Former Students Establish Scholarship in Memory of Bill Gregg

By Marcia Goodrich | Published

Two of Bill Gregg's former students have established a scholarship fund in his memory.

Seth and Shannon (Bair) Lemke both graduated from Michigan Tech in 2000, Shannon with a BS in Geological Engineering and Seth with a dual major in geological engineering and geophysics.

The couple has provided an initial gift for the William J. Gregg Annual Scholarship, which honors the memory of the former faculty member in the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. Gregg died Dec. 6 in an accidental fall down the Quincy Mine Hoist No. 2 Shaft, in Quincy Township.

The annual award amount will be $1,000 or 10 percent of in-state tuition, whichever is greater. The scholarship is limited to juniors or seniors majoring in a program within the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences. They must maintain a minimum GPA of 3.0 and possess a love for geology.

Seth Lemke explained how he came to appreciate Gregg's devotion to his craft.

"Bill was first and foremost a good guy," said Lemke. "He loved geology, and he loved teaching geology. One of the things you could count on in the department was that Bill would give his first test in Structural Geology twice. He'd always give it the first time, grade it, and decide that the students just didn't have a grasp on it. Then he'd go over it again in class and test them again, and they'd always do better.

"When I went through it myself, I thought it was a bit silly," Lemke said. "Later on I was a TA for that class, and I jokingly asked him if he was just going to let them all fail some year. He smiled and said that he would if it was just about the grades, but the material was really, really important. The students needed this to really get what was happening in the world around them.

"That's when what Bill did really clicked for me, and I gained a tremendous amount of respect for him that day.

"I hope the scholarship does some good," Lemke concluded.

Department Chair Wayne Pennington expressed appreciation for the gift on behalf of both the department and Gregg's family.

"We are delighted that former students have stepped forward to establish this scholarship in his honor and memory," he said. "Dr. Gregg was well-known as a teaching professor and was clearly considered to be the best teacher most of our students experienced. We miss him, but we are glad that his memory lives on, fittingly, as a scholarship for dedicated students."

The Lemkes are challenging Gregg's friends and former students to contribute, in hopes of establishing an endowed scholarship.

"What better way could there be to honor our best teacher than with a prominent scholarship for the best of our students?" Pennington said.

Donations can be made by credit card or check payable to the Michigan Tech Fund. To donate online, visit .

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.