Limestone University didn’t have to look very far to find a recipient for its second annual Gaylord Perry Scholarship.
During a special ceremony on Wednesday, Aug. 26, it was announced that for the second year in a row, Brian Forbes, a Saints baseball player, was awarded the Gaylord Perry Scholarship, which fully covers his university costs this academic year. The scholarship was again made possible through the institution’s partnership with Diamond Resorts.
Diamond Resorts Chief Sales & Marketing Officer Tony Walker, a former Limestone baseball player under Perry, was on hand for the scholarship presentation. Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker and Saints head baseball coach Chris Wiley also took part in the announcement held on campus in the Rilling Hall of Fame Room at the Bob Campbell Field House.
Named in honor of the head coach who started Limestone’s baseball program, the Gaylord Perry Scholarship is awarded annually by the institution’s Scholarship Award Committee to one or more members of the Saints baseball team. Perry, a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer, was unable to attend the recent ceremony.
A native of Rocky Point, NY, Forbes transferred to Limestone after graduating from Herkimer County Community College. He was named to the 2020 Conference Carolinas All-Academic Team. He also made the Fall 2019 Conference Carolinas Presidential Honor Roll. During the 2019 season at Herkimer County Community College, he was named an NCAA Division III First Team All-American. Participating in the Junior College World Series, Forbes ranked 32nd in the nation with a batting average of .433. He finished fourth in the nation with 15 home runs and ranked sixth nationally with 66 runs batted in.
Twenty-two games into the season, Forbes and his teammates had their 2020 campaign cut short in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As part of its internship program with Limestone, Diamond Resorts is providing an annual gift to fund scholarships to be awarded to one or more members of the baseball program, as selected by the Scholarship Committee. Forbes was awarded Limestone’s inaugural Diamond Resorts Gaylord Perry Scholarship in 2019.
“Brian is a phenomenal athlete, a great student, and just a fine young man. We are proud that he is a part of our program,” Wiley said. “We greatly appreciate what Diamond Resorts is doing for Limestone University and especially for our baseball program.”
Perry was inducted into the Limestone Athletics Hall of Fame in 1998. Along with Walker, Diamond Resorts Chief Executive Officer Mike Flaskey was a member of Perry’s first baseball team at Limestone in 1988.
A legendary pitcher for eight different Major League Baseball teams, Perry was selected in February of this year for induction into the South Carolina Athletic Hall of Fame for his accomplishments as the head coach of the Saints baseball team. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, that induction ceremony has been postponed until the spring of 2021.
Perry founded the Limestone baseball program in 1987 and led the Saints for four seasons, compiling an overall 81-57 (.587) mark and three 20-win seasons. As part of developing the program, Perry also helped secure the funding for the baseball field still being used by the Saints.
Diamond Resorts, a global leader in the hospitality, vacation ownership, and entertainment industries, announced in January of 2019 the new professional internship program at Limestone. The program, which is open to all junior and seniors, offers students the opportunity to get on-the-job training via semester-long internships.
“Our partnership with Diamond Resorts has been game-changing for Limestone and our students,” Parker said. “The internships enable our students to apply the concepts they have learned in the classroom and to work directly with professionals in their fields of study. It also provides the amazing opportunity to have a job offer upon graduation. On top of that, this Gaylord Perry Scholarship directly benefits one of our student-athletes and makes our baseball program stronger.”
Dozens of Limestone University students have participated in the internship program, and several have gone on to work full-time for Diamond Resorts. The student interns gain experience in several different areas, such as quality assurance, sales, human resources, and global support, among others.
Each student is assigned a mentor and is either based at a Diamond Resorts property – with some locations including Orlando, Las Vegas, Palm Springs, Hawaii, and Virginia Beach – or headquartered at one of the company’s corporate offices. Successful completion of the internship not only earns students a full semester’s worth of credits, but they are also guaranteed a position offer with Diamond Resorts after graduation.
Accompanying Photo: Limestone University student-athlete Brian Forbes (third from left) was awarded the 2020 Gaylord Perry Scholarship that was made possible by Diamond Resorts. Others on hand for the announcement on August 26 included (left to right) Diamond Resorts’ John Coppolella, Limestone President Dr. Darrell Parker, Diamond Resorts’ Tony Walker, and Saints head baseball coach Chris Wiley. (Limestone University photo by Stacey Wylie)