2011 Presidents' Speeches
The outgoing presidents from each of the 14 Scholarship Houses talked about the highlights and accomplishments from the past year at the Feb. 5 Winter Luncheon at the Glen View Club in Golf, IL.
Colorado: Jared Sullivan
If it wasn’t for this Scholarship, I wouldn’t have some of my closest friends, some of my fondest memories, or have been able to attend the University of Colorado. During my term as President, the House has gone through some changes. Summer renovations in the basement and attic have opened room for five Scholars, but the House is the fullest it has been in years with 43 Scholars. A few Scholars volunteered to paint the basketball court, and it looks unbelievable. We also have the first freshman class to have 100 percent activation and the highest House GPA since I have been here.
The Colorado Scholars have participated in several philanthropies. Besides the traditional blood drives, in which we donated 55 units of blood, we had 12 scholars don bald heads and raise over $1,200 for the Saint Baldrick’s Foundation. The House filled 30 toy boxes this Christmas for underprivileged international children for the Operation Christmas Child Foundation. The event that was most personal to the house, however, was the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, in which we participated on Leigh Levato’s team. As most of you know Leigh was diagnosed with Leukemia just two years ago, but she came back to the House this past semester and is doing great.
Illinois: George Witchek
In July 2009 a city construction accident resulted in sewage flooding the first floor and destroying the lower level of the House. When my executive board took over in January, it was time to not only renovate the lower level, but remodel it. After careful planning, construction began in June and finished in time for the Scholars to move in. The construction was successful, but we were left without any furniture. With the help of the WGA, Wendy Evans, Augie Tonne, and my phenomenal executive board, we added furniture, A/V equipment, exercise room equipment, and décor. For the first time in a year and a half the Illinois House is back to normalcy and it has been amazing.
Other projects this past year included all the hallways begin repainted, all the locks replaced for better security, the House re-screened, and getting access to wireless internet. Our philanthropic events included 25 Scholars participating in the local Polar Plunge, which raised $1,200 for Special Olympics. The Scholars also donated 45 pints of blood last April to the American Red Cross. Last spring a bus full of Scholars headed to Wrigley Field for a Cubs game. The House is the best I’ve ever seen it and I wish the new president and new executive board the best of luck. I am ready to join the awesome network of Alumni and begin to give back to the Program. This was a great experience.
Indiana: Chris Williams
It has been almost a year since the Indiana Evans Scholarship House was renamed the Saliba Family Scholarship House. This past semester, sophomore Kyle Brehm received a $100 prize for winning the annual Indiana 5K. Due to the inspiration of Mr. Saliba’s gift, Kyle graciously donated 100 percent of his winnings back to the IU Evans Scholars. His money was then combined with other Evans Alumni to purchase an ice machine. It is that spirit of “paying it forward” that makes me proud to say I am an Evans Scholar.
The IU Chapter has continued its commitment to philanthropy. We raised nearly $2,500 for our primary beneficiary, the Stonebelt Organization, which is committed to helping mentally underdeveloped persons live active, independent lives within the Monroe County area. Over the last couple of years, we have developed a strong and growing relationship with Stonebelt and continue to be their largest supporter through both volunteer work and monetary support. The IU Chapter also donated nearly 85 pints of blood to the Red Cross, and our Scholars each participated in two additional independent service projects of their own choosing. We have gained more campus visibility by qualifying tenth in the 60th annual Little 500 bike race. This race continues to be the largest intramural event on any college campus in the country. Our participation has helped the Indiana University Student Foundation award over $80,000 in scholarships to IU Bloomington students and $50,000 in grant awards to philanthropic student organizations.
I wish to express my deep gratitude to the WGA and the Chick Evans Scholarship committee for awarding me a Scholarship. I hope that I have fulfilled the faith they showed in me. I encourage everyone to make the most out of this opportunity. The Evans Scholarship has much to offer, but without a lifelong commitment to its success and growth it will be more difficult to give to others. I plan to show my utmost gratitude to the Alumni and Directors who made this Scholarship possible for me by making the Evans Scholarship possible for other deserving caddies.
Marquette: Albojay Deacon
I would like to thank all the supporters of the Evans Scholars Foundation. It is your continuous dedication that makes the Chick Evans Scholarship what it is today. It is a Scholarship filled with promise, and it yields insurmountable accomplishments from Scholars who may have never received an opportunity to do so without your support. I am very proud to share the accomplishments over the past year from the Marquette University Evans Scholars:
-Semi-annual blood drive in which we donated 90 pints of blood.
