University of Kentucky Engineering Grad Pledges Record $34.5 Million Gift to Program

Lexington, Ky.–Stanley Pigman, a native of Eastern Kentucky and a mining engineering graduate from the University of Kentucky (UK), has made a historic commitment to transform the lives of students by pledging over $34.5 million to UK Engineering. The donation, approved by the Board of Trustees, marks the largest single gift ever made to the university in its 158-year history. In recognition of their significant contribution, UK President Eli Capilouto has recommended that the college be renamed the Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering, making it the fourth named college at the university.

Stanley Pigman, who received a scholarship to study mining engineering at the University of Kentucky at the age of 17, understands the transformative power of higher education and financial support. Having experienced the impact of engineering as an accessible career path for students from the region, Pigman has dedicated himself to creating opportunities for future generations.

The Pigmans’ philanthropic commitment extends beyond this landmark gift, with their total contributions to UK now exceeding $55 million. Their generosity will support various initiatives aimed at strengthening the academic excellence of UK Engineering. This includes the establishment of the “Lessons at UK Program,” a non-endowed mentoring scholarship fund. Additionally, the “Stanley Pigman Engineering Scholarship” fund will receive additional support, and a new non-endowed fund named the “Stanley and Karen Pigman College of Engineering Initiatives Support Fund” will be created.

The donation will also contribute to research, graduate education, and faculty endowments. An endowment named the “Lighthouse Beacon Foundation Endowment for Research and Graduate Education” will be established, along with additional funding for the “L. Stanley Pigman Distinguished Professorship in Power” to support faculty positions within the college.

A significant portion of the Pigmans’ gift, $10 million, will be dedicated to the renovation and expansion of the Funkhouser Building, adding 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art teaching and research spaces to UK Engineering. This expansion aims to accommodate enrollment growth, additional faculty members, and research goals.

Furthermore, the Pigmans’ commitment to supporting STEM education extends to the establishment of the “EduceLab Professor of Heritage Science Endowment,” which will enhance leadership activities for EduceLab and contribute to the recruitment and retention of outstanding STEM+Heritage Science talent.

Rudy Buchheit, the Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of UK Engineering, expressed gratitude for the Pigmans’ extraordinary impact on the college and the university as a whole. Through their support, the Pigmans have opened doors for more students to study engineering and have provided them with the tools necessary for success. Their generosity aligns with the growing demand for engineering talent and supports the development of future engineers who will shape the future.

Stanley and Karen Pitman gave a $34.5 million gift to the College of Engineering on April 28, 2023. Photo by Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

For over two decades, Stanley and Karen Pigman have supported and mentored over 200 engineering and computer science students through the L. Stanley Pigman Scholarship Program. Currently, more than 120 undergraduate engineering students benefit from Pigman scholarships. In addition to engineering, the Pigmans have expanded their reach to first-generation students pursuing degrees outside of engineering through the L. Stanley Pigman First-Generation Scholarship program.

Stanley Pigman’s successful career in the coal industry has also been recognized. Inducted into UK Engineering’s Hall of Distinction in 2009 and the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni in 2020, he has been awarded an Honorary Degree of Humane Letters by the university in 2017.

Top photo: The Pigmans’ gifts are crucial to ensuring engineering students acquire the skills and traits needed to solve unique challenges. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.