Alice Walton

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Alice Walton
Alice Walton (cropped).jpg
Alice in 2011
Born Alice Louise Walton
(1949-10-07) October 7, 1949 (age 64)[1]
Newport, Arkansas
Residence Millsap, Texas
Citizenship United States
Education Trinity University[2]
Known for Heiress, Walton family fortune
Net worth Increase US$34.3 billion (est.)
(2012)[2]
Board member of
Amon Carter Museum
Spouse(s) Divorced[2]
Parents Sam Walton, Helen Walton

Alice Louise Walton (born October 7, 1949) is an American heiress to the fortune of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. She is the daughter of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton and Helen Walton, and sister of S. Robson Walton and Jim Walton. In March 2012, her estimated net worth was US$26.3 billion, making her the second-richest American woman (behind her sister-in-law Christy Walton) and the tenth-richest American.[2][3] As of February 2014, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index her estimated net worth was US $33.9 billion, making her the 13th richest person in the world.[4]

Education and career[edit]

Walton was born in Newport, Arkansas.[1] She graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas, with a B.A. in economics and finance. She began her career in finance as an equity analyst and money manager for First Commerce Corporation and later served as vice chairperson and head of all investment-related activities at the Arvest Bank Group. In 1988, Walton founded Llama Company, an investment bank engaged in corporate finance, public and structured finance, real estate finance and sales and trading. She served as President, Chairperson and CEO. For a time, she was a broker for E.F. Hutton.

She was the first chairperson and driving force behind the Northwest Arkansas Council. This community development organization played a major role in securing the development of the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport. In the late 1990s Walton closed Llama Company and moved to a 3,200 acre ranch in Millsap, Texas, named Walton's Rocking W Ranch.[5] An avid horse-lover, Walton currently lives in a modest one story 4,432 square foot stucco house on the horse ranch. She is known for having an eye for determining which 2 month-olds will grow to be champion cutters.[6]

Walton arranged for and provided the initial seed capital to finance the construction of the airport. Her involvement was instrumental in the creation of the airport, and in recognition of her contribution to the airport project and her support of transportation improvements throughout the region, the Airport Authority Board of Directors named the airport terminal the Alice L. Walton Terminal Building. In 2001, Walton was inducted into the Arkansas Aviation Hall of Fame.

In his 1992 autobiography "Made in America", Sam Walton remarked that Alice was "the most like me – a maverick – but even more volatile than I am."[7]

Philanthropy[edit]

Alice Walton’s primary philanthropic activity is as a board member of the Walton Family Foundation. She has been active on the Board of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences at Little Rock and the Board of Advisors for the University of Arkansas Graduate Business School at Fayetteville.

In 1996, the University of Arkansas established the Alice L. Walton Chair in Finance, allowing the university, through its College of Business Administration, to pursue educational excellence on a national and international level. Walton's vision led to the creation of Camp War Eagle, a Christian summer camp in Northwest Arkansas that brings together children of differing socio-economic backgrounds.

Art[edit]

Walton purchased her first piece of art when she was about ten years old. It was a reproduction of Picasso's Blue Nude she got from her father's Ben Franklin Dime-Store. She and her mother would often paint watercolors on camping trips.[7] Her interest in art led to her spearheading the Walton Family Foundation's involvement in developing Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in the heart of Bentonville, Arkansas. Crystal Bridges, opened in November 2011, is envisioned as a premier venue for a national art institution dedicated to American art and artists, and a place of learning and community.

In December 2004, the art collection of Daniel Fraad and wife, Rita, went up for public auction at Sothebys in New York. Since almost every collector was at the auction, no one could figure out who on the phone was bidding such high prices. It was later discovered that Walton purchased at least $20 million worth of art that day. She bid for most of the items while on a three-year-old gelding named IC LAD preparing to compete in the first qualifying round of the National Cutting Horse Association Futurity at the Will Rogers Coliseum in Ft. Worth, TX.[7]

In 2005, Walton purchased Asher Brown Durand's celebrated painting, Kindred Spirits, in a sealed-bid auction for a purported US$35 million. The 1849 painting, a tribute to Hudson River School painter Thomas Cole, had been given to the New York Public Library in 1904 by Julia Bryant, the daughter of Romantic poet and New York newspaper publisher William Cullen Bryant (who is depicted in the painting with Cole).[8] She has also purchased works by American painters Winslow Homer and Edward Hopper, as well as a notable portrait of George Washington by Charles Willson Peale,[9] in preparation for the opening of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Arkansas.[10] In 2009 at an undisclosed price, Crystal Bridges museum acquired Norman Rockwell's iconic "Rosie the Riveter" painting for its permanent collection.[11]

