DURHAM, N.H. – A new $1 million endowed scholarship fund at the University of New Hampshire will provide financial support every year to as many as 20 students from New Hampshire. Established by Michael Pilot ’84 and his wife Yvonne Tuberty Pilot ’84, the Pilot Scholarship Fund reflects the Pilots’ commitment to making sure deserving students get an opportunity to attend college—just as Mike Pilot himself once did.
A native of Keene, Pilot credits UNH with opening his eyes to a larger view of his role in the world and the possibility of having a real impact. “UNH was a turning point for me in every way,” he says. “I stepped out of small-town life and into a much bigger realm of opportunities. Without the dedication and commitment of my parents, and the generosity of people I never had the chance to meet, I would not have had the opportunity at such a high-quality education. This gift is my chance to pay it forward.”
Pilot, who was the first in his family to graduate from a four-year college, is now chief commercial officer of GE Capital, the financial services unit of the General Electric Company. His degree in business administration and management—and the quality of teaching he benefitted from along the way—helped to launch him on a fulfilling and successful career path. “UNH taught me how to learn and how to lead,” says Pilot.
UNH, too, has benefitted from Pilot’s engagement and leadership. He has served on the UNH Foundation Board, and in 2011 he was the keynote speaker for the business school during homecoming weekend.
In 2009, Pilot and his wife supported the building of the new Paul College with a $250,000 gift. “With this recent scholarship fund gift, the Pilots have made a significant leadership statement,” says Debbie Dutton, vice president of advancement and president of the UNH Foundation. Their generosity, she notes, has already inspired other donors.
Leadership gifts strengthen and enrich the UNH experience, according to UNH President Mark Huddleston. “The environment at a great university includes interaction with a broad variety of students—a community of scholars from diverse socioeconomic backgrounds,” he says. “The Pilots’ gift ensures that UNH graduates from all walks of life are given the opportunity to become leaders in their communities and their workplaces, pursuing careers that make a real contribution to society.”
The University of New Hampshire, founded in 1866, is a world-class public research university with the feel of a New England liberal arts college. A land, sea, and space-grant university, UNH is the state's flagship public institution, enrolling 12,200 undergraduate and 2,300 graduate students.