Keith A. Reynolds
The Elyria Country Club rang with the roar of the golden bear on Aug. 17. Golf legend, Jack Nicklaus returned to northeast Ohio to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event that bears his name and helps the students of Lorain County Community College.
The Jack Nicklaus Scholarship Golf Benefit has been the cornerstone of the LCCC Foundation’s yearly fundraising activities since its inception in 1990. Nicklaus’ first year participating in the event that bears his name netted the foundation $100,000 establishing the Jack Nicklaus Endowment Fund which has helped hundreds of students over these 25 years.
The history of this fundraiser lies in the friendship between Nicklaus and former member of the board of trustees Judge Joseph Cirigliano. “We’ve been friends for a long time and he started something that’s been very dear to his heart, and so I embraced it to start with, with no reason not to continue to embrace it and bring something that has been great for a long time,” Nicklaus explained.
“Joe came to me 25 years ago and asked me if I would come up and do something for the students and the kids and asked me if I would help him get started and I did,” Nicklaus recalled. “After that I didn’t expect it to be 25 years later and we would continue it, but he came back to me last year and said, ‘We would like to do something special for our 25th and would you come back?’ And so, here we are.”
Dr. Roy Church was animated in his description of the support the foundation has been able to give students over the years.“A lot of the students that have benefitted from the scholarship fund. The foundation has done just an extraordinary job of putting together resources that have helped seven out of every 10 students at Lorain County Community College with some financial support to pursue their education. And so we’ve been very, very pleased with that,” he explained between golfing anecdotes from Nicklaus. “They [the LCCC Foundation] have an endowment of over a million dollars that will be there in perpetuity and plus it’s given out hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarship support over that 25 year period. So, [it’s been] extremely beneficial.”
Over the years, a number of other golf legends have also participated in the event including Phil Mickelson, Jan Stephenson, and Greg Norman. This year it was all about Nicklaus.
“I don’t know how much you really learn in the books in college, but I know that you learn about life, you learn how to get along with people, how to use the mechanics that you’re taught,” Nicklaus explained. “Most people come out with a background for what they do in life. How many lawyers really practice law? But they have a law background. That’s what I think I like.”