Scholars in State College embrace opportunity to live in community

STATE COLLEGE, PA – The Evans Scholars Foundation, J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust and Penn State University celebrated the opening of the J. Wood Platt Evans Scholars Scholarship House at Penn State during a ceremony on Sept. 22.

This fall, 39 Evans Scholars and Platt Evans Scholars are living in the Scholarship House at 340 Burrowes Road in State College, which was established through a partnership between the Evans Scholars Foundation and J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust. Evans Scholars have attended Penn State since the 1950s, but this is the first time the Evans Scholars and Platt Evans Scholars at the University are all living together, in community.

“We’re thrilled that the Scholars at Penn State University are now able to experience Scholarship House living, a critical part of the Evans Scholars Program,” said Kevin Buggy, vice chairman of the Western Golf Association, which oversees the Evans Scholars Foundation. “This Scholarship House represents a tremendous opportunity for caddies in the East, as we strive to reach more deserving men and women nationwide.”

The Penn State Scholars are among a record group of 1,010 students attending 18 leading universities nationwide this fall on an Evans Scholarship, a full tuition and housing college scholarship for golf caddies. Scholars are chosen based on demonstrating a strong caddie record, excellent academics, financial need and outstanding leadership and character.

This is the sixth year of the partnership between the Evans Scholars Foundation and the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust. Platt Evans Scholars attend Penn State and meet the scholarship qualifications of both organizations.

“While our two organizations may have started out in different cities at slightly different times, the journey is always the same,” said Mark Peterson, Executive Director of the Golf Association of Philadelphia and the J. Wood Platt Caddie Scholarship Trust. “It’s about providing an opportunity for education, and for students to further their lives and enjoy not only the camaraderie within this house, but to get to know the game of golf along the way.”

The majority of Penn State Scholars come from Pennsylvania. Students also come from seven other states and Washington, D.C.

“Penn State takes great pride in partnering with the Western Golf Association to support this mission,” said Dr. Nicholas P. Jones, Penn State Executive Vice President and Provost. “Through Scholarships that help deserving caddies pursue their dreams off the golf course, our Evans Scholars will take unique paths to their academic and personal success, paths they might not otherwise have traveled.”

Evan Manna, of Williamsville, New York, is the chapter’s first president. A senior majoring in management who caddied at Park Country Club of Buffalo, Manna has helped his fellow Scholars make the transition into the Scholarship House this year.

“Being in this house for only a couple of weeks has made a huge difference,” he said. “We have a strong sense of community and we are doing activities together as a group. What impresses me most is that people are going out of their way to meet everyone. Connections are forming, and we are becoming a family very quickly.”

Penn State Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims, WGA Director and Evans Scholars Alum Frank Polizzi, Faculty Advisor Joan Miller and Evans Scholar Alyssa Mora-Mickens joined Buggy, Peterson, Jones and Manna in speaking at the Sept. 22 event.

In conjunction with opening the J. Wood Platt Evans Scholars Scholarship House at Penn State, leaders are working to grow the Evans Scholars Program from coast to coast. In the past year, the Program has opened new Scholarship Houses at the University of Washington and University of Kansas. Leaders plan to celebrate a completely rebuilt Scholarship House at the University of Wisconsin in October.