The NIC’s Undergraduate Award of Distinction recognizes fraternity men who, throughout in their collegiate experience, have found an outlet for development as both a leader and a better man. They are exemplary members of their organizations and serve their brothers, campuses and fraternity/sorority communities with humble confidence.
Interested in honoring a student in 2020? Nominations are now open!
Congratulations to the 2019 Undergraduate Award of Distinction recipients! Browse below to learn more about each honoree.
SIGMA NU, OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY
“Creative, focused and remarkably organized,” Gage Calhoon is one of the most well-rounded men in Sigma Nu, one nominator said. With an exceptional commitment to academic success, he graduated with majors in finance and pre-med studies with a perfect 4.0 GPA. He was selected for Sigma Nu’s top academic honor. He scored in the 97th percentile on the MCAT, earning him a prestigious medical school scholarship. Gage also maintained a consistent record of service in his chapter and on his campus, raising more than $80,000 for local charities as a three-time chapter Philanthropy Chairman and more than doubling student giving through the Oklahoma State University Student Foundation as a student executive. Alongside these impressive accomplishments, Gage operated a successful commercial mowing business on weekends. “He is extremely bright and organized, accustomed to very hard work and rigorous academics, and he has a real passion to serve. While he is supremely capable, he is very humble,” a nominator said.
ZETA BETA TAU, UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI
Josh Chodor is committed to the interfraternal experience on the University of Missouri campus. He served as the IFC Vice President of Risk Management, a role that gave him the opportunity to oversee a number of firsts, like the creation of the IFC Judicial Board in conjunction with the university, co-leading the IFC’s first new member orientation and establishing town hall meetings. This service earned him a spot on an influential university working group that developed recommendations related to hazing prevention and member education. “Josh was and is an exceptional advocate for the value of the fraternity/sorority community, and I believe that he made significant contributions to helping the University of Missouri’s fraternity and sorority life become a national model of excellence,” a nominator wrote. He also served as Zeta Beta Tau President, overseeing the transition from probationary group to chartered chapter in the group’s 100th anniversary year.
SIGMA PHI EPSILON, DUKE UNIVERSITY
Matthew Conley’s intentional and thoughtful leadership is bringing changes to the Duke University campus. As IFC President and Vice President of New Member Education, he was on a mission to challenge the status quo and redefine the fraternity experience. Matthew helped start the IFC’s Sexual Assault Prevention Team, guided the council in mandating sexual assault prevention programming for all new members and enacting initiatives to make off-campus social events safer. In both the Sigma Phi Epsilon Chapter and IFC, Matthew was a driving force for safety, wellness, hazing prevention and accountability. “Matthew leads with a level of emotional intelligence that is unmatched by his peers, and I have been consistently impressed with his ability to ask good questions, listen intently and make sound decisions for the good of the whole,” a nominator said.
SIGMA NU, BUTLER UNIVERSITY
Demonstrating quiet confidence and a high level of maturity, Connor Ganly successfully served as Chapter President at Butler University and was honored among Sigma Nu’s top undergraduates. “Connor is focused and self-motivated, but he is also thoughtful and strategic in effectively engaging others. He is a person of both strong character and gentle humility,” one nominator said. He maintained an exceptional 3.66 GPA despite a rigorous academic schedule in the pharmacy program, where he also served in several additional leadership roles like president of the managed care student association. Connor was highly engaged on campus while working several jobs, including an internship at a local hospital. He served Sigma Nu nationally as a collegiate member of the board of directors.
ALPHA GAMMA RHO, IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY
Brandon Hanson has demonstrated a level of commitment in the service of the larger fraternity movement. As Vice President of Council Operations for the Iowa State University Interfraternity Council, Brandon was instrumental in the success of the Iowa State community as a pilot campus for the NIC’s Enhanced Health & Safety Standards. Brandon promotes innovative programming within his Alpha Gamma Rho chapter, such as its first women’s appreciation dinner and the ISU 4U initiative where agriculture students teach elementary-schoolers in urban areas about food production. He served as a peer mentor on campus and a national convention delegate for AGR. With a triple major, Brandon has maintained an impressive 3.98 GPA. He earned top honors from the fraternity as well as the university for his leadership. “Brandon always represents a positive image in all he says and does, and he holds his fellow brothers to the same high standards,” a nominator said.
PI KAPPA ALPHA, PENNSYLVANIA STATE UNIVERSITY
John Lord has been the rock of the Interfraternity Council at Pennsylvania State University through difficult years. First serving as Vice President of Community Relations in 2017, John provided a mediating voice between the students and the university in the tumultuous aftermath of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza. He was then elected IFC President, and following his motto of “Be the Change,” he set high standards for the community and adopted educational initiatives in areas such as recruitment, mental health, sexual assault prevention, alcohol and drugs, and hazing prevention. “It is because of John Lord’s exceptional leadership that Penn State’s fraternity community is on a safer, more sustainable and successful path,” one nominator said. He also served as Secretary of his Pi Kappa Alpha chapter and has been selected for prestigious speaking opportunities on campus.
