Butler University Chapter of the John Weidner Foundation for
On April 30, 2006, the Butler Student Sociology Association
(SSA) established a University Chapter of the John Weidner
Foundation for Altruism. John Weidner was a Dutchman living in
France when the Germans invaded in 1940. Over the next five years,
with the help of up to 300 like-minded compatriots, he helped
approximately a thousand people escape the Germans into
safety in Switzerland and Spain. The escapees included American and
British downed airmen, Jewish refugees, and Dutch, Belgian, Polish
and French citizens fleeing the Germans. John was honored at the
end of the war by the Governments of Holland, the United States,
Britain, Israel and France. He was also honored at the opening of
the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C., in 1993.
John died in 1994 in California where he had lived for many
years. His widow, Naomi, created a foundation to honor John's
altruistic work. William Ervin, a former Sociology adjunct
professor and board member of the Weidner Foundation, helped create
a Butler Chapter because of the clear connection between the
programs represented in the Department of Sociology &
Criminology that stress community service, promote human welfare
and social good.
In addition to the Foundation Scholarship, the Indianapolis
Downtown Rotary Club also provides financial support for a second
scholarship award for altruism which is given annually.
The SSA annually gives the scholarship awards to
two deserving Butler students. SSA presents these awards and honors
the recipients at the Department of Sociology and Criminology
annual banquet during the spring semester.