Rick and Anne Massey of Little Rock have given $1 million to the University of Central Arkansas to endow need-based scholarships for first-generation college students.

It will be named the Arch Ford Endowed Scholarship in honor of the late long-time state education commissioner. His son, Joe Ford, the former Alltel CEO, and Joe Ford’s wife Ellen have added $250,000 to the endowment. UCA said it would match scholarships awarded from the endowment dollar-for dollar.

Massey was a 1981 UCA graduate and Arch Ford was a graduate of its predecessor, Arkansas State Teachers College, in 1930.


In addition to being first-generation students, scholarship recipients must be eligible for Pell Grants, be a rising sophomore who graduated from Arkansas high school and have completed at least 15 credit hours with a 2.5 GPA. Scholarships will be awarded in the spring and renewable for four years for those maintaining a 2.5 GPA. The number and size of scholarships awarded may vary.

Massey, a lawyer and businessman with a variety of interests, recently sold Bear State Financial, a banking company he led to Arvest for $391 million. Among the major stockholders in the bank was Scott Ford, Joe Ford’s son. Massey has also been a partner in Westrock Capital, an investment management firm whose partners include Joe and Scott Ford.


In November, the Masseys gave $2 million to the University of Arkansas capital campaign.