The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us


Director of Development
UI College of Law
UI Foundation News
500 Alumni Center
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-3305

Release: Immediate

Scholarship endowed in memory of UI law grad killed in Vietnam

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When members of the University of Iowa College of Law class of 1967 gathered at UI homecoming to celebrate their 30th anniversary of graduation, they paid tribute to a classmate killed in action in Vietnam. The law class of 1967 established a scholarship in memory of Bill Higgins through the Iowa Law School Foundation with gifts of $25,000. The scholarship was announced at the class reunion on Saturday, Oct. 25, 1997.

Higgins enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps soon after receiving his J.D. degree from the UI. Because his father had been killed in World War II, he was the sole surviving son in the family. Higgins was therefore exempt from military service in Vietnam. Nevertheless, Higgins chose to enlist out of respect for his father and a desire to serve his country, according to Ray Beebe, his former roommate. Beebe of Forest City, and Leon Shearer of Des Moines, both 1967 graduates of the UI College of Law, have led a fund-raising campaign among their classmates to endow a scholarship in memory of their friend and classmate Bill Higgins of Algona.

"Bill was a good student who was personable and well liked by our classmates," said Beebe. "I learned of Bill's death from the television news in December 1969. The announcer said William Higgins, a Marine officer from Algona, Iowa, was piloting a helicopter that was shot down in Vietnam."

Beebe is vice president, general counsel and secretary of Winnebago Industries, Inc., in Forest City.

During this anniversary year fund-raising effort, members of the law class of 1967 from throughout the country have contributed to the Bill Higgins Memorial Law Scholarship Fund. In addition, Bill's mother, Dorothy Higgins, of Algona, has added her support for the scholarship in her son's name. Bill Higgin's cousin, Ray Higgins, his wife, Josephine Higgins, and his daughter, Joanne Higgins of Mason City, have also added their support to this memorial fund. Results of the fund-raising effort were announced at the class of 1967 reunion dinner during UI homecoming festivities Oct. 25.

When the scholarship is fully endowed at $50,000, it will provide a perpetual tribute to Bill Higgins because only the earnings of the endowment will be used for scholarship expenses. The first Bill Higgins Memorial Law Scholarship will be awarded next spring for the 1998-99 academic year.

The Iowa Law School Foundation is the preferred channel of support for private gifts to the UI College of Law. The foundation works with alumni, law firms, friends, and corporations to assist them in providing support to the college's students, faculty, and programs. The University of Iowa Foundation, the UI's campus-wide fund-raising organization, serves as the channel of support to the Iowa Law School Foundation by providing professional and technical support services.