03/30/04 — Lowe's CEO joins college foundation board

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Lowe's CEO joins college foundation board

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on March 30, 2004 1:59 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Robert L. "Bob" Tillman, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Lowe's Companies Inc., has joined the Mount Olive College Foundation Board.

"We are thrilled that Bob Tillman has agreed to join the foundation board," said George Kornegay, president of the MOC Foundation. "His experience and stature in the business community will be invaluable to our efforts in raising awareness and support for Mount Olive College."

Tillman is an eastern North Carolina native. The son of the late William Henry Tillman Jr. and Eva Bland Tillman, he grew up on East Pollock Street. His father was in the produce business with Andrews and Knowles Produce Co. in Mount Olive, and his mother was a quality control supervisor at Mt. Olive Pickle Co.

Tillman met his wife, Sandra Beddard Tillman, at Mount Olive College while attending the school in the early '60s. Tillman also delivered the commencement address at the college's 50th graduation in December 2003, when he was awarded the honorary doctor of laws degree.

Starting at Lowe's at the age of 19 and working his way up the corporate ladder, Tillman is one of only three chief executives officers to ever head the home improvement store. Under his leadership, Lowe's has been selected three times as one of the best 100 companies to work for in America.

Today, the company employs more than 150,000 people from North Carolina to Hawaii and has annual sales of more than $30 billion.

"I was the right person at the right time for Lowe's," said Tillman. "I grew up with retailing -- learned it from my family in Mount Olive."

The concept of small beginnings and big ideas is one that the Mount Olive College Foundation hopes Tillman will again bring to the table, said Kornegay.

The MOC Foundation, which was formed in January, is an independent fund-raising arm for the college that uses the skills and talents of its board members to find alternative sources of funding and equipment for a variety of programs and projects, including scholarships and buildings. The nonprofit organization seeks to support the mission of the college.