Hilmer Besel Math and Computing Scholarship
This award was established by members of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science to honor Hilmer Walter Besel, the founder of both the mathematics and computer science programs at La Sierra University. He taught on the campus from 1960 to 1992. Hilmer got his formal education the hard way: he attended nine elementary and high schools in eleven years, and wasn’t able to enter college until the age of 31. Hilmer studied on his own during the years he wasn’t in school, even tackling subjects such as calculus. When he was unable to solve some calculus problems by himself, he walked six miles across Winnipeg to seek help from the high school mathematics teacher. The teacher looked at the problems and said, “Hilmer, you’re on your own; you are way beyond me in math.” Education was not the only thing that Hilmer did the hard way. He and his wife Lily adopted three Yugoslavian sisters age 11, 13, and 15 who didn’t speak any English. Their love for their new daughters transcended the inevitable problems of communication, and a loving family was formed. Awards from the endowment are given in recognition of students who have demonstrated academic excellence in mathematics or computer science.