The Dr. Ian Pepper Scholarship supports two exemplary environmental science majors in financial need.
Dec. 1, 2020

Pepper is a highly respected Department of Environmental Science faculty and environmental microbiologist invested in supporting the next generation of scientists at the University of Arizona. As a young student, he arrived in the United States in 1970 with $50 in his pocket.

After over 40 years at the University of Arizona and a highly respected leader in environmental microbiology both locally and internationally, Dr. Pepper remembers what a difference both a paid fellowship and loans made starting off as a young scientist. Now he's giving something back.

“It’s always been about the students. I love doing research, all the glitz and glamour. But it’s gratifying to watch students come into the lab and mature and grow," said Pepper, a professor of environmental science and director of the Water Environmental Technology Center. “I tell them to think about what they really want to do, and if they don’t know, try to work through it and give them some advice.”

Meet Ian Pepper ...

Ian Pepper remembers being a young student in 1970, arriving in the United States from England with very little money.  

He hopped on a Greyhound Bus to The Ohio State University to start his graduate work in soil microbiology.

However, he discovered his paid fellowship would not start for another few weeks. Thankfully, the department head pulled out an old tin cash box and gave him a loan.  

Now, after over 40 years at the University of Arizona and a highly respected leader in environmental microbiology both locally and internationally, Pepper remembers what a difference both the paid fellowship and the loan made starting off as a young scientist.  

As the Director of the National Science Foundation Water and Environmental Technology (WEST) Center and a professor across several departments, Pepper wants to give something back. 

Gifts to Support Young Scientists

Pepper and his wife Barbara have included students from the Department of Environmental Science in their family’s estate plan. They plan on leaving a generous legacy gift to offer continued aid, but also wanted to make an immediate impact. 

“It’s always been about the students, watching them grow and mature.” says Pepper. “It’s gratifying.” 

And so, since 2018, the Dr. Ian Pepper Scholarship supports two exemplary undergraduate students each year pursuing an environmental science major in need of financial aid.  

This way, Pepper not only financially supports these students, but can get to know them, offering advice and tips to young, ambitious environmental scientists. 

Meet the Pepper Scholars

Read interviews with Alexandre Molteni and Maddie Morris.

This story originally appeared on the Environmental Science website.