SHARE
Bill Grewcock, a longtime donor, died Dec. 8, 2018. Bill and his wife Berniece, who sur­vives him, have been involved with Hillsdale College since the 1980s. External Affairs

Known as a man of char­acter and gen­erosity, William “Bill” Grewcock died on Dec. 8, 2018, at the age of 93. Grewcock was the former vice chairman of con­struction and mining at Kiewit Corp., and he and Berniece, his wife of 70 years who sur­vives him, made con­sid­erable char­i­table dona­tions to Hillsdale College.

“He was a giver, and when he gave, his eyes shone with love,” Hillsdale College Pres­ident Larry Arnn said in a eulogy delivered at Grewcock’s funeral. “Hillsdale is next year 175 years old, and in its long history, Bill and Berniece are among the few most gen­erous.”

The Grew­cocks endowed several schol­ar­ships, were bene­factors to the Grewcock Student Union, sup­ported Hillsdale Academy, and endowed five pro­fes­sor­ships, among other things.

One of the schol­ar­ships the Grew­cocks estab­lished was awarded to stu­dents from Nebraska who had attended a private, Christian high school or had been home­schooled, were aca­d­e­m­i­cally qual­ified, and showed a financial need. Since its estab­lishment in January 1994, 143 stu­dents have received the schol­arship.

“We would get the Nebraska kids, usually 40 of them at a time, together each January when they were home for the hol­idays to meet with Bill and Berniece,” Arnn said. “Neither of them wanted to be thanked. They wanted to tell the kids how great they are.”

Arnn also spoke to Grewcock’s char­acter, saying he “pos­sessed the moral and intel­lectual virtues.”

“He was ‘a char­acter’ in the sense that he was dis­tinctive and for­mi­dable,” Arnn said. “He was more direct, more con­fident, readier to think and act than the ordinary. He was ‘a char­acter’ in that larger sense that means a com­plete man.”

Chief Admin­is­trative Officer Rich Péwé only met the Grew­cocks once, when they were working on the plans for the student union, but in that time, Péwé said he was impressed with how humble they were.

“They were very straight­forward about what they liked and what they did not like,” he said. “They were such down-to-earth believers both in the college and as very faithful Chris­tians.”

Péwé said he was struck by how much Arnn was impressed with Grewcock and that “Arnn seemed always very drawn to him as a man and a person.”

Arnn’s final part of the eulogy touched on that con­nection to Grewcock.

“My rela­tionship with Bill Grewcock began in business and then reached friendship,” Arnn said. “This is one of the proudest things in my life. I loved him.”

Senior Ellen Friesen has been a Grewcock scholar since she was a freshman and was given the oppor­tunity to speak at the college’s annual “thank-you dinner” in Nebraska.

“I talked a lot about the intel­lectual culture that coming to school here has helped me to develop and the way it has taught me to think and pursue learning,” Friesen said.

After almost four years, Friesen said she has realized there is still much that she doesn’t know, but Hillsdale has given her a direction.

“There’s so much more, and I can spend the rest of my lifetime pur­suing that,’” Friesen said. “I think before coming to Hillsdale, I may have had a vague sense of there being a lot I didn’t know, but there wouldn’t have been a direction to that search which could have ani­mated the rest of my life.”

Without the gen­erosity of the Grew­cocks, Friesen may not have been given that direction.

“It’s huge,” Friesen said. “If I hadn’t had the schol­arship, I wouldn’t have been able to come here. Every­thing I owe to Hillsdale I owe to them.”

Sophomore Spencer Rothfuss has had a similar expe­rience with the Grew­cocks, saying their schol­arship made his edu­cation at Hillsdale pos­sible.

“I couldn’t be at Hillsdale without their gen­erosity,” Rothfuss said. “Every­thing I’ve learned in the class, every friendship I’ve made, every life lesson that I’ve gotten in the last 18 months is pos­sible because of them.”