Members of the Michigan Oil and Gas Association (MOGA) have been providing financial support for graduating Michigan high school seniors and college students seeking degrees in fields of study leading to a career in the crude oil and natural gas exploration and production industry since 2007.
An academic scholarship program established in 2005 by the Michigan Oil & Gas Producers Education Foundation (MOGPEF) resulted in the awarding of 42 scholarships of $500 each to graduating high school seniors accepted at Michigan colleges or universities from 2007 through 2015.
The Michigan Oil and Gas Association currently offers academic scholarships supported by funds contributed to honor the memory of Michigan oil and gas industry veterans Tony Howard and James Bigard.
The Tony Howard Scholarship Fund was established in 2010 in honor of Howard, who died Oct. 11, 2010, following a career in all phases of oil and gas drilling that spanned more than 50 years.
The James Bigard Scholarship Fund was created following the Sept. 16, 2012, death of Bigard, who built his company from a single drilling rig to a fleet of as many as 13, including the state’s first rated to 20,000 feet.
Seed money for the funds, which were originally administered by Energy Education for Michigan (EEM), was provided by generous donors, with subsequent contributions to the funds helping to achieve EEM’s objective of supporting students pursuing a course of undergraduate study related to the oil and gas industry.
Dwain Provins, long-time business partner of Howard’s and a friend and competitor of Bigard’s, was instrumental in establishment of both the Tony Howard Scholarship Fund and the James Bigard Scholarship Fund. Provins believes strongly in the importance of a college education and said he hopes that the legacies established will encourage continued contributions and be an ongoing source of funds for students attending college or continuing to pursue a degree, with sensitivity toward need-based circumstances. The Tony Howard Scholarship was offered to students enrolled in a technical school, community college, college or university.
The James Bigard Scholarship, also supported initially by Steve Bigard, son of James Bigard and a Michigan drilling contractor himself, awarded scholarships to graduating high school students pursuing a degree in education with a concentration in the sciences.