Andrea Lara Biklen memorial scholarship fund established


Photo courtesy of David Hanson

by Zoe Seiler, News Editor

Andrea Biklen was a big personality on campus and had a passion for helping her students. She was the Director of the Continuing and Graduate Programs on the West Des Moines Campus for 11 years. She was beloved on campus by her colleagues and students, and her legacy will continue to thrive at Simpson College.

Andrea died unexpectedly on Sept. 30, 2018, and her family has established a scholarship in her name.

“The scholarship is intended to help students because she was incredibly devoted to her students. It was her passion to help students through their entire educational experience,” David Hanson, Andrea’s husband, said. “The scholarship help preserve her legacy and keep helping future students at Simpson College.”

The scholarship will help a Continuing and Graduate student who demonstrates financial need.

Andrea’s family and friends have donated money to the fund, and it is now an endowed scholarship.

“Because it’s already met the minimum threshold for an endowed scholarship it’s going to exist in perpetuity,” said Vice President of College Advancement Bob Lane.

Andrea was Simpson student herself and graduated in 1993. She was hired as an English adjunct professor in 1995 and became the director at the West Des Moines Campus in 2007.

“Andrea’s heart was red and gold,” Admissions Counselor Ginger Hermon said. “Andrea was an incredibly gifted adviser who passionately advocated for her students. For many students, Andrea was the Simpson Experience.”

Andrea was supportive of all her students and was happy to see them succeed.

“If they were feeling down or struggling in a class, she was always their cheerleader, encouraging students to keep going,” Hanson said. “She was always so proud at commencement when her advisees would walk across that stage for their diploma.”

The scholarship will allow Andrea and her family to continue to help students complete their education.

“A memorial scholarship is an amazing way to honor Andrea’s legacy,” Hermon said. “She was a remarkable woman and brought unspeakable joy to everyone she served. It warms my heart to think of all the students she will continue to touch. Her presence will be felt and bless all of Simpson for years to come.”

Scholarships are established at Simpson for various reasons and in honor of various people, but this one is more special to campus since it comes from a Simpson student, teacher and staff member.

“The most important thing about this particular scholarship is, oftentimes when people endow a scholarship, they may be for people I’ve never met or known, and so to this one, it’s a pretty special one,” Lane said. “It’s not only a Simpson graduate, but it’s one of our own, so to speak.”

Donations can be made at any time on the Simpson website or by writing a check. On the website, select the “Other” category and include Andrea Biklen Memorial in the description.