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Scholarships and Awards

Philosophy scholarships

Bouwsma Memorial Scholarship

Through the generosity of the late Mrs. Gertrude Bouwsma-Bos and in memory of her husband, the late Professor O.K. Bouwsma, scholarships are available to philosophy majors who exhibit outstanding achievement and continuing promise in philosophy. Professor Bouwsma was a Distinguished Alumnus of Calvin and an influential American philosopher.

One $900 scholarship will be offered for the 2015-2016 school year.

Recipients are selected annually by the Philosophy Department (no separate application is required).

Kenneth J. Konyndyk, Jr. Scholarship

Professor Konyndyk taught in the Philosophy Department of Calvin for 27 years, from 1967-1994, until his life’s work was cut short by cancer. His career was characterized by first-rate scholarship, a strong commitment to teaching, and a genuine interest in his students. Dr. Konyndyk also played an instrumental role in the founding of the Society of Christian Philosophers, which now numbers around 1000 in membership. In all aspects of his professional life he pursued the integration of Christian faith with the discipline of philosophy.

In his memory, the Konyndyk family established scholarships to be awarded annually to philosophy majors entering their senior year who are seriously considering a career teaching philosophy at the college level. Two scholarships are available for the 2015-2016 school year. Cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher is required.

Applications are available in the Philosophy office or online(.pdf) and are due to Corrie Bakker in the Philosophy office or by email at by March 13, 2015.

Dr. Bernard Zylstra, S.J.D., Memorial Scholarship

Gerrit and Carol Zylstra have established this scholarship to honor their brother, Dr. Bernard Zylstra, former Professor of Political Theory and President of the Institute for Christian Studies. Bernard Zylstra actively promoted the development of Christian political theory, and this scholarship is intended to encourage students to pursue studies in the development of Christian political theory.

This scholarship is awarded to students entering their junior or senior year at Calvin who have a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants must submit a 1,200 word essay that reflects on a selected article by Bernard Zylstra concerning political theory. They must also provide a statement of potential career goals that indicates some relevance to political theory and how this scholarship would help accomplish those career goals. Three scholarships of $3,000 are available for the 2015-2016 school year.

To apply, please download the application form (.pdf) and the recommendation form and return to the Political Science Department by March 6, 2015.

O.K. Bouwsma Award

An annual prize is awarded to the Calvin student who submits the best paper in philosophy.

Award amount: $200

Deadline: April 15, 2015

Direct submissions to: Marilyn Johnson or Corrie Bakker, Administrative Assistants (340 Hiemenga Hall) or by email to

This prize is in honor of Oets Bouwsma, former Professor of Philosophy at the Universities of Nebraska and Texas, a Past President of the American Philosophical Association, and a Distinguished Alumnus of Calvin College.

Paper should be prepared for "blind review": Use a detachable title page with the author's name on it but do not identify the author in the body of the paper. Papers may be prior submissions for courses, reworkings of such papers, or specifically written for the competition. Brief papers are acceptable. Only one paper per student. Only undergraduate submissions allowed.

The winning paper will be chosen by a panel of members from the philosophy department faculty. The department reserves the right to make no award if the submissions are not of sufficiently high quality.