DENTON (UNT), Texas — Richard Last, senior lecturer in merchandising and digital retailing in the University of North Texas’ College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism, received the first Shop.org Impact Award at the Shop.org Annual Summit Oct. 2 in Chicago.
Also the senior director of UNT’s Global Digital Retailing Research Center, Last was recognized for his pioneering leadership and achievements in e-commerce and digital retailing, his mentorship of many young executives in digital retailing and his Board of Directors service to Shop.org, which was founded in 1996 and later became the digital retailing division of the National Retail Federation. Shop.org has more than 600 members.
A UNT faculty member since 2011, Last directs the College of Merchandising, Hospitality and Tourism’s digital retail bachelor’s degree program. UNT became the first university in the U.S. to offer an undergraduate degree program in the field when the program was established in 2002 as the electronic merchandising bachelor’s degree. The program received its current name in 2010 upon a recommendation from Last, who was then a member of the college’s Merchandising Board of Governors.
Earlier this year, Last helped to establish UNT’s Global Digital Retailing Research Center, the first interdisciplinary center in the U.S. with a complete focus on digital retailing as a research hub and resource for industry. The center offers a Digital Executive Education Program for industry professionals, hosts student educational events such as the Executive + Scholar Lecture Series and will offer competitive industry-financed grants for faculty and student research and testing of digital retailing technology and business models. The center’s founding members include J.C. Penney Company Inc., Pier 1 Imports, Rocket Red, Sally Beauty Holdings and Usability Sciences.
In 1994, Last founded jcp.com, the website for JCPenney, which was one of the first retailing websites to enable online sales. He is the former president of JCP Ecommerce LP, former president of JCP Private Brand Retail Holdings, Inc., and the former director of digital ventures for JCPenney.
The chairman emeritus of Shop.org’s board of directors, Last is also a past member of the National Retail Federation’s board of directors. He received his bachelor’s degree from Brooklyn College and his master’s degree from Long Island University.
Note to editors: A photo of Richard Last receiving the award from Miki Beradelli, chairman of the board of Shop.org, and Vicki Cantrell, Shop.org’s executive director, may be downloaded here.