The Colorado School of Mines Houston Endowed Scholarship Golf Tournament that teed off on April 4, 2014, was the 14th edition of an event that by the end of the year will have created an endowment of nearly $500,000 that has already generated 23 scholarships totaling $76,000. In 2013, almost $50,000 was added to the endowment.
“Not bad for a chance meeting at the baseball park,” says George Puls ’75, the tournament’s lead organizer since its inception.
Puls was attending an alumni association-sponsored gathering at a Houston Astros – Colorado Rockies game when he turned to find his classmate and fellow Mines football player Dean Stoughton ’75, MS ’78, they hadn’t met since leaving school.
After the baseball game, Stoughton suggested they catch up over a round of golf, where they talked about organizing a golf tournament that would raise funds for student scholarships. Puls, who steps down this year as lead organizer, says, “We just wanted a golf tournament that would give something back, and it has developed into so much more.” The tournament is now the largest annual Mines alumni gathering in the Houston area.
In 2013, they signed up 136 golfers, almost twice as many as were recruited for their first tournament in 2001. Numerous corporate and individual sponsors have helped support fundraising, encouraged by a strong team of volunteers. During the critical early years, Stoughton, Puls and Kim Harden ’74 had a great deal of help from their wives, Lindsay Stoughton, Barbara Puls and Pat Harden, as well as Vivek Chandra ’88, Bill McElduff ’82, Gene Roberts ’98, N. Kathleen Roldan ’88, Chuck Russell ’54, and Julie White ’93.
Since then, the event has steadily grown. Fundraising activities have expanded to include a silent auction and a collaboration with Diamonds in the Rough, which involves the sale of collector sports memorabilia. This year, committee member Duane Maue ’90 worked with a designer to create the tournament’s first logo, and they hope that 2015 will see more firsts.
What hasn’t changed is the original goal: providing athletic and academic scholarships for deserving students. Speaking by phone from a Devon Energy oil rig, former recipient and varsity football player R. Henry Kaetzer ’12 says, “It was truly an honor to receive the scholarship. Participating in varsity sports while attending a university like Mines can be stressful at times, but knowing there are people who want you to succeed gave me extra motivation to perform well in both academics and athletics. I could not be more appreciative.”