Youth Programs Inc. Endows Phil Cannon Memorial Scholarship for UofM Journalism Students

September 19, 2019 - Following three years of year-to-year funding for the Phil Cannon Memorial Scholarship, the board of Youth Programs Inc., the charitable foundation of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational, has permanently endowed this scholarship awarded to University of Memphis journalism students.

 “Phil Cannon personified the spirit of the potential of both Memphis and Youth Programs, as evidenced by the progress St. Jude and the tournament have made over the past few decades,” said Jack Sammons, general chairman of Youth Programs Inc. “The FedEx St. Jude Invitational brings recognition to St. Jude, the UofM and our great city more than any other sporting event in recent memory. Phil Cannon was a pioneer in developing this tournament and a gentleman who very much deserved this honor for a life well lived.”

Since 1958, Youth Programs Inc. has been the charitable arm and host committee of the annual golf tournament held in Memphis. This scholarship was made possible through a $250,000 contribution from Youth Programs Inc. and will provide a full scholarship to be awarded each year to one journalism student interested in a career in sports journalism. As part of the scholarship, the student also has the opportunity to intern at the annual WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational.

 “We’re thrilled the Phil Cannon Scholarship has been endowed and are extremely thankful for the number of individuals and corporations that have contributed to this scholarship in memory of Phil Cannon,” said Darrell Smith, executive director of the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational. “Phil was an unbelievable mentor to many, and he was a great ambassador for our city and the University of Memphis. His lifelong contributions to Memphis’ PGA TOUR event will always be remembered and we look forward to playing a small role in developing the next leaders in the world of journalism.”

 “Youth Programs Inc.’s generous gift will be transformational for outstanding sport journalism students,” said Dr. David Arant, chair of the Department of Journalism and Strategic Media. “The Phil Cannon Scholarship recipient also enjoys the opportunity to cover the world’s top golfers as the media intern at the Invitational.”

A 1978 graduate of the UofM Department of Journalism, Cannon was involved with the FedEx St. Jude tournament for nearly 50 years and served as executive director for 16 years prior to his death in October 2016 at the age of 63. The endowment was presented to UofM President M. David Rudd Aug. 28 by Sammons and Charlotte Bray, director of Youth Programs Inc.

To date, Youth Programs Inc. and the FedEx St. Jude golf tournament have generated more than $43 million for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.