Jeff Williams (left) tutors a student.

Jeff Williams (left) tutors a student.

The Jeff Williams Tutor’s Scholarship has been established at Moraine Valley Community College to help students who have received tutoring while at the college. The scholarship’s donor, Darlene Williams, worked with the Moraine Valley Foundation to create it as a tribute to her deceased husband, Jeff Williams, who served as a tutor at the college for nearly 10 years.

“Jeff was a high school special education teacher, and he cared about education. His specialty was English,” Darlene said. Before retiring, he worked in the Chicago public school system, spending most of his career at Kenwood Academy High School. Later, he followed his wife, who had joined the staff at Moraine Valley’s Tutoring Center after her retirement, and became a tutor in the areas of reading and writing. “Jeff had certain kids who often came back to him because he knew how to deal with students with special needs,” Darlene said.

Because of COVID-19, the family was unable to have a funeral for Jeff. The scholarship seemed like a nice way to honor him because of his strong commitment to education and for helping struggling students. “His life stood for that, so it seemed logical to me. I think he would have been proud of it,” Darlene said.

She described her husband as someone with a wide variety of interests. “He played guitar. He loved theater, English history and a crazy mix of rock-and-roll, which is an unusual mix.” In addition, he was a voracious reader who participated in his local library’s summer reading program each year and generally won the prize for completing the most books. “It was a badge of honor for him,” she joked.

The $1,000 to $2,000 scholarship will be awarded to students who have received tutoring while at Moraine Valley, have taken development math or English classes and are enrolled in one of the college’s career programs. It can be used for tuition, fees and textbooks. Darlene noted she and her husband worked with several students who faced financial issues, so she hopes the scholarship will help someone like them. “People are really struggling right now,” she said.

Darlene explained that she and her father-in-law will be involved in choosing the scholarship recipient, and she feels this has helped them in their grieving process. She thinks others may find comfort in establishing a memorial scholarship for a loved one and said, “If you want to put a positive action on a negative experience, this is a perfect way to do it.”

For more information on creating a scholarship at Moraine Valley, contact Kristy McGreal, executive director of the Moraine Valley Foundation, at