Record-Breaking Scholarship Contribution Marks Largest Donation in UACCM’s Petroleum Technology Program History

Members of the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund announced a $130,000 donation today to the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton during an event at the University of Arkansas System office.
As part of the announcement, the organization awarded 57 scholarships to students currently enrolled in the college’s petroleum technology program. The contribution is the largest scholarship donation in the history of the petroleum technology program.

The Fayetteville Scholarship Fund is a non-profit organization made up of member companies who work in the state’s natural gas industry. The group hosts several fundraisers throughout the year to raise scholarship funds for students seeking careers in the state’s oil and natural gas industry.

“The petroleum technology program at UACCM has far exceeded our expectations,” said Donnie Bates, president of the fund board. “We continue to see graduates enter the workforce with the right skills and initiative needed in our industry. And, thanks to the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund, we’re helping provide financial assistance to students interested in careers in the industry while building a strong, local workforce.”

Since the fund began in 2006, it has provided 313 scholarships totaling $530,000 to students studying the Petroleum Technology program at UACCM. Scholarships support student expenses including tuition, fees and books. The university’s scholarship committee awards scholarships to students, based on both academic performance and financial need.

"The partnership between the Petroleum Technology program at UACCM and the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund is a perfect example of how public higher education can work together with business and industry to improve the economic well-being of our state. I'm proud of our students and faculty at UACCM and grateful to the natural gas industry for its support of the college," said University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt.

Offering a one-of-a-kind Associate of Applied Science degree program in Arkansas, the petroleum technology degree program at UACCM continues to lead the way to a more knowledgeable and specialized workforce for the local natural gas industry. It is the largest applied technology program at UACCM, offering a curriculum that allows students to explore the industry that continues to be an economic leader in the state. Since 2006, the program’s enrollment has grown from 30 students in its first semester to approximately 147 this year, an increase of 490 percent. Nationally, only a handful of schools offer two year petroleum technology programs that educate students in the fields of drilling, gathering and field operations. Over the past year, 179 students have graduated from the program.

"We appreciate the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund’s continued support,” added Dr. Larry Davis, UACCM chancellor. “With this donation, more students are able to pursue educational opportunities through the program. The natural gas industry is important to our state’s economy and workforce, and we are proud of the continued high-level of support that is provided to our students.”

About the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund

The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund was established in 2006 and is supported by members representing companies that work in the Fayetteville Shale play. The Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund encourages and enables students to pursue educational opportunities that prepare them for jobs in the oil and gas industry by:
providing financial support through scholarships
raising awareness for careers in the oil and gas industry, and
creating goodwill for the industry and its contributions to local communities and the state.

About the UACCM Petroleum Technology Program
The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton began offering an Associate of Applied Science degree in Petroleum Technology during the fall 2006 semester. The college also offers stop-out points at the levels of certificate of proficiency and technical certificate. 

The degree provides educational opportunities for individuals who desire to pursue employment opportunities related to oil and gas exploration, production, and development in the Fayetteville Shale play, one of the country’s largest known unconventional reserves of natural gas. 

This past year, the petroleum technology program opened its new Health, Safety and Environment (HSE) facility and added two new courses to the curriculum. The courses are focused on hazard recognition. The courses incorporate the OSHA 10-hour and 30-hour curriculum for general industry.

The program was established with a three-year pledge of $200,000 from Southwestern Energy Company to UACCM.


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