Larry Witte has just about enough hats to cover every day of the month tucked away in his closet.
These baseball-style caps are not about fashion for this professor of mechanical engineering. Each represent a year he’s organized the University of Houston Cullen College of Engineering’s annual golf tournament.
This spring Witte will add what may be the most important cap yet to his collection. Designed especially to mark the milestone anniversary of the tournament he founded, the cap symbolizes 20 years of work by Witte and other volunteers to raise money for college programs and scholarships.
“This tournament not only provides a great opportunity for alumni to get together, but it benefits a good cause,” said Witte. “We have done well so far raising $10,000 a year or more with the golf tournament. We hope to do even better for our 20th anniversary.”
On April 6, golfers from area businesses will tee off with college alumni, faculty, staff and students at Houston’s Hearthstone Country Club.
The annual event will start with a light lunch at 11 a.m. followed by a shotgun start at 12:30 p.m. Dinner, door prizes and awards for golfers with the longest drive and closest shot to the hole will follow the tournament at 5:30 p.m. And all golfers will have a chance to win a brand new Harley Davidson motorcycle if they are able to make a hole-in-one on the course.
For many who play in the tournament, the day is about more than winning a prize or getting the best score. The camaraderie and benefit it brings to the college is what has made Charles Beyer (1972 BSCE, 1977 MSCE) devote the first Monday in April to the event for the last two decades.
“I’ve participated in the tournament since day one,” said Beyer, president of Houston-based Beyer Construction. “For me it’s not only a business tool for entertainment, where I invite other alumni to play with me, it’s almost like a class reunion. Anyone who comes out will see the great camaraderie among all the disciplines at the tournament. It’s just a fun time.”
The tournament’s growing attendance reinforces Beyer’s opinion is shared by many others. Since it’s first year, attendance has grown nearly 50 percent—with roughly 35 teams of four showing up to play the game in 2008.
This year, the teams will play for a chance to have their names engraved on the Dean's Trophy that is displayed in the college. In addition, the winning team will receive plaques and a $1,000, to be given their department of choice for support of programs and scholarships.