Minnesota's Evans Scholarship House Celebrates 20th Anniversary

March 1, 2022
By Jack Mendesh

Since 1954, when the Dating Game’s Jim Lange, a Midland Hills Country Club caddie became the first Minnesota Evans Scholar more than 800 deserving young men and women caddies have become Minnesota Evans Scholar alumni. A significant turning point in the program occurred in 2001 when plans for a new scholarship house on the campus of the University of Minnesota took shape. The new Evans house provided the opportunity for the program to move to a co-ed model, allowing young women to live in the house and receive the full benefit of this amazing program. Previously, the women lived a block away in separate apartments.

Ede Rice, a WGA Director and instrumental part of the house being built said, “When the new house was built, finally everyone could live under the same roof which really built a sense of community, something that the Evans Scholarship is all about. It also gave the Scholars a true home that they can be proud of.”

The new Evans Scholarship House came to be with support from all facets of the Minnesota golf community with WGA Directors, Evans Scholar Alumni and Minnesota Clubs and Associations all contributing. The children and families of Fritz Corrigan, Sr., considered to be the “founding father” of the Minnesota Evans Scholar Program, led by John and Leslie Turner (honorary chairman of the “Building Success” campaign, a committee that ensured the house was built in a timely manner and safely), along with Fritz and Glenda Corrigan, and Ken and Nan Woodrow, collectively made the lead donor gift of one million dollars.

In addition, Mark Swenson, principal of ESG Architecture & Design, designed the Evans Scholarship House and did the design work pro bono as he knew the impact it of the new chapter house given his status as an Evans alum. Seven Minnesota clubs and organizations contributed a combined total of $400,000, Evans Scholar alumni donated more than $400,000 while past and current WGA Directors contributed more than $200,000. In total, more than 350 individuals and companies contributed to the construction of the house, showing a strong commitment to the program. Without the help of the entire Minnesota golf community, the Minnesota Evans Scholarship House would not have been a reality. 

“When the new house was built, finally everyone could live under the same roof which really built a sense of community, something that the Evans Scholarship is all about. It also gave the Scholars a true home that they can be proud of." - Ede Rice

Today, 20 years later, the scholarship house looks brand new. There are grateful young men and women taking full advantage of the opportunity they’ve been given. The scholarship house was “built for the next 100 years.”

In fact, this summer, the Minnesota Evans Scholarship House will be home to the first class of the WGA Caddie Academy in Minnesota, a 7-week residential program that provides summer caddie and educational opportunities to under-resourced high school students pursuing the Evans Scholarship.

Historically, the average family income of the caddies is $30,000, and many are minorities that would be the first person in their family to attend college. Participants are chosen based on outstanding academics, leadership and character. A group of eight to twelve students and caddies will have the chance to earn money, make friends, meet role models, and learn important life lessons on the golf course.

Off the golf course, the Caddie Academy includes test prep, guest speakers, college visits and field trips. Thanks to the Evans House, the Caddie Academy is possible, and the next generation of caddie scholars will be able to pursue their educational and life goals to the fullest. 

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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