GCSAA selects Olayemi Ojeokun as Larry Powell Scholarship winner

By |  October 31, 2023 0 Comments

The Golf Course Superintendents Association of America (GCSAA) named Olayemi Ojeokun, a graduate student at Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan., the winner of the Larry Powell Scholarship.

Olayemi Ojeokun (Photo: GCSAA)

Olayemi Ojeokun (Photo: GCSAA)

Established in 2022, the Larry Powell Scholarship honors Larry Powell, a 49-year GCSAA member and golf course superintendent at Clearview Golf Course in Canton, Ohio. The scholarship focuses on individuals from underserved populations who are GCSAA members or interested in becoming a member. Scholarship preference is given to needs-based applicants with consideration for leadership skills and community engagement.

Powell’s father, Bill Powell, was an entrepreneur and pioneering golf course owner who opened Clearview Golf Club in Canton in 1948.

The integrated course was the first and only course to be designed, constructed and owned by an African American. Bill was a member of GCSAA for 37 years prior to his death in 2009. Bill and Larry were the first African-American father-son members in GCSAA history.

“I am so excited to be the recipient of the Larry Powell Scholarship,” Ojeokun said. “It holds immense significance to me as it signifies the belief and investment in my potential as an African and as a woman in turf. I hope someday there will be more black women in the turf and golf industry.”

Ojeokun received her bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Osun State University in Osun, Nigeria, in June 2021, and she is a graduate student on track to receive her master’s degree in horticulture science from Kansas State in December 2024. In her home country of Nigeria, she served as a member of the National Youth Service Corps while also holding positions of welfare officer, student laboratory assistant and graduate research assistant at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria.

From September to December 2022, Ojeokun was a golf course intern at IITA. From May 2021 to January 2023, she completed an internship as coordinator at The Waste Museum in Moniya, Nigeria, while also becoming a founding board member of the Pan African Research Group (PARG). Ojeokun is still involved in PARG, in the Food and Agricultural Technology Unit, as a scientific researcher, deputy head of the department and the lead publicist.

Outside of her coursework and PARG involvement, Ojeokun gives back to the community through volunteering and is involved in a variety of extracurricular activities at Kansas State. All of these experiences have ignited her passion to strive for knowledge and understanding to create positive change in the golf course management industry and the world.

Travis Campbell, a Rutgers University turfgrass student, was the first recipient of the award in 2022. Earlier this year, the GCSAA announced the scholarship endowment had reached $50,000.

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