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A Day on the Links to Make a Difference

NC State staff help produce a golf tournament designed to raise funds for staff scholarships.

NC State staff pose in front of a red tent at a golf tournament
NC State staff members (left to right) Robb Wade, Scott Clagg, Gabriella Sinkovic, Jason Painter, Janice Sitzes, Nick Dillman and Susan Colby pose for a photo in front of the Staff Senate tent at the UNC Staff Assembly Chancellors’ Cup Golf Tournament.

Although the day started as early as 3:30 a.m. for a number of NC State staff, they turned out in full force to make the UNC Staff Assembly Chancellors’ Cup Golf Tournament a success.

And they earned some bragging rights in the process.

The NC State chancellor’s team won third place in the tournament, and the university’s Staff Senate won the “most spirited” contest for their tent at the sixth hole.

Held at the Tobacco Road Golf Course in Sanford, the annual tournament raises money for the Janet B. Royster Memorial Staff Scholarship Fund, which honors the UNC Staff Assembly’s first parliamentarian who died in 2011.

“Although a tournament, and therefore a competition, the day was characterized by excitement, fun and camaraderie,” says Janice Sitzes, associate director of marketing services for the McKimmon Center for Extension and Continuing Education, who helped coordinate the event. “We’re from 17 different campuses, but we are one extended family. And we all came together as one to help raise money for staff scholarships.”

A group of NC State Staff Senate volunteers posing for a photo on a golf course
The day was long, but fulfilling for NC State Staff Senate volunteers (back row, left to right) Ashley Dyer, Pat Gaddy, Helen DiPietro, Mindi James, Jason Painter and (front row, left to right) Janice Sitzes, Ebony Peterson, Donise Benton, Tracy Brown, Jill Phipps, Cathi Dunnagan and Susan Colby.

NC State served as a co-host of the tournament with Fayetteville State University. Now in its eighth year, the tournament was the brainchild of NC State’s Susan Colby, director of the North Carolina 4-H Development Fund, who has served as chair of the NC State Staff Senate and chair of the UNC Staff Assembly.

The tournament has raised more than $125,000 since its creation, Colby says. Staff members from every institution and the UNC System affiliate groups have received funds for professional development opportunities. Some are pursuing undergraduate and graduate degrees. Others seek funds to become certified in areas directly related to their work duties or to attend a professional development conference.

“This scholarship is all about helping UNC System staff members do their jobs better,” Colby says. “It also shines a light on the everyday efforts of more than 30,000 people who keep the UNC System moving forward in important, yet different, ways than our faculty colleagues.

“Coordinating and supporting the Chancellors’ Cup Golf Tournament may sound like a day to get out of the office and have fun outdoors, but producing a statewide fundraising event with team members working together from Cullowhee to Elizabeth City is pretty intense,” Colby says.

Sitzes says that one of her favorite moments of the day was when members of Royster’s family stopped by the NC State tent to visit with the staff.

But her biggest takeaway was an overwhelming feeling of pride.

“Our NC State staffers showed up en force,” she says. “They gave their time and energy willingly, worked hard and were always cheerful and helpful. Seeing everyone sitting on the back porch at the conclusion of the golf tournament waiting for the results — after a very long day — made my heart swell.”