Richard M. “Dick” Schulze, founder and chairman emeritus of Best Buy Co., Inc., the world’s largest multi-channel, consumer-electronic retailer, devoted more than half of his life to the consumer electronics industry.
His wide-ranging career encompasses entrepreneurial and technical experience, retail and distributor sales, independent manufacturer's representation and management.
This experience, coupled with an aggressive, contagious and enthusiastic management style, led Schulze to found Sound of Music in 1966 —the chain of 11 stereo component retail stores that in 1983 became Best Buy. Schulze served as Best Buy’s executive CEO from 1983 to 2002 and then as chairman until 2012.
Born and raised in St. Paul, Minnesota, Schulze is the ultimate entrepreneur. From a modest background, he and a hand-picked team built a retailing empire based in the Twin Cities. Through it all, he adhered to his life-long values of integrity, humility, honesty and respect – both in his professional career and his personal life.
Even though his plans to attend college never materialized, Schulze became a trustee of and major donor to the University of St. Thomas, the school where he enrolled before joining and serving full-time, active duty in the Air National Guard. In 1998, the University of St. Thomas awarded him an honorary doctoral degree.
Schulze Hall, home of the Schulze School of Entrepreneurship, was funded through a $50-million gift made in 2000 by Schulze and his late wife, Sandra. Schulze has served on the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees since 1995 and is chairman of the Board of Governors for the university’s Opus College of Business.