Florence, AL (PRWEB) July 12, 2012
PGA Tour golfer Stewart Cink and his wife, Lisa, have announced a $183,000 gift to the University of North Alabama athletics program. The gift is establishing the Stewart and Lisa Cink Scholarship Endowment Fund for graduates of Florence High School, adding to the university’s Chris Burns and Alex Sloan Endowment Fund and assisting in the construction of the Stewart and Lisa Cink UNA Golf Clubhouse and Teaching Center at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail at The Shoals.
“This gift is important to us because it’s a gift not only to UNA but to our hometown,” Stewart Cink said. “Through it, I am helping honor a very important mentor for me, Chris Burns, as well as recognizing Alex Sloan’s contribution to golf in the Shoals. We are proud that we’re able to do this for UNA and the Shoals community.”
Stewart and Lisa Cink are 1991 graduates of Bradshaw High School, which later merged with Coffee High School to become Florence High School. Stewart Cink spent his early years as a golfer under the mentorship of Burns, retired golf pro at the former Florence Golf and Country Club. He has golfed professionally since 1995, joined the PGA Tour in 1997 and won his first major, the 138th Open Championship, in 2009.
“It’s an honor to UNA and to the entire Shoals community to have the Cinks make this level of commitment to the quality of education, academically and athletically, that is offered here,” said Dr. William G. Cale Jr., UNA president.
Mark Linder, UNA athletics director, said he is always proud to see people reach the Cinks’ “outstanding level of success and then give back to their hometown community in ways like Stewart and Lisa are doing. They will never see the full impact of this gift, because it is going to touch the lives of students for generations to come.”
$50,000 of the Cinks’ gift is funding the new Stewart and Lisa Cink Scholarship Endowment, which will provide annual scholarship awards to students graduating from Florence High School. University endowments are investments independent of the university budget, ensuring secure funds for scholarships and programming.
The Cinks are also providing $90,000 toward the Chris Burns and Alex Sloan Endowment Fund to provide golf scholarships and assist with annual operations of the UNA golf team. Their gift will put the fund over $100,000.
“We’ve been very humbled by this,” Burns said. “Stewart and Lisa have been so generous to the young people and junior golfers of the Shoals area in so many ways over the years, and we appreciate everything they’ve done.”
Burns said the Cinks’ previous charity work in the Shoals area has included the Healing Place Charity Championship Golf Tournament at Turtle Point as well as their donation of tickets to local junior golfers to attend The Masters at Augusta.
Sloan, retired head golf coach for UNA, said “it’s unbelievable what Stewart and Lisa have done, are doing and continue to do for this area and the golf community. UNA has many excellent programs, and how much better can you get than having someone of Stewart’s success and prestige make such a notable gift to make those programs even greater?”
Sloan is also retired golf pro for Turtle Point and the Florence Golf and Country Club.
The Cinks are underwriting half the cost, or $43,000, for construction of the new Stewart and Lisa Cink UNA Golf Clubhouse and Teaching Center at RTJ. The facility will be used as a teaching center for the UNA golf team and to host Junior Golf Clinics. The clubhouse will include a locker room, coach’s office, video and conference room, and indoor and outdoor practice bays. A second phase of the facilities will include men’s and women’s locker rooms. Fundraising efforts are underway to secure support for the second phase of the facility.
“The Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail was created to offer everyone access to great golf,” said Dr. David G. Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, owner of the RTJ courses. “The Cinks’ generous donation encourages more Shoals residents to play golf and to improve their game. Stewart has been a great ambassador for golf, and we are very pleased to have the new teaching facility at our RTJ Shoals location.”