Don't just innovate, Collaborate!

The purpose of The William Wiersma Memorial Scholarship at Westmont College

First: To honor William’s memory

The Wiersma family’s purpose in establishing and endowing this scholarship at Westmont is to celebrate William’s life and the way he lived it, and to honor his memory in a way that is consistent with his God-glorifying faith.

The William Wiersma Memorial Scholarship

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.” Hebrews 12:1

"The essence of Christianity is to believe what we do has meaning. Our lives also have a beginning and ending. Each of us has a unique part to play in the symphony of redemption – striving to make our world a better place by glorifying God in all we do."

"Part of the power of the verse is in one little word. The word ‘us.’ Let us run. Who is this ‘us?’ For many over the past four years ‘us’ has been our fellow students, friends and professors at Westmont. Additionally, it has been our families and our friends back home. Finally ‘us’ also includes Jesus Christ who shared in our fragile human existence. We should never forget that there are others running the race as well, and we are not alone. It’s comforting to realize there are others who are willing to support and help us along the way when we fall and stumble."

~ William Wiersma
Baccalaureate Speech
Submitted by request to the Baccalaureate nominating committee: Spring 2006 Westmont College

Second: To encourage a spirit of collaboration

At its most fundamental, collaboration is about simultaneously leading and learning. It’s about routinely integrating a servant’s heart with the knowledge born of experience and effort. At their best collaborators’ adapt and execute, they lead by example, they’re eager to know what they don’t know. They are aggressive listeners. They don’t blame anybody. And they do something.

The purpose of the William Wiersma Memorial Scholarship Endowment is to provide academic-need and merit-based funds to qualifying incoming freshmen at Westmont. William understood the relationship between living life fully and living a life that brings honor and glory to God. And so the ongoing hope is that by knowing more about William – about the collaborator he tried to be, the fair competitor he sought to be, the loyal son, brother and friend he was, and the diligent colleague he wanted to be, the scholarship recipient may seek to exhibit a collaborative life.

A Scholarship to honor William and the Value he found in Collaborative Thinking and Action

The William Wiersma Memorial Scholarship Endowment at Westmont College was established in 2007. Beginning in the Fall of 2008, the first award from the endowed scholarship will be granted to an incoming Westmont freshman. The award will be based on academic merit and financial need. The award will also consider evidence of collaboration and teamwork in the recipients’ pre-college experience. William was a frequent advocate of the power and the joy of collaborative thinking and team effort. William thought often about his own psychology and how to hone it. He also thought deeply about the group psychology inherent in collaborative effort. William sought to exhibit collaborative thinking and action in all spheres of his life – throughout college and into the business world as a member of the Key Accounts Team at Commission Junction. Our hope is that the scholarship recipients will also study and model collaboration.

Read more about Will and his passion for collaboration