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New Endowment Creates Scholarship for First-Year Engineering Students – University of Arkansas Newswire

Kim Needy, Sharon Booth McGee and Chad McGee
Sharon and Chad McGee of Sapphire, North Carolina, are giving more Arkansas students the financial assistance they need to attend the U of A, thanks to a new scholarship. 
The Sharon D. Booth McGee and Chad C. McGee Endowed Scholarship was created with a $50,000 endowment, and the couple will make additional gifts over time to increase the number of scholarships that can be awarded.  
Sharon, who grew up in Ashdown, and Chad, who grew up in Gepp, both hold undergraduate and graduate degrees from the U of A.  Sharon earned a Bachelor and Master of Science in chemical engineering from the College of Engineering, and Chad earned a Bachelor of Arts in political science and Master of Public Administration with a focus on information systems. 
“I believe in education,” Sharon Booth McGee said. “When combined with hard work, it provides a leg up in this world, especially for students who study STEM-based degrees where starting salaries provide a tangible reward for the tuition and the blood, sweat and tears needed to earn the degree. University of Arkansas is an excellent choice for students. Coming from a small school, I was worried after my first few weeks in calculus; however, the support and encouragement I received from the chemical engineering faculty and my family allowed me to push through self-doubt when the courses were tough. The problem-solving skills I learned through engineering have been a foundation throughout my entire career.” 
Chad McGee said, “We want to help students from our hometowns experience the same opportunities we did. We want to help these young adults who will lead and improve our world through the knowledge that an engineering education provides. We’re very excited about this scholarship, and it’s very important to us.” 
The Sharon D. Booth McGee and Chad C. McGee Endowed Scholarships are intended to recruit talented graduates from Ashdown High School or Viola High School who choose to major in the College of Engineering at the U of A in Fayetteville and to supplement other awards to bridge funding gaps. The first scholarships will be awarded for students entering the university for the Fall 2023 semester. 
The endowment will provide at least two freshman scholarships with a minimum award of $1,000 per recipient or one freshman scholarship with a minimum award of $2,000 and continue to grow in amount or number of awardees over time. 
Sharon Booth McGee currently serves on the Board of Directors of Tetra Technologies Inc., an industrial oil and gas products and services company that is evolving its business model by expanding into the low-carbon energy markets. 
She started her career as a chemical engineer at Albemarle Corporation. After spending her first 10 years in technical roles such as process design, manufacturing, and research and development, she discovered a passion for the business and strategic side of the company.  
As a senior executive at Albemarle Corporation, a global specialty company, she led global P&Ls as large as $500 million; drove new levels of global sales and operational excellence; and delivered record-breaking growth and profitability, leading global operations in the Americas, Europe, Middle East, China, Japan and Southeast Asia — even relocating with Chad and their two teenagers to Shanghai, China, for two years. 
Chad’s career included serving as the chief information officer for the state of Louisiana under Gov. Mike Foster, where he oversaw a $500 million information technology expenditure budget and the establishment of the state IT Master Plan, reducing costs and increasing efficiency across all state agencies. He later moved into the private sector as an account executive for IT solutions companies including Veritas, Dell and Symantec. 
Prior to working in the governor’s office, he started his career with Louisiana State University, where he held positions of increasing responsibility in financial system services, computer services, and served as the assistant dean and director of graduate admissions. 
These days the couple spend their time in their mountain home in Sapphire, North Carolina, where Chad is an avid golfer and Sharon continues to manage her consulting business. 
The couple met while attending the U of A in Fayetteville and have fond memories of their experiences. They recognize the importance of education, as well as the barriers that students sometimes face in pursuing their degrees.  
Dean Kim Needy thanked the McGees for the generosity of their gift and for Sharon Booth McGee’s service on the Dean’s Advisory Council. 
“Sharon and Chad are longtime friends of the college, and both epitomize how higher education and hard work can give someone a world of opportunity,” she said. “We look forward to the selection of our first recipients and to working closely with them to expand their endowment. We are so grateful for their investment in our future students.” 
Sharon Booth McGee was inducted into the Arkansas Academy of Chemical Engineers in 2012, received the Distinguished Alumni College of Engineering Award in 2015 and is a member of the Dean’s Advisory Council. She and Chad are members of the Chancellor’s Society at the U of A for their consistent giving to the university. They are also both members of the Arkansas Alumni Association. 
About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the few U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.  
Jennifer Cook, director of communications
College of Engineering
479-575-4173, [email protected]
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