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Karen and Stanley Pigman’s $11.25 Million Gift is ‘All About Students’

May 03, 2022

The University of Kentucky Board of Trustees approved two gifts totaling $11.25 million from Karen and Stanley Pigman’s Lighthouse Beacon Foundation. Their gifts will support renovation, expansion and need-based scholarships in the College of Engineering.

“It’s all about students,” says Stanley Pigman. “We believe in them. We hope our gifts change the lives of many, many students and help them get ready for the workforce.”

The Pigmans’ gifts are crucial to ensuring engineering students have the skills and traits they need to learn how to improve our world.

 “Stanley and Karen Pigman’s vision for the University of Kentucky and the College of Engineering is exceeded only by their genuine desire to see Kentucky students succeed,” said UK President Eli Capilouto. “They share a tremendous personal commitment to helping students realize their dreams for a college education. I deeply appreciate all that they are doing. Their actions will have an impact on the university and the Commonwealth for generations to come.”

The Pigmans gave $10 million to support the renovation and expansion of the Funkhouser Building, which will add 100,000 square feet of state-of-the-art teaching and research spaces to the College of Engineering to support projected enrollment growth, more faculty members and research expansion goals.

“We are building places and programs that will help meet the challenge of supplying engineering talent for a growing, technology-dependent society,” said Rudy Buchheit, the Rebecca Burchett Liebert Dean of the College of Engineering. “We want every student with a passion for engineering. If a student brings ability, ambition and commitment, we will connect them to resources to enable them to pursue and fulfill their ambition.

The Pigmans also gave $1.25 million to support need-based scholarships for students from Eastern Kentucky who pursue a degree in the new Department of Engineering Technology.

Stanley Pigman, a native of Eastern Kentucky, is passionate about engineering being an accessible career industry for students from the region. “There are entire high schools in Eastern Kentucky who do not have physics or calculus,” Stanley says. “We believe there are five to ten times more students in Appalachia who could be pursuing engineering if they were given the educational resources.”

The Department of Engineering Technology, launched in July 2021, offers two four-year undergraduate degrees in lean systems engineering technology and computer engineering technology. Graduates of the programs will be trained in the latest technologies and equipped with the practical skills necessary for thriving in advanced technology industries.

Stanley received a scholarship to study mining engineering at UK when he was 17. “That scholarship changed my life,” Stanley says. “I would not have had the success I’ve had in life if that scholarship had not been available. That is why I am passionate about helping young people in difficult financial straits make their dream of going to college a reality.”

The Pigmans are some of the UK College of Engineering’s most significant philanthropic supporters. They provide ample financial support through their scholarship program, which began in 1999. They helped create the L. Stanley Pigman Chair in Power, currently held by Professor Dan M. Ionel. The Pigmans have also been strong supporters of the UK Solar Car Team and numerous initiatives and projects within the college.