Bernedine Keller

Bernedine Keller

The purpose of this scholarship is to provide financial support to diversity students who show a strong desire to pursue a career in the field of engineering.

Fred M. Keller was an entrepreneur, both industrial and philanthropic, with a distinguished career spanning most of a century. After starting and mentoring several tool and die companies, in 1962 he took over Paragon Die and Engineering Company, which he served as Chairman until 1999. GVSU’s Engineering Laboratories Building is named in his honor and reflects his lifelong support of skills education. With his wife Bernedine, Fred formed Keller Foundation to formalize their tradition of providing assistance to the community. He served on the board of directors of the Naples Conservancy, the Clark Retirement Community, the Shriners Crippled Children’s program, the First United Methodist Church, and the Meijer Gardens Foundation. Mr. Keller was inducted into the Greater Grand Rapids Business Hall of Fame, and received the first Philanthropist of the Year award, later renamed in his honor. To quote Mr. Keller, “… I think you owe it to the community to do something for what it did for you. That’s the biggest part of life… helping somebody else out.”

Mr. Keller’s intention was to see a greater increase in the number of persons of color who seek an education in engineering, and ultimately an increase in the number of persons of color working n the field of engineering. This scholarship is dedicated to his memory by his wife, Bernedine.


“The curriculum here is as hard as one wants it to be – I opted to challenge myself by pursuing the International Baccalaureate Dipoloma, which is a rigorous program that promotes “intercultural understanding and respect”. – TN