The First Tee of Greater Akron (TFTGA) hosted its third annual “Executive Dinner” and Silent Auction with nearly 400 community members in attendance. Generously sponsored by organizations such as GPD Group, FirstEnergy Foundation, Cardinal Group, Thomarios and Northern Ohio Golf Charities among others, the dinner was held on Thursday, March 23 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn.
One spotlight of this event was the announcement of the Ray Kapper—The First Tee of Greater Akron Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship was established by friends, family and the board of TFTGA to honor Kapper. He has personally recruited many of the board members who, together, have contributed to the organization’s success. The scholarship recognizes Kapper’s integral role in TFTGA by helping students fund their education at The University of Akron and advancing the First Tee education based mission.
The dinner featured prominent guest speaker Jim Tressel, former coach at The Ohio State University (2001-2011) and current President at Youngstown State University. Under Tressel’s leadership, enrollment increased for the first time in five years and the University attracted its most academically accomplished freshman class. A Northeast Ohio native, Tressel graduated from Berea High School in 1971 and Baldwin-Wallace College in 1975. He received his master’s degree in education from the University of Akron in 1977 and holds honorary degrees from YSU and Baldwin-Wallace.
In his speech, Tressel stressed the importance of selflessness.
“If we want to become the best we can be in a difficult situation, we’re going to have to work extremely and intentionally to be selfless,” Tressel said.
The event was also a chance to honor TFTGA award winners from 2016. TFTGA gave out awards named for three of its sponsors to kids who exemplified the core values of confidence, integrity and sportsmanship. The Bridgestone Invitational “Confidence” Award went to Ellie Gonzalez-Ribble, the FirstEnergy Foundation “Integrity” Award to Madilyne Wicks and GPD Group “Sportsmanship” Award to Lucas Bauer.
This was the first year a silent auction was a part of the “Executive Dinner.” The silent auction prizes included golf lessons and games of golf, memorabilia autographed by Jim Tressel and TFTGA Executive Director Frank Stams, a set of Cobra irons and many more.
An unprecedented $92,105 was raised to fund TFTGA scholarships and programming, and $75,000 was raised for the Ray Kapper scholarship fund.