December 17, 2021

William “Bill” Thibodeau Global Studies Scholarship

When William “Bill” Thibodeau was is in the 3rd Grade, he contracted polio – a very common disease at the time and one that often led to various kinds of paralysis or even death. Even at a young age, Bill was determined to fight the disease. His fighting spirit (and maybe because he was a cute kid) led him to be selected as a poster child for the March of Dimes which was a fundraising organization dedicated to helping find a vaccine for polio. Eventually, a vaccine was discovered that helped eradicate polio. Happily, Bill recovered from the disease and became an exceptional athlete.

Bill played football for St. Theresa High School in Detroit, Mich. under the legendary coach George Dufor. Bill was honored as an all-state halfback. He graduated from St. Theresa’s in 1957. Bill later served as a basketball coach for U of D High School in Detroit and led his team to the Catholic League championship.

Bill was educator and spent his entire 37-year career as a teacher in Detroit, Grand Rapids, and ultimately, the Saginaw Public Schools. He joined the staff of Arthur Hill High School in 1974 as a teacher and basketball coach. After his tenure at Arthur Hill and South Middle School, he joined the staff of the Saginaw Center for the Arts Sciences (CAS), now Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy (SASA), in 1981.

At the CAS/SASA, Mr. Thibodeau developed the first Global Studies middle and high school curriculum in the Saginaw Public Schools, providing a full six-year course of independent study in core social science courses with an international focus. To that end, he brought the Model United Nations (MUN) program to Saginaw, hosting the first MUN conference in Saginaw at the CAS in 1983. From that first conference, the CAS/SASA began to field award-winning MUN teams at MUN conferences throughout Michigan and the Midwest.

Mr. Thibodeau also brought a student version of the National Issues Forum (NIF) to the CAS during the 1980s – a collaborative town hall style format discussion of key national issues. Global Studies students were trained as discussion moderators to guide student groups to develop consensus solutions to issues of national importance, and report their results to the umbrella NIF organization for inclusion in their report to local, state, and congressional leaders.

Under Mr. Thibodeau’s direction, Global Studies students also participated in the Interactive Crisis Simulation (ICS) with the University of Michigan. An outgrowth of the live ICS simulation conducted at the University, ICS was expanded to secondary schools in the 1980s to allow student to participate virtually by computer. Students would role play world leaders, in particular in the Middle East, to creatively resolve conflicts and try to broker agreements between countries. Students would send messages via computer, long before the advent of email, to communicate with each other. Global Studies students would later use the ICS platform to participate in a virtual U.S. Constitutional Convention, as well as a convention on environmental issues.

Mr. Thibodeau retired from SASA 2000, leaving behind a legacy of a Global Studies program that educated hundreds of students in critical thinking and an international perspective.


  • Minimum 2.5 GPA
  • Graduate of Saginaw Arts & Sciences Academy
  • Pursuing an undergraduate or Career and Technical Education (CTE) training
  • Studies include Global Studies and/or Model United Nations
  • Full-time enrollment
  • Financial need

Evaluation Criteria

  • Leadership (10)
  • Financial need (10)
  • Academic performance (10)
  • Special skills/interests (10)
  • Awards & honors (10)
  • Community service (10)
  • Overall involvement (10)
  • Essay on career goals (10)
  • Letters of recommendation (10)
  • Special essay (10)