Creating Leaders

August 30, 2022
By Jack Mendesh

Since 2010, there have been six Minnesota Evans Scholarship recipients out of Bearpath Country Club. While that number may not match Hillcrest Golf Club’s 80 Evans Scholar recipients, the impact of the Evans Scholars has been measurable inside and outside the Evans Scholar program. Paul Stadem, a Bearpath caddie, 2013 graduate of the University of Minnesota and an Evans Scholar, has gone on to impact many lives around the world through his work in medicine.

As a young teen, Stadem started caddieing partly because it was the only job he could land as a 13-year-old. What’s more, it was around the time when he was starting to love the game of golf. Once begun, he quickly learned the impact that caddieing could have on the rest of his life if he took it seriously. During Stadem’s third year of looping, Bearpath hosted a meeting outlining the requirements for receiving the Evans Scholarship and after that meeting, he knew the Evans Scholarship was a goal that he would strive to achieve. 

The guiding principle of the Minnesota Evans Scholarship program is the belief “it takes one caring adult to change a young person’s life.” For Stadem it was two. Both Dan Schmidt, a Bearpath member, former caddie, and advocate of the caddie program, and Phillip Olson, Bearpath’s caddie manager and lead assistant golf professional, were instrumental in Stadem’s journey in earning the Evans Scholarship. Schmidt proved a steady mentor, and Olson would always ensure that Stadem would get a loop if he was at the course and would call him if there was an available loop. 

Olson went on to say, “Paul was one of the most respected caddies to ever come through the Bearpath caddie program. From his dedication, to his leadership, to the quality service he provided, he was always superior. I will never forget Paul and the success story he’s been out in the world and at Bearpath!”

Stadem went on to receive the Evans Scholarship due to people like Schmidt and Olson and it changed the course of his life. He went on to say, “It was life changing. I can’t say enough good things about the Evans Scholarship. Not only the financial gift of the full-tuition, full-housing scholarship but the community and life-long friends that I made from the program. The fact that everyone is there for the same reason but are so different allowed me to learn from each one of the Scholars.” He went on to say that his experiences in the Evans Scholarship program have formed him into the person he is today and guided him on his career path.

After graduating from the University of Minnesota, Stadem became the first Evans Scholar in its 92-year history to become a Fulbright Scholar. The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program provides participants–chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential–with the opportunity to study, teach and conduct research, exchange ideas and solve mutual international concerns. In Stadem’s case, he was working on a project studying a blood disorder with a hematology department in a local hospital in Kampala, Uganda. He also worked on a community-based project with a local orphanage outside Kampala. 

Following his Fulbright Scholarship, he attended medical school at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, then a three-year residency with a focus on family medicine at North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale, which he completed in June 2021. Today, Stadem is a primary care physician at HealthPartners in Brooklyn Center. “To me the interest in getting to know other people and where they are at in their life, what I can do to learn and help in any way I can started when I was young and caddieing, and was solidified going through the Evans Scholarship program.”

Jack Mendesh

Jack Mendesh is the MGA’s caddie development and communications manager. He grew up caddying and playing golf in the Twin Cities and likes to give back to the game that has afforded so many enriching experiences in his life.

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