-In March, we hosted the first St. Baldrick’s event at Marquette and raised an outstanding $10,000 for childhood cancer. Over 50 males and one female Scholar shaved their heads to raise money.
-In May, we hosted an indoor golf tournament in which we raised $600 for the UMOS Latin Resource Center, which is an organization that supports sexually abused women of Latin decent.
-In October, many Scholars participated in the annual Al’s Run, a 5K walk/run in Milwaukee supporting Children’s Memorial Hospital.
- In October, our Chapter held its annual haunted house. Our new Scholars hosted over 100 local children, who participated in games, watched movies and received gifts.
As my term as president comes to an end, I find it difficult to convey my feelings about how much the Evans Scholarship means to me. Since receiving my acceptance letter I have learned to look forward to seek my potential. Throughout my college experience in the Marquette Chapter, I learned to look up and be confident in myself. When I graduate in 2013 with a doctoral degree in physical therapy I will surely learn to look out rather than in. The ability to look forward and not backward, up and not down, and out rather than in are all qualities possessed by an Evans Scholar.
Miami: Andrew Kawalek
The Miami Chapter House has been spectacular. We have had more House events than ever, including dinners and tailgates. These social events offer Scholars many opportunities to continue to bond with one another and fulfill one of the four pillars of the Scholarship. Academically, we continue to show strong grades and always strive for excellence. Last semester, our House GPA was above a 3.2. The New Scholars did very well getting acquainted with the university and the House in their first semester. They had a new Scholar GPA of a 3.3, and all four of them activated. Philanthropy was at a very high level this past year. We raised over $1,100 at our annual pancake breakfast, we participated in two golf outings for charity, a sorority event for charity, and one of our Scholars participated in a bike race for charity. We are most proud of our annual blood drive. We co-sponsored a blood drive with two other organizations on campus, and our efforts helped raise over 270 pints of blood.
I cannot thank you all and the Evans Scholars Program enough. We all know how much monetary value this Scholarship holds, however, it has meant so much more to me. I have made so many friends and met such great people. Group living has taught me to be more understanding and to truly appreciate others. I have learned how to be a better leader, and I will leave the House as someone who has learned the meaning of “paying it forward”. Once an Evans Scholar, you are always an Evans Scholar. I will never forget where I came from, how I have developed, and the lessons and values I have learned along the way.
Michigan: Pat Brinnehl
We are now in our fifth full year of living in the new Michigan Scholarship House. Currently there are 64 Scholars, and I am pleased to report that we activated a freshman class of 16. Not only have they succeeded with the adjustment to group living and the university lifestyle, they have also excelled in academics. I am proud to say that House maintenance continues to be held to the highest standard. I am excited to continue to see the House expand and grow in the next year, while keeping the pillars of the Scholarship upheld to the fullest.
In our efforts to maintain the virtues that have been instilled in us by the WGA, our Chapter has excelled both in the classroom and within our community. During the fall 2010 semester our House maintained a 3.25 GPA. We pride ourselves as being more than students, but also leaders in the classroom. The 2011 graduating class has plans to attend graduate, business, and PT school, as well as being employed in industry. Outside the classroom, we held a blood drive to benefit the Red Cross, a 5K race to benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Ann Arbor, participated in Relay for Life for the ACS, started a food drive for the Washtenaw shelters, and adopted a family for the holidays.
As I reflect on the past three years spent in Ann Arbor, I cannot be more thankful for the dedication, time and work that everyone has given. It is impossible to adequately put into words how much this Scholarship means to me. Being able to attend one of the best Universities in the country would not have been possible otherwise. But what is truly great about this Scholarship, is the relationships built within the House. The friendships, memories, lessons taught, and more importantly, those learned are what set this Scholarship above all others. In the future, I can only hope to use the opportunities presented to me to impact the lives of others as Chick has.
Michigan State: Michael Chamas
*Michael Chamas, the incoming chapter President, spoke in place of outgoing President Justin Desilets, who could not attend the Luncheon.
I would like to take this opportunity to update you on the progress of the Michigan State Chapter, as well as extend my gratitude toward the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholars Foundation. At MSU we have participated in numerous philanthropic events, such as the Red Cross Blood Drive, Lansing Area AIDS Walk, St. Vincent’s Charity Breakfast, Adopt A Highway, Delta Gamma Anchor Splash, as well as adopting a family during the holiday season. Additionally, we participated in the Sigma Kappa Dodge Ball Tournament for Alzheimer’s Awareness where we proudly took home the first place prize. House improvements are constantly being made, which include interior and exterior changes to enhance our living experience. Participation in our events over the past year has exceeded expectations and broken records. We continue to excel in athletic events around campus and even have a nice lead on the Michigan Chapter in our traditional MAC Game events. The New Scholar class, as well as the actives, have been wonderful advocates of the Evans Scholars Foundation around the East Lansing community and will continue to expand the growth and development of our Chapter.
