by Thomas Guengerich
SOCORRO, N.M., June 23, 2008 –New Mexico’s largest one-day fundraising golf tournament will be Friday, Sept. 19, at the New Mexico Tech Golf Course in Socorro.
The 14th Annual President’s Club Golf Tournament, hosted by Tech President Dr. Daniel H. López is filling up fast.
The event includes 32 groups – 128 players – for a morning flight and again for an afternoon flight. The Socorro university raises more than $150,000 every year during the one-day event.
The event requires an army of volunteers from nearly every department on campus. Top finishes in each flight get prizes, but the true winners are the students.
“We call it a tournament,” López said. “But it’s truly a fun event that helps students. We designed this tournament to be focused on the university, not on competitive golf. ”
Shortly after becoming the university president in 1993, López started the tournament as a way to increase the university’s scholarship fund. In 2007, the tournament raised more than $150,000 through sponsorships and entry fees, López said.
Over the years, the President’s Scholarship fund has provided more than 150 scholarships to New Mexico Tech students experiencing financial hardships.
“Young students often find themselves in financial straits, whether it be family crises or health problems,” López said. “We have grown this scholarship fund to give students a fallback plan.”
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in August 2005, López used the President’s Scholarship Fund to help three students transfer from waterlogged campuses to New Mexico Tech.
The difficulty of the university’s curriculum often contributes to student’s financial challenges. Most undergraduate students at the state-sponsored science and engineering school take at least five years to earn a bachelor’s degree.
“Since most government scholarship programs only fund four years of university study, the President’s Scholarship Fund every year helps fifth-year students complete their degree work,” López said. “At commencement, we give special recognition to the few students who complete their studies in four years. For the typical students, we have developed a variety of ways to help them financially after their fourth year and this is one way.”
The cost is $250 per player or $1,000 per team. The bulk of the funds raised come from corporate and individual sponsorships. Sponsorship opportunities are available from $3,000 to $7,000. To register or for sponsorship information, call tournament director Colleen Guengerich at (575) 835-5352.