Industrialist and philanthropist Mark Pigott receiving honorary doctorate
Mark Pigott continued a winning tradition when he assumed the PACCAR CEO role in 1997, building on the legacy of his father, grandfather and great grandfather.
More than a century after its founding in 1905, PACCAR Inc , the Bellevue-based commercial vehicle manufacturer employs more than 26,000 people and is worth $25 billion. Throughout it all, the Pigott family has been there to shepherd it while supporting philanthropic causes ranging from arts and education to cancer research.
In recognition of his lifetime business achievements and enduring contributions to education, research, technology and the arts, Pigott will receive an honorary doctoral degree from Washington State University during its Fall Commencement. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Dec. 7 inside Beasley Coliseum.
“Mark Pigott embodies the university’s values,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “He is a global citizen, an innovator, and a champion of educational access. By his actions, he has demonstrated a profound commitment to improving the lives of people both here and abroad.”
Pigott’s great grandfather William Pigott, Sr. founded the Seattle Car Manufacturing Company in 1905, which initially built railway cars for logging companies. During World War II, the company put its production muscle into building Sherman tanks for the Allied Forces.
Following the war, the company expanded into the design and manufacture of heavy-duty trucks and started a structural steel division, which fabricated the steel for the Seattle Space Needle. Today, it manufacturers premium light, medium and heavy-duty commercial vehicles that it sells in more than 100 countries.
In 2006, PACCAR was recognized by President George W. Bush with the 2006 National Medal of Technology for decades of design leadership in aerodynamics and environmentally friendly commercial vehicles. Pigott was frequently listed by the Harvard Business Review as a top CEO in the United States and the world. He currently serves as executive chairman of the PACCAR Board of Directors, having stepped down as CEO in 2014.
Through its foundation, PACCAR has made more than $200 million in grants around the world for education, social services and the arts. In the past five years, the PACCAR Foundation has granted more than $900,000 in employee matching gifts toward higher education.
In recognition of a major donation in 2014, WSU Pullman christened its new engineering 96,000 square foot STEM hub the PACCAR Environmental Technology Building.
A Renaissance man and bibliophile, Pigott serves on the board of directors for several nonprofits including the Royal Shakespeare Company America. A donation to the United Kingdom’s House of Lords by Pigott enabled the reproduction of The Armada, a series of tapestries celebrating England’s naval victory over the Spanish, which was first commissioned in 1592. During his tenure as CEO, the PACCAR Conservation Center at the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum in Holland were established, cultivating a love for arts in more than 80,000 school children each year. He’s also supported the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. and the Biblioteque National in Paris.
In 2012, Pigott was awarded the prestigious honorary knight commander of the Order of the British Empire (KBE) at the British Embassy in Washington D.C.
Ahead of the ceremony, Pigott will share stories of the company’s technological innovation and leadership with students on the Pullman campus.