- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 23, 2002

Staff writer Denise Barnes interviewed William C. McGinly and Don Skiados, chairman of the Mark McGinly golf classic.

Question: Mr. Skiados, why did you decide to host a golf tournament to raise money for the scholarship fund?
Answer: Mark was a golfer. For me, the golf classic was a way of touching Mark again. We were very close. So, I wanted to try and find something to continue all the positive memories Mark left behind he touched lots of people's lives. That's why I got involved in the scholarship fund to raise money in his name.
But, I didn't do it alone my wife, Cheryl, was the real force behind the event, along with Mark's best friend, Brian Cramp, 26. We call Brian the "e-mail junkie," because he can get information out better than the best marketer. He was instrumental in making this event a success.

Q: Mr. Skiados, how well attended was the April 29 golf classic?
A: When you do a golf tournament the most you can get is two foursomes on every hole for a total of 144 golfers. And, that's how many we had the tournament sold out completely. I know from doing these tournaments that there are no-shows people can't get baby sitters and things happen but on that morning we had zero no-shows. There were 144 people in their carts, ready to go play that signaled to me just how special the day would be. Along with the tournament, we hosted a dinner that sold out almost immediately, and we had two auctions.
So many people wanted to attend the dinner, but we couldn't accommodate everyone in the dining room. So, people made donations on their own to the scholarship fund. It was truly an outpouring of support, and it was all because of the way this young man lived his life. By the end of the evening, we had raised $70,000 for the Mark R. McGinly Memorial Scholarship Fund.
The event was such a success, we have already started selling out next year's tournament.

Q: Mr. [William] McGinly, when did you and your family decide to establish the scholarship in your son's name?
A: We knew we were going to do it within three weeks [of September 11]. My wife, Patricia, and I are big believers in education and what it can do for a person. She's an elementary school principal in Loudoun County and she's spent a lifetime teaching and in administration.
I think this is a way for us to keep Mark's memory alive. One scholarship for $10,000 will be awarded every year. We raised $70,000 [at the golf classic] and now we're up to $160,000. My wife and I will fund the first scholarship we're trying to build an endowment to make sure it goes on beyond our lifetimes.
The people who are serving on the Mark McGinly Scholarship Fund are young people, including Mark's two brothers, Sean and Drew; his high school friend Justin May; Lionel Taylor of United Bank, who will serve as treasurer; Christine Schneider, Mark's aunt; and Don Skiados' son, Donnie.
We're feeling our way as we go along. We got everything up and running rather quickly.

Q: Mr. McGinly, what are the characteristics that might qualify a senior to receive a scholarship?
A: We're looking for someone who was like Mark a person who is enthusiastic about school and sports. He was a pretty good student, but he wasn't the best. He was an honor society student, but he had to work very hard.
When we think about Mark and remember his high school days, he played golf and basketball, of all things. He played on the golf team all four years at James Madison High School, and the team was Virginia state champions three out of the four years he was there. During his senior year, Mark was captain of the golf team. Mark wasn't the best player on the golf team, but he pulled the team together he was the team cheerleader and a good player.
He also played basketball and was very proud of it. At 5 foot 9, he was a point guard, and he worked hard he was a tough competitor. A lot of his best friends got basketball scholarships to schools around the country. Mark played with the likes of Grant Hill and had some shining moments playing the game. He never gave up, and that's the kind of person we are looking for a scrappy kid, a kid who won't give up and who loves school and sports. We're not looking for the top-notch academic student or the one who is already getting awards.

Q: How will the selection process take place?
A: My wife, Patty, and her technology teacher, Lyn McNally, coordinated the Web-site applications and sent the information to all high school athletic directors in Northern Virginia. The scholarship is only for high school seniors in Northern Virginia, and we have asked each athletic director to nominate only one person. We've organized a committee that will review all of the applications, and we've got a good group of volunteers. I've seen about one-half of the applications already. The nice part is that we are focusing on students who are very much like our son in what they have achieved in sports and academics, and that's heartwarming.

Q: What were your feelings about the April golf classic?
A: It was a difficult day for us, but it was a wonderful outpouring of support. Three hundred people attended the dinner and people have already signed up for the golf classic next year.
There were a lot of people who don't play golf who came out to support the event. During his summer breaks from college, Mark worked for Marriott Corporation at three of their golf resorts. Roger Dow and Dave Townshend [of Marriott International] donated the golf shirts, sponsored some holes and provided quite a bit to the live auction. And one of my good friends, Tim Brodnik, the president of the American Medical Laboratories [in Chantilly] underwrote the cost of the dinner. That enabled us to put that money into the scholarship fund. Another good friend of our family, Ed Knauf, a venture capitalist, made a generous contribution.
One of my wife's colleagues, who is the president of Virginia Sprinkler Co., put in large dollars and sponsored the luncheon. Once again, that was money we didn't have to spend and we could put that money into the scholarship fund. It's really remarkable that's the best way to describe it.
Of course, when we started out, we thought 50 people would come out and play golf and drink beers. But, Don and Cheryl [Skiados] turned it around with a big assist from Brian Cramp, who arranged so much for the tournament.
So, next year's golf tournament will be held on April 28 at Westwood Country Club I'm a member there and Mark's younger brother, Drew, grew up at the club. Mark played golf with everybody. Oftentimes, four or five guys would be out there trying to play with him. And he would play with the senior nine-holers. I was always known just as Mark's dad. One of the other things about him as his younger brother, Drew, reminded us children really liked Mark because he always took time with them.

Q: Other than your son's competitive spirit and teamwork mentality, what stands out most in your mind about Mark?
A: I got to know a lot of Mark's friends at Bucknell University, and he worked for a company called Carr Futures in New York City as a precious-metals trader. There was lots of action and a lot of pressure on his job. One of the things about him that always amazed me Mark always seemed to have a lot of good friends on the business side. I once asked him how he was able to make so many good friends, and Mark replied, "If you want to have friends, you've got to be a friend."

For information about the Mark R. McGinly Memorial Scholarship Fund, go to www.mcginlyscholarship.org. For additional information about the Mark McGinly Scholarship Golf Classic, call Don Skiados at 703/481-4444.


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