Evans Scholar Program
Birmingham Country Club has a long, rich history of supporting the Evans Scholar Program. The first BCC caddies to receive Evans Scholarships were Leonard Cyr and Dennis Granger in 1952. Since then, 52 BCC caddies have been awarded scholarships.
In the past four years, 12 Birmingham CC caddies have been awarded an Evans Scholarship. Each scholarship is valued at $100,000 and covers the full cost of tuition and housing for four years. BCC recipients attend either Michigan State University or the University of Michigan and live off-campus in the Evans Scholarship House for all four years. In 2020, one BCC caddie received a scholarship. Congratulations to John Cook!
BCC Evans Scholars currently attending college:
- Brandon Burlage – Senior
- Griffin DeWitt – Senior
- Garrett Sarvello – Senior
- Grant Williams – Senior
- Jack McGrath – Sophomore
- Noah Hamama – Sophomore
- John Cook- Freshmen
To receive an Evans Scholarship, candidates go through a very competitive application and interview process. They are evaluated on all of the following criteria:
- Strong caddie record
- Financial need
- High level of academic achievement
- Excellent level of school and community involvement
- Outstanding character
Young adults that are awarded these scholarships are hard-working achievers. The program has a 4-year graduation rate of 95%. The average GPA for an Evans Scholar is 3.3, and 24% of the Scholars are female.
Birmingham Country Club uses “opt out” billing for processing our club’s “Par Club” annual donations. Par Club has several giving levels: base Par Club is $250; Birdie level is $500; Eagle level is $750; Hole-in-One level is $1,000; and Match Play level is $2,500. Unless you designate otherwise, a basic level Par Club donation of $250 will be charged on your May BCC statement. If you want to increase your donation amount, or opt out entirely, simplify notify Jill Sabiston prior to May 31.
100% of your donation is tax-deductible, and your tax receipt will be mailed directly to your home by the Evans Scholars Foundation. All Par Club donors will receive Par Club bag tags and will be listed in the Foundation’s Annual Donor Report.
Thank you for your continued support of the Evans Scholars Program, which provides a life-changing, college education for deserving caddies. If you have any questions about the Program, please speak with BCC Members and WGA Directors Martin French, Pam Ruthven, or Jeff Sadowski.
History and Background
The Evans Scholars Foundation is a charitable trust that provides full, four-year tuition and housing college scholarships to deserving caddies. The Foundation is overseen by the Western Golf Association, which also runs three prestigious golf tournaments, including the BMW Championship.
In 1929, famed golfer Chick Evans Jr., asked the Western Golf Association (WGA) to administer the fund he had established some years earlier to send deserving caddies to college. He could think of no finer organization to entrust his legacy and grow his vision.
In 1930, the WGA awarded its first two scholarships to caddies, Harold Fink and Jim McGinnis. They would attend Northwestern University, the same school where Chick Evans had studied. Until World War II, all Evans Scholars continued to attend Northwestern, and it was here that the first Evans Scholars Chapter House was established. The first Evans Scholarship House was established at Northwestern University in 1940. The Scholarship House concept— Evans Scholars living and learning together — is one of the attributes that makes the program unique, and continues to his day.
Tuition to Northwestern in 1930 was $150 per year, and plenty of Chick’s money was leftover. Naturally, he wanted to do more. The WGA had to find more caddies. The WGA board established three requirements for selection: scholarship, fellowship and leadership. Using these criteria, they selected a dozen more caddie scholarship winners. The WGA Directors participating in the selection process came to realize the impact of Chick’s dream on the lives of young men with limited access to a college education.
When Chick’s original investment was exhausted, the WGA Directors perpetuated the caddie scholarship program by leaving money on the boardroom table after a day of interviews and selections. This “collection plate” process was the sole means of revenue through the early 1940s when WGA began to solicit funds outside the Association.
In 1949, Roland F. “Mac” McGuigan, Dean of Men at Northwestern and Faculty Advisor to the Northwestern Chapter of Evans Scholars, was appointed WGA’s Educational Director. During his nearly 40-year tenure, 13 new Scholarship Houses were founded, bringing today’s total to 14. In order of their founding, Evans Scholarship Houses can be found at Northwestern, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Marquette, Minnesota, Ohio State, Purdue, Colorado, Missouri, Indiana, Miami and Oregon.
Today, the Evans Scholars Foundation has become golf’s favorite charity. More than 30,600 Par Club members contribute annually in Chick’s honor to the Evans Scholars Program so the WGA can continue to meet tuition and housing costs that exceed $20 million each year.
More than 640 men and women from the many golf clubs affiliated with WGA served as Directors of WGA. These Directors, nicknamed “Greencoats” for the green blazers they wear, are involved in the activities of the Foundation, giving generously of their time, attention and financial resources. Birmingham Country Club currently has three directors: Martin French, Pam Ruthven, and Jeff Sadowski.
Importantly, The Evans Scholars Foundation is a well-managed charity, having earned a four-star rating (highest) from Charity Navigator, an independent rating agency that evaluates charities.
Evans Scholarship Facts and Figures
- 285 full tuition and housing awards in 2020
- 1,045 Evans Scholars currently enrolled for the 2020-2021 academic year
- Comprehensive selection criteria includes academics, financial need, caddie record and strong character and leadership
- Evans Scholars are campus leaders in academic and extracurricular activities
- Cumulative GPA is 3.3
- Graduation rate is 95%
- 24% of the participants in the Evans Scholar Program are women
- Over 15,000 Evans Scholars Alumni
- Nation’s largest scholarship program for golf caddies
- Golf’s favorite charity with over 30,600 annual Par Club members
- More than $400 million in tuition and housing scholarships awarded all-time
- Average total value of an Evans Scholarship is more than $120,000 over four years
- Program funding: Par Club contributions and major gifts, 72%; tournament and events, 18%; other contributions such as bag tag membership, memorials and bequests, 10%.