Baldor's McFarland Gives $1 Million to UA-Fort Smith

John and Kim McFarland of Fort Smith on Thursday made a $1 million pledge to the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith Foundation benefiting three scholarship endowments there.

The university said the money will provide scholarships for business, health sciences and engineering majors at the university.

John McFarland is the former CEO and chairman of the board at Baldor Electric Co. of Fort Smith, which was purchased this year by Swiss company ABB Ltd.

"We both grew up in Fort Smith and are strong supporters of the community," McFarland said in a news release. "I went to UA Fort Smith, and when I was there, somebody helped me with the expense of going to school. I couldn't afford it at the time, so I'm pleased to be in a position to help someone else."

The engineering scholarships will be designed to recruit engineering students and are based on leadership and volunteer activities as well as ACT and grade-point minimums. They will provide full tuition and fees, $1,000 in books per year, and $2,000 housing allowance.

The business and health sciences scholarships will be based on financial need and are open to any majors in the College of Business and the College of Health Sciences who meet certain academic criteria.

The $1 million donation brings UA Fort Smith to a $37.5 million total in its $50 million fund-raising campaign, called "The Giving Opportunity." The campaign, which began in 2004, focuses on four areas:

  • endowed scholarships
  • faculty support in the form of chairs, professorships and opportunities for professional development
  • technology and instructional equipment
  • library expansion