At the Arête Luncheon, brothers and friends gathered to celebrate the professional accomplishments of the 2021 SigEp Citation recipients. The honorees demonstrate the wide range of talent that exists in the Fraternity. From a world-renowned artist to a pioneering surgeon to a hospital professional expanding access to health care to an engineer who’s transformed the way businesses operate, each recipient has set a new standard for excellence in his field.
As several of the honorees attended virtually, Fraternity officials shared highlights of each honoree’s career with the audience and presented their awards. Following the presentation, recipients participated in a panel discussion — a new and well-received component of the luncheon — in which they spoke about their lives and careers. Even though the four were not in the same room, as they talked, they formed a connection that was apparent and inspiring to everyone watching.
Here, we highlight the careers of the 2021 Citation recipients.
Romero Britto, Miami (Florida) Renaissance
Colorful, bold and fun are some of the words most commonly used to describe Romero Britto’s art. Britto, known around the world for his vibrant paintings and sculptures, has exhibited in museums and galleries on five continents — including twice at the Carrousel du Louvre. His distinctive style — a lively fusion of bright colors and whimsical patterns — is instantly recognizable.
Originally from Brazil, the self-taught artist first gained public attention as part of Absolut Vodka’s widely popular Absolut Art campaign in 1988. Other brands, including Mattel and Coca-Cola, took notice and commissioned works for their own ads. His art is also widely collected, with Britain’s Prince Charles and Super Bowl champ Tom Brady among the many fans who’ve purchased pieces.
Britto’s public art installations can be found in New York’s JFK Airport, London’s Hyde Park and other locations around the world, bringing joy to millions as they go about their everyday activities. His popularity has made Britto the most widely licensed artist in history, with images of his art found on everything from watches to neckties and even a limited-edition Monopoly game.
“At the end of the day, you can teach someone all kinds of skills, but you can’t teach somebody to be honest or kind — all the beautiful things we want in a friend or a coworker,” Britto said as he accepted his award. “Once you have that, people get inspired, and they want to be with you, and they want to promote you.”
Jeffrey Dugas, North Carolina State ’90
Orthopaedic Surgeon and Sports Medicine Specialist
One of the country’s most sought-after experts on sports injuries, Jeffrey Dugas is an orthopaedic surgeon who specializes in repairing elbows, knees and shoulders. He’s helped some of the sports world’s most famous players, as well as high school and college athletes just starting their careers, return to the roster injury-free. An innovator in the field, he developed an alternative to Tommy John surgery that can cut rehab and recovery time in half for athletes sidelined with debilitating elbow injuries.
In addition to running a thriving medical practice, Dugas volunteers as the team physician for Troy University and as medical director for USA Cheer.
After majoring in chemical engineering, he became fascinated by the chemistry involved in brewing and distilling beverages. In 2019, he turned that interest into a business by opening Dread River Distilling Co., the largest distillery in Alabama, with a business partner. The facility produces a variety of small-batch craft spirits and also serves as an event space.
When the pandemic hit, the company quickly shifted from producing beverages to making alcohol-based hand sanitizer and cleaning solutions. As a community service, Dugas and his business partner gave the products away to assist local health care facilities and essential businesses.
“The foundation of our clinic is focusing on the outcome,” Dugas said. “That sets a bar in our profession, and it’s the same in a chapter on campus. Guarantee the outcome for a young brother who is going to join — don’t settle for anything less than an experience that is so good.”
After finding personal commonalities with each of the other Citation recipients, Dugas said, “It’s amazing how little it takes to find connection between brothers, even though the four of us have never met.”
Eugene A. Woods, Pennsylvania State ’86
President and CEO, Atrium Health
As president and CEO of North Carolina-based Atrium Health, Eugene A. Woods directs a health care network with 37 hospitals in four states and more than 70,000 Employees. Meeting the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic head-on, he helped Atrium Health pioneer the “virtual hospital” concept, monitoring and treating more than 13,000 patients with mild symptoms in their homes to free up hospital beds for critical patients.
Considered an authority on the pandemic’s impact on communities of color, he also testified before the U.S. Senate.
Through his leadership of Atrium Health, Woods is working to realize the priorities he outlined in 2017 when he served as chair of the American Hospital Association: expanding access to medical coverage, engaging with communities beyond traditional hospital settings and ending health care disparities that shorten peoples’ lives.
In addition to leading the fight against COVID-19 in his area, Woods steered the company through a merger. Atrium Health now includes the Wake Forest School of Medicine and will begin constructing a second medical school in Charlotte in 2022. Woods also chairs the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond.
When accepting his Citation award, Woods stated, “When I think of virtue, I think it’s akin to integrity and not being a bystander. When you see something that’s not right, take a stand. We’re in a time right now when character and how you interact with people who have vastly different views — as brothers, how do we deal with that? It should start from a place of brotherly love — for people who don’t look like you, who don’t share the same views.”
Jim McKelvey, Washington-St. Louis ’87
Although he’s best known for co-founding Square, the company that revolutionized how small businesses process credit card transactions, Jim McKelvey is truly a man of many talents. An engineer by trade, the serial entrepreneur is also a highly respected artist who operates a glassblowing studio.
But mostly, McKelvey prides himself on being a problem-solver. Due to Square’s phenomenal growth, the company had a difficult time finding employees with technical skills. So, McKelvey founded LaunchCode, a nonprofit offering training and job placement assistance to bring more people into the tech industry.
His reputation as an innovator has made McKelvey highly sought after by organizations as a board member and advisor. He’s not only a trustee at his alma mater, but also provided the lead gift for a new school of engineering named in honor of his father, who served as dean of the school for nearly 30 years. He’s also leveraged his business experience as deputy chair of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. And he’s shared his expertise with SigEp as a guest speaker for events at his home chapter and Missouri S&T.
When asked which SigEp cardinal principle means the most to him, McKelvey replied, “The one I think most about is virtue. We live in a more and more anonymous world — it’s easy to do things remotely. With the ability to be anonymous comes more responsibility to conduct ourselves as if people were looking. Virtue is even more important as we lose the oversight of others.”