President David Johns recently announced a generous gift from Ms. Irma Smart of Axton, VA to initiate a Ferrum College Women’s Golf program. The gift provides start-up funds for the program, training, and other opportunities for student-athletes.
As a former member of the Ferrum College Board of Trustees, an avid golfer, and a member of the Chatmoss Country Club in Martinsville, VA, Smart says, “Our golfers travel to tournaments around the country and are ambassadors for the College and the sport. Golf’s unique in that it’s scored individually and as a team, so it builds a sense of personal integrity and responsibility. It’s my pleasure to be able to extend that opportunity and experience to a whole new set of student athletes. And – since golf isn’t a spectator sport, there are fewer opportunities to raise funds for the program. I’m hoping that the publicity surrounding the gift will inspire others to support Ferrum College programs – both athletic and academic.”
Ferrum College currently fields 22 NCAA Division III teams and moved from the USA South to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) in the 2018-2019 school year. The Panthers have sponsored a men’s golf team for almost 50 years into the late 1960s, and had club competition back as far as 1954.
“I’m very proud of the Ferrum College golf program,” says eighth-year head men’s golf coach Adam Crawford, who will also coach the women’s team. “We’ve built a remarkably successful program so I’m excited about adding the women’s team to continue that tradition. Ms. Smart’s donation will allow us to enhance the total experience for students and help us compete for championships. I think the timing is fantastic especially as we transition into the ODAC. I’m deeply appreciative of her willingness to make a difference in the lives of our students and I’m very optimistic about the interest I’ve already received from potential students regarding the program.”
This commitment to student athletes has allowed the College to launch seven new varsity sports in recent years – with women’s golf as the eighth. According to President Johns, “Athletics has always been an important aspect of a Ferrum College education. Being able to offer successful varsity and club programs brings motivated students to Ferrum from all over the country – and that makes for greater experiences for all students. I think I speak for all of us when I say we believe that intercollegiate athletics create meaningful opportunities to learn how to win throughout life. In partnership with academics, team sports develop lasting values of cooperation, respect, and individual excellence. Adam Crawford, and all of our coaches for that matter, are teachers and mentors who work year round to make sure our students succeed not just on the field, but in the classroom as well.”