05/01/05 — MOC scholarship golf tournament this weekend

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MOC scholarship golf tournament this weekend

By News-Argus Staff
Published in News on May 1, 2005 2:00 AM

From staff reports

MOUNT OLIVE - The 19th annual Handy Mart/Mount Olive College Invitational Golf Tournament, which provides more money for scholarships than any other single fund-raising endeavor at Mount Olive College, is scheduled for this weekend.

To date, the tournament has raised more than $1.3 million, with 411 scholarships awarded to deserving students. It began in 1987 as a simple fundraiser to gain increased financial support for athletic scholarships so the college could seek affiliation with the Carolinas Virginia Athletics Conference. The first year 31 sponsors participated in the Handy Mart Golf Tournament organized by E. J. Pope and Son Inc. It raised $25,715.

In 1990, Buddy and Judson set up an endowment fund with part of the tournament proceeds going to the fund, and the balance going to "active" athletic and presidential scholarships. The first business scholarship was awarded in 1991.

This year, scholarship winners Kelly Hobbs of Clinton and Kallen King of Faison, will each receive $8,000 per year.

Although the focus of the tournament has changed, Buddy and Judson's reasons for supporting the event have not.

"It's all about the students," Judson said. "Many MOC students have roots in eastern North Carolina. Without the scholarship support provided by this tournament, many of these young people would not be able to obtain a quality education.

"Mount Olive graduates have the potential to make eastern North Carolina better for our future generations."

Tournament volunteers have spent the last five months planning and organizing the event. In addition to soliciting sponsors, there are signs to make, invitations to send, T-shirts to design, prizes to order, and more than 100 volunteers to organize.

The three-day event starts with a reception for the sponsors tonight at Walnut Creek Country Club. Tournament players tee off on Saturday at Southern Wayne Golf Course, and enjoy a buffet and dance on Saturday evening. On Sunday, the golfers are treated to hot dogs served by Handy Mart volunteers. E. J. Pope and Son Inc. underwrites expenses not covered by the players' entry fees.

"Mount Olive College revolves around people with a central focus on students. Access is a primary issue that involves many facets, but affordability stands high on the priority list of concerns in keeping the classroom doors open to students," said MOC President J. William Byrd. "The Handy Mart Mount Olive College Golf Tournament opens many doors, and we are forever grateful to Buddy and Judson Pope and the scores of Handy Mart volunteers who make it happen.

"It is a sterling example of what vision, leadership and hard work can accomplish and demonstrates the commitment that these folks have to Mount Olive College and eastern North Carolina."