Kenneth B. “JR” Wiggins Jr.

Citizen Soldier Gives Back to His Nation, and Alma Mater

A native of Clearwater, Florida, Kenneth B. “JR” Wiggins Jr. is an American soldier and a proud Hurricane. Eight years ago, at age 21, he joined the Florida Army National Guard. Today, his role as Executive Officer imbues him with a sense of duty and accountability that carries over to his job as director of the Citizens Board at UM. Ready to serve on a moment’s notice, he appreciates the fact that he is part of something much bigger than himself.

"Even a small gift can have a big impact when you direct where it goes."

Kenneth B. “JR” Wiggins Jr.

Always interested in science, Wiggins initially enrolled at the University of Central Florida, and transferred to the University of Miami after his sophomore year to major in microbiology and immunology. “I was fortunate to receive a scholarship from the Army Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) that made it possible for me to earn my bachelor’s degree at UM,” he says. But rather than one of the life sciences, he would earn his degree in religious studies in 2011. “I have always had an affinity for religion, making it easy for me to turn my minor into a major,” he says.

Committed to giving back—to his country and the University—Wiggins recently made a cash gift and a planned giving commitment to the UM Department of Religious Studies. As he says, “Even a small gift can have a big impact when you direct where it goes.”

Through his life insurance policy, he set aside some funds to support college educations for his nieces and nephews—the children of the three sisters who raised him—then dedicated the remainder to helping the UM department that holds special meaning for him. “I would like to help create a program that emphasizes how science and religion can co-exist,” he says.

Kenneth B. Wiggins Jr.
Surrounded by his sisters, from left, Carla Acree Finger, Malissa St.Clair, and Rita Whitten, JR Wiggins serves in the National Guard and as director of the Citizens Board at UM.