Livingstone backers plan golf tournament
By Laurie D. Willis
Livingstone CollegeNews Service
From its inception, Livingstone College has always been steeped in faith.
Thereís simply no other explanation ó other than Godís grace ó for how a group of African Methodist Episcopal Zion ministers, with limited means at best, was able to found Zion Wesley Institute in Concord in 1879.
A few years later those same ministers, on another leap of faith and by invitation, relocated the institution to Salisbury.
Today, Livingstone College, as Zion Wesley Institute was later renamed, is among the countryís historically black colleges and universities. Established primarily on gifts from those who lacked an abundance of money but strongly supported its mission, Livingstone College is a major contributor to The City of Salisbury.
And so with the same faith demonstrated by those ministers, Livingstone College President Dr. Jimmy R. Jenkins Sr. decided five years ago to establish a Faith-Based Celebrity Golf Tournament as a way to raise scholarship money for the school.
Jenkins, an avid golfer, enlisted the help of his friend, the Rev. Clifton Davis, who played a minister on the hit sitcom ěAmenî with Sherman Hemsley and Anna Maria Horsford. Davis is expected to play in this yearís tournament.
Jenkins chose golf, in part, because of the intellect and patience required to master the game. Tiger Woods, though he has slipped from the sportís number one rank, is still widely considered the best golfer on the planet ń and even he didnít get good overnight. In fact, itís well documented that his dad introduced him to the game when he was but a toddler.
And so it is with Livingstone. Jenkins, his senior staff, the schoolís faculty and staff continue working patiently and diligently to make the school better and a place where students receive a holistic education that adequately equips them to take their rightful place in todayís global society.
ěWe sponsor this golf tournament every year primarily to raise scholarship money for our students,î Jenkins said. ěBut the tournament represents much more than that. It affords people a chance to come together in fellowship, while supporting a historically black college with a rich tradition and enjoying one of this countryís most popular sports at the same time. And this yearís event is historic.î
Golf legend Charlie Sifford of Charlotte, the first black man to play on the Professional Golf Association (PGA) Tour, will give the keynote address at the tournament banquet on Thursday. Then on Friday, Sifford, who turned 89 earlier this month, will be on hand at The County Club of Salisbury to mingle and sign copies of his book: ěJust Let Me Play: The Story of Charlie Sifford, the first black PGA Golfer.î
ěWe are blessed, honored and privileged to have Dr. Sifford participate in our tournament this year,î Jenkins said. ěItís not every day people get a chance to interact with a legend, but this year at Livingstone Collegeís golf tournament, they can do just that.î
The banquet is being held at 7 p.m. in Livingstoneís Events & Hospitality Center. Tickets are $50. The golf tournament, which features a silent auction, begins at 8:30 a.m. with a shotgun start. Cost is $125 per person or $500 for a team of four.
Golf has increased in popularity over the years, especially among African-Americans.
The timing of this yearís tournament is pretty neat because it follows the U.S. Open and a weekend when President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, House Speaker John Boehner and Ohio Governor John Kasich, played a round of golf at the Andrews Air Force Base course.
Jenkins hopes to have the largest turnout yet for this yearís tournament.
ěGolf, while it can be frustrating and challenging, is also very relaxing,î Jenkins said. ěSo it is my sincere wish that people support our tournament, especially those who havenít participated in it before.î