It’s 7 a.m. on a Saturday morning in Waco. The Baylor Bears are on a winning streak this season, and Baylor fans anxiously await kickoff against West Virginia at 11 a.m. But first, there’s time for nine holes of golf, at least for the friends and family of Court Franklin.
Charles “Court" Franklin graduated posthumously from Baylor with a B.S.M.E. in 2007 after a tragic accident took his life. In 2012, Court’s friends created The Charles "Court" Franklin Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund in Mechanical Engineering to honor his memory.
"Court was the type of person that always saw the best in people, would go out of his way to help someone in need, and was a light to those around him," said Cody Messerall, Court's friend and fraternity brother. "It's an honor to be able to help carry on Court's legacy with the endowment and the golf tournament as a way to benefit students in need of assistance."
Now in its ninth year, the Annual Court Franklin Memorial Golf Tournament has raised over $35,000, with a new goal to raise $50,000 in endowed funds. Court’s endowed scholarship fund provides scholarships to ECS juniors and seniors pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
"I've received a lot of feedback and comments over the years from those whom I've shared this cause with. The most common comment goes along the line of, 'Man, this seems like a lot of hard work; it's awesome what y'all are doing,'" said Messerall. "In reality, neither myself nor anyone else associated with this cause sees it as work at all. It's what God calls us to do, to serve others, and Court exemplified a servant's heart better than anyone I've ever met."
As friends, family, former classmates, and ECS faculty tee off at the Twin Rivers Golf Course in Waco, it’s hard not to feel like you somehow knew Court. An all-state defensive end, ACT scholar, National Science Merit Award recipient, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, 4-H, and FFA member from Ruidoso, New Mexico, Court’s list of accomplishments cannot easily be summed up. His scholastic accomplishments are only outnumbered by the number of extracurricular activities he was involved in.
At Baylor, Court was active in the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, served as Chaplain of the Beta Theta Pi social fraternity, and played on various intramural sports teams. He received the Baylor University Presidential Scholarship, R.D. Hubbard Academic Scholarship, William J. and Adeline Grey Scholarship, Engineering and Computer Science Incentive Scholarship, and Rotary Club Scholarship and made the Dean’s List.
"Court had a passion for serving those around him and a strong faith in Jesus Christ, illustrated by his everyday life. He was always faithful to reach out to anyone needing help and tried to leave each activity he participated in having made a difference," said Celeste Bonds, Court's mother. "He would love this scholarship fundraising event because it combines the things he loved most… helping someone in need, reuniting with friends and family, and supporting his beloved Baylor Bears. In the spirit of Court’s life, the golf tournament and scholarship have become a passion for those who knew Court and it’s more than an annual fundraiser, it’s Court’s family reunion for us all."
True to form, Court’s legacy is making a lasting impact on those around him. Through his endowed scholarship fund, engineering students are able to receive funds that allow them to participate in student organizations instead of holding part-time jobs, buy books and equipment needed for labs, or maybe even finish their degrees.
As participants finish the last hole, it’s easy to see why they gather each year to honor the legacy of Court Franklin, a great man.
To make a contribution to the Charles "Court" Franklin Memorial Endowed Scholarship Fund, click here.