The University of Central Arkansas in Conway has received $1 million to endow and establish the Arch Ford Endowed Scholarship program.
Rick and Anne Massey of Little Rock made the gift to support retention of low-income college students through need-based scholarships, according to UCA. Preference will be given to first-generation students, and a recipient must be a rising UCA sophomore who graduated from an Arkansas high school. He or she must be Pell Grant eligible and must have completed at least 15 credit hours with a GPA of at least 2.5, according to the school.
The family established the endowment in honor of the late Arch Ford, a 1930 Arkansas State Teachers College (now UCA) graduate who served as commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953 to 1978. Ford also received a 1992 Distinguished Alumni Award from UCA.
“Our desire is to increase the retention rates of Arkansans who are exemplary students but who need help financially, and Mr. Ford devoted his life to helping the same constituency,” Rick Massey said in a press release. “We couldn’t think of anyone better to honor with this gift than Arch Ford.”
Recipients will be designated as Arch Ford Scholars, and UCA will match all scholarships awarded.
“We are incredibly appreciative of this gift that the Massey family has provided,” UCA President Houston Davis said in the release. “Arch Ford helped to set the stage for increasing the educational capacity of our state. This gift continues his legacy.”
Arch Ford’s son, Joe Ford, and wife Joe Ellen of Little Rock made a $250,000 donation to support the Arch Ford Endowed Scholarship fund, in response to the Massey gift.
“My father would be highly honored to be recognized in this manner,” Joe Ford said in the release. “I can think of nothing better than helping students get an education as an Arch Ford Scholar. He wanted everyone to have the opportunity for an education.”
The application process also requires a letter of recommendation from a full-time faculty member. The UCA Foundation Scholarship Committee will select recipients during the spring semester each year. Scholarships will be four-year renewable awards.
The number of scholarships awarded, as well as the dollar amount given to each recipient, may vary at the discretion of the UCA Foundation Scholarship Committee, according to the UCA.