NorthWest Arkansas Community College in Bentonville announced Wednesday (Jan. 19) the Willis Shaw Family Endowed Scholarship for NWACC’s commercial driver’s license (CDL) trucking program.
The scholarship is endowed by the Shaw family in memory of the trucking pioneer. Shaw was considered an innovator in the refrigerated trucking industry and in 1940 founded Willis Shaw Express Inc., one of the nation’s largest and most successful specialized motor carriers.
He was a pioneer in the development of long-haul transportation of live poultry. After he entered the refrigerated transportation business, he introduced several trucking innovations that positively affected the growth of that industry.
The Arkansas Business Hall of Fame inducted Shaw in 2009. He died in 2014 at the age of 95.
“We are humbled to support CDL students who will impact our nation on the road. Truck drivers are the backbone of America and we look forward to seeing this program grow. Through this gift, we seek to honor the hard work and dedication of Mr. Willis Shaw,” Damon Shaw, one of his grandsons, said in a statement.
The endowment amount was not disclosed. The scholarship will be awarded one time annually starting in the 2023-2024 academic year to CDL students who are Arkansas residents.
“Our family recognizes the important role of those who drive commercial vehicles and move goods safely and efficiently throughout our economy. The success our family has enjoyed allows us to give back to an industry which we very much appreciate. All of us share in the benefits from their contribution to the effectiveness of our supply chain,” said Dennis Shaw, one of Willis Shaw’s sons.
The college’s full CDL program is open for registration and scheduled to begin in early February.
“NWACC is honored and proud to accept the Willis Shaw Family Endowed Scholarship,” NWACC President Evelyn Jorgenson said. “This endowed scholarship recognizes the lasting legacy of Mr. Willis Shaw and his family and also recognizes the value and importance of truck drivers and the trucking industry to the economy of our state and the entire United States. We are very grateful for the generosity of the Shaw family.”