Honorary Degree Recipient
Doctor of Laws
Medical School, June 17, 2011
Richard M. Schulze business pioneer, is the founder and chairman of Best Buy Co. Inc., a Fortune 100 company and North America's leading specialty retailer of consumer electronics. After leaving his father's business, he started his own company, Sound of Music in 1966. The store grew and bought out area competitors and soon expanded to nine stores. After his best store was destroyed by a tornado, the ever-resourceful Schulze held a "tornado sale" featuring a large selection of goods at low prices. Success followed with his company expanding into video products and appliances in the early 1980s. The name was changed to Best Buy in 1983. Throughout his career he has been committed to improving the world through education, research, and new ideas. He has helped pave the way for others to become leaders in the business community and nurtured the talents and skills of employees to grow and contribute to the betterment of their work environment. He is recognized globally for his philosophy of "unleashing the power of our people." Best Buy introduced the "Results Only Work Environment" (ROWE) workplace initiative at its Richfield, Minnesota headquarters in 2005. This initiative redirected the focus of employees and managers towards measurable results and away from a set work schedule and location. Researchers found the ROWE reduces turnover by 45 percent. Schulze is a longtime supporter of higher education. He has made personal gifts of $50 million plus a $25 million gift from his family foundation to the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship at the University of St. Thomas. He has pledged up to $40 million to the Schulze Diabetes Institute at the University of Minnesota to accelerate its pioneering efforts to cure diabetes. To honor his wife Sandra who died from a rare form of cancer, the family foundation matched, dollar for dollar, up to $7.5 million to build an American Cancer Society (ACS) Hope Lodge in Minneapolis near the University and expanded the one in Rochester, Minnesota near the Mayo Clinic. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards including the Minnesota Business Hall of Fame (2003), the International Association of Business Communicators Excel Award (2002), Consumer Electronics Industry Hall of Fame (2000), Outstanding Marketing Executive of the Year (2000), Robert C. McDermond Medal of Excellence in Entrepreneurship (2000), Worth Magazine's Top 50 CEOs (1999), and an honorary doctorate degree (1998) from the University of St. Thomas, to name a few.
Biographies are as-of time of award presentation.