Dr. Ethel Simon McWilliams Scholarship

Dr. Ethel Simon-McWilliams is recognized throughout the nation for the significant contributions she made in the field of education. In 2001, after retiring from her position of Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory in Portland, her friends established the Dr. Ethel Simon-McWilliams Scholarship Fund in recognition of the critical changes she inspired throughout her career. Scholarship recipients receive up to four years of financial assistance toward an accredited college or university to help them become self sufficient and make lasting contributions to society.

Should you apply?

This scholarship is available to 11th grade African American students, who are U.S. citizens with a cumulative GPA between 2.5-2.85. Any cumulative GPA over 2.85 does not qualify. To qualify, you must attend a public high school in Portland, graduate in the class of 2015 and exhibit potential for college/university success.

If you have stumbled academically at some point due to circumstances beyond your control such as health or personal programs, this scholarship is a good match for you. You must be capable of success in college, which we define as being focused, goal-oriented, articulate and able to express yourself through writing. You must have a sound grasp of academic fundamentals in reading, writing and math; all of which are essential for college success.

Does this sound like you? Download the application and apply! --> DRSM Scholarship Application
The application deadline to be determined.

More about Dr. Ethel Simon-McWilliams


Dr. Ethel Simon-McWilliams retired June 2001 as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory (NWREL) in Portland. She joined the NWREL in January 1979 and served as its third Chief Executive Officer. Guided by strong beliefs, clear vision, ambitious goals, objectives and indicators, she led the NWREL into the 21st century with remarkable growth as a regionally and nationally recognized and respected private research and development corporation.

With her life dedicated to service, she is a person who makes things happen. Usually working behind the scenes pulling the right strings, opening the necessary doors, planning, influencing, arranging, persuading, conducting and connecting, she has been key to a multitude of successful programs, projects and organizations. She has been a role model and advisor to many.

Dr. Simon-McWilliams became aware of possibilities available to her early in life. She was awed by books and the workings of the human mind and wanted to assist people in leading satisfying and productive lives. Her professional career began as a classroom teacher in the District of Columbia Public School System. Prior to retiring as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, her 37 year career also included serving as a local school administrator, Southeast and Pacific Northwest Region desegregation director, university professor, and a NWREL division director and Associate Executive Director. She is recognized regionally and nationally as a leading education advocate who has been influential in ensuring opportunities for equitable high quality education for all to whom she refers as “My Babies.”

In 1994, she received the “National Distinguished Service Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Desegregation of Public Schools”; and in 1979 she received a similar award in South Carolina. Some of her other recognitions and awards include; “Women in History”, The Oregonian newspaper; “Living Legend”, Willamette University; “Abigail Scott Duniway Award” for contributions to the status of women , Women in Communications, Inc. Portland Chapter; “Distinguished Service Award”, Grambling State University.

Dr. Simon-McWilliams has been a member of over 40 Committees/Boards/Commissions which include the St. Vincent Hospital and Medical Center Board (Chairperson, 1983) and Foundation, Oregon Symphony Association, Oregon Public Broadcasting Commission, Linfield College Board of Trustees, The Boys and Girls Aid Society of Oregon (President, 1992-94), Pacific Power, and Arthritis Foundation of Oregon Board.