Retired professor honors family legacy with scholarship

Helen and Peter Watson (aka Panagiotis Gatsos) with their five children.

Helen and Peter Watson (aka Panagiotis Gatsos) with their five children.


In the early 1900s in a mountain village in Greece, a young Panagiotis Gatsos wanted to become a teacher.

Family circumstances ultimately prevented him from attending university and achieving his dream. But more than a century later, his grandson is helping students pursue their educational dreams at Black Hawk College.

Dr. William “Bill” Hampes recently added to the endowed scholarship he created in 2020 in memory of his parents. The Mary and Louis Hampes Memorial Scholarship provides financial support for full-time BHC students in any major who have a B average.

The retired psychology professor decided to help Black Hawk College students while simultaneously honoring the educational legacy of his Greek immigrant grandparents Helen and Peter Watson (aka Panagiotis Gatsos) and George and Erasmia Hampes, and also his parents, Mary and Louis Hampes.

head & shoulders shot of of Bill Hampes
Dr. Bill Hampes

“I established and named the scholarship to honor my parents who supported my education and that of my sister, Mary Lou, and to pass on that support to those at BHC who need it the most,” Dr. Hampes said.

Mary Lou Hampes Schoenegge earned a bachelor’s degree from North Park University and taught in the Chicago Public School System for 38 years. Bill Hampes earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in psychology followed by a Ph.D. in experimental psychology. He taught at Black Hawk College from 1989-2014 and since retiring has continued to help BHC students as a part-time tutor.

His recent donation increases the number of students who receive the Mary and Louis Hampes Memorial Scholarship.

“This will allow us to award another three scholarships annually in future years,” said Zenaida Landeros, executive director of the Black Hawk College Foundation.

“Dr. Hampes has shown a remarkable commitment to our students and their futures,” she said. “His dedication and support are deeply appreciated and serve as an inspiration to our entire community.”

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