John Wilmerding, an advisor and board member to Crystal Bridges said Walton has collected the work of some artists in depth, quietly buying substantial bodies of work by Martin Johnson Heade, Stuart Davis, George Bellows and John Singer Sargent.[12] Walton's attempt to quit smoking led to the purchase two great smoking paintings by Alfred Maurer and Tom Wesselman. In a 2011 interview, she spoke about acquiring great works by other artists. She described Marsden Hartley as "one of my favorite artists-he was a very complex guy, somewhat tormented, but a very spiritual person, and love the emotion and the feel and the spirituality of his work". She went on to say "and Andrew Wyeth-the mystery and loneliness that is expressed. How do you paint loneliness?"[7]

Walton serves on the board of the Amon Carter Museum in Fort Worth, Texas and is a member of the Trustees' Council of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.

Personal life[edit]

Walton has been involved in at least three automobile accidents. During a 1983 Thanksgiving family reunion near Acapulco, Mexico, Walton lost control of a rented Jeep and plunged into a ravine, shattering her leg. She was airlifted out of Mexico and would undergo more than two dozen surgeries and is said to suffer lingering pain from her injuries. In an April 1989 incident, she struck and killed 50-year-old Oleta Hardin, who had stepped into a road. No charges were filed.[13] In a 1998 incident, she is reported to have hit a gas meter while driving under the influence. She paid a $925 fine and served no jail time.[14] [15]

On October 7, 2011, her 62nd birthday, she was again arrested for driving while intoxicated in Weatherford, Texas, after a dinner with friends in Fort Worth. Walton's attorney released a statement acknowledging the incident and expressing regret.[16][17] The charges were dropped by Texas prosecutors in September 2013 without formal charges being filed.[18][19]

At age 24, Walton was first married in 1974 to a prominent Louisiana investment banker, but the two were divorced two and a half years later. Shortly there after she married a contractor who built her swimming pool, but they too quickly divorced. [2][7][15]

Family[edit]

A brother, John T. Walton, died in a 2005 plane crash. She is a first cousin of Ann Walton Kroenke, Nancy Walton Laurie, and Sybil Robson Orr.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Richard S. Tedlow, Sam Walton: Great From the Start (July 23, 2001), Harvard Business School.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Alice Walton profile – Forbes". Forbes. March 1, 2014. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  3. ^ http://www.therichest.org/world/richest-people/
  4. ^ "Bloomberg Billionares Index". Bloomberg LP. Retrieved March 3, 2014. 
  5. ^ Serwer, Andy (November 15, 2004). "The Waltons Inside America's Richest Family". Fortune. Archived from the original on October 24, 2010. Retrieved October 17, 2010. 
  6. ^ Paul, Steven (Nov 19, 2006), Alice L. Walton, Making a grand dream a reality. The jet-setter is parlaying her wealth into a hometown museum., Kansas City: The Kansas City Star 
  7. ^ a b c d e Mead, Rebecca (June 27, 2011), "Alice's Wonderland: A Walmart heiress build a museum in the Ozarks", The New Yorker (New York) 
  8. ^ National Gallery
  9. ^ Alice Walton's Fig Leaf
  10. ^ Crystal Bridges website
  11. ^ Rosie the Riveter
  12. ^ Carol Vogel (June 16, 2011). "A Billionaire’s Eye for Art Shapes Her Singular Museum". The New York Times. 
  13. ^ Ortega, Bob (1999). In Sam We Trust. Kogan Page Ltd. pp. 200–201. ISBN 978-0-7494-3177-8. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  14. ^ "The woman who put the art in Wal-Mart". The Independent (UK). November 8, 2007. Retrieved April 23, 2011. 
  15. ^ a b O'Connor, Clare (October 7, 2013), "Inside The World Of Walmart Billionaire Alice Walton, America's Richest Art Collector", Forbes 
  16. ^ O'Connor, Maureen (October 13, 2011). "Billionaire Walmart Heiress Arrested for DWI". Gawker. Gawker.com. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  17. ^ Coyne, Christin (October 13, 2011). "Walmart heiress Walton arrested on, takes responsibility for, DWI charge". Mineral Wells (TX) Index. Retrieved October 29, 2011. 
  18. ^ Associated Press (September 10, 2013). "Texas prosecutor drops drunken driving charge against Wal-Mart heiress Alice Walton". Fox News. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 
  19. ^ Miller, Bill (September 10, 2013). "Parker County officials won’t pursue 2011 DWI case against Walton". Star-Telegram. Retrieved October 15, 2013. 

External links[edit]