Leading up to 2000 during a General Officers Conference in Louisville, KY, the fraternity’s volunteer corps and professional staff met to discuss a new direction for Phi Delta Theta.
Simply put, we were going to put an end to apathy, fight complacency and hold members accountable for actions not consistent with The Bond. Alcohol-free housing represented a return to our founding principles and a renewed commitment to provide a values-based experience for our members.
It was a bold and courageous move and consensus was not easily obtained. The debate was robust — and at times heated, but in the end, the vote was unanimous. Many said it couldn’t be done and that our decision would lead to our end. Fifteen years later, the results speak for themselves.
Proud to be a Phi!
Long before Straight Outta Compton in 1988, there was Oxford 1848.
The Washington, DC Alumni Club celebrated Founders Day on March 26, 2015 with a gathering of over 50 area Phi Delts and guests at P.J. Clarke’s in downtown Washington.
Although Phi Delta Theta was founded on December 26, 1848, we officially celebrate Founders Day each year on March 15th in honor of Phi Delt Founding Father Robert Morrison’s birthday. This year’s event was co-organized and sponsored by Phi Delta Theta General Headquarters and the fraternity’s Washington, DC Area Alumni Club.
In addition to the networking reception, there was a brief presentation on the State of the Fraternity and a discussion of recent events in the fraternity world, as well as a Silver Legion ceremony for five of our brothers celebrating 25 years of membership. Over 30 Phi Delt chapters were represented among the undergraduates and alumni in attendance, reflecting the diverse and transient nature of the area’s population.
A few representatives from General Headquarters were also on hand for the event including Andrew Cole, Hanover Phi Delta Theta Foundation’s Director of Development, expansion consultant Andrew Carlson, Syracuse and Melanie Clayton, Director of Insurance and Safety. We appreciate all their efforts to coordinate and support this year’s event.
Thanks to all for attending and a special congratulations to the 2015 members of Phi Delta Theta’s Silver Legion.
2015 Silver Legionnaire recipients (L-R):
Robert Klause, Widener, Joe Martini, San Jose State,
James Rather, Virginia Tech, Mark Snyder, San Jose State,
Charles Fowler, Michigan
(Not pictured: William Turanchick, Akron)
— Seth A. (@sethguidry) March 27, 2015
*Special thanks to Bob Sutton, MIT ’73 for contributing to this post.
Phi Delta Theta is coming to Washington, DC during its fourth “Phi Delt Weekend” of 2015. In addition to educational programing for undergraduates and advisers, Phi Delta Theta will be hosting an alumni reception for Phis and guests in the area on Thursday, March 26 at P.J. Clarke’s (Sidecar).
All area Phis are invited to attend a business casual reception to reconnect with local Phi Delts and friends, facilitate brotherhood in the region and to inform our alumni about the Fraternity today. Also, in partnership with the Washington, DC Area Alumni Club, we will be celebrating Founders Day including Gold and Silver Legionnaire Ceremonies commemorating Phis with 50 years and 25 years of membership respectively.
WHERE: P.J. Clarke’s (Sidecar), 1600 K Street NW, Washington, DC
WHO: All area Phis and guests
WHEN: Thursday, March 26, 2015 – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Please RSVP via Eventbrite by Sunday, March 22. Registration is free.
The Fraternity will be hosting hors d’oeuvres in the Sidecar room (cash bar available).
If you have questions about the event, please e-mail Andrew Cole at the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.
We hope to see you!
Learn more about “2015 Phi Delt Weekends.”
Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity has closely monitored the recent developments at the University of Virginia stemming from Rolling Stone’s “A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice” story. The subject matter and continuing conversation around sexual assault and rape is of utmost importance to Phi Delta Theta, and the Fraternity fully believes that its Virginia Beta Chapter at the University of Virginia is comprised of young men who can be a valuable part of the solution on campus.
Phi Delta Theta is opposed to the University of Virginia’s approach of suspending Greek social activities as it has infringed on the Fraternity’s First Amendment freedom of association rights and existing operating agreements on campus. Further, as the University of Virginia develops a new Fraternity Operating Agreement, Phi Delta Theta does not support negotiations until the suspension is removed.
Phi Delta Theta understands its duty of cultivating responsible young men on college campuses and takes great pride in its progressive leadership within the Greek community on an international stage. Nearly 15 years ago, Phi Delta Theta implemented its Alcohol-Free Housing policy, a policy that has both championed responsible behavior and resulted in safer environments for our members and their guests. Phi Delta Theta knows that alcohol is oftentimes a main contributor to the sexual assault and rape issues that exist on college campuses, and the Fraternity remains steadfast in developing its chapters in a way that makes them valuable assets to the campuses and communities where they exist.
Source: Phi Delta Theta Fraternity
Brother Gary Williams, Maryland ’68, former head coach of the University of Maryland men’s basketball team (1989-2011) was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame this past weekend at the 2014 Enshrinement Ceremony in Springfield, MA.
