PRAIRIE VIEW, Texas – Prairie View A&M University has announced a $40,000 donation from Sacramento’s Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron Corporation to establish two scholarship funds for student-athletes on its Men’s and Women’s Golf Teams.
The donation to the Historic Black College and University follows the historic conclusion of the pandemic-delayed 2020 Masters Tournament, where Augusta National honored Lee Elder, the first African American to compete in the tournament.
“When Lee Elder walked on the Augusta grounds it sent a message: ‘We belong,’” Champ said.
CHAMP INSPIRED BY THE PAST
Inspired by Elder and Augusta National’s actions, the scholarship fund, established by the Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron, will be named in memory of Cameron Champ’s grandfather, Mack “Pops” Champ. Mack Champ, an African American, taught Cameron Champ how to play golf and, like Elder, inspired his grandson and other minority golfers to pursue competitive golf.
“My grandfather had such an incredible influence on my life and always inspired me in many ways,” Cameron Champ said. “I’m so grateful for Pops introducing me to the game of golf, but also for teaching me that there’s so much more to life than golf. He always stressed the importance of giving back and paying it forward.
Last week, Augusta National Golf Club Chairman Fred Ridley addressed how access and opportunities are still barriers to the game, and he hit the nail on the head when he said that the time to do more is now.
That really sparked this idea, and I thought, what better way to honor PaPa Champ than to take up the challenge to do more, right now,” Champ said.
MACK CHAMP LEGACY LIVES ON
The Cameron Foundation’s investment in PVAMU is a part of the foundation’s work to improve education and access to golf in underserved and underrepresented communities.
“We are incredibly grateful to partner with the Cameron Champ Foundation and Chevron to honor Cameron’s grandfather and help other young golfers who follow in their footsteps to realize their dreams,” stated PVAMU President Ruth J. Simmons. “With our Men’s Golf winning back-to-back Southwestern Athletic Conference Championships, our golf program is among the best in the nation. This scholarship will be instrumental to our student-athletes as they achieve excellence in their education and sport.”
“Mack Champ was born in Columbus, Texas, in a segregated neighborhood with limited resources. His determination to fight against systemic racism and discrimination fuels our work,” stated Cameron Champ Foundation Board Chair, Glenn Weckerlin.
“We recognize that the pandemic has disproportionately impacted communities of color and has placed a heavy burden on the university and its already stretched funding. We are thankful that we can collaborate with such a historic institution to provide deserving student-athletes from diverse backgrounds opportunities that they might not otherwise have. We are delighted to contribute to student dreams and hope our actions will inspire others to follow suit—the time is now.”
Champ was chosen third-team All-American and first-team All-Southeastern Conference for Texas A&M in 2017.
He helped Texas A&M University finish second in the 2017 SEC Championship. Champ, a product of The First Tee program in Sacramento, tied for fifth individually at SECs.
Champ was among 10 players named to the 2017 United States Walker Cup Team, which competed against Great Britain and Ireland in the 46th Match at The Los Angeles (Calif.) Country Club’s North Course.
At the age of 22, Cameron Champ could not go back to the college environment. He turned professional to cash in on his rise to fame.
Texas Prairie View A&M contributed to this report.