Caddy job turns into full college scholarship for South St. Paul teen

A South St. Paul man has turned his summer caddy job into a four year degree. 

Emmanuel ‘Manny’ Bonilla Galvez has always known the odds were against him. He is the child of immigrants, a minority and raised by a single mom.

“Everything is against me and I’ve proven people wrong, proven the system wrong,” he said. “It just proves that anyone can do anything.”

Bonilla Galvez was recently named an Evans Scholar, receiving a full ride to the University of Minnesota plus housing. He is one of 12 Minnesota caddies who received the scholarship this year.

The soon-to-be high school graduate started working at Town and Country Club in St. Paul his freshman year. He would wake up early and get to the course at 6:00 a.m., hoping to get picked up so he could make money to support his family.

“Seeing [my mother] struggle—sometimes she’d be worried she wouldn’t have enough--it made me upset," he said. "I knew that if I came out more often I’d be able to give more money."

Bonilla Galvez is one of the first in his family to go to college. His brother graduated from the U of M this spring.

“Coming here, my mom knew we would have different opportunities than we would in Mexico,” he said. “I needed to take advantage of those opportunities of being able to have a great education and an amazing life in the future.” 

Bonilla-Galvez will be graduating with honors next week, and will continue working two jobs until classes start this fall. 

He says going to the University of Minnesota is a dream come true.

“My brother and I painted our room the colors of U of M and we’ve always wanted to be Gophers,” he said. 

The Evans Scholar Foundation administers the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies. The program has helped more than 10,000 caddies graduate from college since it was started in 1930.