VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation adds Mike Wise Award to scholarship offerings
The VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation, in partnership with the Virginia State Golf Association and the
First Tee – Roanoke Valley, has announced the creation of the Mike Wise Award, which will benefit a
deserving high school senior with ties to our First Tee chapter. The inaugural scholarship will be
awarded in 2023.
The award is named for Mike Wise, who spent 20 years as the Chief Financial Officer at Delta Dental of
Virginia and was a longtime member of the VSGA Board of Directors. Wise died in December 2022 at the
age of 72. Wise had a significant philosophical impact on golf in the Roanoke Valley. He was founder of
the Delta Dental Pro-Am for Kids and served on the boards of numerous non-profit entities in the
Roanoke Valley, including First Tee – Roanoke Valley.
“Mike Wise’s impact on First Tee – Roanoke Valley was tremendous,” said Jennifer Blackwood, Executive
Director of First Tee – Roanoke Valley. “We will always be grateful for Mike’s guidance and dedication to
golf, children and improving our community. We are honored that the Mike Wise Award will benefit a
First Tee – Roanoke Valley participant and know this scholarship will be important to their continued
The Mike Wise Award is the sixth named VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation Award, honoring
contributors to golf in Virginia, including the Spencer-Wilkinson Awards, the C. Dan Keffer Award, the
David A. King Award, the Red Speigle Award and the Richard Smith Award.
The VSGA-VIP Scholarship is a 501(c)(3) organization founded in 1984 that has awarded $2.7 million to
more than 1,000 students with an interest in golf.
“The VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation is grateful to be in a position to join with the First Tee – Roanoke
Valley and the Wise family in honoring a man who has meant so much to his golf community as well as
to the VSGA,” said Joan Gardner, President of the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation Board of Directors.
“The scholarship application process currently is underway, with awards to be granted this spring to
high school seniors throughout the state. We hope the establishment of this named award will bring
special meaning and encouragement to students in the Roanoke Valley with an interest in golf to pursue
their academic dreams as well.”
Added VSGA Executive Director Matt Smiley: “Mike Wise gave significantly to golf across Virginia
through his service to and support of the VSGA and in the Roanoke Valley through his volunteer efforts
and generosity to several important missions, including The First Tee – Roanoke Valley. We feel this
scholarship continues the work that Mike did during his life by helping put young people in a position to
succeed. We are excited to partner with the First Tee – Roanoke Valley on this scholarship and know that
the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation will put it to good use.”
Initial funding for the scholarship will come from First Tee – Roanoke Valley and the VSGA with the goal
of having the fund endowed by 2027. Donors interested in supporting the fund can donate online at
donate.vsga.org or mail a check to the VSGA-VIP Scholarship Foundation. More information on the
Scholarship Foundation can be found at vsga.org.
Mike Wise Award Recipients
2023 Caroline Gilreath