Awards of Distinction: Current Recipients

The North American Interfraternity Conference annually recognizes excellence in the fraternal experience by conferring Awards of Distinction to individuals and groups who exemplify leadership, service and fraternal values. These honors play a significant role in the advancement of the NIC mission and vision, as well as the industry as a whole. Recognizing the value and impact of individual and group efforts on college/university campuses and within interfraternal organizations conveys the importance of innovation, courage and commitment to a positive fraternal experience.

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Gold Medal Recipients

Allen W. Groves — Pi Kappa Alpha

Allen Groves is an ardent supporter of the fraternal experience. He began his fraternity journey in 1979 when he was initiated into Pi Kappa Alpha’s Delta Upsilon Chapter at Stetson University; following graduation, he spent time on the PIKE staff, quickly rising to the role of Executive Director (1984-87). He then went on to a 16-year career as a nationally recognized litigation attorney.  

When deciding what to do after his legal career, Allen seamlessly transitioned back to student affairs at the University of Virginia where he served in various capacities for 15 years. In 2021, Allen began serving as Syracuse University’s Senior Vice President and Chief Student Experience Officer.  

In addition to his professional career, Allen boasts an extensive volunteer resume in support of the fraternity and student experience. His service includes Pi Kappa Alpha’s International Fraternity Supreme Council (1998-2008), including serving as International President; the NIC Board of Directors (2008-14), serving as Board Chairman for two years; Virginia’s Governor’s Task Force on Combating Campus Sexual Assault (2014-15); Stetson University College of Arts & Sciences Board (2013-18); and more. 

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Dr. Richard N. McKaig — Delta Chi

Dr. Richard “Dick” McKaig, a Delta Chi initiate from Ball State University, worked tirelessly to advance the fraternal experience throughout his impressive career in higher education. Serving at Indiana University for 38 years and retiring as the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Dean of Students, Dick’s devotion and commitment to fraternity was acknowledged by his peers as he was affectionally known as the “Fraternal Dean.” 

Even since retirement, the impact of Dick’s service can still be seen throughout IU, Delta Chi and the interfraternal community. His passion for fraternity and sorority life is evident through his advocacy for research on the experience — leading the Center for the Study of the College Fraternity for over 30 years — and his mentorship of hundreds of campus and interfraternity leaders over more than 35 years through the Interfraternity Institute (IFI).  

His service to Delta Chi includes two terms on the Fraternity’s Board of Regents; an advisor to the Educational Foundation for 20 years; and co-chairing the President’s Anti-Hazing Task Force. 

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Award of Distinction Recipients

Advisor Award of Distinction

An incredible commitment to mentorship and unwavering support for both undergraduates and administrative staff, Joe is the chapter advisor for Acacia at RPI, a national Acacia volunteer and dedicated alumnus in the broader RPI fraternity/sorority community. “Advisors like Joe seem to be more of the outlier in today’s world than we care to admit, and he of course does none of this for the recognition. These are the types of men we must be sure to recognize to showcase their support and accomplishments and provide as an example to others for what quality advising looks like and can mean for a chapter.”

Dr. Eric Buller has advised Beta Theta Pi’s Miami University (OH) chapter for over a decade. A graduate of West Point, he began advising the chapter as a “Friend of Beta,” eventually earning an honorary roll number (initiated) with the chapter. “Eric’s extensive leadership development background and experience was instrumental in the successful return of our Alpha Chapter to Miami’s campus as once again one of the top fraternities on Miami’s campus.”

After working for Zeta Beta Tau, Jason began advising the chapter at California Polytechnic State University in 2015. “Jason’s leadership style is marked by a rare combination of ambition and empathy. While he continuously challenges the men to strive for excellence, he also takes the time to understand their individual needs and meet them where they are in their journey.”

A 1975 initiate of Delta Sigma Phi, Glenn has positively impacted both his home chapter at Michigan Tech and the Delta Sigma Phi chapter at Missouri S&T. For more than 15 years, he’s led the alumni corporation board at Missouri S&T, helping to charter the chapter and retire the house mortgage, and been a dedicated volunteer nationally. “Glenn has not missed attending a national convention since 2009… He has donated generously to his undergraduate chapter [Michigan Tech] and Missouri S&T chapter, and the national fraternity. He has also supported the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee not only with treasure but promoting the PAC among the larger Greek communities.”

