Each of the institutional sponsors of the present scholarship independently initiated memorial scholarships shortly following Joe Simmons' untimely death late in 1995. As these organizations—the ASQ Measurement Quality Division, the Measurement Science Conference and NCSL International—are closely tied through common memberships of numerous people, discussions soon began about merging these individual efforts into a single entity so as to avoid confusion and to concentrate resources.
A constitution/charter to do so was drafted in March of 1996 and modified a number of times to comply with changing IRS requirements and the needs of the institutional sponsors. The final version was signed in November of 2001. The Scholarship operated under that charter until mid-2009, when two things occurred: the Measurement Science Conference informed the Scholarship of its withdrawal, and the Executive Committee voted to accept a proposal to operate under the umbrella of the NCSLI committee structure, thereby acquiring non-profit status and administrative support. The Scholarship will continue to be co-sponsored by the Measurement Quality Division and will operate independently, i.e., NCSL International will have only one formal vote, as before. Meanwhile the Scholarship Committee began awarding the joint scholarship—initially using privately donated funds. Scholarships have been granted as shown below: