History Department Student Scholarships and Awards

The Quirinus Breen Prize
The Breen Prize is awarded for student research essays on historical subjects. The prize is named in honor of Professor Quirinus Breen, the distinguished Historian of Renaissance Humanism who was a member of the History Department from 1965 to 1968.

Frances Anne Kelleher Endowed Scholarship
Professor Frances Kelleher's family and the university have established The Frances Anne Kelleher Endowed Memorial Scholarship to honor her memory and her years of service and teaching at Grand Valley State University.

Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer History Scholarship
Grand Valley State University offers an annual Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer History Scholarship for outstanding full-time History majors. The scholarship is named in honor of Dr. Glenn A. Niemeyer and his wife Betty. From 1963 to 2002, Dr. Niemeyer served Grand Valley State University as a professor of history, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Vice President of the colleges, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Provost.

To find out more click on GVSU MyScholarships

Scholarship Recipients

Kasey (Johns) Love, Social Studies & History Education '20 Spotlight

Kasey (Johns) Love, Social Studies & History Education '20

2019 Frances Anne Kelleher Memorial Scholarship Recipient

Alex Jablonski, History '11 Spotlight

Alex Jablonski, History '11

2011 Quirinus Breen Prize Recipient

Eric Pinder, History & Secondary Education '21 Spotlight

Eric Pinder, History & Secondary Education '21

2020 Glenn A. and Betty J. Niemeyer History Scholarship and The Quirinus Breen Prize Recipient

Rebekkah Bowen, History & Political Science Spotlight

Rebekkah Bowen, History & Political Science

2020 Frances Anne Kelleher Memorial Scholarship Recipient

View More Scholarship Recipients

History Scholarships

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Benefits students regularly enrolled in any history course.


This fund is for History or Social Studies students studying abroad.


Benefits deserving junior or senior history majors.


Richard L. Cooley-Chester Huff Distinguished Social Studies Award

Grand Valley State University’s History Department and The Grand Rapids Public Schools awards the Richard L. Cooley-Chester Huff Distinguished Social Studies Award to up to the three most qualified social studies or history majors. Working with the GVSU College of Education Student Information and Service Center, the winners will be placed in the Grand Rapids Public Schools with master teachers for their teacher assisting and/or student teaching.

Dr. Richard Cooley began his teaching career in 1973 in Upstate New York where he taught 7th Grade U.S. and New York State History and Geography. In 1977 he moved his family to Kansas where he taught U.S. and World History, World Geography and Government until 2001. During his time in Kansas he was named “Master Teacher” for his school district and nominated three times for the “Kansas Teacher of the Year” award. While teaching he completed an M.A. in History from Wichita State University, and largely completed his Ed.D. at Kansas State University in 2002 when he joined the History faculty at Grand Valley State University 2001. There he taught Social Studies methods courses and observed aspiring teachers during their field placements.

Mr. Chester Huff graduated from the College of Emporia in Emporia, Kansas in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. After two years in the military he earned his teacher certification and BS in Education from Grand Valley State University in 1976. Later earning a Master's Degree in Urban Education and Educational Leadership. Beginning in 1976 until 2015 Mr. Huff was employed with Grand Rapids Public Schools as a Social Studies teacher [25 yrs], coach, and Administrator. He taught throughout the SS curriculum during his teaching career. During his tenure, in his various capacities, Mr. Huff taught, trained, and mentored numerous aspiring student teachers from local colleges and universities in the SS curriculum in particular and the teaching profession in general. Dr. Richard Cooley’s  and Mr. Chester Huff’s careers as Master Teachers and scholars provide examples our awardees hope to exemplify.

The competitive awards are based on a process that includes a formal application and interviews conducted by members of the history department at GVSU, and (when possible) a representative of the Grand Rapids Public Schools. The award winners are placed exclusively with master teachers in secondary education. The winners will receive three professional development sessions, as well as close supervision from GVSU faculty with whom they will discuss and gauge their professional development.

Upon successful completion of their internships, the winners will receive letters of recommendation from the Grand Valley State University faculty member(s) in close supervision, the principal, and a GRPS official.

Application Process:

  1. A formal letter of application outlining the student’s qualifications for the award.
  2. A professional resume/C.V.
  3. An unofficial transcript.
  4. One artifact showing the student’s potential to be an outstanding social studies teacher.

Criteria for Selection:

  1. Past performance in college course work.
  2. Professional disposition.
  3. Potential to become a master teacher in the future.
  4. Successful interview.