For many high school students, college is only a dream. The combined cost of tuition, living expenses, books, student fees, etc. threatens to exclude more and more intelligent and hard-working students from receiving an engineering education.
In 1999, L. Stanley Pigman, who earned a bachelor’s degree in mining engineering from the University of Kentucky in 1981, determined he would close this gap and began funding scholarships for students whose financial situations would prevent them from attending UK. Since that time, he and his wife, Karen, have financially supported and mentored 120 students through L. Stanley Pigman Scholarships.
“When I was 17 years old, I received a scholarship to study mining engineering at the University of Kentucky. That scholarship changed my life," Pigman said. "I would probably not have had the success I’ve had in life if that scholarship had not been available. That's why I am passionate about helping young people in difficult financial straits make their dream of college a reality.”
Students majoring in any of UK’s engineering disciplines are eligible to be Pigman Scholars. Candidates must be a resident of Kentucky and have financial need. They are also required to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
“Without the contribution of the Pigman Scholarship to an aspiring engineer, such as myself, attending the College of Engineering seemed out of reach,” Rebecca Mays, a first-year student from London, Kentucky, said. “Through the financial support of the Pigmans, college became more affordable, and my dream of being a mechanical engineer became more of a reality."
Preferred counties of residence for this scholarship are coal-producing counties in Eastern and Western Kentucky. However, the college does award outside of these areas.
The scholarships are renewable up to four years and the annual amounts to be given range from $1,000 to $15,000. This academic year, the Pigmans financially supported 35 new Pigman Scholars, with 25 of the 35 students receiving at least $5,000.
"I am truly thankful for Stan and Karen’s continued scholarship support,” Rudy Buchheit, the Dr. Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of UK Engineering, said. “They invest in our students — not only financially, but also through their mentoring and friendship. Our Pigman Scholars are a testimony to how generous, passionate alumni can change lives.”
After working with Sierra Coal, a subsidiary of General Electric, Pigman joined with two colleagues to form Sugar Camp Coal, and eventually his own company, Pigman Coal Sales. He built several more businesses that own and lease coal properties.
Pigman says to potential applicants, “I strongly encourage you to apply to the UK College of Engineering and fill out the FAFSA form. You will never know if you qualify unless you apply. A whole new future may open up before you.”
Interested students can learn more and apply online. The 2021 application deadline is Feb.19.
Photo by Mark Cornelison, UK