Missouri State, golfing and the Alumni Association brought Joe Schiermann and Justin Ellis together. These three things led them to create the Annual MarooNation St. Louis Golf Tournament.
“We met through the board of directors and our meetings, and we’re both in St. Louis. We started getting our families together for bar-b-ques and playing golf. Now, we do business together. And we’re just trying to figure out a way the two of us can leverage our position and give back to the university,” Schiermann said.
He says the choice to raise money for student scholarships through a golf tournament was a no-brainer for him and Ellis.
“I come from a working class family that couldn’t afford to send me to college, so I took on a lot of student loans. I think it’s important to reward students in the St. Louis region who can academically make it to college, but may not financially have that sort of background.”
For Ellis it began when he started helping raise funds for his fraternity’s scholarship, Phi Mu Alpha. He helped organize pancake breakfasts and other activities to help the scholarship.
“It just seems like a natural fit, for lack of a better term. It keeps the money at home and also helps send people to a place that we are proud of,” Ellis said.
Building an annual tournament
The MarooNation golf tournament hit its second year in September of 2017. Ellis and Schiermann are proud of the strides they’ve made since starting the project.
Compared to the first year, they were able to double the amount of participants to 90, and the amount of money raised for students to $12,200. Ellis says that had a lot to do with the increase in volunteers and fellow board member, Bob Nelson.
“When it comes to running an event there’s no one else like him, he’s a master. He knows how to get things moving and he always has a smile on his face,” said Ellis.
The company Nelson works for, TD Ameritrade, formerly Scottrade, recruited 25 volunteers to help support the tournament.
Ellis and Schiermann also made it a point to connect fellow Bear golfers and business owners at the tournament.
“I feel like this year we focused more on Bear alumni, and specifically Bear business owners here in St. Louis,” Schiermann said.
Ellis says he really wants to get more people in the St. Louis area excited about Missouri State.
“The university has this mission and we are trying to accomplish things in the eyes of that mission through whatever we do, other than just kind of getting together and rallying around some memories and talking about the times we had.”
Schiermann says it’s hard when you live in Tiger country, “everything is Tigers, Tigers, Tigers, Mizzou, SLU and there’s not a lot of Bear awareness that you see out there.”
But, they’re ready to take on the challenge and make the 2018 tournament even bigger. Ellis says they want to involve more fraternity and sorority alumni chapters.
“I want it to be up there with homecoming and other events. This is a marquee thing that you can’t miss because it’s a great opportunity to hang out with fellow alumni, and network professionally.”
Looking to the future
What’s next for Ellis and Schiermann? They want to keep growing the tournament in St. Louis, but they also want to share it with fellow alumni around the country.
“If you’re a golfer and this is a sport you enjoy, why not do it with fellow alumni?” Ellis said.
Ellis and Schiermann say thanks to people like Debbie Branson and Lori Fan and the Alumni Association this type of event can happen.
Want to help out in the St. Louis region? You can contact Joe Schiermann by email at email@example.com and Justin Ellis at firstname.lastname@example.org or through the Alumni Association, or by phone: 417-836-5654.