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Campus News
Your faculty and staff news since 1965
Current Issue: May 12, 2003
Volume 38, Number 20

Tee off to support presidential scholars

By Steve Carr

The Bank of America / Larry Ahrens Golf Tournament, benefiting the Presidential Scholarship Program (PSP) at UNM, will be held Friday, June 20, at the UNM Championship Golf Course.

“The golf tournament is the most fun people can have helping to pay college tuition,” said Mary Wolford, development specialist. “In one day, the golf tournament raises $60,000, which underwrites the scholarships of 30 Presidential Scholars for an entire school year.

“The Presidential Scholarship Program keeps some of New Mexico’s most community-minded scholars in state for college. The golf tournament plays a big part in making that possible,” she said.

Presidential scholarships are offered exclusively to New Mexico’s most outstanding high school graduates, based on academic merit and leadership skills. Scholarships go above and beyond the cost of tuition — paying for textbooks and other fees. Since its inception, the PSP has offered tuition-free education to more than 2,250 scholars, made possible by almost $8 million in gifts from donors.

There are approximately 450 scholars on campus this year representing a wealth of ethnic backgrounds from across the state. This number puts UNM, and New Mexico, among the national leaders in merit scholarships.

The Presidential Scholarship Program was established in 1976, based on an idea proposed by then-Dean of Admissions Robert M. Weaver, who found that many top-notch students were going out of state to school. With the support of President William E. “Bud” Davis and a kick-off dinner with state business leaders, Director of Development Robert Lalicker raised $60,000 in 30 days to start it.

For radio deejay Larry Ahrens of 770 KKOB-AM, involvement with the program started as a promotional stunt. When the UNM presidency was suddenly left vacant in 1982, Ahrens began campaigning for the position. Presumably interested in the job for its attendant perks (good seats at the Pit and an impressive campus residence), his slogan became, “Send Larry to the Big House.”

After a few months, Ahrens ended it with a victory party at a local hotel. Guests were charged $10 and the proceeds benefited the program. All involved agreed that the event be held annually. The next year it became a golf tournament, raising $12,000 with 65 golfers.

During the past 20 years, the tournament has raised more than $750,000 and provides at least 30 Presidential Scholarships each year. The 2002 event netted more than $50,000 in scholarship funds and is the single biggest one-day fundraiser at UNM.

The tournament format will be a 4-person Red-White-Blue scramble limited to one “A” player (handicap of 9 or less), and a combined handicap of each team of at least 43. Interested participants may form their own team or be assigned to one, or play as an individual or pair.

The tournament will have two shotgun starts, 7:30 a.m. and 12:45 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for first through fifth place teams, a.m. and p.m. flights, first through third place for women’s teams, skill as well as random drawings.

The entry fee of $125 per player includes green fees, cart, range balls, drinks, snacks, breakfast, lunch and a post-tournament awards dinner.

For more information call (505) 277-5688 or to register online visit www.pspgolf.org.