At the Brotherhood Luncheon at the Grand Chapter Conclave in Orlando, brothers were recognized for their commitment to SigEp’s cardinal principle of brotherly love. The celebration honored the commitment to brotherly love demonstrated by SigEp brothers.
The Honor of Philias
The Honor of Philias was established in 1989 by Past Grand President and Order of the Golden Heart recipient Jack D. Wheeler, North Texas ’61, and his wife, Kate. Chapters or individuals may receive the Honor of Philias as recognition of their special expression of the Fraternity’s cardinal principle of brotherly love. Yesterday in Orlando, Mrs. Wheeler was present to help recognize the Honor of Philias recipient.
This year, the award was given to the brothers of Illinois Alpha for their years of dedication to a philanthropy founded by the late Dr. Fred Gottheil, Illinois Renaissance, and his family.
Gottheil was a widely respected and beloved economics professor who served as Illinois’ first faculty fellow and academic adviser. Involved with the chapter for more than 15 years, he played a vital role in the development of the chapter’s RLC program. Each spring for eight years, he taught a university-accredited course in a classroom within the chapter house.
In addition to his busy schedule as one of the university’s top professors and a volunteer with SigEp, Gottheil was dedicated to running Josh’s Fund, the nonprofit his family created in his son’s memory. After learning that Gottheil had lost his son to lymphoma at the age of 19, the chapter knew it was their turn to show support for their advisor.
In 2000, the chapter held its first fundraiser for Josh’s Fund: a Monopoly tournament. Since this modest event, the chapter has continued to expand the size and scope of its fundraisers, hosting campus-wide events and often bringing other Greek organizations in as partners to get more organizations involved in supporting Josh’s Fund. A few years ago, the chapter invited three other fraternities to participate in a hockey tournament in honor of Gottheil’s favorite sport. Now in its third year, the most recent Gottheil Cup brought in more than $5,000 and exceeded its fundraising goal by nearly $400. In the 17 years since the chapter began supporting Josh’s Fund, it has raised more than $51,000, and the organization is now the chapter’s sole philanthropy.
Sadly, Gottheil passed away last year after a battle with pancreatic cancer. The chapter renamed its classroom Gottheil Hall, and his wife, Diane, keeps his legacy alive as the chapter’s newest faculty fellow. While he is no longer physically present in their lives, Brother Gottheil’s passion for knowledge and excellence will forever inspire Illinois Alpha, as they, in turn, honor his memory through philanthropy.
Past Grand President Steve Shanklin, Murray State ’70, recognized Illinois Alpha’s ongoing commitment to Josh’s Fund by presenting the Honor of the Philias to members of the chapter. He was joined onstage by Diane Gottheil, who spoke movingly of her gratitude for the support of Illinois Alpha.
The Clayton-Doud Award
When Jim Clayton, Tennessee ’57, fell upon hard times with his company, Clayton Homes, fellow SigEp Wallace C. Doud, Wisconsin ’48, came quickly to his aid and helped navigate the difficult juncture. In appreciation of Doud’s service, Clayton endowed the Clayton-Doud Award, which recognizes brothers who exemplify the Fraternity’s charge to help fellow brothers in their time of need.
At yesterday’s Brotherhood Luncheon, the Clayton-Doud Award was given to the members of the coalition for the Balanced Man Program:
Ryan Bixler, Ohio State ’16
Conner Foster, Ohio State ’16
Garrett Hendricks, Georgia ’16
Ben Hutto, South Carolina ’16
Conner Jackson, Nebraska ’16
Kevin Madden, South Florida ’16
Brian Rosebrook, Oklahoma State ’15
Max Fowler, South Carolina ’15
Riley Shearer, Montana State ’16
Mario Squicciarini, Drexel ’17
At the 1991 Conclave, undergraduates passed a resolution to “transform the pledging process from proving worthiness to achievement in the chapter and community.” This became the Balanced Man Program by the mid-’90s, and the program spread across the country as more and more SigEp chapters adopted it.
But by the mid-2000s, the BMP had lost momentum. Many chapters weren’t completely aligned with this philosophy, and more chapters were falling victim to the cultural decay that caused so many problems in the early ’90s.
In 2011, Grand President Bert Harris, Florida ’74, created a focus group of undergraduates and volunteers to brainstorm ways to improve the Balanced Man Program. This came at a pivotal moment for fraternities: due to student safety incidents, universities and colleges large and small began temporarily or permanently shutting down their fraternity systems.
Our brothers knew something had to change. In April 2015, a coalition of 10 undergraduate men emerged — and they met in Columbus, Ohio, to discuss a piece of legislation that would prove monumental in Sigma Phi Epsilon’s history.
With the support of several volunteers, including Keith Ellis, Memphis ’02; Mike Repasky, Ohio State ’08; and Sean Mittelman, Ohio State ’09, the members of this coalition for the BMP held weekly conference calls, discussing potential objections to their effort and drafting legislation for Conclave. The language had to be bold — and forward-looking — but it also couldn’t leave any brother behind. After weeks of gathering input and agonizing over wording, the brothers had a draft of the historic legislation.
But their work was far from over. They had to gather support from undergraduate leaders all across the country. The brothers placed hundreds of calls to Conclave delegates around the country in June and July. They listened patiently to objections, did their best to address them and through it all, kept their vision for positive change at the forefront. They had to make this happen, for their brothers now and in the future.
Conclave finally arrived in August 2015. The brothers met again in Nashville and discussed their plan of attack. They advocated for the legislation in committee with the support of John Rumbelow, Arkansas ’16, who chaired the Resolutions Committee at Conclave.
On the legislative floor, these men advocated tirelessly for what they had devoted so many hours to accomplishing. When the votes were cast, the result was clear and decisive. Through their efforts, their unity and their display of brotherly love, these few men came together to do something a similar group of men did in 1901 — they took a bold step that would echo throughout time and change the lives of so many young men.
The Frank Rader Memorial Wrestling Award
Established at the 54th Grand Chapter Conclave by Brother Jay Hurt, Davidson ’88, the Frank Rader Memorial Wrestling Award recognizes undergraduates who embody the ideals of Sound Mind and Sound Body by engaging in competitive wrestling during college while demonstrating strong community leadership and academic performance.
Frank E. Rader, Davidson ’71, was a national figure in the world of wrestling, and his impact on SigEp was beyond measure. As a wrestler at Davidson, Rader learned to balance his academic endeavors, social life and athletic interests. Over the course of his career, he would find repeated opportunities to merge his passions, using wrestling as a way to serve others and share the lessons he learned through SigEp. Throughout his career, Rader faithfully fulfilled his lifetime responsibility of brotherhood.
Brother George Andrews, Connecticut ’19, was named the recipient of the award.
Andrews is a biomedical engineering major who maintains a 3.85 GPA while serving as a co-captain of the wrestling team. He leads practices for the team, and when he returns home for winter break, he volunteers as a coach for his high school team — where he won the state championship as a senior. In college, he’s placed in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association National Championship, as well as the New England Championships.
He is also a leader in his chapter, overseeing a large committee as vice president of member development, engaging with the university and impacting every member of his chapter. He is a 2017 Ruck Scholar.