UMES Inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame

  • Friday, May 28, 2010

    PRINCESS ANNE, MD-June 8, 2010-The University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) was recently inducted into the African American Golfers Hall of Fame (AAGHOF) at ceremonies held in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.  It joined such legendary professional golfers as Jim Dent, Ann Gregory, Gary Player, Jack W. Nicklaus, Pete Brown, James W. Black, James Garvin, William "Bill" Powell, Selina Johnson, Calvin Peete and others.

    "The university has been accorded this honor because it is the only Historically Black College and University--among a total of only 20 other institutions worldwide--certified by the Professional Golfers Association of America to offer the PGA Golf Management Degree Program," said Malachi Knowles, founder, AAGHOF.

    UMES was cited as a 2010 Founders Awardee for launching its PGA program in 2008; the PGA of America authorized the program in 2007, and in 2009, the program was accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Programs in Hospitality Management.   

    Dr. Thelma B. Thompson, president, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, was in Palm Beach Gardens, home of the African American Golfers Hall of Fame and national headquarters of the PGA of America, to accept the honor. She was accompanied by Dr. Ernest Boger, who chairs the UMES Hotel and Restaurant Management Department (in which the PGA Program resides), and William C. Dillon, director of the PGA Golf Management Program, both of UMES. AAGHOF Founder Knowles worked diligently with Boger and others to help UMES from day one to receive the program.

    Thompson presented the keynote address for the Hall of Fame's Conference. "We are honored to be associated with the PGA and to be forever linked with legendary golfers from this country and abroad," she said.  "We warmly thank the African American Golfers Hall of Fame for the distinction they have bestowed upon us: it's not every day that a land-grant college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland is inducted into a Hall of Fame! We are quite proud of our PGA Golf Management Program because we are enabling new generations to build productive and rewarding golf careers and to spend their lives enjoying the game they love." Avis L. Brown-Riley, AAGHOF National Advisory Board chair and San Diego Inner City Golf Foundation, stated, "her speech was outstanding."  Brown-Riley said, "We will redouble our efforts to insure the success of the UMES program."

    Dillon describes UMES' PGA Golf Management curriculum as a "unique mixture of academics and athletics." Accepted students who complete the program's requirements graduate as members of the PGA. The key, he believes, is "preparing students for the realities of the industry." That's why degree requirements include having a USGA handicap of 12 strokes or less, as well as studying hotel and restaurant management and academic basics, such as English, mathematics and economics. By learning every aspect of the golfing business, graduates are virtually assured of prospering in the industry and sport they are passionate about, and as Dillon notes, "that's doing something special."

    When it partnered with UMES, a school in which a little more than three-quarters of undergraduates are African American, the PGA assured a diverse talent pool for its future work fo