Paine College Honors Lee Elder, First Black Golfer To Play in the Masters, With Honorary Doctorate


April 9, 2021

The degree is just the topping to an already amazing legacy!

Paine College just honored Lee Elder, the first Black golfer to play in the Masters, with an honorary doctorate degree, WSBTV reports.

In 1975 Lee Elder made history as the first African-American golfer to ever play in the Masters tournament. The 86-year-old golf veteran made his way to Augusta, Georgia in honor of his historic legacy, starting with receiving an honorary doctorate degree for lifetime achievement from Paine College.


“Thank you so very much. My family and I have sure enjoyed our time that we’ve been here, but we’ll be here for quite a few more days. I know we’ll get a chance to see each and every one of you and I just want to say thank you so very much,” Elder said at his ceremony.

The city had a week full of activities in honor of Elder including Mayor Hardie Davis’ designation of April 6th as “Lee Elder Day,” and the ceremonial tee shot during the Masters’ first round by Elder for the 2021 tournament with Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player. Elder says this tee shot means more to him than the one he took in 1975.

“That is one thing that’s going to be significant to me, because 1975 was just an ordinary shot playing a golf tournament, even though it was the Masters. It’s not as significant as this shot will be come April 8, 2021. Because my heart and soul will be into this shot,” Elder previously said. 


In addition to the honorary doctorate degree, Paine College has also created two “Lee Elder Scholarships,” to be awarded to one player on both the men’s team and women’s golf team which is currently being developed. 

Thank you for paving the way for us Mr. Elder! Because of you, we can!

Photo Courtesy of WSBTV


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