A Baltimore-area utility company that sponsored a major pro golf tournament this past summer has made a donation to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore's PGA golf management program.
The $20,000 gift from Constellation, an Exelon Company, will be used to purchase computerized teaching equipment and to pay for upgrades to irrigation for the on-campus practice green.
“We are humbled that Constellation named our program as a charity beneficiary of the 2017 SENIOR PLAYERS Championship,” UMES' Billy Dillon said. “They have noticed the work that we have done in producing productive members of the PGA of America and in growing diversity throughout the association.”
“Building these types of relationships,” Dillon said, “are crucial in advancing our mission as a program.”
Dillon, the golf management program director, headed a 16-member delegation from UMES that volunteered to serve as caddies during a July 12 pro-am competition prior to the 2017 tournament at Caves Valley Golf Club.
UMES was among eight Maryland organizations the utility chose as beneficiaries of its philanthropy tied to corporate sponsorship of the PGA Senior tour event, one of the sport's most noteworthy tournaments for players 50 years or older.
“Giving back to the communities we serve is one of Constellation's most important responsibilities and an important part of the Constellation SENIOR PLAYERS Championship,” said Joseph Nigro, CEO of Constellation. “This year, we are especially proud to be supporting organizations that are making a positive difference in our hometown of Baltimore” and Maryland.
In addition to Dillon and faculty colleagues Chris Prosser and Jamila Johnson, 13 golf management students shadowed amateur golfers who played alongside such PGA Senior tour pros as Bernhard Langer, Jay Haas, Larry Mize and Scott McCarron, the 2017 tournament winner.
UMES student caddies were: Harry Early, Bryce Young, Brian Musgrove, Young Lee, Max Marshall, Brian Huber, Lane Dillon, Andy Hewitt, Matt Stitcher, Wesley Samuel, Demarkis Cooper, Josephina Oh and Marquis Usher.
“It was really a fun experience,” Usher said. “I knew a lot about Caves Valley because of the scholarship support they've provided UMES students, and I thought it would be a great way to see how the professionals approach the game.”
The pros, Usher said, didn't disappoint.
“Being able to watch them up close was a great opportunity. I learned a lot,” the Fort Washington, Md. senior said.
Oh and Cooper earned full-ride scholarships out of high school to attend UMES courtesy of generous donations from the Caves Valley Golf Club Foundation. All told, the foundation has underwritten scholarships that currently support four UMES golf management students.
The gift to the golf program is the second UMES has received from an Exelon Company in the past year.
Delmarva Power donated $1 million to UMES in the summer of 2016 to support “green energy initiatives” and science, technology, engineering and mathematics instruction. It is the largest single corporate gift in university history.
“The Exelon Company's confidence in UMES is a life-changing experience for our university and more importantly, our students,” said UMES executive Vice President Kim Dumpson, who oversees fund-raising. “We are grateful for its generous support of our academic programs.”