Chris is an advisor for Phi Gamma Delta chapter at Kansas State University for more than a decade and member of the Kansas State advisor committee, working with all fraternities across campus. “The delicate balance of guiding without interfering, relating and connecting with all undergraduate members and fellow advisors without compromising the relationships or the chapter’s goals, and creating a shared vision without forcing it, truly make him stand out as an impactful advisor within our fraternity.”

Travis has advised Pi Kappa Alpha at McNeese State since his graduation, serving first as recruitment advisor, now as primary chapter advisor. Near the onset of pandemic in 2020, McNeese and southwest Louisiana were decimated by two hurricanes, he supported the chapter and community. “Travis Lavergne’s engagement can be both weighed, measured, and is not wanting. He gives unreservedly of himself to others which includes both members and alumni.”

A graduate of Pittsburg State University, Brent and his family moved to Jacksonville in 2007 and he began advising Sigma Chi at the University of North Florida. “Brent is a man of good character and high ambition. He has demonstrated Sigma Chi values in his professional and philanthropic life and has been a lifelong supporter of Greek Life in general and Sigma Chi specifically.”

Alumnus Award of Distinction

Bruce has served as Sigma Nu’s chapter advisor at the University of Arkansas approaching a decade, leading a full advisory team and now also manages the house corporation. Born and raised in Fayetteville, and a graduate of the University of Arkansas, he spent 17 years as a trader at the Chicago Board of Trade, before joining Armstrong-Hailey Insurance Company in 2003 as an independent insurance agent. He is the past president of the Fayetteville Public Education Foundation.

Robert has served Phi Iota Alpha Fraternity, Inc., nationally for nearly 10 years, currently as the fraternity’s executive director — a volunteer position. He’s been chief operating officer, chief development officer and director of human resources, among other roles. Professionally, Robert works for Kaiser Permanente as a consultant. He has given back to his community in countless ways, and currently sits as the Planning Commissioner for the City of Lynwood. He is a graduate of California State University, Dominguez Hills and California State University, Long Beach.

Chapter Award of Distinction

The Acacia chapter at Kansas State University is exemplary, from academics to community engagement and philanthropy. The group boasts a 3.4 average GPA, created a “Paw-Sitive Vibes” event to benefit the T. Russell Reitz Animal Shelter in Manhattan, KS, and formed a partnership with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) to addressmen’s mental health concerns. “They have been consistently excellent for years and we have every confidence that they will continue to exemplify the ideals of Acacia and the larger interfraternal community for years to come.”

The Beta Theta Pi, Beta Omicron chapter at the University of Texas at Austin is a community builder. The chapter has a tutoring partnership with Garza Independence High School, has collaborated with Be The Match and Movember for health advocacy, and “Texas 4000” in the fight against cancer. The chapter is highly engaged with their national fraternity and across campus activities, including IFC, student government and more. “The chapter has provided three Board level collegiate commissioners in the last three years. These commissioners contributed to board-level decisions regarding substance-free housing, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, investments into interfraternalism and housing, as well as assisted in our Foundation’s Promises to Keep Capital Campaign.”

The Delta Chi chapter at Miami University has demonstrated an exceptional commitment to expanding and strengthening their membership. Among other accolades, they received the Andrew Herman Memorial Chapter Excellence Award at the university’s Student Engagement, Activities, and Leadership Awards ceremony, given to the chapter that commits itself to the values of their community. “They have shown exemplary operational performance while promoting a strong values-based fraternal experience and creating a measurable impact for their members, campuses, and communities.”

The Delta Chi chapter at Truman State University holds high academic standards, averaging over a 3.5 cumulative GPA among their members. Their member are involved in all phases of campus activities, have served Pantry for Adair County, the Adair County YMCA, the Salvation Army, the Bruce Normile Juvenile Justice Center, and more; and fundraised for the Jimmy V Foundation, Project HAPPIE, Truman Serve Center, and Kirksville Parks and Recreation. “I see them live their value both internal and externally in every interaction. I routinely hear from chapter leaders and members about reflections and constructive dialogue on how the chapter can continue to do better.”

