Alumnus commits estate gift of $7.8 million to UA College of Engineering

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 174 views 

The University of Arkansas alumnus Robert H. Biggadike has made an estate gift commitment of $7.8 million to benefit the UA College of Engineering. The future gift will be used to establish the Robert H. Biggadike Endowment for Teaching in the college.

“This is a fantastic gift for the College of Engineering and the University of Arkansas,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart. “Robert’s generosity is inspiring, and we are deeply touched by his support of his alma mater. His gift will allow the College of Engineering to make impressive advances and contribute greatly to its future success.”

Biggadike, a native of Newport, Ark., who now lives in West Covina, Calif., received his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the university in 1958 and began a career in the aerospace industry. He later returned to Arkansas and earned a master’s degree in mechanical engineering. His aerospace career took him to California, where he worked for companies including Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Boeing. He was a control systems engineer, developing rigid and elastic body simulations of missiles and designing autopilot systems.

Biggadike attributes his ability to provide this gift to consistent investing throughout his career saying “engineers tend to be productive citizens who make a contribution to society.”

Engineering Dean John English said a gift of this magnitude “is an excellent investment in our future. We are deeply appreciative to Mr. Biggadike for his philanthropy.”

In 1983, Biggadike established a scholarship endowment in the College of Engineering in memory of his father. That gift is used to support juniors and seniors majoring in mechanical engineering. Because of his philanthropy, Biggadike is recognized in the Towers of Old Main, a society that honors the university’s most generous benefactors.