Donation and award celebrate Big Lots-Columbia College internship program
Steve Fishman, Fortune 500 retailer Big Lots, Inc. Chairman, CEO, and President and a 1974 Columbia College graduate, presented the Columbia College Business Administration Department with a check for $25,000 today on the Columbia College campus. Fishman also presented Dr. Gerald Brouder, Columbia College president, and Dr. Sean Siebert, assistant professor of Business Administration, with the firm’s exclusive Exclaim Award — one of the first to be presented outside the organization. The Exclaim Award is presented as a crystal figure of the company’s logo, an exclamation mark.
“I was delighted and surprised to receive the award and the $25,000 check for the Business department,” Brouder said. “Dr. Siebert and the faculty of the Business department are to be commended for creating and promulgating this internship program. It speaks to the quality of our faculty, to our ability to create strong bonds with the business community and to the enduring affection and gratitude graduates such as Mr. Fishman have for alma mater.”
Fishman said the gift was presented in appreciation of the fine work Columbia College had done with the Store Management Internship Program, a pilot managerial internship program with Columbia College students. Columbia College collaborated with Big Lots to create the program for students interested in a retail career with the company. The program currently has two student participants, one in Seattle, Wash., and one in Crystal Lake, Ill., but both entities hope to expand it in the near future.
Big Lots, Inc., headquartered in Columbus, Ohio, currently has revenues of approximately $5 billion and 1,418 retail outlets in the contiguous United States and 88 Liquidation World and LW Stores in Canada.
A store will open in Columbia, Mo., in early November. Fishman noted the company has opened 90 U.S. locations this year alone and has generous cash reserves but not enough qualified employees.
“We want to give talented and qualified individuals opportunities to grow and develop with our company,” he said, adding that with qualified employees, the firm could be a $10 billion firm.