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Dennis & Pat Van der Meer Higher Education Scholarships Established

I received the following press release from USTA Southern this morning and wanted to share with y’all ASAP:

The Southern Tennis Foundation (STF) and the Professional Tennis Registry Foundation (PTRF) announced the establishment of the Dennis & Pat Van der Meer Higher Education Scholarships.

The PTRF will be funding four Dennis & Pat Van der Meer Higher Education Scholarships that will be awarded by the STF in 2021. The PTRF will fund an additional scholarship in 2022 and one scholarship in each year thereafter. Following are the details of the scholarships:

  • $16,000 donated by June 30, 2021 to fund four four-year scholarships.
  • $4,000 donated by June 30, 2022 and by the same date in each succeeding year through 2025 to fund a four-year scholarship for one incoming freshman per year. The PTRF has reserved the option of donating $4,000 per year in 2026 and thereafter to continue funding one four-year scholarship for an incoming freshman per year.

The STF, the charitable arm of USTA Southern, awards ten $1,000 scholarships for incoming college freshmen. These scholarships are renewable for three additional years if the recipients do well in college. The foundation also offers financial assistance to worthy individuals and organizations that work to fulfill the mission to promote and develop the growth of tennis.

Dennis Van der Meer is currently nominated in the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Contributor Category. The hall described him as a “legendary coach and ‘teacher of teachers,’ who recognized the need and developed a universal manner of teaching tennis in order to grow the sport.” He founded the PTR, a world-wide organization of tennis professionals, in 1976. Dennis was inducted into the Southern Tennis Hall of Fame in 1998, the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1987, the PTR Hall of Fame in 2013 and the USPTA Hall of Fame in 2015. He received the Tennis Educational Merit Award from the International Hall of Fame in 1969. He also received an honorary doctorate from the University of London, Greenwich, for his contributions in integrating sports sciences in tennis instruction. Dennis passed away in 2019.

In 1993, Pat earned the PTR’s Coach Jim Verdieck Award for top coaches and in 2002 she received the International Tennis Hall of Fame’s Tennis and Education Merit Award. Pat has been a USTA Area Training Center Head Coach and was named South Carolina Pro of the Year in 1991. She headed up the Van der Meer Tennis Academy for many years, and remains active in running the Van Der Meer Facilities and programs, including VDM Tennis University, the base for tennis teaching instruction.

The STF also provides grants to junior players ranked in the top 100 in the section and matching grants to the nine USTA state foundations in the section to help lower ranked junior players, support for Southern NJTL chapters, support for the USTA Foundation NJTL Essay contest, and facility grants. The STF’s 2020 funding is expected to range from $150,000 to $200,000.

Southern Tennis Foundation Chairman Paula Hale remarked, “The Southern Tennis Foundation is excited to receive funding from the PTR Foundation that will be used to honor the Van der Meers by providing college scholarships to young men and women from USTA Southern.”

PTR Foundation President Scott Tharp said, “The PTR Foundation is thrilled to be able to provide these scholarships to so many deserving young men and women whose lives have been positively impacted by the sport of tennis. We believe this is a most fitting way to honor the legacy of Dennis Van der Meer for many years to come.”

Paul Pittman, who chairs the STF’s Major Gifts Committee, added, “I’m proud of this new partnership between our Foundation and the PTR Foundation. It’s great to see two of the nation’s finest tennis organizations team up to provide scholarships that will help young people follow their dreams.”

The scholarships are renewable for the next three years if the student maintains a 3.0 or better GPA, remains a full-time student and does not otherwise receive a full college scholarship. To apply for a scholarship, a prospective high school graduate must be a current resident of a USTA Southern state and an active player who has been ranked in the top 100 or played high school, JTT or NJTL tennis for two years.

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