West/Zaharias scholarship established
The Babe Didrikson Zaharias Foundation has established the endowed Bob West/Babe Didrikson Zaharias Scholarship for a female student-athlete at Lamar University. The endowment marks the sixth athletics scholarship established by the foundation over a 20-year period. The scholarship honors long-time Port Arthur News sports editor Bob West for his work through the years in promoting and supporting the annual golf tournament hosted by the Zaharias foundation. The golf tournament is a major fundraiser for establishing the scholarships.
“Since its inception, the foundation has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to Lamar University,” said W.L. Pate, Beaumont city councilman and president of the foundation. “Bob West has been involved with the tournament since its inception and has played a key role in helping the foundation generate funds that allow the establishment of these scholarships.”
This West/Zaharias scholarship was established as a result of a $50,000 gift and like the other endowed scholarships established by the foundation jointly bears the name of the honoree as well as Babe Didrikson Zaharias. Past scholarships honored the original executive board members of the Zaharias foundation; John Gray, Ben and Julie Rogers, Thad and Margaret Johnson, Milton and Hester Bell, and W.L. Pate Sr. The foundation also supports the LU College of Education and Human Development, the Department of Fine Arts and the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences.
Raised in Beaumont, Babe Didrikson Zaharias gained world fame in track and field andAll-American status in basketball. She played organized baseball and softball and was an expert diver, roller-skater and bowler. She won two gold medals and one silver medal for track and field in the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics. By 1935, she began to playgolf, a latecomer to the sport by which she would become the most famous. Babe went on to become America’s first female golf celebrity and the leading player of the 1940s and early 1950s.
Her phenomenal success on the golf course included winning 17 tournaments in a row earning the distinction of being the first American to win the British Amateur tournament as well as winning the 1954 U.S. Open by a 12-shot margin. The Babe Didrikson Zaharias Museum is located in Beaumont at 1750 IH 10 East.