The Evans Scholars Foundation, which awards full tuition and housing scholarships to golf caddies from underprivileged families, has opened a chapter house at the University of Oregon. The house, located at 1910 University St., is now home to 30 Evans scholars.
Scholarship recipients are chosen based on caddying record, academic strength, financial need and demonstrated leadership and character, according to the foundation. There are currently 935 Evans Scholars attending 20 different universities across the country.
The ESF operates scholarship houses at 15 universities, but the UO house is the first to open in the Pacific Northwest. UO Evans Scholars lived together in Earl Hall prior to the opening of the house.
For UO chapter president Hannah Rice, the scholarship has been life changing.
“For me, the Evans Scholarship meant college,” Rice said. “I grew up poor, and I was not going to get to go unless I made something happen. When I heard about this opportunity in high school, I threw everything I had at it.”
Rice got her start caddying as a sophomore in high school through a Portland Parks and Recreation program designed to give underprivileged students with strong grades an opportunity to work at local golf courses. She heard about the Evans Scholarship through that program, and now she will be graduating debt free this spring.
Rice’s roommate, sophomore Evans scholar Samantha Pham, had a similar experience.
“The scholarship has opened a lot of doors for me. Without it, I wouldn’t have all the opportunities that I have today,” Pham said.
The house has been in the works for more than four years, according to Bill Moses, ESF West Region director. Moses, an Evans Scholar alum, says the new house will help build a greater bond and sense of community among scholarship recipients.
“[Living in the house] is the best way to form those friendships,” said Moses. “We’re very committed to it. It’s not cheap operating the house, but we believe it’s worth the investment.”
“Being the president of the chapter is awesome; it’s an honor,” she said. “They were working on getting the house when I was a freshman, three years ago. To finally be living here, I get to see the dream realized.”
High school students interested in applying for the Evans Scholarship can get more information at http://www.wgaesf.org.