Jim Moore leaves ‘giant’ mark on Western Golf Association

Longtime Western Golf Association educational director Jim Moore (left) greets a prospective Evans Scholar at a selection meeting. | Western Golf Association
Longtime Western Golf Association educational director Jim Moore (left) greets a prospective Evans Scholar at a selection meeting. | Western Golf Association

It seems like just about every caddie who has earned a Chick Evans Scholarship has a Jim Moore story.

Zoe Sundstrom’s story begins the first time she met Moore, who devoted his professional career to the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholar Foundation, which awards full tuition and housing scholarships to golf caddies. Moore was the one who greeted her when she arrived for her first interview with the WGA.

Sundstrom, a Glenview resident, went into the interview believing it was the key to her future.

“I was so nervous but his handshake, smile and welcoming, warm personality put me completely at ease,” said Sundstrom, who earned a scholarship to Northwestern and remains an active Evans Scholar alumnus. “It was the beginning of a lifelong relationship.”

Moore, a Green Oaks resident and 47-year staff member of the WGA, died Aug. 13 at the age of 73. He worked in numerous capacities during his career with the WGA, including serving as educational director and senior vice president of foundation advancement.

Moore loved being the first contact at the WGA with prospective Evans Scholars.

“Without question, the greatest reward is [that] I have been the first person from the WGA to talk to these young people in a one-on-one interview about the scholarship,” Moore was once quoted as saying in an Evans Scholars publication. “When I see them as frightened, nervous youngsters coming in for that preliminary interview and then, years later, to know them as successful men and women in their careers, there’s a great deal of satisfaction in seeing that transformation and hopefully to being a part of it, to have assisted in a small way.”

Jeff Harrison, senior vice president for education, said Moore’s contributions could never be characterized as small.

“Jim was a giant in the Evans Scholarship program,” he said. “Jim had a very special way about him; he was kind and truly cared about people. He hired me 25 years ago and was a wonderful mentor. He was like a second father to me.”

Moore is credited with helping lead the nonprofit’s growth from 600 active scholars and 1,000 alumni to 870 active scholars and 9,990 alumni. The program also expanded to 14 college campuses across the country where recipients live together in a scholarship house.

Some of Moore’s additional accomplishments with the Evans Scholars Foundation include: an increase in academic standards and diversity; requiring all chapters to have an annual philanthropy or community service project; introduction of co-ed living; re-introduction of resident advisors to emphasize chapter living.

In 2008, the Evans Scholars Alumni Association established the James E. Moore Scholarship to honor his service to the WGA. Andy Verchota, then an Evans Scholar at Marquette, had the opportunity to introduce the scholarship and Moore in a short speech.

“It was interesting how he [connected] so well with everyone [regardless] of age,” Verchota said. “He smiled all the time and had such a positive personality. He impacted people in so many different ways. Across every facet of his life he touched people and helped improve their lives.”

Moore’s legacy also lives on through the James E. Moore Scholarship Trophy, which is annually awarded to the Evans Scholarship chapter with the highest cumulative GPA.

Moore’s funeral is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday at The United Methodist Church of Libertyville. The WGA will have a celebration of life memorial at a later date.

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