Golf legend Renee Powell ‘humbled’ by St Andrews University tribute

US golf legend Renee Powell has unveiled a plaque to celebrate the opening of a new student hall of residence in St Andrews named in her honour.

Powell Hall, a five-storey building adjacent to Agnes Blackadder Hall at North Haugh, has 205 rooms and is part of a £70 million investment in student accommodation by the University which will create 900 new bedrooms over and above the 4000 that the University already provides.

Powell, the second African American woman ever to play on the LPGA Tour, three years after Althea Gibson, began began her professional career in 1967, playing in more than 250 tournaments around the world. Since 1980 she has taught golf in the United States, Africa and Europe and is currently head professional golfer at Clearview Golf Course in Ohio.

The 72-year-old also runs a rehab programme for female veterans, Clearview Hope. She is known for her work to attract more young female golfers to the sport and in 2008 she was awarded an honorary doctorate by St Andrews and has given a guest lecture at the University about the ways sport can positively impact young people’s lives.

Powell, who was inducted into the R&A in 2015, also supports the annual ladies golf tournament which now bears her name.

“To be a part of one of the most prestigious universities in the United Kingdom by having a hall of residence bearing my name is indeed an honour,” said Powell.

“It is a truly historic and awesome occasion for a renowned university to recognise a black American female golfer in this manner.

“I have always considered myself to be a citizen of the world and I guess now I will forever be remembered as such. I am truly humbled.”

Principal Professor Sally Mapstone said: “Renee Powell Hall offers us a wonderful opportunity to share the story of an exceptional woman and I am utterly delighted Renee is here for this celebration.

“Renee is an icon. Her story, her demeanour, her enthusiasm, and generosity of spirit uplift everyone who encounters them, and the University is proud to name this new student hall of residence after her.”

Powell Hall, which is due to be open to students next month, has all en-suite facilities and offers a range of amenities.

Another new student residence, Whitehorn Hall named after the British journalist Katharine Whitehorn, which has 184 student rooms, is also due to open next month.