Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon to Speak at Spring Commencement

Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon
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Walmart President and CEO Doug McMillon

Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, Inc., will be the featured speaker at this year's U of A spring commencement ceremony. The U of A will conduct multiple ceremonies over the course of three days, starting on Friday, May 10, to celebrate this semester's nearly 4,800 graduates.

McMillon will speak at the university commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 11, at 8:30 a.m. in Bud Walton Arena. All other ceremonies that weekend will occur inside Bud Walton Arena or Barnhill Arena on May 10 or 11. The School of Law will conduct their commencement at the Fayetteville Town Center on Saturday, May 18, at 2 p.m.

Mark Pryor, former U.S. senator and Arkansas attorney general, will receive an honorary doctorate from the U of A during the university commencement ceremony.

Livestreaming of all ceremonies will be available on the U of A YouTube channel.


McMillon is a lifelong merchant who has dedicated his career to bringing products and services to customers and members to help them save money and live a better life. Today, he and his team at Walmart are building the world's leading people-led, tech-powered omnichannel retailer that's dedicated to this purpose.

McMillon began his Walmart career as an hourly associate unloading trailers, and his commitment to his fellow associates is ongoing. Under his leadership as president and CEO, Walmart is investing heavily in wages, benefits and education—including a debt-free college program and an expanded parental leave policy. During his tenure, the company also set an aspiration to become a regenerative company and launched ambitious efforts such as Project Gigaton to address climate change and work with suppliers to avoid 1 billion metric tons of emissions worldwide, which the company achieved six years ahead of target.

He was named president and CEO in 2014. From 2009 to 2014, he was president and CEO of Walmart International, and from 2005 to 2009, he served as president and CEO of Sam's Club. He has worked at Walmart for more than 30 years, serving in senior leadership roles in all of Walmart's business segments.

McMillon serves on the boards of directors of Business Roundtable, the Consumer Goods Forum and the U.S.-China Business Council. He also sits on the advisory board of the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, China.

Originally from Jonesboro, McMillon graduated from the U of A with a bachelor's degree in business administration, and he received a master's degree in business administration from the University of Tulsa.


Doors will open 60 minutes prior to each ceremony, and guests are encouraged to be seated 15 minutes prior to the ceremony's start. 

For ceremonies on campus, all guests will be required to enter through the south or west entrances of Bud Walton Arena and the north and upper-south entrances of Barnhill Arena. 

Tickets are not required at any ceremony, but a clear bag policy will be in effect. Compact umbrellas are allowed, but balloons, wrapped packages and strollers are not allowed in either arena. A full list of prohibited items is available online.

Printed program books will not be distributed to guests, but they will be handed out to graduates and will be available online beginning the week of the campus ceremonies.

Free parking is available in any unrestricted parking lot on campus. Download a map of all parking areas here.  

Campus drop-off for people with disabilities is located at the south entrance of Bud Walton with disabled parking available in lot 60. At Barnhill Arena, parking for people with disabilities can be found in lot 45A and 45B on the west and south sides of the arena, respectively.


Friday, May 10, 2024:

Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences – 3 p.m. (Bud Walton Arena)
Student speaker: Michelle Kamanga, senior graduate with Highest Distinction.

Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences – 4 p.m. (Barnhill Arena)
Speaker: Jennifer James, part owner of H&J Land Co.

Saturday, May 11, 2024:

University Commencement (only graduate students recognized) – 8:30 a.m. (Bud Walton Arena)
Speaker: Doug McMillon, president and CEO of Walmart, Inc.
Honorary degree: Mark Pryor, former U.S. senator and Arkansas attorney general

College of Engineering – Noon (Barnhill Arena)
Speaker: Jim McClelland, former CEO of McClelland Consulting Engineers and 1967 U of A graduate

Sam M. Walton College of Business – 12:30 p.m. (Bud Walton Arena)
Speaker: J.K. Symancyk, president and CEO of PetSmart

Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design – 3:30 p.m. (Barnhill Arena)
Speaker: Cathleen McGuigan, former editor-in-chief of Architectural Record.

College of Education and Health Professions – 5 p.m. (Bud Walton Arena)
Speaker: Dr. Fred Bonner II, professor and endowed chair in Educational Leadership and Counseling and executive director and chief scientist of the MACH-III Center at Prairie View A&M University.

Saturday, May 18, 2024:

School of Law – 2 p.m. (Fayetteville Town Center)

More information for families and guests can be found at

About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas' economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research and Economic Development News.


John Thomas, director of media relations
University Relations

Lyndsay Bradshaw, assistant director of executive communications
University Relations


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