Nathan Held of Houghton awarded two college scholarships

Winning essayist will study in Germany next fall

RIPON, WI (12/07/2011)(readMedia)-- Nathan Held, a sophomore studying philosophy, psychology and German literature at Ripon College, was recently awarded two scholarships: A $2,000 cash scholarship from the Freedom From Religion Foundation (FFRF), and a $1,500 foreign-study scholarship from Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honor society.

Held's essay, titled "Happier Without God," won first place in the 2011 Michael Hakeem Memorial College Essay Competition. The topic was, "Why I Am a Freethinker/Why I Am Not a Religionist." The full text of his essay is available here.

"We consider scholarships to freethinking students as one of FFRF's most important activities," said FFRF Co-President Annie Laurie Gaylor.

Incorporated in 1978 in Wisconsin, the FFRF promotes the constitutional principle of separation of state and church, and educates the public on matters relating to nontheism. It has offered a college competition for more than 30 years.

Held's other scholarship, given by Delta Phi Alpha, is a highly competitive scholarship meant to offset the costs of studying abroad. He will join other Ripon students during the fall 2012 semester for study in Bonn, Germany.

The Delta Phi Alpha National German Honorary Society began with the founding of the Alpha chapter at Wofford College in 1927, and now has constituent chapters at 236 colleges and universities throughout the United States.

Held is the son of Dr. and Mrs. Roger Held of Houghton.

About Ripon College

Ripon College, founded in 1851, prepares students of diverse interests for lives of productive, socially responsible citizenship. Ripon's liberal arts curriculum and residential campus create an intimate learning community in which students experience a richly personalized education. Ripon has consistently been recognized as a "best value" and "Best 376 College" by The Princeton Review, a "Best Buy in College Education" by Barron's, a "Best Liberal-Arts College" by Washington Monthly, a "Top 25 Schools for Do-Gooders" by Newsweek, among the top-tier and best-value colleges by U.S. News and World Report, and among the top 200 private colleges in the nation overall and for value by Forbes Magazine. For more information about Ripon College, visit