Two SigEp brothers and a longtime volunteer were among the fraternity and sorority life professionals honored in December with awards from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors (AFA) at its annual conference.
Victor Wilson, Georgia ’82, was presented with the AFA’s Dr. Kent L. Gardner Award. This award is given to just one university administrator each year with a history of commitment to advancing fraternities and sororities. Wilson, who has served as the University of Georgia’s vice president for student affairs since 2013, is well known for his support of fraternities and sororities, from interacting directly with student members to speaking out about how our organizations enhance campus life.
“Victor’s support and advocacy for the fraternal experience goes well beyond what is expected through an organizational chart,” stated Joshua Welch, director of Greek life at the University of Georgia. Welch was one of several fraternity and sorority professionals who nominated Wilson for the award. He added, “Victor has demonstrated to countless student leaders that administrators can work alongside students to guide and create change within the fraternity/sorority community and broader campus.”
Currently serving as SigEp’s Grand Secretary, Wilson has been a member of the Fraternity’s National Board of Directors since 2015. As one of the first directors tapped to fill a seat created specifically for higher education professionals, Wilson’s understanding of today’s college students has brought a new level of insight to the board.
SigEp CEO Brian Warren, who also nominated Wilson for the award, shared, “His perspective as a vice president of student affairs has been invaluable to the board’s conversations about mental health; diversity, equity and inclusion; recruitment practices; volunteer engagement; and ways SigEp can be a better partner in each of these areas.”
Pat Githens, West Chester ’18, was presented with the association’s Gayle Webb New Professional Award. The award recognizes one headquarters staff professional for their outstanding contributions to the field of fraternity/sorority advising.
Warren observed that in just a few years on staff, Githens has made a huge impact. “Pat Githens has been an outstanding member of our team and grown into a leader on the SigEp staff. His accomplishments and leadership through unprecedented times are deserving of this recognition.”
Githens joined SigEp’s Headquarters staff in 2018 as a regional director. During the height of the pandemic, when lockdowns and social distancing prevented traveling staff from visiting our chapters in person, Githens stepped into the role of director of recruitment services. He successfully guided recruitment efforts, leading his team to provide 200 campus-based chapters with crucial support on reaching potential new members, conducting the Balanced Man Scholarship and keeping brothers connected virtually. He currently serves on the programs and events team as leadership programs director. In this role, he acts as project manager for the Ruck Leadership Institute and Tragos Quest to Greece and also oversees all leadership program curricula.
“Pat spearheaded the effort to begin a new program — Springboard: A Series to Launch You Into SigEp Leadership — to help our men pave the way to serving their chapter, while amplifying their own leadership skills and confidence,” Stacy Nicodemus, SigEp’s director of programs and events, said in her nomination.
The Dr. Robert H. Shaffer Award was presented to Dr. Carrie Whittier, who has been a SigEp volunteer for more than 20 years. The award is given to one higher ed professional each year who, through their work with fraternities and sororities, has shown a commitment to creating positive change on campus. A member of Alpha Omicron Pi, she is currently the assistant vice president for student life at Valparaiso University. Part of her focus in this role is advancing the mission of fraternities and sororities everywhere. She also devotes much of her time to serving in higher ed professional organizations, including terms as chair and vice chair of the AFA’s foundation and as president of the organization.
“Our profession is better because of Carrie Whittier. She is constantly in the background working and thinking about what direction our profession is taking and how to be better,” Jenni Despain, senior director of fraternity wellness for Alpha Gamma Delta, stated in her nomination of Whittier.
Whittier has been an invaluable SigEp volunteer and has served in numerous roles with chapters around the country. She currently serves on the Indiana Zeta Alumni and Volunteer Corporation (AVC) at Valparaiso and North Carolina Mu AVC at Elon University. She is also a member of SigEp’s Volunteer Development Committee and was awarded the Distinguished Volunteer Award and University Partner of the Year Award by the Fraternity.
“Carrie has been an instrumental part of SigEp’s success on multiple campuses and nationally,” said Tom Jelke, SigEp Past Grand President. “We consider her one of our greatest allies and consistently ask her for guidance and insight.”
The Fraternity extends congratulations to these award recipients and is proud and grateful that they are part of the SigEp family!