Industry leader trades corporate for classroom and applies expertise in preparing students for digital retailing careers
April 10, 2012

After many years in the retailing industry, Rich Last joined our Department in Fall 2011 as the Coordinator for the Digital Retailing degree program. He is working with other faculty, Dr. Sanjukta Pookulangara and Dr. Kiseol Yang, to involve students in active learning in this area. In the industry, his leadership at JCPenney led to the selling of merchandise via the Web in October 1994, the first online Department Store, and by 2005, the first $1billion apparel and home furnishings website. Prior to, Mr. Last led various electronic retailing efforts including online services and interactive TV. He also led their international expansion of the catalog business in the 90's in the UK, Japan, Mexico, and Chile. Mr. Last served as Chairman of the Board of Directors of, the world's leading membership community for digital retail, from 2007 through 2011. He continues to serve on advisory boards including the Board, Board of Directors of Commercial Connect, LLC, Advisory Board of TagMan, the Advisory Board of The Abundant Closet LLC, and the Advisory Board of Invodo. He is on the Editorial Board of ROI Magazine (Retail Online Integration). He also served on the Board of Directors of the National Retail Federation Foundation during from 2010 through 2011.

Mr. Last has helped to enhance the Digital Retailing major by providing a valuable connection between professionals in the field and majors in the program. In his classes he has introduced a variety of speakers in areas such as retail branding and product development and digital marketing consulting. Rich understands the uniqueness of this major and enjoys his role in preparing students. He uses a multi-disciplinary approach to expose them to merchandising, marketing, finance, technology, and analytics. He has also been instrumental in helping to organize the National Retail Federation Student Association (NRFSA) at UNT, one of the first in the country. His overall goal is to provide leadership in identifying and preparing new talent in retail and digital retail.  Rich states that he wants to "find as many ways as possible to let industry know about the program and how great the students are."  For more information about this major, contact Rich Last at

Students have found him to be personable and approachable and they appreciate his efforts in connecting them with the industry and assisting them in their pursuit of this major.

Rich has been instrumental in the program coordination for the upcoming annual CMHT symposium on April 24, 2012"Protecting Consumers & Brands in the Digital Age."

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College of Merchandising, Hospitality & Tourism
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Denton, TX 76203-5017 USA
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