Recipients of the Hinckley Scholarship gather to honor the man for whom the scholarship was named.
Fifty years of the Edwin S. Hinckley Scholarship have produced 50 years of stories from scholars who are connected as part of a select group that has benefited greatly from the generosity of the Hinckley family.
Many of those stories were related during Homecoming 2004, when Hinckley was the university’s honored founder and his family celebrated the golden anniversary of the prestigious, privately endowed Hinckley Scholarship. Several members of the Hinckley family participated, as did Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, ’65, one of the 1,100 students who have been honored with a Hinckley Scholarship.
A BYU teacher for 21 years early in the school’s history, Edwin S. Hinckley was an uncle of Gordon B. Hinckley, President of the Church of Jesus Christ. Edwin Hinckley’s children established the scholarship in his honor in 1954.
For 91-year-old Regenia M. Baer, ’59, receiving the scholarship made it possible to return to school at age 44 with four of her six children still at home. She was a widow with very little insurance to help her, and the scholarship, along with teaching and research assistantships, enabled her to earn a degree that led to her work with LDS Social Services.
Michael R. Evans, ’78, considers the scholarship an answer to prayers. He had wanted to go to law school, but with four children at the time, he saw no way to afford it. After receiving the scholarship, however, he earned his law degree, and he now works as general counsel for Shell Venezuela.
Kim S. Cameron, ’70, another grateful Hinckley Scholarship recipient, says, “The effects of the scholarship program for good throughout the world are simply incalculable.” Cameron, who was also a Fulbright scholar, is now a professor at the University of Michigan and has written several books.
Surely these scholars—which also include Massachusetts governor W. Mitt Romney, ’71, and former BYU president Rex E. Lee, ’60—have honored one of Hinckley’s maxims: “Whatever you do, don’t be a scrub.”
At the celebration, Elder Holland related a bit of his BYU background and his experience with the scholarship. He and his wife had little money while attending BYU. “We were just two little kids holding hands, trying to find our place in the sun”—and looking for the cheapest apartment in Provo. They managed, Elder Holland said, with him working 30 hours a week and going to school full-time and his wife working full-time and going to school part-time.
“It was a great life with plenty of challenges,” he said. His educational pursuits were aided during his junior year, when his faculty advisor suggested he apply for the Hinckley Scholarship.
“I had not the slightest idea who Edwin S. Hinckley was,” said Elder Holland, “but the word scholarship certainly caught my attention.”
He received the award, which began a long relationship with a family Elder Holland says he loves with all his heart.
“This scholarship has led to a lot of wonderful blessings in my life,” he said.
Edwin S. Hinckley’s oldest surviving granddaughter, Betty Hinckley Nibley, attended the celebration. Her grandfather, she said, “would be amazed that so many people were gathered to honor him.”