UA-Fort Smith Gets $1M From Baldor in Honor of John McFarland

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Friday, Jun. 24, 2011 3:51 pm  

John McFarland, former chief executive officer and chairman of the board at Baldor, began his career with Baldor in 1970 while a student at UA-Fort Smith when it was Westark Community College.

“I think the gift of education is probably the most wonderful gift you can give anyone,” he said. “I was just tickled to death that this was what they chose to do. In addition to that, it is such a lasting gift and will benefit our community for a long, long time.”

Loyd said the scholarships will assist those students already enrolled as a way to help them complete their degree programs, but the scholarships will also be used to recruit new students to the designated programs.

Scholarships have been the top priority in a Giving Opportunity campaign in progress at UA-Fort Smith.

“This takes us to just over approximately $41 million in the campaign,” said Loyd. “We hope to conclude the campaign in December.”

McFarland and his wife Kim personally made a $1 million pledge to UA-Fort Smith in February, which was also designated for scholarship endowments. He said at that time that they had both grown up in Fort Smith and were strong supporters of the community.

“I went to UA-Fort Smith, and when I was there, somebody helped me with the expense of going to school,” McFarland said in February. “I couldn’t afford it at the time, so I’m pleased to be in a position to help someone else.”

The McFarlands have been long-time donors to UA-Fort Smith, including a gift associated with the building and furnishing of the Baldor Technology Center as well as previous scholarships for business students.

McFarland worked his way up the ranks at Baldor, being named president and CEO in 2000 and chair of the board in 2004. During his 41 years at Baldor, he saw the company grow from $20 million in sales to $1.9 billion, ultimately leading it to become the number one market share leader in North America.

Baldor Technology Center was dedicated in October 2000. Baldor and its three leading corporate officers -- including McFarland -- provided partial funding for the 102,170-square-foot facility.



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