My gratitude towards this Scholarship goes beyond the way that words can describe. The financial ramifications of the Evans Scholarship do not even begin to represent the impact of this opportunity on my life. Everyone involved with this Scholarship has made a profound impact on my future and will continue to be cherished forever. I plan to uphold all the values of the Scholarship long after I graduate and will always give back to the Foundation that has lent me so much.
Minnesota: Jon Paul Wynne
One year ago, I was elected as President of the Minnesota Chapter and given the honor to represent and serve 52 men and women. Together, we managed to expand our role in the community by working with almost a dozen non-profit organizations to help those less fortunate. Beyond our charitable giving we also worked to strengthen our relations with local Alumni and donors of the Program to show our appreciation and thanks.
This Program is more than just the financial burden that is lifted off the shoulders of students and their families. It is more than the philanthropic activities Scholars participate in within their communities. It is more than the opportunities that are made available. This Program is about the spirit that it brings to every young man and woman, which shows Scholars the importance of integrity, courage, and determination in life. Together these characteristics ensure we all go on to lead successful and fulfilling lives. It is a privilege, not a right, to be an Evans Scholar.
Missouri: Zach Kratofil
This past year was an exciting one for the Missouri Evans Scholars Chapter. We successfully had all 11 New Scholars activate, while the entire House achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.29. For their freshman improvement project, the freshman class traveled to St. Louis one weekend to caddy. They successfully earned over $1,000 which the House used to improve internet access and also update furniture in the study room. The Missouri Chapter also participated in a Caddy Day at the local country club, where each Scholar caddied for a member and donated the money to a local charity. We raised over $2,000 for the Columbia Golf Clinic. We hope that this event will eventually lead to a long-term caddy program for Old Hawthorne Country Club.
As I look back on the past four years as an Evans Scholar, I am extremely grateful for the memories and experiences I have had. This Scholarship started four years ago as an amazing financial gift, but it has grown to be so much more. What is most gratifying about the Scholarship is the numerous leadership experiences that I have been given. These specific positions include Chapter President for the 2010 calendar year as well as being elected as National Committee Treasurer. Chapter President gave me the opportunity to be a planner, a conflict resolver, a mediator, and, most importantly, a leader. National Committee Treasurer has given me the chance to see the Scholarship on a much greater level, be involved in implementing decisions that affect all the Scholars nationwide, as well as further my relationship with the great people at the WGA. Both of these leadership roles have allowed me to set myself apart from my peers, be creative and think of new ideas, and have the power to get things accomplished. This is what the Scholarship has meant to me, and I hope in time I can pay back a fraction of what I have been given.
Northern Illinois: Todd Trexler
The Northern Illinois Scholars are privileged to be part of an organization that focuses on rewarding hard work and outstanding leadership through a college education. This academic year has been filled with highs and lows. At Northern Illinois we have seen everything from great philanthropic work with our Scholars to the death of a Scholar’s mother. We have faced our share of adversity throughout my four years. It is how we face that adversity that makes us who we are today. We rallied around that Scholar when his mother passed like he was our bother. On a happier note, Northern Illinois Scholars have organized and participated in many great things. Along with the blood drives that we hold each semester, our Scholars have volunteered at the Newman Center, which is a local church in DeKalb and have volunteered at Safe Passage, which is an organization that supports battered women and their children.
Like most of my fellow Scholars, I can honestly say that the Evans Scholarship is the greatest gift I have ever received in my life. When I started caddying I simply did it for the extra cash in the summer. I never would have pictured a part-time job turning into something that words cannot even describe. I have been fortunate enough to be a part of something that has changed my life forever. Even though I do not know all of my fellow Scholars, we are still a family. The name “Evans Scholars” comes with something that I wouldn’t trade for anything and I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.
Northwestern: Matt Halvorson
This past year has been no less than historic. Most notable has been our move into a newly renovated home where, for the first time, all Northwestern Scholars, male and female, are able to live under one roof. We dedicated our new House with a tailgate in conjunction with an unfortunate loss to Purdue (that we don’t like to talk about) on October 9 and a ceremony with over 400 Alumni, Directors, WGA staff, family, and friends on October 10.
