Pitt Scholars & Stewards: The Gift of Giving Back

Issue Date: 
October 26, 2009
Cole TaylorCole Taylor

For aspiring baseball players around the world, winning a full scholarship to play baseball at the university of their choice seems like a dream. The Thomas Bigley Baseball Scholarship has made that dream a reality for Cole Taylor.

Ever since Taylor received a baseball glove as one of his first childhood presents, the sport has been his passion. Now, as a University of Pittsburgh junior majoring in administrative justice and a pitcher playing for Pitt’s baseball team, Taylor can hardly believe his good fortune.

“Just being here at Pitt and being able to play baseball is amazing. It’s something that I’ve loved all my life,” he said.

The Thomas Bigley Baseball Scholarship rewards outstanding Pitt baseball players. Its genesis came in 1952, when Thomas G. Bigley was trying to determine his future path. His South Hills High School baseball team won the city championship. Pitt offered him a full baseball scholarship, and everything fell into place from there, his wife Joan recalled. Since then, Bigley has been giving back to his alma mater. Bigley (KGSB ’56) is the retired managing partner at Ernst and Young, LLP, and he also serves as an emeritus trustee on Pitt’s Board of Trustees.

“If it wasn’t for that scholarship, we don’t know how things would have started or ended, but his scholarship was definitely a start for us,” said Joan Bigley, who was dating her husband-to-be at the time. “Everything has come our way since then, and everything goes back to that scholarship. Being able to give back to the University has truly been a blessing, and it’s all been tremendous.”

Taylor said the Bigley Baseball Scholarship has given him access to an outstanding education at Pitt. In addition, the sport’s mental rigors have helped him to handle stresses in other life situations.

Joan Bigley said she hopes the scholarship fund will make a significant enough impact on its recipients that they, in turn, will eventually give back to schools, families, and friends.

“It’s easy to receive … but you have to give back. That’s what really makes an impact on your life,” Joan Bigley said.

This year, Joan Bigley also created the Joan Bigley Endowed Baseball Scholarship Fund for the University of Pittsburgh. And the Bigleys’ giving, which began years ago, continues.