Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc., a nonprofit educational organization honoring the achievements of outstanding individuals and encouraging youth to pursue their dreams through higher education, today announced that H. Lee Scott, Jr., former president, CEO and chairman of the executive committee of the board of directors, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., has been selected for membership in this prestigious organization. Mr. Scott joins 11 other esteemed business, civic and cultural leaders from across North America in receiving 2018 honors. For more than 70 years, the Horatio Alger Award has been annually bestowed upon admired leaders who have succeeded despite facing adversities, and who have remained committed to higher education and charitable efforts in their local communities.
Born in 1949, Mr. Scott is a proud native of Baxter Springs, Kansas. Mr. Scott learned first-hand the importance of hard work, personal responsibility and always taking care of people while working at his father's Phillips 66 filling station on the famous cross-country highway, Route 66. Enrolling in nearby Pittsburg State University, he paid his way through college by working night shifts at an hourly wage factory job making steel tire molds. By 1971, Mr. Scott had graduated on schedule from Pittsburg State with a business degree. He also had met and married his wife, Linda, and started their family together with the birth of their first of two children.
After several years of working at Yellow Freight Systems out of college, Mr. Scott joined Walmart as an assistant director of the company's private truck fleet in 1979. He rose rapidly through the ranks to lead the logistics division and then the company's merchandise operation. In 1998, Mr. Scott was promoted to president and CEO of Walmart U.S., the company's largest business segment. One year later, he was promoted to chief operating officer and vice chairman of the entire company. In 2000, Mr. Scott became president and CEO of Walmart, succeeding the man who hired him from Yellow Freight Systems more than two decades before, David Glass.
Walmart's financial performance and social and environmental leadership during Mr. Scott's tenure combined to deliver one of the most extraordinary transformations in recent corporate history. As president and CEO, he oversaw a 243 percent increase in global sales, from $165 billion to $401 billion, and a 277 percent increase in earnings per share, from $1.21 to $3.35. During his final year as CEO, Walmart was the best performing stock in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Mr. Scott is perhaps best known, however, for his work to change how Walmart views its role in the world and, in turn, how the world views Walmart. Under his leadership, Walmart stepped out on some of the biggest challenges facing the U.S. and the world, including efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, lower prescription drug costs and build a more responsible global supply chain.
"Lee Scott embodies the fulfillment of the American Dream," said Matthew Rose, president, Horatio Alger Association and 2013 Horatio Alger Award recipient. "He has showed determination and perseverance throughout his life – from paying his way through college to his extraordinary climb up the career ladder to lead the world's largest corporation. His success and the generosity of his entire family stand as a model for our Scholars, and we are delighted to welcome him into the 2018 new Member class."
Mr. Scott has received several honors in his lifetime and is proud to have supported many philanthropic causes. He was named an outstanding alumnus by Pittsburg State University in 1995. Upon his retirement from the Walmart Board of Directors in 2014, the company named its newly renovated logistics building the "Lee Scott Logistics Complex." In honor of Mr. and Mrs. Scott's support of a children's museum in northwest Arkansas, the educational center was named the Scott Family Amazeum when opened in 2015. Also in 2015, Mr. and Mrs. Scott donated more than $2 million to endow a national speaker series at Pittsburg State. For more than two decades, Mr. and Mrs. Scott have been major supporters of Mercy, a nationally recognized not-for-profit hospital system serving communities across four Midwestern states.
"More than anything, education helps us realize our full potential and make the most of our opportunities," said Mr. Scott. "I'm grateful to the Horatio Alger Association for the chance to be honored alongside such an esteemed group of leaders and philanthropists, and to have a positive impact on the Scholars as they work toward living the American Dream."
Through its Members, Horatio Alger Association aims to educate young people about the limitless opportunities afforded to them by the free-enterprise system. To further this mission, the organization awards scholarships to outstanding high school students who are committed to pursuing higher education and giving back to their communities. Like Association Members, Horatio Alger Scholars have faced significant adversities, but have also displayed unmatched resilience in overcoming their challenges. Since the scholarship program was established in 1984, Horatio Alger Association has provided more than $125 million to students in need, all of which has been funded solely through the generosity of Association Members and friends.
Mr. Scott and the Member Class of 2018 will be formally inducted into the Association on April 5-7, 2018, during the Association's 71st Horatio Alger Award Induction Ceremonies in Washington, D.C. The annual three-day event honors the achievements of both Members and National Scholars, affording both groups the opportunity to meet and interact, exchanging stories of hardships and triumphs.
About Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans:
Founded in 1947, the Horatio Alger Association of Distinguished Americans, Inc. is dedicated to the simple but powerful belief that hard work, honesty and determination can conquer all obstacles. The Association honors the achievements of outstanding leaders who have accomplished remarkable successes in spite of adversity by bestowing upon them the Horatio Alger Award and inducting them as lifetime Members. Horatio Alger Members support promising young people with the resources and confidence needed to overcome adversity in pursuit of their dreams through higher education. Through the generosity of its Members and friends, in 2017, the Association awarded more than $18 million in undergraduate and graduate need-based scholarships across the United States and Canada, and also provided college support and mentoring services to its Scholars. Since 1984, the Association has awarded more than $125 million in college scholarships to more than 25,000 deserving young people. For more information, please visit www.horatioalger.org.