The Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing was founded based on the desire to create a center of excellence for this ever-changing and important industry – retailing – that would help connect students with industry in an interactive and dynamic way.
The Center’s founding director, Dr. Ellen Goldsberry, created what was then called the Southwest Retail Center in 1993. Her desire was to create a place where students could extend the knowledge gained in the retailing and consumer sciences program through interaction with industry leaders. A key part of her vision was the Global Retailing Conference. This conference, existing for over two decades, has served as a destination for industry leaders worldwide to learn about the newest thoughts and ideas around the industry. C-suite executives from Macy’s, Walmart, PetSmart, Lowe’s, Home Depot, Costco, and many, many others have shared their ideas at this important event. It also provided unprecedented access by students in the academic program to these leaders.
That vision continued when Melinda Burke became the Center Director in 1998. For over 13 years, Melinda led the expansion of the Center including making the Global Retailing Conference even more broadly attended and influential on the industry. During her time, she led the development of the university’s involvement in the Students Interested in Free Enterprise (SIFE) – later named ENACTUS. She helped guide the UArizona team to the Final Four at the organization’s annual national competition for seven consecutive years. In 2008 the UA SIFE Team was the national champion and she traveled with 12 students to Singapore to represent the USA at the SIFE World Cup.
During her tenure, the Center formally changed its name to the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing in 2005. Terry Lundgren, an alum of the university and retired CEO and Chairman of the Board of Macy’s, was instrumental in raising funds for McClelland Park – the home of the Center – and raising funds for two major endowments that support the Center.
In 2011, Melinda stepped down as Center director to lead the university’s alumni office. Following her departure, Martha Van Gelder became Center Director and served until 2015. In 2015, Scott Hessell was hired as the newest and current director of the Center. Scott had been serving as a member of the retailing and consumer sciences faculty since 2008 teaching a variety of classes in the program.