UA Receives $7.8M for College of Engineering

The University of Arkansas announced Monday an estate gift valued at more than $7.8 million to its College of Engineering from alumnus Robert H. Biggadike.

The gift will be used to establish the Robert H. Biggadike Endowment for Teaching in the college, the university said.

"This is a fantastic gift for the College of Engineering and the University of Arkansas," said Chancellor David Gearhart in a news release. "Robert’s generosity is inspiring, and we are deeply touched by his support of his alma mater. His gift will allow the College of Engineering to make impressive advances and contribute greatly to its future success."

Biggadike is a Newport native who earned his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from the UA in 1958 and later earned a master's degree in mechanical engineering from the university.

Now living in California where his aerospace career took him after graduation, Biggadike developed missile simulations and designed autopilot systems for companies such as Northrop Grumman, General Dynamics and Boeing. While working full time, he earned the title of Degree of Engineer in mechanical engineering and computer methodology from UCLA.

"A gift of this magnitude is outstanding and an excellent investment in our future," said Engineering Dean John English. "Mr. Biggadike’s contribution will provide us with additional resources to support the teaching endeavors of our faculty, so the College of Engineering can continue to perform at exceptional levels. Our students will benefit from this gift as well, since they will learn from teachers and researchers who are being supported by this generous donation. We are deeply appreciative to Mr. Biggadike for his philanthropy."

Biggadike is recognized in the Towers of Old Main, a society that honors the university’s most generous benefactors, tne university said. In 1983, he established a scholarship endowment in memory of his father benefitting UA mechanical engineering students.