business community of Arkansas."

John Roberts graduated from the Walton College with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and is the president and chief executive officer of J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. He is also a member of the Walton College Dean's Executive Advisory Board and the Arkansas Research Alliance Board. Tamara Roberts holds a Bachelor of Science in Education from the College of Education and Health Professions with an emphasis in elementary education. Both John and Tamara Roberts serve on the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee.

Connor Roberts earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in transportation and logistics from the Walton College in 2016. His sister, Blakely Roberts, is studying finance in the Walton College.

"As alumni, we love seeing both our kids attend the U of A," said Tamara Roberts. "The greatest value from Connor's experience has been the achievement of completing his degree. He acquired the knowledge he needs to succeed in life, as well as the confidence to know he can start - and finish - something as big as earning a degree. His study abroad experience added so much to these important elements of learning and building self-confidence."

About Campaign Arkansas: Campaign Arkansas is the ongoing capital campaign for the University of Arkansas to raise private gift support for the university's academic mission and other key priorities. The campaign's goal is to raise $1 billion to support academic and need-based scholarships, technology enhancements, new and renovated facilities, undergraduate, graduate and faculty research, study abroad opportunities and other innovative programs. The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in a wide spectrum of disciplines as it works to fulfill its public land-grant mission to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource and catalyst.

About the Sam M. Walton College of Business: The Sam M. Walton College of Business is a nationally and internationally recognized leader in business education and research. Since its founding at the University of Arkansas in 1926, the Walton College has grown to become the state's premier college of business - as well as a nationally competitive business school. The Walton College is ranked 26th among public business colleges by U.S. News & World Report, which ranks the supply chain management/logistics specialty 14th among public business colleges.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among only 2 percent of universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.


Jennifer Holland, director of development communications
University Relations


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