George Whinna Memorial Scholarship

George Whinna Memorial Scholarship

Supporting students studying history.

Winter Scholarship - Open Open This scholarship is part of the Winter application cycle. The application is open December 1st to February 1st every year. How to Apply

Eligibility Criteria

Applicant must:

- Be a graduate of a public or private high school located in Winnebago County.
- Be at least a freshman in college at the time of application.
- Intend to enroll at Rock Valley College or Rockford University for the upcoming school year.
- Intend to major in a history-related field.


Academic performance will be given moderate consideration in the selection process.

For the purposes of this scholarship, "history-related field" can include majors such as history, anthropology, museum studies, and genealogy.

Having been involved in history-related experiential learning projects or activities are positive factors.

Written Prompt

Each CFNIL scholarship is created with a specific purpose in mind. As you complete the application, the system automatically matches you with every scholarship for which you are eligible and will present you with a specific written prompt for each. You're encouraged to craft a unique response to each prompt to show the reviewers why you're the best candidate for that scholarship.

Scholarship Background and Intent

Retired teacher, George Whinna, celebrated by hundreds of former students after diagnosis (WIFR news story August 10, 2023)

George W. R. Whinna, 81, died on Tuesday evening, August 15, 2023, in his home after a brief illness. Born October 22, 1941, in Chicago, son of George W. R. Whinna, Jr. and Roseanna (Kepner) Whinna.  Graduated from Harper High School in Chicago and from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in 1963 with a bachelor’s degree in History. 

Following his graduation from college, George embarked on a 36-year career as a history teacher with the Rockford Public Schools, first for six years at Roosevelt Junior High School; then at Rockford West High School from 1969 until its closing in 1989; and finally at Rockford Auburn High School from which he retired in 1999. George was an outstanding history teacher who immersed his students in the courses he taught, inviting them to not only learn but to experience the lessons through class participation and projects, field trips, and trips to destinations in the United States and Europe. His relationship with his students went beyond the classroom – where, in addition to teaching, he regularly served as class and student council advisor.  For many of his students and for the other young people whom he encountered while teaching, his involvement continued as their life-long friend.

George’s excellence as an educator was recognized through his receipt of the American History award from the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1980; the Rotary Award from Rockford Rotary in 1989; being selected for “Who’s Who Among American Teachers”; and being named one of the Top Twenty Teachers of Distinction through the Golden Apple Awards program in 1998. His impact upon thousands of students as a teacher, mentor, and friend was immeasurable, as demonstrated through the outpouring of love that he received once the severity of his prognosis was made public. The messages of gratitude, love, respect, and support he has received through visits, phone calls, Facebook and other social media posts, emails, cards, and letters give testimony to what George has meant to the lives of so many.

In addition to his teaching contributions, George was the Co-chairman of the Bicentennial School’s Committee from 1975-1976 and was also a member of the Winnebago County Retired Teachers Association. He also previously served on the Boards of Directors of Wartburg College and Tinker Swiss Cottage.

George was also a committed and loving son, brother, and relative to his parents, his sister Charlene, and his extended family.  He cared for and was dedicated to them throughout his lifetime, as they were to him.