With sadness, SigEp announces the passing of educator and friend of the Fraternity, Dr. Yvonne Gentzler. Her affiliation with SigEp began when she was asked to volunteer with the Iowa Beta chapter at Iowa State in the newly created position of faculty fellow — becoming one of the very first to serve in this role among all SigEp chapters. It was the start of a relationship that continued for more than 20 years.
In her role as faculty fellow, Yvonne developed a course specifically for the chapter that she taught every semester for six years. She was a trusted advisor who brothers turned to as they assessed their academic and career goals. Her mentorship not only played a large role in brothers’ development as students, but also as men. In turn, the chapter became like family to her and supported her through the loss of her own brother.
Furthermore, Yvonne was instrumental to the development of the faculty fellow position for other SigEp chapters across the country. She traveled to several chapters to promote the role and worked with them to identify faculty fellows at those institutions.
Her input also contributed greatly to the development of what is now known as the SigEp Learning Community program, a vital component of the Fraternity’s efforts to support our brothers’ development inside and outside the classroom. Because of the groundwork Yvonne laid, 60 chapters are currently accredited as SigEp Learning Communities.
Two of the many brothers who admired Yvonne reflected on how she impacted their lives and the Fraternity:
“Yvonne had an innate ability to draw out the best in people and was there — always — to help them achieve their dreams. The unique combination of her brilliance, charisma, thoughtfulness and humor made her a truly special person.
“The year she started the faculty fellow program, Yvonne lost her brother to ALS. The gentleman of Iowa Beta gathered around her, supported her and let her know that despite the immense and tragic loss, she had gained a brotherhood. She told me this story often. It was clear there was a special place in her heart for SigEp, and we brothers felt the same about her.” — Eric Stroud, Iowa State ’06
“I worked with Yvonne while serving on SigEp’s Headquarters staff as director of learning communities. At the time, the program was still fairly young, and Yvonne was instrumental as an early adopter / believer in the Fraternity’s efforts to develop learning communities. When I think about Yvonne, I think about the countless undergrads she impacted both through SigEp and her work in higher education. She was certainly a guiding light for me while working on the learning communities program.” — Bart Shaw, Central Arkansas ’04
Even as we mourn Yvonne’s passing, we are eternally grateful for all that she did for the Fraternity. She will always be part of the SigEp family.