Evans Scholars Foundation announces awards at Medinah Country Club

GOLF, IL – Top leaders from across the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Program were honored during the Program’s annual Summer Outing banquet on Sunday, Aug. 11, at Medinah Country Club in Medinah, Illinois.

Evans Scholars Alex Umali from the University of Illinois, AJ Folino from Marquette University, and Ola Grabowski from Northwestern University were named the 2019 Evans Scholars of the Year, the top honor a student can receive within the Evans Scholars Program.

Along with these individual awards, the Northwestern University and University of Notre Dame Evans Scholars were recognized for achieving the highest cumulative GPA, a 3.5 for the 2018-19 school year, across all the Program’s 18 Scholarship chapters.

The Evans Scholars Program, which has been run by the WGA since its founding in 1930, is among the nation’s largest privately-funded scholarship programs. Evans Scholars are caddies who have earned a full tuition and housing grant based on their strong caddie record, excellent academics, financial need and outstanding character. This fall, a record 1000 caddies will be enrolled in 18 top universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 11,000 caddies have graduated since the Program began.

“This year’s winners have shown outstanding leadership both in the classroom and on their campuses,” said WGA President and CEO John Kaczkowski. “We are truly proud of all of them. Their hard work and dedication serves as an inspiration for other students.”

Below is a recap of all the winners honored at the banquet.

Evans Scholars of the Year

Recent graduates Alex Umali, AJ Folino, and Ola Grabowski were all named the 2019 Evans Scholar of the Year.

Alex Umali is from Wheaton, Illinois, and caddied at Glen Oak Country Club. He graduated with a degree in accounting from the University of Illinois and earned a 3.9 GPA. Alex served as president of the Illinois Evans Scholars chapter, earned the Program’s top academic honors and now works as a regional assurance intern at Ernst & Young in Chicago.

AJ Folino is from McHenry, Illinois, and caddied at McHenry Country Club. He graduated from Marquette University with a degree in accounting and earned a 3.9 GPA. AJ served as president of the Marquette Evans Scholars chapter, earned the Program’s top academic honors and now works in the engineering rotational program at Eaton Corporation in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin.

Ola Grabowski is from Libertyville, Illinois, and caddied at Conway Farms Golf Club. She graduated from Northwestern with degrees in anthropology and learning & organizational change and earned a 3.9 GPA. Ola served as president of the Northwestern Evans Scholars chapter, earned the Program’s top academic honors and now works at the Allstate Leadership Development Program in Northbrook, Illinois.

James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy

The Evans Scholars from Northwestern University and the University of Notre Dame earned a 3.5 cumulative GPA for the 2018-19 school year and were awarded the James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy for academic excellence. The trophy, given annually since 1962, honors Evans Scholarship chapter that earns the highest cumulative GPA for the previous school year. In addition, each of the Foundation’s 18 Scholarship Chapters earned a cumulative GPA above 3.0. All received a plaque honoring their academic achievement at the banquet.

Donald D. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award

Two longtime WGA Directors also were honored for their volunteer leadership and commitment to the Western Golf Association and Evans Scholars Foundation. The Donald D. Johnson Lifetime Achievement Award was established in 2009 in recognition of Don Johnson’s 22 years of leadership at the WGA. Johnson led the Evans Scholars Program and WGA golf championships from 1988 through 2009, when he retired as President and CEO.

Jim Bunch of Denver, Colorado, became a WGA Director in 1992 and served as WGA Chairman from 2012-2013. He was instrumental in bringing the BMW Championship to Cherry Hills Country Club in Colorado in 2014. He has been a member of the Board of Governors since 2004 and a Trustee since 2012.

Roger Mohr of Lake Forest, Illinois, became a WGA Director in 1980 and served as chairman of the WGA in 2010-2011, and as chairman of the ESF Trustees the two years following. He was the first Evans Scholar to graduate from Marquette University in 1953, and he was one of the first Evans Scholars Alums to become a WGA Director.