Airgas - Jerry Baker Scholarship

Airgas - Jerry Baker Scholarship

Airgas®, an Air Liquide company, is the leading U.S. supplier of industrial, medical and specialty gases, as well as hardgoods and related products; one of the largest U.S. suppliers of safety products; and a leading U.S. supplier of ammonia products and process chemicals. For more information, please visit

This award honors Jerry Baker’s impact at Airgas and the welding industry in general. Jerry showed a great passion for the distribution business and earned the respect of colleagues and customers alike.

A graduate of Bowling Green Business University in Kentucky, with a bachelor's degree in accounting, Jerry began his career in 1954, working for the family industrial gas and welding supply business, Southern Welding Supply. He became its sole owner in 1972. After selling SWS to Airgas in 1986, Jerry continued to serve as President of Kentucky Airgas. Jerry held a variety of leadership and executive roles for the company until his retirement in 2010. 

Aside from his work for Airgas, Jerry was a renowned philanthropist who could never say no to a charitable cause. He made multiple donations to Western Kentucky University, his alma mater, and was a huge supporter of the arts and women’s basketball. Jerry also founded the Downing Museum, and the nearly 115-acre Baker Arboretum surrounding it. Jerry passed away at the age of 86 in 2017, but his impact will live on forever. 

Through this scholarship, we hope to honor Jerry Baker, remember and his work and service, and encourage students to get an education that prepares them for a successful career with an industrial gas or welding equipment distributor.


The purpose for this scholarship is to provide financial assistance to those individuals interested in pursuing a career in welding engineering.


The Airgas ­ Jerry Baker Scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student pursuing a minimum four-year bachelors degree in welding engineering (WE) or welding engineering technology (WET); however, priority will be given to welding engineering (WE) students interested in pursuing a career with an industrial gas or welding equipment distributor. All applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements.

  • Applicant must be a minimum of eighteen years of age.
  • Applicant must have a minimum high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Applicant must be a full-time student as defined by the academic institution.
  • Applicant must have at least a 2.8 overall grade point average with a 3.0 grade point average in engineering courses.
  • Financial need is not required; however, priority will be given to those individuals demonstrating a financial need.
  • Priority will be given to those individuals who demonstrate an interest in pursuing a career with an industrial gas or welding equipment distributor by prior work experience, clubs, organizations or extra-curricular activities.
  • Applicant must be a citizen of the United States or Canada and plan to attend an academic institution located within the United States or Canada.
  • Applicant must submit all required application information.
  • Priority will be given to those individuals residing or attending school in the states of Alabama, Georgia or Florida. (A resident is defined as having lived in the specified area for a minimum of one year.)
  • Applicants may reapply; however, persons who have received this award may reapply and may be granted the award for a maximum of four years.

The award will be presented to individuals nationwide. Applicant does not have to be a member of the American Welding Society. The AWS Foundation does not discriminate by age, race, color, national origin, disability, creed, or gender.


The recipient will be chosen by the Education Scholarship Committee.



One $2,500 award will be given annually. No recipient shall receive more than one AWS National Scholarship award per year.

No awards will be paid to the recipient. All awards are for tuition and books only, and will be paid directly to the academic institution by the AWS Foundation.

Scholarship Application