Today@Sam Article

Entrepreneur, Philanthropist To Address Summer Graduates

July 10, 2019
SHSU Media Contact: Hannah Haney

Aaron Walters, the co-founder, chairman and chief executive officer for Altar’d State will be the featured speaker for both 2019 summer commencement ceremonies at Sam Houston State University, taking place Aug. 3 in the Johnson Coliseum.

Approximately 940 students have applied for degrees to be awarded in the two ceremonies. 

Walters will address graduates from the colleges of Business Administration and Education on Saturday, Aug. 3, at 9:30 a.m. and graduates from the colleges of Criminal Justice, Fine Arts & Mass Communication, and Health Sciences at 2:30 p.m. the same afternoon.


Walters’ career success includes 18 years of experience managing retail businesses from $100 million to $2 billion in revenue.

Aaron Walters square1Before he founded Altar’d State in 2009; opening the first retail fashion boutique in Knoxville, TN., Walters attended SHSU and learned the significance of, “The measure of a Life is its Service.” Today, the company which offers high-quality women’s fashion, accessories, gifts and home décor, has grown to over 100 boutiques across the country and is greatly recognized for its emphasis on serving the community by giving back.

Altar’d State has pioneered connecting retail with goodwill through donations in local communities, a generous volunteer program for employees, and funding child-focused, global initiatives that support social development efforts in underserved areas in Peru.

Altar’d State has donated more than $10 million to local and global communities through the Mission Monday Program and other partnerships. In 2018, the company committed to a project benefiting over 15 schools, outreach centers and communities in Callao and the Peruvian rain forest.

Walters served as a guest speaker for the SHSU Center for Entrepreneurship in the spring of 2019 and shared his inspiring story of business success and outreach to the campus community. 

Altar’d State is the recipient of the 2019 Community Partner of the Year Award by Big Brothers Big Sisters of East Tennessee, the 2019 Friend of the Year Award by Second Harvest of East Tennessee, the 2018 Outstanding Corporate Philanthropist Award by the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter, the 2018 Habitat for Humanity State Impact Award and the 2017 Chain Store Age Breakout Retailer of the Year Award.

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