THETA CHI, MISSOURI STATE UNIVERSITY
A leader in student development within his chapter and across his campus, Brandon McCoy earned Theta Chi’s top undergraduate honor. He culminated his long resume of activities with a term as Student Body President, all while maintaining a 3.94 GPA. He earned the highest award Missouri State University can give an undergraduate as well, celebrating his ethical leadership, community engagement and cultural competence. “Brandon is a giver and a servant leader. His character, integrity, leadership and dependability shine through,” a nominator said. Notably, Brandon created a grant program called Greeks Give Back to benefit the Springfield community. He lobbied for the broader fraternity experience on Capitol Hill in 2018.
KAPPA ALPHA ORDER, THE UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA
“When Price gets involved in an organization or cause, he truly puts his best effort into it,” one nominator wrote. Price McGiffert served as President of the Student Government Association, Philanthropy Chairman for Kappa Alpha Order, university student ambassador, freshman mentor and more. Through these roles and many other smaller ways, Price enhanced the student experience for his peers at The University of Alabama. He put in countless hours giving back to the community while managing to maintain a 4.0 GPA in civil engineering. “Price has the heart of a servant leader and an infectious determination that encourages all around him to do more for others. He embodies what it means to be a fraternity man and continues to be a role model for others in his community,” a nominator said.
ALPHA TAU OMEGA, UNIVERSITY OF NEW MEXICO
Bullied throughout his childhood and in high school, Noah Michelsohn discovered the power of a loving brotherhood in Alpha Tau Omega. “Noah is a brilliant, compassionate and ambitious young man with a bright future,” one nominator said, “and an exemplary role model for his fellow students.” First selected as a campus emerging leader as a freshman, Noah later grew into a role of Chapter President and ultimately earned the highest award given to an ATO undergraduate. Among many campus roles, he served as a new student orientation leader, Greek Sing chairman and communications chairman for the student government. He graduated as valedictorian and student-selected speaker of the Department of Communication & Journalism. His leadership and academic proficiency earned him a prestigious internship with NASA that translated into a permanent position for the agency in Houston.
DELTA SIGMA PHI, KANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY
Matthew Mindrup is a standout leader among strong, successful, bright students at Kansas State University. Matt served his Delta Sigma Phi chapter as President, Vice President and Philanthropy Chairman, and the Interfraternity Council as Director of Recruitment. His efforts yielded significant progress in the areas of membership retention, fundraising, national recognition and respect. In his IFC role, Matt created a two-day new member recruitment event that set the tone for men’s recruitment — conversation-based, alcohol-free and people-focused. “Matt has demonstrated his commitment to providing the voice for those that have none while providing extraordinary leadership to the student body, IFC and chapter. There simply hasn’t been a senior at the university who has provided such a wide breadth of leadership in support in critical areas of student life,” one nominator said.
BETA THETA PI, CORNELL UNIVERSITY
Described as a renaissance man, David Navadeh is service-oriented, education-focused, an entrepreneur and a leader. Serving first as Chapter Treasurer and then President, he was the lead organizer of a successful Guinness World Record attempt fundraiser and helped plan the chapter house’s centennial celebration. He was selected to serve as an inaugural Undergraduate Commissioner for Beta Theta Pi, a role from which he co-sponsored legislation to ensure substance-free housing across the fraternity nationwide. He has similar attitudes that have helped raise the standards at Cornell for all fraternities. “David was an open and vocal advocate for this change, as he knew that when we raised the standard for all fraternities, we could go further together. David Navadeh is an exemplary representation of what it means to be a fraternity man,” one nominator said.
ALPHA GAMMA RHO, UNIVERSITY OF IDAHO
Dustin Winston played an integral role in the adoption of Alpha Gamma Rho’s new national Collegiate Advisory Council, and for his efforts, he was named the first ever chairman of the group. A thoughtful innovator, he helped create a mentorship program within the University of Idaho’s College of Agricultural & Life Sciences and also created a speakers’ bureau in his chapter to facilitate brothers’ professional and personal development “Dustin is the kind of student leader who has made an impact not only on his own fraternity, but also the campus community,” one nominator said. “Through his many opportunities for leadership on and off campus, Dustin exemplifies what it means to be a person of character and integrity, engaging in all of these varied activities while maintaining an outstanding 3.93 GPA.” He is a strong advocate for the fraternity/sorority experience, volunteering in a non-officer role with the Interfraternity Council and being a stalwart attendee of all community events.