Scholarship partnership to more than triple Evans Scholars at UO

February 19, 2014 - 11:55am

It is said that being a caddie instills a work ethic into the young people who help golfers navigate the links.

Now, a new partnership between the University of Oregon and the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation will empower even more caddies to apply that work ethic in the pursuit of higher education.

The Evans Scholars Foundation has selected the University of Oregon as the site for a Scholarship House, the first of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. The scholarship will provide tuition and housing for up to 50 scholarship recipients who will live together as they pursue their degrees.  

“I am a very different person from the nervous caddie dropping clubs during her first day on the job,” said Hannah Rice, a scholarship recipient who is currently a freshman theater arts major. The current Rose Festival Queen, whose family’s modest means made paying for college a near-insurmountable challenge, is now putting her background as a caddie to work for her academically.

“Golf is about pursuit,” said Rice. “About the struggle. About determination and skill development. When someone asks me, ‘Who cares about golf?,’ I can confidently answer, ‘I do.’”

In a highly competitive selection process, the UO was selected to join 14 universities nationwide that are residential chapters. Representatives from the UO and the Evans Scholars Foundation made the announcement today (Feb. 19) on campus.

“We are delighted to welcome these promising scholars into our campus community, and we are deeply appreciative of the Western Golf Association’s recognition of the transformative power of higher education,” said University of Oregon President Michael Gottfredson. “Expanding access to the highest-quality educational experience is central to our academic mission.”

Evans Scholars must have worked as caddies for at least two years and are selected based on a combination of need and merit.

“I know what kind of life I want and the steps I need to take to get there,” said Jaira Chaffee, a junior Evans Scholar from Empire, Ore., who is studying advertising and caddied at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. “This scholarship has opened the door to countless opportunities.”

The university has been an Evans Scholars site since David Gault became the first Evans Scholar at the UO in the class of 1960. The university currently has 12 Evans Scholars.

In 2015, the Evans Scholars Program at the University of Oregon will begin expanding to an eventual 50 scholars and will provide housing in Eugene for all UO Evans Scholars. Each Evans Scholars award is valued at $70,000 over four years and the total scholarship commitment for a four-year cohort of UO Evans Scholars will be approximately $3.5 million.

“We’re honored and elated to be entering into this partnership with such a prestigious institution,” said John Kaczkowski, president and CEO of the Western Golf Association. “The University of Oregon is synonymous with excellence in education, and we’re pleased that our future Pacific Northwest Evans Scholars will benefit from all the university has to offer.”

“The University of Oregon is thrilled that the Western Golf Association selected the UO as the sole Evans Scholars chapter in the Pacific Northwest,” said Roger Thompson, vice president for Enrollment Management. “The University of Oregon has produced almost 200 Evans Scholars alumni since the program began on campus almost 60 years ago. This program provides countless Oregonians with educational opportunities. We look forward to expanding the program’s impact and its legacy for many years to come.”

- by Julie Brown, Office of Strategic Communications