Williams was one of ten in the 2014 class of honorees including Nolan Richardson, Mitch Richmond, Bob Leonard, Guy Rodgers, Nat Clifton, Sarunas Marciulionis, Alonzo Mourning, David Stern and Immaculata University.
— The Baltimore Sun (@baltimoresun) August 9, 2014
Gary’s first job coaching basketball at the college level was as an assistant coach at Lafayette College. The position also required that he serve as head coach of the soccer team, a one year post that he ended up holding for six years. Upon reflection about his team’s performance on the pitch, Gary said, “People ask me how I did as a soccer coach. Let me just say this… the Soccer Hall of Fame hasn’t called yet.”
He went on to be the head basketball coach at American University, Boston College and Ohio State University before returning to his alma mater in 1989 at the University of Maryland where he once played as a starting point guard and was team captain in 1967.
According to the umterps website, during Gary’s coaching career at Maryland, he led the “basketball program from a period of troubled times to an era of national prominence.”
With 14 NCAA Tournament berths in the last 17 seasons, seven Sweet Sixteen appearances, a pair of consecutive Final Four showings, and the 2002 National Championship – the first of its kind in Maryland basketball history – Williams and his staff have literally forged what is now more than a decade of dominance in college basketball’s most storied and competitive conference.
After leading the Terrapins to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season title in 2010, Williams was voted the league’s Coach of the Year by the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association. It was his second such award, as he was also honored in 2002.
Now with 442 victories as Maryland’s head coach, Williams stands as the Terrapins all-time winningest head basketball coach. He passed Charles “Lefty” Driesell, who amassed 348 victories in 18 seasons from 1969 to 1986. The Terrapins have averaged 22.6 wins per year since the 1994-95 season.
With 649 career victories in 32 seasons overall, Williams is the 5th-winningest active head coach in NCAA Division I men’s basketball.
Watch the full acceptance speech here:
Today, Williams is a college basketball analyst for the Big Ten Network and can be heard regularly on ESPN 980‘s “The Sports Fix” program.
Gary Williams savors entry into Naismith Hall of Fame
Boston Herald, 8/10/14
Williams, Zo shared common ground
Washington Post, 8/8/14
Gary Williams reflects on enshrinement into Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
The Baltimore Sun, 8/8/14
Entry into Naismith Hall of Fame ‘validates’ Gary Williams’ coaching career
Fox News, Associated Press, 8/6/14
On Friday, March 14, 2014, several members of Phi Delta Theta and guests gathered at Gordon Biersch in Washington, DC to celebrate Founders Day.
Although the fraternity was officially founded on December 26, 1848 on the campus of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, we celebrate Founders Day on March 15th each year in honor of Founding Father Robert Morrison’s birthday.
A variety of chapters were represented including Akron, Gettysburg, Virginia Tech, MIT, Lawrence, Maryland, Whitman, Missouri State, Shippensburg, Clemson, OIT, Cincinnati and Widener among others. Thanks to all those who attended.
Happy Birthday, Brother Morrison!
More events and opportunities to get involved are coming soon. Stay tuned!
By Christopher A. Lapple – President, Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity
The Dark Power of Fraternities, written on February 19 by Caitlin Flanagan of The Atlantic, caught the attention of the leadership and general membership of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity. While we are very aware of the issues that remain within the walls of fraternities, specifically alcohol-abuse and hazing, Phi Delta Theta and its bold leadership has long been making tough decisions to address them.
No parent, who has the highest hopes when their son or daughter attends college, entering the prime of their life with every good experience yet to come, should have to bury a child. Having said this, society today has become less tolerant of the behavior referenced in the article, especially when it leads to the unthinkable. Understandably, rare instances of death, injury and stereotypical behavior will always make the front page. However, it is unfortunate that positive stories about community service, philanthropy and acts of brotherhood that occur every day are either overshadowed by the bigger, more sensational story or ignored altogether.
Phi Delta Theta introduced an Alcohol Free Housing policy in 1997 with these growing concerns in mind. There was a three-year phase-in period and an implementation of the full policy on July 1, 2000. When this policy was introduced, many skeptics believed that this was the end of our organization. Many predicted the organization’s doom in five years. However, today I’m proud to report that the policy is having a tremendously positive impact, disproving our naysayers, and placing Phi Delta Theta in a much better state today than prior to this groundbreaking decision.
In the early 90s, Phi Delta Theta experienced two undergraduate member deaths. Such moments were incredibly troubling for my predecessors on our Board and they understood that they needed to tackle an issue that was bigger than just Phi Delta Theta. Their solution was to return to the values established by our Founders in 1848 and focus on the Fraternity’s three Cardinal Principles: Friendship – the cultivation of friendship among members, Sound Learning – the acquirement individually of a high degree of mental culture, and Rectitude – the attainment personally of a high standard of morality.
As Phi Delta Theta chapters and its members drifted away from the Fraternity’s true purpose and the vision of our Founders, and upon reflection of our Cardinal Principles, it pointed to a need to realign the organization’s values and actions. Such realignment occurred with the help of Alcohol Free Housing.
