Eric P. Bigler Endowed Scholarship
The Eric P. Bigler Endowed Scholarship presented to a continuing undergraduate or graduate student who exhibits the characteristics of commitment, leadership, and initiative, works at
least part-time to fund his or her education, demonstrates community involvement, and demonstrates the ability to overcome adversities.
September 20, 1958, Eric Paul Bigler grew up in the foothills
of the Appalachian Mountains near Powhatan Point, OH.
He spent his early years outdoors: fishing, hunting, and
riding dirt bikes. While Eric's father worked full-time
at a local company, he also had a 425-acre 'hobby' farm
raising beef cattle. This allowed Eric at an early
age to learn the meaning of responsibility and hard work.
a hot summer day in 1974, Eric and several friends were
swimming in a creek about 20 miles from home. At frist,
Eric refused to join in the fun, knowing that riding his
dirt bike home wet was not going to pleasant. But
after some persuasion by his friends and the summer heat,
he dove in.
his second dive, Eric hit his head on the creek bottom,
immediately losing all feeling from his shoulders down.
Hours later, he arrived at Presbyterian University Hospital
in Pittsburgh, PA. Doctors there determined that he
had fractured two bones in his neck and severely damaged
his spinal cord. Eric was paralyzed from the neck
surgery to fuse his neck, he spent five weeks in Pittsburgh
and was transferred for another six weeks to Bellaire Hospital,
which was closer to his home. In January, 1975, he
started rehab in an old, turn of the century rehabilitation
facility northeast of Pittsburgh. His days were spent
re-learning simple activities, such as feeding himself.
He was tutored his sophomore
and junior years of high school and attended classes
for half a day his senior year, graduating with his class
eastern Ohio offered many scenic views, the demographic
reality was that most jobs were blue collar labor, requiring
physical tasks that Eric could no longer accomplish.
In order to gain employment, Eric knew he needed a college
degree. He knew achieving
this goal would be another challenge, and numerous setbacks
had left him not fully prepared for university level studies.
in 1978, Eric began taking classes at Wright State.
He graduated with an undergraduate degree in liberal arts
in 1983, and three years later finished a Masters degree
in Business and Industrial Management.
worked at jobs in both the public and private sectors before
starting his current career in 1990 in software testing
for Defense contractors near Wright-Patterson Air Force
Base. In addition to his full-time job, Eric volunteers
at the Dayton Art Institute, actively trades stocks and
commodities, and is a freelance writer.
has experienced first hand the significant benefit of having
a college education and has developed the Eric P. Bigler
Endowed Scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship
is to help provide funding for students who demonstrate
community involvement, drive and commitment, as well as
the ability to overcome adversities.
- Amanda Tingley, 2013
- Erin Berdanier, 2012
- Josh Elzey, 2011
- Zachary Spurlock, 2010
- Kayla Fields, 2009
- Christopher M. Buck, 2008