We have maintained our commitment to academics, philanthropy, and campus involvement. Our freshman class impressed us with a 3.43 GPA this past fall, we raised over $7,000 last winter for the Dance Marathon at Northwestern, showed off the new House in our annual Foreplay mini golf philanthropy, and on campus our Scholars remain active in a myriad of clubs, bands, and other groups. While this year has been a hectic one for us, I would not trade it for anything. There is not a day that goes by that I am not honored to be an Evans Scholar. Although the monetary aspect is certainly essential, it is the community that makes the Scholarship unique. This community is comprised of people from many walks of life united by the common goal of giving caddies the power to set the sky as their limit to success. Whether it is in academics, career advice, or everything in between, the Evans Scholars community is there. From providing me with an incredible college experience to friends for life, there is nothing this community cannot do. It is this community that made the moment I opened my congratulatory letter a life-changing one as I realized that if I was worth the investment of an Evans Scholarship, my future truly had no limits. Thank you for this opportunity, for believing in me, for investing in me, and making my dreams come true.
Ohio State: Mike Ernst
I am extremely proud to be an Ohio State Evans Scholar. This past year we have continued to uphold the four pillars within our House, as well as our campus and surrounding community. Last semster we achieved a 3.2 GPA as an active body. We have continued to serve our community by running our Adopt-A-Street Program, volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club of America, and creating a Relay for Life Team to support finding a cure for cancer. Last September, Ohio State Evans Scholars Alumni and supporters held our annual Hamilton Golf Outing to raise money for the ongoing maintenance of our new House. Current scholars caddied at this event and gave back nearly $1,000 of their tips to the cause. Last May we held our annual Stephanie Hummer Memorial Golf outing and raised over $3,000 for campus area safety.
It’s hard to say exactly how much being an Evans Scholar has affected my life. I have formed friendships that I know will last a lifetime. I have excelled in academics and leadership roles thanks to a never-ending support system surrounding me and my peers. I have been freed of cumbersome student loans while attending one of the best schools in the nation. But, what I think I gained most out of being an Evans Scholar is inspiration. I am amazed every day that a Program this outstanding can still operate at the level it does. It’s almost unbelievable to me that there are so many young kids whose lives have the potential to be changed this much. That is a testament to the amazing commitment everyone puts into this Program. It is from that commitment that I gain inspiration. I know that if I bring that same attitude of elevating the status quo to my life after college, I will be capable of great things.
Purdue: Darrin Overby
The Purdue Evans Scholarship House attempted to get very involved on campus and in the community, while still making Scholarship a main priority. Our House’s overall GPA this last semester was 3.23. The New Scholar GPA was a 3.24, while the actives’ GPA was a 3.23. We participated in a number of philanthropies last semester. Our faculty advisor, Dr. Tom Templin, held his annual caddie philanthropy for our House that benefited PALS, an organization aimed to teach children about health, fitness, respect, and responsibility. We also supported Habitat for Humanity by helping to build houses and donating money to the organization. We entered our own Chad Barker into the Big Man on Campus competition, and raised money for the event. Our contributions will be donated to the Susan B. Komen for the Cure Foundation. We also participated in a number of intramural sports as a House, including football, volleyball, and basketball.
When I first began caddying at Meridian Hills Country Club, I was unaware of the Evans Scholarship. Even after receiving the Scholarship, I did not truly understand the positive impact it would have on my life. Over the years, the Evans Scholarship has given me so much to be thankful for outside of the financial realm. I have made lifelong friends, learned important values of honor, honesty, and respect, and been given an incredible opportunity to receive an excellent education. These are some of the reasons why I ran for President. I wanted to give back to an organization that has given me so much. Because of that, I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Everyone who supports this Scholarship offers something both irreplaceable and invaluable.
Wisconsin: Kevin Radcliffe
We’ve had a successful year. The Badgers made it to the Rose Bowl, the Packers won the Super Bowl, and House unity is at an all-time high. We’ve been busy with our semi-annual blood drives, Habitat for Humanity, and our other volunteer activities. We enjoyed our trip to visit the Michigan Evans Scholars for the football game, and most recently enjoyed an afternoon of skiing. Individually, we’ve been working to fulfill the requirements of the Evans Scholarship and discover what it means to us all.
To me, the Evans Scholarship represents motivation. What greater form of motivation can there be than a group of individuals who look at a driven high school senior and agree to give them the chance of a lifetime. For me, the trust, opportunities, and support I’ve received from the Foundation drive me to accomplishment. I want to make the benefactors proud to have chosen me as a recipient of this amazing opportunity. I also know that being an Evans Scholar does not end on graduation day. It is a lifelong commitment. The opportunities are endless, and I am humbled to be a part of this Foundation for life.