The University of Central Arkansas recently received $1 million to endow and establish the Arch Ford Endowed Scholarship program.

Rick, an alumni of UCA, and Anne Massey of Little Rock made the gift to support the retention of first-generation college students through need-based scholarships.

The family established the endowment in honor of Arch Ford, a 1930 Arkansas State Teachers College — now UCA — graduate who served as commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education from 1953-78; 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 said. “We couldn’t think of anyone better to honor with this gift than Arch Ford.”

Recipients will be designated as Arch Ford Scholars.

“We are incredibly appreciative of this gift that the Massey family has provided,” UCA President Houston Davis said. “Arch Ford helped to set the stage for increasing the educational capacity of our state. This gift continues his legacy.”

UCA will provide a one-to-one match for all scholarships awarded and recipients will be identified as Arch Ford Scholars.

“President Davis’[s] commitment to matching this effort dollar-for-dollar exemplifies the university’s continued allegiance to Arkansans with financial need, a population that UCA has served for generations,” Rick said.

In response to Massey’s gift, Joe Ford, son of Arch Ford, and his wife, Jo Ellen Ford, of Little Rock, made a $250,000 donation to support the Arch Ford Endowed Scholarship Fund.

“My father would be highly honored to be recognized in this manner,” Joe said. “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.”

While preference will be given to first-generation students, scholarship recipients must meet the following eligibility requirements: be Pell Grant eligible, be a rising UCA sophomore who graduated from an Arkansas high school and must have completed at least 15 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA.

The application process also requires a letter of recommendation from a full-time faculty.

The UCA Foundation Scholarship Committee will select recipients during the spring semester each year and scholarships will be a four-year renewable award for scholars who maintain a cumulative 2.5 GPA.

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.