Jacksonville, Florida – Earlier today, THE PLAYERS Championship announced a $50,000 donation to help reinstate the women’s golf program at Edward Waters College (EWC). Located 30 minutes from the PGA TOUR’s flagship property and global home, the state’s first private Historically Black College and University (HBCU) is now one of only two HBCUs in Florida to offer a dedicated women’s golf program. THE PLAYERS’ grant will help EWC recruit and select a coach, fund student-athlete scholarships and assist with overall operational expenses as the program plans for a 2022 launch date.
Today’s announcement was made on the EWC campus with leadership, trustees and staff of both organizations in attendance. Broadcast publicly via a live-streamed pressconference, THE PLAYERS Executive Director Jared Rice and 2022 Tournament Chairman Matt Welch presented EWC President Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr. and EWC Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Dr. Paul A. Bryant with the $50,000 check. Joining them were several past tournament chairmen (Red Coats), who were on-hand to deliver more than $10,000 in golf supplies and merchandise for the team.
“When the EWC team shared their vision with us and indicated that the revitalization of the women’s golf program was a primary focus for the College, we were inspired to support their mission,” said Rice. “As home to the PGA TOUR and host of its flagship event, we are committed to efforts that reflect our mission and values of being good stewards in the communities where we play. We are honored by the opportunity to help elevate the student-athlete experience at EWC and promote and grow the game of golf right in our hometown.”
“I am elated to partner with THE PLAYERS Championship,” said Dr. Paul Bryant, EWC Director of Intercollegiate Athletics. “This joint effort to reignite women’s golf will enhance our offering of sports and give young women the opportunity to play the sport they love at a high level.”
“Edward Waters College is fortunate to be aligned with outstanding organizations such as THE PLAYERS Championship and PGA TOUR,” said Dr. A. Zachary Faison, Jr., president and CEO. “This donation will not only reinvigorate the women’s golf team, it will attract talented women to attend Edward Waters College from across the country due to the name recognition of our new partners. We thank the leadership and volunteers of THE PLAYERS and PGA TOUR for this special investment in the College’s athletics program and look forward to becoming a competitive force in women’s golf soon.”
The women’s golf program at EWC was first introduced in 2007 and was discontinued in 2015 following budget and program challenges. As part of EWC’s newly adopted strategic plan, Eminence 2025, the College is reengineering its Division of Athletics to prioritize gender equity ratio in sports across all competition facets.
In addition, EWC announced plans to launch a Student-Athlete Golf Mentor Program, a dual-purpose initiative that will engage student-athletes to serve as mentors in unique professional development environments – including exposure to career opportunities within the PGA TOUR and THE PLAYERS network – as well as off-campus volunteer experiences with community-based programs.
The PGA TOUR has a long-standing history of positively impacting the communities where it plays. Most recently, the organization and its tournaments have pledged a stronger commitment to efforts that are advancing diversity, equity and inclusion priorities in its host communities.
This week, TPC Sawgrass – home of THE PLAYERS – is also serving as the host course of the PGA WORKS Collegiate Championship, an annual championship that features the top student-athletes from HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) across the nation. The event features nearly 180 competitors representing 24 schools and 51 individuals who are competing in the three-day competition on Dye’s Valley Course and THE PLAYERS Stadium Course. EWC’s women’s golf team previously participated in this championship, which was formerly known as the National Minority Collegiate Championship.
About Edward Waters College
Edward Waters College (EWC), accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF), is a private, historically black, urban college which offers a liberal arts education with a strong emphasis on the Christian principles of high moral and spiritual values. EWC was established in 1866 and is an African Methodist Episcopal Church-related institution of learning. It is the first private institution of higher education in the State of Florida.
About THE PLAYERS Championship
THE PLAYERS Championship annually combines the strongest field in golf with the world-class venue that is THE PLAYERS Stadium Course at TPC Sawgrass. Grant Thornton LLP, Optum® and Morgan Stanley are the exclusive Proud Partners of THE PLAYERS. Proceeds from THE PLAYERS benefit Northeast Florida charities and have totaled more than $100 million since it began in 1974 and moved to Ponte Vedra Beach in 1977. For more on THE PLAYERS, visit THEPLAYERS.com. For more on the surrounding areas, visit floridashistoriccoast.com or visitjacksonville.com.
About Grant Thornton LLP
Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.9 billion and operates more than 50 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.
“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.
Optum is a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to helping make the health system work better for everyone. With more than 180,000 people worldwide, Optum delivers intelligent, integrated solutions that help to modernize the health system and improve overall population health. Optum is part of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE:UNH). For more information, visit optum.com
About Morgan Stanley
Morgan Stanley (NYSE: MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing investment banking, securities, wealth management and investment management services. With offices in more than 42 countries, the Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals. For more information about Morgan Stanley, please visit http://www.morganstanley.com.