Williamsport, Pa. - The 35th Annual Penn College Foundation Golf Classic, featuring blind golfer Jeremy Poincenot, winner of three World Blind Golf Championships and eight National Blind Golf Championships, recently raised $134,000 for student scholarships.
With this year’s total, the Penn College Foundation Golf Classic Scholarship Fund now exceeds $1.8 million.
Proceeds from the annual Golf Classic, and the accumulated investment income created the endowed scholarship fund, one of the foundation’s largest scholarships.
“Golf Classic participants are part of the legacy that has built this important source of scholarship aid,” President Davie Jane Gilmour said.
“Participation directly impacts the lives of Penn College students as they pursue an applied technology education and prepare to become leaders in their chosen professions – meeting the challenges of their industries with unrivaled skill and confidence," Gilmour added.
Poincenot shared his inspiring story with Golf Classic participants at the Williamsport Country Club, fielding questions and offering his positive perspective and good humor throughout the day.
As part of the activities, he was lifted 125 feet in the air by a crew from Allison Crane & Rigging for a fundraising ball drop. Donors purchased numbered golf balls that were dropped from aloft, with prizes going to the three players whose entries landed closest to the pin.
At 19, with no warning, Poincenot lost central vision in both eyes due to a rare genetic disorder, Leber’s Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), a disease affecting only 100 people annually nationwide, with no treatment or cure.
Poincenot thought the game of golf that he loved was over, but with hard work, dedication and support from family and friends, Poincenot quickly learned that his golfing career had only just begun.
An inspirational speaker, workshop facilitator and performance coach, Poincenot has been featured on ABC's “20/20,” ESPN.com, CNN’s “Great Big Story” and MTV's “True Life.”
He has shared his inspiring story with many corporations such as Aflac, Honda, John Hancock, Kaiser Permanente, Wells Fargo, and others.
“Blind golf has given me opportunities that could not have been imagined,” Poincenot said, “and that is what the Penn College Foundation is doing for students through scholarship support.”
He shared some advice for students who may struggle with asking for assistance.
“I think we, as a society, should focus more on interdependence,” Poincenot said.
Poincenot added, “I have learned to become comfortable asking for help, as it is not a sign of weakness but an opportunity to work alongside others. Working together creates powerful results.”
Kyle A. Smith, executive director of college relations and the Penn College Foundation, addressed the significant role played by the Golf Classic sponsors and participants in assisting Penn College students.
“The impact from the scholarship support raised through this event is so meaningful to our students,” Smith said.
“Many of our students face financial struggles throughout their academic career, and this event helps to make such a difference in allowing them to complete their degrees and prepare for their futures," Smith continued.
Title sponsor for the 2021 Golf Classic was Compass Group North America, a leading food-service and support services company serving award-winning restaurants, corporate cafes, hospitals, schools, arenas, museums, and more.
Compass Group North America and Penn College have a long-standing partnership. Chris Kowalewski, chief growth officer, serves on the Hospitality Advisory Committee at the college.
Compass recently established an endowed scholarship supporting students in Business and Hospitality-related programs.
Levy Restaurants, a Compass Group company known for its restaurants and hospitality experiences at prestigious sports and entertainment venues, has provided Penn College students and alumni with invaluable hands-on experience at the Kentucky Derby, where they work alongside world-class chefs.
“I had the opportunity to work alongside several Penn College students over the years and most recently at this year’s Kentucky Derby,” Kowalewski said.
Kowalewski also added, “They are fabulous and exactly what Compass looks for when considering new team members. We are proud to partner with Penn College in supporting tomorrow’s workforce.”
Sponsors for the 2021 Penn College Foundation Golf Classic were:
Title Sponsor: Compass Group North America
Pro Sponsors: Fisher Mining Co., Glenn O. Hawbaker Inc., The Hartman Group, Hudock Capital Group LLC, M&S Conversion Co. Inc., M&T Bank and TurnKey Electric Inc.
Hospitality Sponsors: Cable Services Co. Inc., The Kiessling Group of Janney Montgomery Scott LLC and The Liberty Group.
Gift Sponsors: Clark Contractors Inc., Data Papers Inc., Eastern Alliance Insurance Group, Real Estate Excel, Susquehanna Trailways, Wayne Township Landfill and Woodlands Bank.
Closest-to-the Pin Award: Mark and Connie Sitler
Hole-in-One: Blaise Alexander Family Dealerships and Fairfield Auto Group.
Golf Ball Drop: Allison Crane & Rigging