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University of Wisconsin Oshkosh alumna Gwendolyn Kelly ’74, of Bentonville, Ark., finds innovative ways to promote Wal-Mart to the African-American community.

As a senior marketing manager for the top Fortune 500 company, Kelly customizes delivery of the “Save Money, Live Better” brand to African-Americans, including expanding Wal-Mart’s efforts in event marketing.

For example, she spearheaded Wal-Mart’s sponsorship of the “America I Am Super Truck Tour,” a traveling version of the “America I Am” exhibit that traces the imprint African-Americans have made on America.

Kelly, who majored in radio-TV-film, will be among the nine UWO graduates honored during Homecoming 2010 in October. She will receive a Distinguished Alumni Award for her professional and civic achievements, including serving as a board member for the Association for the Study of African-American Life and History.

In her own words…

Activities/hobbies:

Unfortunately, I am a pretty singularly focused person. Work is activity and hobby.

Professional associations:

  • Advertising Educational Foundation
  • Alliance for Family Entertainment
  • Association of National Advertisers (Multicultural Marketing  and Diversity Committee)
  • Association for the Study of African-American Life and History
  • National Advertising Review Council
  • National Organization for Diversity in Sales and Marketing Inc.

Favorite UWO professor:

Dr. Robert Snyder

Favorite UWO memories:

  • Hanging out in Reeve Memorial Union.
  • Receiving a beautiful corsage from the UWO Booster Club, Homecoming 1973.
  • The first drive with parents to Oshkosh with all my worldly possessions fitting in the car. When I left UWO, a U-Haul trailer was needed!

What does your UWO education mean to you?

Simply stated, it has been the passport to a wonderful life.

What advice would you give today’s UWO students?

Believe in yourself. Find your talent, your heart’s desire. Hold tight to your dreams. Prepare yourself for the life you want. Be open to change. Find mentors and be a mentor. Understand that you have been given much but, in that, always remember much is expected of you. Supermodel and fashionista Tyra Banks cautions, “Never dull your shine for someone else.” Wisdom from scripture gives guidance to us to “let your light shine in front of people. Then they will see the good that you do and give praise to your Father in heaven.”

Learn more about Homecoming 2010.

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