The Delta Sigma Phi, Delta Epsilon chapter at Missouri University of Science and Technology saw exponential growth in membership and academics this year. All members are involved in other student activities. “Overall Delta Sigma Phi continues to play a prominent role within the overall success of our collective fraternity and sorority community. They serve as great peer-to-peer role models and have contributed greatly to our community’s success through their contributions in community service and philanthropic efforts.” Beyond just their campus, the chapter is assisting with installations of other Delta Sigma Phi chapters across Missouri.

The Delta Tau Delta, Theta Kappa chapter at the University of Nebraska at Kearney has demonstrated outstanding dedication to philanthropy, leadership development, campus involvement, strategic recruitment and member retention. Philanthropic efforts have benefited the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. They have an exceptional reputation. “It is not just a Fraternity, this chapter is truly a student organization that has figured out how to produce better men, mentors, fathers, leaders, and contributors. These are not men who sit idly by but get involved in a meaningful way in everything they do.”

The Tau Delta Phi, Delta Tau chapter at Monmouth University demonstrates true brotherhood, connections and community impact. All members are involved across campus in anything from business clubs to service organizations. Philanthropic efforts have benefited Monmouth’s Student Veteran’s Association and Active Minds to support men’s mental health. “What truly distinguishes the Delta Tau chapter is their unwavering commitment to the core values of Tau Delta Phi: Brotherhood, Loyalty, Scholarship, Inclusion, Self-Discovery, and Equity.”

Undergraduate Award of Distinction

Oluwatobi “Tobi” Adigun, a member of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Arizona, is a leader in the fraternity community and beyond. A chemical engineering major, he’s held roles in his chapter and the IFC, including risk manager and diversity, equity and inclusion chairman. He’s been a leader with the club soccer team, volunteer with Campus Pantry, president of the prestigious campus senior honorary Bobcats, and representative to the University Advisory Council. “Tobi’s leadership style is characterized by his integrity, empathy, and unwavering dedication to the betterment of his community.”

Maxwell Battist, a member of Phi Gamma Delta at Kettering University, serves as both his chapter president and IFC president. Completing a mechanical engineering degree (earning a 3.98 GPA) and co-op employment requirements in aerospace technology, he has not shied away from fraternity or campus involvement. “Maxwell approaches every part of fraternity life with intentionality and reminds us all that we have the capacity to do more with our membership.”

Jackson Conner, a member of Sigma Nu at the University of Oklahoma, graduated with a 3.98 GPA double-majoring in political science and public relations. He’s begun his career in public affairs and government relations in Washington, DC, as the Director of Scheduling for Representative Bruce Westerman (AR-04), Chairman of the House Natural Resource Committee. He served as chapter president, was honored as Sigma Nu Fraternity’s Scholar of the Year and as a top ten senior, student liaison for OU’s Gaylord College Media, Vice Chair of Communications for the Gaylord College Ambassadors, and was recognized as the Overall Outstanding Senior by his college. “While most students may only be able to excel in one or two of the areas at one time, Jackson’s greatness is demonstrated in a multitude of areas. What makes him truly stand out from his peers has been the level of commitment he has displayed in each of the programs he has been involved in.”

Will Cooper, a member of Phi Kappa Psi at Iowa State University, served as his chapter’s vice president of relations. He became co-director of the Iowa State Blood Drive, managing several committees and communicating with the American Red Cross to put on one of the nation’s most successful student-run blood drives. “Will radiates ambition, dedication, and drive, representing the best of being a fraternity man both in serving his brothers and his broader community.”

Will Hanson, a member of Sigma Nu at Arizona State University, has served his chapter in varying capacities and held numerous prominent student leadership positions across campus — notably Undergraduate Student Government Senate President. More specifically within his chapter, he’s held the positions of brotherhood chair and chaplain, fostering a supportive and ethical brotherhood. “As a role model, Will leads by example, demonstrating the qualities of integrity, humility, and compassion in everything he does. His ability to inspire and empower others has earned him the respect and admiration of every brother.”

