By Fred Altvater
The Evans Scholars program endows former caddies with full-ride collegiate scholarships and the success stories are impressive.
For those of you not familiar with the Evans Scholarship Foundation and their collegiate scholarship program, Evans Scholars Foundation currently awards tuition, books, plus room and board to over 985 students at 19 universities, with the goal to provide 1,000 scholarships by 2020.
The Evans Scholars Foundation was founded by Chick Evans, who won the 1916 U.S. Open, while still an amateur golfer. Desiring to remain an amateur, he could not accept the first-place prize money.
His mother came up with the idea to start a foundation to fund college scholarships to worthy caddies, who otherwise would not be able to attend a university. Evans himself, a former caddie, was forced to withdraw from Northwestern University, due to a lack of funds and realized his mother had a sound idea.
The first Evans Scholars were admitted to Northwestern in 1930 and since that time over 10,000 caddies have received full tuition, and housing at universities across the nation.
There are many unbelievable success stories that have come from these scholarship winners. Several have even gone on to run Fortune 500 companies.
These stories can be very personal and touch young people at a local level. They provide hope, as well as, an opportunity to succeed under difficult circumstances.
One such story involves a young man that spent his summers caddying at a club in Columbus, that supported the Evans Scholars Caddie program. His uncle is and was the Head Professional there and because the young man needed guidance and a purpose, he invited his nephew to live with his family in Ohio, during the summer months to caddie at the club.
The boy was living with his grandparents in Iowa, as his mother had drug issues and his father had been killed in a car accident. This exceptional young man seized the opportunity and earned an Evans Scholarship. He completed his undergraduate studies and is now in Dental School.
Another involves a young boy, who was homeless, but used his caddie earnings to help his family. He was granted an Evans Scholarship and graduated from Michigan State University.
Yet another heart-warming story involves Lauren Farhat, who has overcome tremendous life challenges. She was born with a leg that did not grow correctly and after numerous attempts to save it, the leg had to be amputated.
She had to learn to use prosthetic devices at a very young age, as well as, cope with being different than other children. She never let this stop her and became a caddie at Meadowbrook Golf Club in Northville a suburb of Detroit.
Lugging golf bags for six miles, up and down hills and around a golf course is not easy work for any young person, let alone someone with a prosthetic leg.
Her grit and determination made her one of the most popular caddies at Meadowbrook. Even after she failed to earn an Evans Scholarship on her first try, she attended a community college, improved her grade-point average and was successful on her second attempt.
We found this video of Lauren’s story, created by the Western Golf Association, very moving and think you will too.
Lauren’s story is ongoing. She is employed by the Western Golf Association and works with the Evans Scholars Program. She returned to Michigan State this year to help award an Evans Scholarship to her younger brother, and gave this moving speech.
The Evans Scholars program works and provides an opportunity for every child to gain the confidence to achieve their dreams.
We applaud the work of the Evans Scholars Foundation. If you would like to learn more or send a donation to help continue funding college scholarships, please visit their website: https://www.wgaesf.org/