Retail ’Cats: Macy's CEO Pays It Forward

‘These students are getting firsthand exposure to the industry while they’re studying these subjects in the classroom.’

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Tim Vanderpool, Jacob Chinn photo

Terry Lundgren ’75 is not a man to forget his roots. That’s why, in 2005, the Macy’s CEO put his name behind the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing at the UA. The center has introduced hundreds of students to the world of retailing — some of them stepping into successful careers with Macy’s.

Meanwhile, the center draws the international retail world to the UA for its annual Global Retailing Conference, where students network with industry leaders. 

Lundgren’s ongoing dedication has driven the program’s success. “We now have our own building on campus and 500 students in the program,” he says, “and we are training people specifically for the retail and wholesale fashion industry.” Some study at the center while also working towards business degrees from the UA’s Eller College of Management. “The combination of the two is very attractive,” says Lundgren.

“We start off with a competitive advantage, in that these students are getting firsthand exposure to the industry while they’re studying these subjects in the classroom. We’re also on campus recruiting and hiring.” 

Student learning reaches its zenith during the yearly global gathering, for which Lundgren is a major recruiter. “This last year I had Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot, come to speak. I had Walter Robb, the CEO of Whole Foods. We had Bobbi Brown, who has a major cosmetics brand that’s part of the Estée Lauder Corporation. 

“Our students from the center are getting two days of presentations from these experts and then getting the opportunity to meet with them and get to know them,” says Lundgren.

In return for all this, Macy’s gains smart employees who can hit the ground running. “We have individuals moving up the store ranks,” he says, “really great examples of UA Wildcats who are performing well in the company and continuing to grow with us.”