NORMAN, OKLA. – The Pigman Family Charitable Fund has made a generous contribution to help construct a new aircraft hangar at the University of Oklahoma’s Max Westheimer Airport. The hangar is designed to house planes from the university’s cutting-edge fleet, which is set to grow with the acquisition of nine new and 19 refurbished aircraft beginning late this year. The construction of the hangar also marks the first phase of a multifunction Center of Aviation Excellence at OU, which will include state-of-the-art classrooms, lab and office spaces.
“We are incredibly grateful for the Pigman Family Charitable Fund’s visionary support, which will serve our rapidly growing aviation program through this transformative addition to OU’s Max Westheimer Airport,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “At OU, we have dedicated substantial effort to strategically aligning our areas of excellence with critical workforce needs. Aviation stands out as one of these pivotal fields, and this gift offers invaluable support that will propel OU Aviation to new horizons.”
Last fall, OU announced plans to significantly enhance its top-ranked School of Aviation by increasing enrollment and expanding the university’s aircraft fleet. Compared to last academic year, freshman enrollment in aviation programs has more than doubled, and the school’s total enrollment has grown 48%. To further meet growing workforce demands for aviation professionals, the School of Aviation aims to increase enrollment in aviation programs to 600 students within the next four years.
The gift from the Pigman Family Charitable Fund also supports OU’s $2 billion “Lead On” fundraising campaign, which designates $30 million toward OU Aviation.
Reed Pigman Jr., an OU alumnus who graduated in 1972 with a bachelor’s degree in business finance, initiated this transformative gift. Pigman is the founder and president of Texas Jet Inc., at Fort Worth Meacham International Airport, which began as two hangars in 1978, and has grown into a 24-hangar facility spanning over 500,000 square feet.
Pigman’s passion for aviation has deep roots, stemming from his family’s involvement in the industry. In 1939, his father established American Flyers, a world-renowned flight school. The Pigman family’s aviation legacy even extends to a legendary encounter with The Beatles in 1964. When the iconic band faced airport restrictions due to fervent fans, Reed Pigman Sr. personally flew them to his ranch in the Ozarks of Missouri, where they were able to rest.
Reed Pigman’s wife, Pam Pigman, is an integral part of the Pigman Family Charitable Fund and a partner in the gift. She also devotes much of her time toward other charitable organizations, including Lena Pope Home, Camp Fire, Chapel Hill Academy charter school, Baylor All Saints Women’s Auxiliary and the Jewel Charity board for Cook Children’s Medical Center.
Daughters Macy Pigman and Haley Pigman are also excited about the Pigman Family’s gift to OU’s School of Aviation.
“This extraordinary gift comes at a critical time in the strategic expansion of the School of Aviation at OU,” said Berrien Moore, dean of the OU College of Atmospheric and Geographic Sciences. “External support is of great value, as it is an endorsement of the school’s direction and value to the state and the nation. We are deeply grateful.”
To learn more about the OU School of Aviation, visit ou.edu/ags/aviation.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.