History

History

History

Creating a Visionary Opportunity

More than a quarter-century ago, Walmart founder Sam Walton and his wife, Helen, initiated a visionary program – the Walton International Scholarship Program – which continues to foster opportunity and shape the world well beyond the borders of the United States.

During a trip to Central America in early 1985, the Waltons learned Central American students were being recruited to colleges in the former Soviet Union. They, however, believed it was critical to expose Central American students to the virtues of democracy and capitalism.

In May of 1985, the Waltons responded with a donation to three respected, faith-based Arkansas institutions – Harding University, John Brown University and University of the Ozarks – to fund scholarships for students in each of the seven countries of Central America and later, Mexico.

Several alumni are now in leadership positions with some of the most successful companies in Central America and Mexico. Others have initiated programs and organizations to lead their communities out of the cycle of poverty. These success stories continue to grow as new classes of Walton International Scholarship Program students explore their own potential and prepare to follow in the footsteps of those before them.

"If we want future leaders of Central America to know the benefits of a free society, we need to get large numbers of the student generation up here to the United States."
–Sam Walton