Established in 2009 by David Parmelee and Grand Valley State University to honor the life of his brother, Lt. James Wheeler Parmelee. James graduated from a military prep school, served as an officer in the U.S. Navy in World War II, and later attended the U.S. Naval Academy from which he graduated in 1951. He joined the U.S. Air Force as a pilot and was stationed in Kaiserslautern, Germany. In 1954 he died in the line of duty.