1984 Horatio Alger Award Winner
"Excellence is achieved by high ethical standards and moral convictions."
Sam Walton was born in 1918 in Kingfisher, Oklahoma, but soon moved to Missouri, where he became the youngest Eagle Scout in the state's history. He attended the University of Missouri in Columbia, majoring in economics. While there, he waited tables in exchange for meals. After graduation, he became a management trainee with JC Penney in Des Moines. During World War II, he served with the Army Intelligence Corps and earned the rank of captain. In 1945, Walton used his savings to buy a Ben Franklin variety store in Newport, Arkansas. He pioneered the practice of discounting his merchandise by buying wholesale goods from the lowest priced supplier. In 1951, he opened Walton's Five and Dime in Bentonville, Arkansas. In 1962, he opened his first Wal-Mart in Rogers, Arkansas. Today Wal-Mart is the world's largest retailer. In 1998, Time magazine included Walton on its list of 100 most influential people of the 20th century.* Deceased