UK program helps first-generation college students

Published 1:28 pm Monday, July 4, 2022


For more than 20 years, Stanley and Karen Pigman have financially supported and mentored more than 200 engineering and computer science students through the L. Stanley Pigman Scholarship Program. This past year, the Pigmans created a scholarship program in the University of Kentucky Office for Student Success that expands their scholarship reach: first-generation students pursuing degrees outside the College of Engineering.

Stanley and Karen Pigman have demonstrated their commitment to UK students. Photo by UK College of Engineering

The L. Stanley Pigman First-Generation Scholarship will provide scholarships to selected first-generation students graduating from high schools in 32 Eastern Kentucky counties.

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“Over the years, Stanley and Karen Pigman have demonstrated their tremendous commitment to our students in the College of Engineering. In their most recent display of generosity, they are leaving an indelible mark on our university and our state by supporting first-generation students across all disciplines,” UK President Eli Capilouto said. “Nearly 80% of first-generation students at UK are from Kentucky. This investment will build a better future for the lives of our students and for families across our state, for generations to come.”

How much each student receives will vary; after other financial aid is applied to a recipient’s semester bill, the Pigman Scholarship will reduce their unmet need to $2,000. “Our hope is that these scholarships will significantly improve the lives of promising students from Eastern Kentucky,” Stanley Pigman said.

This spring, UK awarded the new scholarship to 22 incoming first-year students (see sidebar). The first five recipients received scholarships beginning with the Fall 2021 semester. They were: Emily Cress from Manchester in Clay County, Jessy Maynard from Inez in Martin County, Jacob Overbee from Hazard in Perry County,; Lauryn Pope from Inez in Martin County and Haley Turner from Hazard in Perry County.

Turner is pursuing bachelor’s degrees in finance and accounting. “I could have never afforded this amazing education I am receiving without the scholarship from Mr. and Mrs. Pigman,” she explained. “It is what allowed me to be able to attend UK and have all these amazing resources and connections that UK offers to its students.”

Because the Pigmans are strong supporters of the university’s living learning communities, the scholarship requires recipients to live in the First-Generation Scholars Living Learning Community (1GS LLC) during their first two years at UK. Housed in Baldwin Hall, 1GS LLC helps first-generation students successfully transition from high school to college life at UK.

“The Pigman Scholarship not only provides financial assistance, but it also provides a built-in support system. It provides opportunity and access to new experiences that are academic, personal and service-related,” Martina Martin, associate director of student community resources and services at UK, said. “Through the scholarship, the scholars receive mentorship and a peer community through 1GS LLC, a community designed specifically with the first-generation student in mind.”

“As first-generation college students, Karen and I recognize the many challenges such students face,” Stanley Pigman explained. “That’s why we’re not only giving financial relief to those receiving our scholarship, but also connecting them with wise mentors who can help them succeed.”

Cress is on the pre-physician assistant track as a human health sciences major. “Financial burden has always affected my family. This scholarship closed the small gap that would have made me unable to attend this college,” she said. “Now, my human health sciences studies are allowing me to become the best health care professional that I can be before attending graduate school.”

Pigman, who attended UK thanks to a mining engineering scholarship and graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1981, spent his career building businesses that own and lease coal properties. UK Engineering inducted Pigman into its Hall of Distinction in 2009 and the UK Alumni Association inducted him into the Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2020. The university also awarded him an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters in 2017.

2022 Pigman Scholarship Recipients

• Bell County: Alyssa Brooks, Bell County High School, Tyler Houston, Middlesboro High School, Joey Barlow, Pineville High School.

• Carter County: Savannah Crisp, East Carter High School, Lilly Morrison, East Carter High School.

• Clay County: Trenton Runion, Clay County High School.

• Floyd County: Dusty Rogers, Betsy Lane High School, Hannah Tackett, Betsy Lane High School.

• Greenup County: Carly Royal, Raceland High School.

• Harlan County: Olivia Fugate, Harlan County High School.

• Johnson County: Lakyn Daniels, Johnson Central High School, Whitney Griffith, Paintsville High School.

• Letcher County: Aaryonna Fields, Letcher County Central High School.

• Magoffin County: Carlee Arnett, Magoffin County High School, Bradyn Combs, Magoffin County High School.

• Pike County: Kristyn Belcher, Shelby Valley High School, Adrianna Johnson, Shelby Valley High School, Summer Vipperman, Belfry High School.

• Whitley County: Leah Pataki, Corbin High School, Andon Asher, Corbin High School.

• Wolfe County: Callie Turner, Wolfe County High School, Averie Brownell, Wolfe County High School.