LPGA Foundation Announces 2022 Scholarship Recipients for Marilynn Smith, Phyllis G. Meekins and Dinah Shore Scholarships
Scholarships awarded to 11 outstanding high school graduates
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., April 12, 2022 – The LPGA Foundation today announced the eight high school graduates selected to receive the 2022 Marilynn Smith Scholarship, along with the two graduates awarded the Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship and one the Dinah Scholarship Shore. Scholarship. These 11 students went above and beyond in their academic excellence and leadership skills and were active in their communities, while fulfilling the specific requirements for each scholarship.
The Marilynn Smith Scholarship, named in honor of one of the 13 founders of the LPGA, is awarded to high school students who plan to play golf at an accredited college or university in the United States. Each of the 2022 winners will receive a $5,000 scholarship. Since Marilynn Smith established her eponymous scholarship program in 1999, the LPGA Foundation has awarded more than $1 million to scholars.
The Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship, established in 2006, celebrates the achievements of a high school student who identifies as a minority person whose dream is to pursue a full-time education while playing golf at an accredited college or university in the United States. The two recipients of this award will each receive a $5,000 scholarship.
The Dinah Shore Scholarship was established in 1994, the year Dinah Shore, Hollywood personality and original Chevron Championship host, was inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame as an honorary member. The scholarship is awarded to a high school student who plans to go to college but not play golf at the college level. The recipient of this award will also receive a $5,000 scholarship.
Marilyn Smith Scholarship
Maria Atwood graduated from Holly Springs High School in Holly Springs, North Carolina, where she served as captain of the women’s golf team for four years, president of the LEO Club, community leader for Christian athletes, and student council representative. She is also a member of the National Honor Society, the National Science Honor Society and the JOY club. A member of the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour, Atwood is a tournament intern for US Kids Golf and a host/commentator for Fairway Films.
Atwood will golf for James Madison University in the fall while pursuing a degree in business administration with a minor in sports communication, with the goal of one day being a golf commentator on the Golf Channel.
Rileigh Leighton graduated from Williamstown High School in Williamstown, NJ, where she was team captain and MVP of the Varsity Women’s Golf Team and Tri-Country Women’s Golf Champion. Outside of golf, Leighton is a member of the varsity volleyball team, the National Honor Society, the Senate, and the Student Council. She is also CEO and founder of Rileigh’s Rainbows, a non-profit organization that has provided free school supplies to over 1,100 low-income students.
Leighton will golf for Wagner College in the fall while working on a business administration degree with a concentration in marketing as well as studying French and finance. She hopes to one day fulfill her childhood dream of building a homeless shelter.
Nina McMurtrey graduated from Glasgow High School in Glasgow, Kentucky, where she competed on the varsity golf, basketball, and swim teams and maintained a 4.0+ GPA through 11 AP classes and two doubles credits. A member of Girls Golf through the Peggy Kirk Bell Girls Golf Tour, she helped her team win regionals and was the All-A State Individual Champion. McMurtrey is also a chapter president and regional vice president of finance for the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) and a Governor’s Scholar for Entrepreneurs (GSE).
In the fall, McMurtrey will attend Center College and plans to major in finance while playing golf, with aspirations of pursuing an MBA after graduation.
Abigale Morris is a graduate of Canyon View High School in Waddell, Arizona, where she served as president of the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA), service president and vice president of the Interact Service Club, and representative of the Black Student Union Advocacy. A member of the varsity golf team for four years, she was named team captain and played in the state tournament for three consecutive years. Morris was also a member of LPGA*USGA Girls Golf – Phoenix, a National Leading Member of the GenZ Golf Council and competed in the PURE Insurance Championship.
Morris will attend Biola University in the fall, where she will major in Film and Media Arts with a concentration in Cinematography while playing golf. From there, she plans to start her own film business in pursuit of her dream of working in Hollywood.
