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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

FSSF makes record-breaking contribution

Members of the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund Board announced a $110,000 donation towards the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton’s upcoming capital campaign during an event today at the University of Arkansas System office. As part of the event, the organization also awarded 76 scholarships to students currently enrolled in the college’s petroleum technology program. The contribution is the largest number of scholarships awarded in the program’s history.

The Fayetteville Shale 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.

Jon Swann, vice president and interim president of the fund board, stated, “Through the board’s fundraising activities, we have been able to raise enough money to guarantee scholarships for the next several years. In fact, we have been so successful, the board has made the decision to allocate funds to UACCM’s Capital Campaign. We are excited to support this project, which will provide a number of facility improvements to further enhance the education UACCM students receive.”

This contribution from the FSSF Board brings the total donation amount to $640,000 since the fund began in 2006, providing 429 scholarships 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 162 this year, an increase of 540 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.

The cornerstone of UACCM’s capital campaign will be to construct and equip a new economic development center that will house many of the college’s technical programs. “We appreciate the Fayetteville Shale Scholarship Fund Board’s continued support of our students and the program,” said Dr. Larry Davis, UACCM Chancellor. “This contribution will allow us to provide larger, modern facilities and equipment that are current and relevant in today’s workforce.”

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 education 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.

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

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