Golf pioneers to be honored in a different kind of medal play
PRINCESS ANNE, MD. – (Dec. 6, 2013) – Two athletes considered pioneers in their sport and a man who recently announced his intentions to pay tribute to the duo will be formally honored Dec. 13 by the University of Maryland Eastern Shore.
Calvin Peete and James Black, among the first African-Americans to integrate professional golf, will receive presidential medallions during the university’s winter commencement where four students are scheduled to receive bachelor’s degrees in professional golf management.
Joining Black and Peete as honorees will be philanthropist Carnelious Jones, who pledged to underwrite full scholarships for four African-Americans studying golf management at UMES. Jones requested two of the scholarships, each worth $125,000 over four years, be named after Peete and Black.
All three are expected to attend graduation exercises at the William P. Hytche Athletic Center, where UMES projects 335 degrees will be awarded that day.
“Mr. Black and Mr. Peete are the kind of historic role models and professionals that will inspire our students as they go on to their respective careers after graduation,” UMES President Juliette B. Bell said. “Mr. Jones’ generosity is another quality we hope they will someday emulate.”
UMES awards presidential medallions to individuals the institution believes exemplify the values it has espoused since its founding in 1886.
Black, who lives in Charlotte, N.C., has become a frequent campus visitor since the university began offering a degree in golf management in 2008. He is a popular guest speaker at social functions and in classrooms, where he offers encouragement and talks candidly about challenges he overcame to play golf professionally when the sport was mostly segregated.
In 1964, Black’s golf skills captured the sports world’s attention when he became the first African-American to qualify for the U.S. Open, America’s national golfing championship.
Peete burst onto the professional golf scene a decade later. He won 14 tournaments over a 26-year career, including 12 on the PGA tour. His signature win came in 1985 at The Players Championship at Sawgrass, the renowned “stadium course” near Jacksonville, Fla.
He received the 1984 Vardon Trophy, the PGA of America’s award for lowest scoring average. His consistency put him in the top 10 of the Official World Golf Ranking when it debuted in 1986. Peete was the second African-American to play on the U.S. Ryder Cup team when he earned his way on to the squad in 1983 and again in 1985.
Jones, a Tennessee native, served in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War and went on to build a petroleum wholesaling business in Baltimore with international clients. He recently invested in a sporting goods and apparel company.
Earlier this year, Jones was named a national trustee of First Tee, an organization that promotes youth golf programs. He said he sees supporting scholarships at UMES as a continuation of First Tee’s work, especially among minorities who do not routinely engage in the sport.
Bill Robinson, director, public relations, (410) 621-2355