Hannah Nimmo graduated from Wolfe City High School in Wolfe City, Texas, where she served as Beta Club president, student council member, and editor of her school’s yearbook. Throughout her four years on the varsity golf team, she was a UIL district, area, and state golf champion, as well as team MVP and co-captain. A competitive golfer since the age of 4, Nimmo would like to one day organize a local children’s golf tour in the United States.
In the fall, Nimmo will golf for Fort Hays State University and major in biology with a minor in Spanish. Her dream is to become an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine, with a secondary goal of revolutionizing treatments so injured athletes like her never have to be told they can’t play their favorite sport anymore.
Cybil Stillson graduated from NorthWood High School in Nappanee, Ind., where she was senior class president, a member of the National Honor Society’s fundraising/marketing committee, a member of her school’s varsity volleyball team, and three once captain of the varsity golf team. She received the IHSAA Mental Attitude Award, set the record for lowest score at the state tournament, and became the second player in Northern Lakes Conference history to medal. Conference Tournament Individual for all four years.
In the fall, Stillson will play Division I golf for Butler University and major in journalism with a focus on sports media. After university, she plans to play on the Epson circuit, with the dream of becoming a great champion of the LPGA circuit like Marilynn Smith.
Avery Thompson graduated from the Kinkaid School in Houston, Texas, where he was treasurer of the Business and Climate Change clubs, a member of the National Society of High School Scholars and the Thespian Honor Society, performed in several school musicals, and participated in the varsity cross-country team. She was also a five-year varsity letter winner, captain of the varsity golf team her senior year, and played at the USGA, AJGA, IMG, Notah Begay and other other competitive golf tournaments across the country.
Thompson will attend the College of William & Mary in the fall, where she will major in government with pre-law counseling while playing Division I golf. After college, she would like to pursue opportunities in Washington, D.C. before to go back to law school.
Olivia Wilkie graduated from Hilton Head Preparatory School in Hilton Head, SC where she competed on the varsity volleyball, cross country and golf teams while maintaining a 4.0+ GPA. She competed in the state championship three times and was captain of the varsity golf team in her senior year. Wilkie is also a member of the National Honor Society, a volunteer English tutor, and an administrator at Hilton Head Prep School honors her junior and senior years.
In the fall, Wilkie will attend the University of Richmond and plans to major in math while playing Division I golf. After completing her undergraduate studies, she would like to attend graduate school and eventually study actuarial science.
Phyllis G. Meekins Scholarship
Dariel Gray graduated from Charles Herbert Flowers High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, where she played on the golf team and participated in choir, robotics, Mathletes, football, ice hockey and at the butt. She has also served as treasurer of the National Honor Society and the Student Government Association. Outside of school, Gray volunteered at the Bowie Food Bank and attended NASA’s “She Can Camp.”
Gray will play golf for McDaniel College in the fall, with plans to become computer literate and work at a big company after graduation. His ultimate aspiration is to start his own business and invent his own computer software, providing access to technology through charitable donations to those in need.
Rylie Spaulding graduated from Wagoner High School in Wagoner, Okla., where she was co-captain of the varsity golf team, president of the Science Club, and a member of the varsity volleyball team, Mu Alpha Theta, and National Honor Society. She was named class valedictorian and was a semi-finalist for the Coca-Cola Scholarship.
In the fall, Spaulding will golf for Oklahoma Baptist University and major in biology with a pre-medical focus. After graduating from college, her goal is to go to medical school to eventually serve the indigenous tribes of Oklahoma, addressing increased health issues and solutions with tribal members.
Dinah Shore Scholarship
Madeleine Poole graduated from Blue Ridge High School in Greer, SC, where she was captain of the varsity golf team and junior varsity basketball team, a varsity basketball player, and president of the National Honor Society and his senior class. Dedicated to serving his community, Poole organized and held a drive that collected over 600 items to donate for displaced children. She also participated in missionary trips to Guatemala, was a childminder and coached children in basketball.
Poole will be attending Anderson University in the fall, intending to major in kinesiology toward a doctorate in physical therapy. Her ultimate goal is to help athletes like her who have already been injured and need physical therapy, in addition to those like her father, who lost his battle with ALS in 2016.