William J. Yankee Memorial Scholarship

On 30 July 1999, the American Polygraph Association Board of Directors approved the funding of an annual competitive scholarship, called the William J. Yankee Memorial Scholarship, in honor of Dr. Yankee's commitment and lasting contribution to examiner education. Under this new program, the APA will underwrite the cost of basic polygraph training at an APA accredited school for one candidate each year, up to $5,000.00. To qualify, the candidate must:

  1. have a 4-year degree from an accredited college or university; 
  2. select to attend an APA accredited basic polygraph examiner training course; 
  3. qualify for APA membership upon completion of training.
  4. submit an essay of up to 1000 words on detection of deception, interviewing, interrogation, or related fields, with emphasis on what the candidate hopes to contribute to the field as a polygraph examiner; and,
  5. submit at least two (2) letters of recommendations.

Candidates must have their packets in to the National Office by 1 June each year to compete for the scholarship, and that packet must include a cover letter, resume, and essay. An official college transcript issued directly from the institution must also arrive to the National Office before the 1 June deadline.

Criteria for selection of the single candidate will be academic success and a demonstrated interest in the field of polygraph. The packets will be reviewed by the APA Education and Training Committee, and the single candidate will be selected by majority vote of the Board of Directors.

In addition to the scholarship, Limestone Technologies will donate one of their computer polygraph systems to the awardee. The award will be announced at the banquet at the annual seminar, and a Limestone Technologies representative will present the instrument.


William J. Yankee, who worked at WMU from 1960 until 1966, was a former Kalamazoo Police Department detective and Friend of the Court for Kalamazoo County Circuit Courts. After coming to WMU, he did polygraph research and taught local police how to administer the test. He left WMU in 1966 to become president of Delta Community College. He was named president of Northwestern Michigan College in 1974.

His expertise in polygraph was employed again after he left NMC to move to North Carolina to work as a polygrapher and consultant. In 1987 he took over the U.S. Defense Department's Army Polygraph School which trains polygraphers for the FBI, Secret Service, armed services and other government agencies. He retired in 1995 to homes in Traverse City and Pensacola, Fla.

Yankee received bachelor's and master's degrees in psychology at WMU and a doctoral degree in education from Michigan State University.

For additional information, please contact the APA National Office.

Please visit the APA Awards page to view past winners of this award.