Joseph Hiatt, a member of Delta Tau Delta at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, is an exemplary fraternity and campus leader. He served as chapter president and vice president among other positions, IFC president and vice president, appointee to his international fraternity’s Undergraduate Council and committees, and student lobbyist on Capitol Hill with FSPAC. Among other accolades, he was recognized with the UNK Leadership Legacy Award, UNK Alumni Association Outstanding Senior Award 2023 Year and UNK Outstanding Student Organization Leader of the Year. “Joseph has been a great asset to our fraternity community, demonstrating exemplary leadership and a commitment to fostering a culture of accountability, service, and excellence.”

John Sedlmeir, a member of Tau Delta Phi at Monmouth University, has served both his fraternity and university community, including as chapter president and recruitment chairman, as an IFC executive, in the student government association, as a campus tour guide and as a member of the student advisory council — all while earning a 3.99 GPA. “Through his visionary leadership and tireless efforts, he has implemented innovative initiatives that have not only enhanced the overall experience of our members but have also earned the admiration and respect of the school administration.”

Laurel Wreath Recipients

Laurel Wreath

After four years of planning and piloting, AGR implemented the Top Leaders Institute (TLI) nationwide in 2024. Through a dynamic curriculum, interactive workshops and mentorship opportunities, TLI cultivates the next generation of servant leaders who are dedicated to making a positive impact in the world of agriculture and beyond. Moreover, TLI reflects the spirit of innovation and forward-thinking that defines AGR’s approach to educational programming. By offering this world-class training opportunity, TLI remains at the forefront of leadership development as they inspire their members to strive for excellence and continuous improvement personally and professionally.

After previous iterations of Chi Psi Cares, in 2024, Chi Psi Fraternity partnered with BetterHelp, an online therapy service, to make mental healthcare more accessible to members. Every current undergraduate receives up to four sessions with a trained mental health professional courtesy of Chi Psi Fraternity. Every new member is expected to complete the Mental Well-Being for Students online learning module the semester they join the Fraternity. Developed by Vector Solutions, the new member course helps learners practice self-care, recognize when they or their peers are in distress and take action to find additional support. Finally, Chi Psi regularly seeks to de-stigmatize men seeking mental health support and promotes resources through monthly #MentalHealthMonday posts and Chi Psi Cares newsletters.

The Dale Carnegie Scholars program is a testament to the organization’s core values of promoting friendship, developing character, advancing justice and assisting in the acquisition of a sound education. After some significant feedback from participants in its inaugural year, the Delta Chi Dale Carnegie Scholars program shifted in 2024 to an in-person experience with a virtual introductory session. The shift from a fully virtual experience led to an increase in the number of scholars declared, and program graduates increased by 20%. The positive impact of the program has quickly been felt within the organization as a whole, as Dale Carnegie Scholars have more often than not become chapter and community leaders, applied and been hired for staff positions with Delta Chi and have committed to the overall growth of the organization.

The new institute-style program launched in 2023 employs the Piazza Center Horizontal Hazing Model to identify the motivators and detractors for individual, organizational and community participation in hazing. The program scaffolds learning through large group sessions and small group working sessions where participants apply research-informed concepts to the real-world environment. Participants depart the institute with a working plan for implementing hazing intervention on their campus or in their organization.

CAMPFIRE is an immersive experience aimed at providing chapter leadership the space to learn and prepare to run a successful fraternity. CAMPFIRE is a conference-inspired program developed to engage undergraduates, alumni and volunteers on topics relevant to the success and advancement of chapters and brotherhood. Phi Kappa Psi staff facilitated large group sessions, team-building activities, and process-oriented trainings and Phi Kappa Psi’s Executive Council, helped in the execution of the Ritual run-throughs and the subsequent facilitation and debriefing of the experience. In addition, to add non-member voices and perspectives to the space, two national speakers were invited to the program.

Originally launched in 2018, the transformation of the True PIKE Experience in 2023 consisted of over 40 online courses across eight targeted competencies accompanied by companion discussion guides. In just under six months, through opt-in engagement, the program attracted over 2,100 undergraduates from 200 chapters, notably including 1,600 members who had never attended an in-person event, significantly broadening the organization’s educational reach. This program, hosted in PLAID LMS, fosters continuous learning and recognition through accreditation and rewards, empowering every member to excel personally and professionally.

View past recipients