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Scholarship will benefit students studying art, biomedical sciences

  • headshot: Carmen Nochera-Wilkens

Posted on August 08, 2019

Carmen Nochera-Wilkens, professor of biomedical sciences, has established a scholarship in memory of her late husband supporting Grand Valley students as they pursue degrees in fine arts and/or biomedical sciences.

The Carmen L. Nochera-Wilkens Endowed Scholarship is in memory of Mark W. Wilkens. 

Nochera-Wilkens said Mark grew up in Hawarden, Iowa, where he enjoyed fishing, hunting and traveling, but mostly had a love for art. 

Mark studied fine arts at universities in Iowa, Arizona and South Dakota and had a year-long apprenticeship with acclaimed Native American artist Oscar Howe. His artwork is on display in the West Wall Gallery of the Eberhard Center, on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus, until October 25. All of the works in the exhibition are available for purchase in direct support of the scholarship.

Details about the scholarship are online at

His oil and watercolor paintings have been purchased for hundreds of public and private collections around the world. In West Michigan, his artwork is displayed at Amway's world headquarters, Amway Grand Plaza, Grand Valley, Fifth Third Bank headquarters, and other businesses. 

"Mark was always inspired by the belief that a high-quality education should be available to everyone," Nochera-Wilkens said. "We hope this scholarship provides an opportunity for new horizons for students. We hope that it will allow students from both the arts and sciences to reach their potential in expressing original ideas, no matter the medium used."

Recipients of the scholarship must be undergraduate students in their final year, enrolled for 12 credit hours or more, with a cumulative grade point average or 3.0 or greater. The scholarship will be awarded annually, provided there are candidates who meet the qualification criteria. 

This gift is a part of the Laker Effect campaign, which is transforming the lives of students and enhancing the West Michigan community. Learn more about the campaign online at