FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Alumnus William T. Dillard II and philanthropist Johnelle DeBusk Hunt will be recognized as Chancellor’s Medal recipients at the University of Arkansas Towers of Old Main event on April 10. The recipients will be honored at the event along with other benefactors whose cumulative giving or commitment to the university has reached or exceeded $100,000.
William T. Dillard II of Little Rock will be honored because of his notable business accomplishments and service to the University of Arkansas and the state. Dillard graduated from the Sam M. Walton College of Business with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and went on to earn an M.B.A. from Harvard.
A longtime supporter of Razorback Athletics, Dillard has been an active member of the Razorback Foundation Inc. for more than five decades and recently made a gift to the Basketball Performance Center, which will open this summer adjacent to Bud Walton Arena. His sustained generosity has helped make a difference in the lives of thousands of Razorback student-athletes for more than a half-century.
The third floor of Old Main was named “The Dillard Floor” in recognition of the William Dillard Family and in appreciation of their support for the Old Main renovation project in 1991. During the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, Dillard served on the Campaign Steering Committee’s fundraising council and the corporate and foundation relations committee. He is also a former member of the Walton College Dean’s Executive Advisory Board.
Dillard serves on the executive committee of the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee and lives in Little Rock with his wife, Mandy. They have three children and eight grandchildren.
“Bill Dillard is a very loyal supporter of the University of Arkansas,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “I have enjoyed his friendship over the years and always appreciate his counsel. He is generous, shrewd, and a great conversationalist, whatever the topic. His family has made a lasting impression on our campus with their generosity, and I have always valued his support.”
Johnelle DeBusk Hunt is also being recognized because of her extraordinary achievements in the business world, her philanthropic leadership at the University of Arkansas and her outstanding support of the Northwest Arkansas region and the state.
A native of Heber Springs, Hunt attended the University of Central Arkansas as an education major and started The J.B. Hunt Company in 1962 with late husband Johnnie Bryan “J.B.” Hunt.
Johnelle Hunt has remained involved with the University of Arkansas throughout her professional career with J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. and Hunt Ventures. She was the first woman to be inducted into the Arkansas Business Hall of Fame in 2001 when she and her husband were honored, and she served on the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Steering Committee as its treasurer.
In 2005, Hunt and her husband made a $5 million pledge that helped the university meet and surpass its $900 million campaign goal, which ultimately prompted the university to raise its goal to $1 billion. That same year, J.B. Hunt Transport Services Inc. made a gift of $10 million for the construction of the J.B. Hunt Transport Services Center for Academic Excellence, a technology-oriented, multi-use building.
Hunt is a charter member of the university’s Women’s Giving Circle and served on the Board of Advisors after the conclusion of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century. In 2008, she was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award, and in 2009, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. Hunt currently serves on the executive committee for the Campaign Arkansas Steering Committee.
A resident of Northwest Arkansas, Hunt has two children, who are both graduates of the University of Arkansas, and seven grandchildren.
“Johnelle Hunt is deeply committed to the University of Arkansas and philanthropy,” said Gearhart. “She not only continues to support the university by volunteering her time and resources, but has also made a priority to hire our students over the years as well. She and J.B. were instrumental to our success during the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century, and she has continued to remain involved with Campaign Arkansas. It is a privilege to recognize her for everything she has done for our campus.”
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.
Director of Development Communications