Kalkin Retailing Initiative | Grossman School of Business | The University of Vermont(title)

The Eugene and Joan Kalkin Retailing Initiative at the Grossman School of Business was set up via an endowment established by Eugene and Joan Kalkin to support the academic and professional development of students in retailing.

The Eugene and Joan Kalkin Retailing Initiative

Eugene Kalkin had a long and distinguished career in retailing, most notably as the innovative founder of the highly successful chain Linens ‘n Things. When he launched Linens ‘n Things in 1975, Eugene Kalkin applied what at the time was a novel set of merchandising techniques to develop a chain of stores selling quality products at discount prices in a no-frills warehouse environment. When Eugene sold the company in 1983, Linens ‘n Things had become one of the nation’s largest and most profitable specialty retailers of home textiles, housewares, and decorative home accessories.

With his wife Joan, Eugene Kalkin has been a leading philanthropist at the University of Vermont (UVM) for five decades. By establishing this Fund at the Grossman School of Business (GSB), the Kalkins are paying tribute to Eugene’s long and distinguished career as a retailer. This Fund is also an important part of their legacy of philanthropy, which includes their historic gift in 1986 to name Kalkin Hall as the home of UVM’s business school. 

Outside the front of Kalkin Hall in the summer.

The Initiative includes the following initial academic and professional activities. These activities will expand based on student engagement and interest.

  • New and expanded course offerings covering topics including “Foundations of Retailing”, “Advanced Seminar in Corporate Retail Strategy and Planning” (this course will cover the strategic use of technology via digital and e-Retailing), and “Retailing in Vermont.”
  • Experiential opportunities for local and travel-based retail site visits look behind-the-scenes in retailing
  • Networking opportunities with industry experts at top trade events, as well as on campus and on site
  • Scholarship opportunities through the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) Foundation
  • Speakers on innovations in retailing
  • An annual Careers in Retailing alumni/professional panel for students on campus
  • Participation in case competitions such as the Retail Challenge sponsored by the National Retail Federation (https://nrffoundation.org/studentchallenge)
  • Founding of a UVM chapter of the National Retail Federation Student Association (NRFSA) for students from across campus interested in learning more about internships, careers and opportunities in Retailing. The NRFSA is a membership organization offering Forums and hosting Affinity Groups in the area of retailing.

For more information about the retailing initiative, contact the Coordinator of the Initiative, Dr. Amy M. Tomas (amy.tomas@uvm.edu)