Honorary Degree Recipients
William (Bill) Dickey is president emeritus and founder of the Bill Dickey Scholarship Association (BDSA). Through the BDSA, formerly the National Minority Junior Golf Scholarship Association, Dickey is encouraging young people to pursue and achieve academic excellence and qualify for college scholarships through the sport of golf. Since his retirement, Mr. Dickey devotes all his time and efforts to the BDSA, having serving as its president until 2004 when he was named president emeritus.
During his career, Mr. Dickey has been awarded for his many accomplishments: Western States Golf Association Hall of Fame, 1985; National Black Golf Hall of Fame, 1989; Golf Digest Junior Development Award, 1991; Dr. Edgar R. Updegraff Award for contributions to golf in the state of Arizona, Arizona Golf Association, 1991; Card Walker Award for contributions to junior golf, 1992; the Sharing and Caring Award, Tiger Woods Foundation, presented by Tiger and Earl Woods, 1999; PGA Distinguished Service Award, 1999; Arizona Golf Hall of Fame, 2000; the Joseph C. Dey Jr. Award for meritorious volunteer service to the game of golf, United States Golf Association, 2001; the Anser Award in honor of his positive efforts influencing the history of golf, Southwest Section of the PGA, 2001; the Martin Luther King Sharing the Dream Award, 2005; The African American Golfers Hall of Fame, 2006; and the Life Time Team Captain Award for support of the Jackson State University golf program, Jackson State University, 2005.
His other awards include recognition from the Bermuda Department of Tourism for his contributions toward the growth and development of minority junior golf and community service awards in Phoenix from the Arizona Informant Newspaper, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, along with the Pat Tillman Community Service Award.
Mr. Dickey established the East/West Golf Classic, played in the Phoenix area each year. Funds are earmarked to benefit the BSDA, which he incorporated in 1984. Through his efforts as president and the financial contributions of numerous corporations, companies, organizations and individuals, it has been possible to financially assist over 900 college and college-bound minority golfers, awarding more than $2.3 million.
Robert Lee Elder,
Robert Lee Elder is credited with breaking through one of the most long-standing racial barriers in U.S. sports. A renowned golfer, he became the first African-American to play in the Masters Tournament at Augusta National on April 10, 1975. Elder was a spectator at Augusta National in 1997 when Tiger Woods won his first major, becoming the youngest winner of the Masters and the first of African or Asian descent. Tiger was quoted as saying, “I’m the first, but I wasn’t the pioneer. Charlie Sifford, Lee Elder, Teddy Rhodes-those guys paved the way for me to be here. I thank them. If it wasn’t for them, I might not have had the chance to play here.”
Until May 1961, black professional golfers were not afforded membership in the Professional Golf Association (PGA). Mr. Elder began his professional career in 1959 in the all-black United Golf Association (UGA). With a streak of 10 consecutive wins, he dominated the UGA during his heyday and went on to qualify for the PGA in November 1967 at the age of 34. Seven years later, on April 21, 1974, Mr. Elder sank an 18-foot putt on the fourth hole of sudden death to claim the Monsanto Open in Pensacola, Florida. This would open the door to the elusive Masters, where for the first time in 40 years, the golfers would be selected based on performance rather than by invitation only. After his first history-making tee off in the Masters, he made five subsequent appearances.
During his PGA career, Mr. Elder was successful in claiming three other wins: the 1976 Houston Open, the 1978 Greater Milwaukee Open, and the American Express Westchester Classic. In the 1978 Greater Milwaukee Open he defeated Lee Trevino on the eighth hole of sudden death, equaling the second longest playoff in PGA tour history. He played on the U.S. Ryder Cup team in 1979. Following his PGA career, he realized success in the Senior Tour with eight tournament wins. In 1984, he triumphed in the Suntree Senior Classic and the Hilton Head Seniors International. In 1985, he won the Denver Post Champions of Golf, the Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative Pro-Am, the Digital Seniors Classic and the Citizens Union Senior Golf Classic. In 1986, he claimed the Merrill Lynch/Golf Digest Commemorative. In 1988, he won the Gus Machado Senior Classic. He established the Senior Tour record for the lowest 18-hole score (11 under par 61), a mark broken by Isao Aoki’s 60 in 1997. On the international circuit, Elder won the 1971 Nigerian Open. Over his professional career, he has had five hole-in-one’s.
Mr. Elder has been inducted into the Texas Sports Hall of Fame and the NCAA Hall of Fame, and he received an honorary doctorate degree from Daniel Hale Williams University. He is also the recipient of the Sports Writers of America annual award for service and dedication, awarded at the Masters in 2000. He is committed to hosting and supporting the Lee Elder Reunion Golf Tournament to aid underprivileged children, the Boys and Girls Clubs, the American Heart Association, and the Diabetes Association. He has also supported South African schools for girls through exhibitions and classics in South Africa.
Pro Football Hall of Fame
Arthur (Art) Shell, legendary football coach and member of the NFL Hall of Fame Class of 1989, is immediate past head coach of the Oakland Raiders (2006) and former senior vice president of football operations for the NFL. He began his illustrious football career while attending Maryland State College, currently known as the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, where he was selected All-Conference (CIAA) three times as both offensive and defensive tackles. He added to a long list of accomplishments by earning All American Honors back-to-back in 1966 & 1967, while jointly lettering two years in basketball. During the 1967 season, he was named Ebony Magazine and Pittsburgh Courier All-American. The following year, in 1968, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Arts and began his professional football career by becoming the third round draft choice for the Oakland Raiders.
Touted as one of the most outstanding offensive linemen in the NFL and strong in every blocking department, Coach Shell was honored as Raiders’ Lineman of the Year for 1976. As an offensive tackle for the Raiders, he earned two Super Bowl rings (Super Bowls XI and XV), with a third to be added later. After 15 seasons as a player, he retired in the 1982 season and then moved to the position of assistant coach with the franchise, but not without being known as one of the greatest tackles in NFL history. During his tenure as assistant coach, he added his third Super Bowl ring (Super Bowl XVIII).
After a Hall of Fame playing career, Coach Shell became the Los Angeles Raiders’ offensive line coach from 1983-89 and made history in 1989 by being selected as the first African-American head coach of a NFL team in the modern era. During the same year, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. In 1990, he was named Coach of the Year by United Press International (UPI), Football News and The Sporting News. During that same season, he coached the AFC to a win in the Pro Bowl. Coach Shell went on to compile a 9-7 record in ’91, a 7-9 record in ’92, a 10-6 record in ’93, and ended the ’94 season with a record of 9-7. He compiled an overall record of 56 wins 41 losses while guiding his team to three playoff appearances.
In 1995, Coach Shell became offensive line coach for the Kansas City Chiefs and captured the AFC West Division. He earned NFL coach-of-the-year honors from Pro Football Writer of America, Sports Illustrated, and Pro Football Weekly and AFC coach-of-the-year honors from United Press International, Football News, and College and Pro Football Weekly. From 1997-2000, Coach Shell was offensive line coach of the Atlanta Falcons.
Coach Shell worked for the NFL office in New York since 2002 as the appeals officer for player discipline, supervising all NFL football operations and development, including regular-season and post season operations, NFL Europe League operations, the NFL Officiating Department, the NFL’s relationship with college football, and the league’s youth football activities.