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Stephen Vacendak Memorial Golf Tournament Features Jeff Mullins and Bucky Waters

DENVER–More than 120 golfers including sportscaster Bucky Waters and Duke basketball standout Jeff Mullins will gather for an Oct. 2 memorial tournament to honor the late Stephen Vacendak Jr.

Four-man teams representing Duke University, the Carolina Panthers, Wake Forest University, Alltel, Clemson University and other education, civic and business organizations will help raise $20,000 for the Stephen Vacendak Jr. Memorial Fellowship in Geography at Appalachian State University.

Vacendak, a graduate student in the Department of Geography and Planning, died Oct. 8, 1999 after a biking accident in Boone. Family and friends have created a memorial to his life which friend Carter Ramsay described as “enthusiastic, positive and genuine.”

Ramsay and other members of Vacendak’s fraternity are providing volunteer labor for the tournament and raising money by selling program ads. Vacendak’s fellow geography graduate students also will serve as tournament volunteers.

“Stephen touched so many lives that we all feel a responsibility to do something in his memory,” Ramsay said. “He had a zest for living and loved being with people and in the great outdoors.”

The 25-year-old Vacendak was an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed skiing, kayaking, biking and backpacking. He was known for his willingness to be the first over a whitewater rapid or waterfall.

Vacendak posted a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote in his cubicle in the geography department office that read: “It is not the length of life, but the depth of life.”

The fellowship will support other graduate students in Appalachian’s Department of Geography and Planning.

Friends and family created the fellowship with gifts to the Appalachian State University Foundation.

A gift from Vacendak’s father, former Duke basketball player Steve Vacendak of Rock Hill, S.C., to the Appalachian State University foundation created a second fellowship. The foundation provides private support for student scholarships and academic programs that enhance the university’s learning environment.

“We aim to increase the fellowship through this annual tournament,” Vacendak Sr. said. “That will enable us to encourage and support young scholars who have the same love of geography that Stephen did.”

Held at Verdict Ridge Golf & Country Club, the tournament begins with registration at 10 a.m. and a shotgun start at 11 a.m. The cost to participate in the four-man captain’s choice tournament is $500 per team. The course is located at 7332 Kidville Road in Denver.

Other ways to contribute include $100 hole sponsorships and program ads ranging from $50 to $500. Donations also can be mailed to Stephen’s Fund, P.O. Box 2792, Rock Hill, S.C. 29732. For more information call (704) 489-1206.

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