Once the organization’s leadership made the decision to move forward, seven goals were established alongside the institution of the Alcohol Free Housing policy: 1) return the focus to our founding principles, 2) combat an alcohol-dominated culture, 3) improve members’ academic performance, 4) stop the deterioration of chapter facilities, 5) slow the rising cost of liability insurance, 6) meet the needs of today’s college students with substantial programming and leadership education, 7) reengage our alumni members.
The return to our core values and the implementation of Alcohol Free Housing has produced overwhelmingly positive results for Phi Delta Theta and the 188 campuses where we exist. We have discovered that many students seek a values-based experience from their fraternity. From 2000, when the policy was fully implemented by all of our chapters until today, we’ve experienced a 41.37% increase in the number of new members who join our organization each year. Our total number of undergraduate members has increased 38.64%.
From a competitive standpoint, our average chapter size is 64 members, the second highest among all fraternities and up from 49 in 2000. The national average hovers around the low to mid 40s. From a chapter growth perspective, we have installed or reinstated 64 chapters since 2000. During the 2012-13 academic year, we installed eight new groups with an average size of 45 new members. We are on pace to do this again in 2013-14.
Sound learning has also improved as the organization’s collective GPA is at 3.01, up from 2.73 in 2000. In addition, our members are making smarter decisions outside of the classroom that keep themselves and their brothers safe from high-risk events. The best way to measure this success is by evaluating the number of incidents that might manifest themselves into insurance claims. We averaged 12.3 alcohol-related insurance claims per year prior to 2000 with an average annual payout of $413,378. Today, we average 4.9 claims a year with an average annual payout of $23,877. The average number of annual claims has decreased 60.5% and the severity of payout has decreased 94.2%. Because of this, our liability insurance costs have dropped substantially, thereby, offering a much more affordable and safer experience to our members. Today, the average per member insurance rate for fraternities is approximately $160 per member; our rate is less than half that at $74 per member.
Our alumni have quickly noticed the difference in our organization and have returned to be involved as advisers and mentors. In 2000, we had approximately 200 advisers. Today, we have 885, a 342.5% increase. Because of the positive effects of Alcohol Free Housing, alumni are more comfortable providing both their time and treasure. Additionally, alumni giving is at an all-time high. In 1990, our Foundation raised just over $494,000; in 2000, just over $1.08 million. This past year, $3.65 million was raised to provide valuable educational programs and financial assistance to our members in the form of undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships.
More than anything, I believe that by removing alcohol from our facilities, we have been able to focus on things that make us a better organization. While we concentrate a great deal on risk management education, our volunteers and staff no longer regularly focus on incidents involving alcohol. We are now able to broaden our focus to other progressive programming for our members.
While we will be the first to admit that we are certainly not perfect, we are extremely confident about our direction, decisions, and leadership, and we remain committed to tackling the tough issues that currently face our organization and our members. Most importantly, we are proud of our members and their support in helping our Fraternity become the greatest version of itself.
This article is cross-posted on the Phi Delta Theta blog
Celebrate Founders Day at Gordon Biersch – March 2014
March 14, 2014 – Join us as we celebrate Founders Day and Robert Morrison’s birthday! Let’s get together at Gordon Biersch on Friday, March 14th at 6 PM to honor Brother Morrison. Though Founders Day is actually March 15, we thought that Friday would be a perfect time for Phis in the Washington, DC area to gather again to share stories, strengthen friendships, and meet brothers from across the country currently living and working in the Nation’s Capital.
Please RSVP and help us spread the word by forwarding this invite any local Phi Delts!
This event is free but please RSVP so we can get an accurate headcount!
Phi Delta Theta 80th Biennial Convention, Las Vegas, Nevada
June 19-22, 2014 – Hundreds of Phis will gather at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 80th Biennial General Convention. The Biennial Convention offers Phis of all ages from many parts of the world a unique opportunity to meet in the true spirit of the Bond. Since 1880, the General Convention has held all supreme and legislative powers of the Fraternity.
Gary Swart, Maryland, is an American technology executive best known for being the CEO of oDesk, the world’s largest online workplace. oDesk enables businesses and freelancers to work together on demand via the Internet. After joining oDesk, Swart drove the company’s business strategy, including new pricing that helped oDesk surpass competition and establish market dominance.
Swart received his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland, College Park. He began his career in sales, leading corporate sales at Pure Software and Rational Software. From 2003-2004, he was a business unit executive for small and medium business sales for the Americas at IBM’s Rational Software Product Group. In 2004, he became VP of Worldwide Sales at Intellibank, where he was responsible for leading the sales organization.
Swart joined oDesk as Chief Executive Officer in September 2005. Under his leadership, oDesk has grown to millions of registered freelancers working for businesses around the world. More than 35M hours were worked on oDesk in 2012, resulting in $360M in gross services and 60% year-over-year growth in hours billed.
Also under Swart’s leadership, oDesk implemented staffing for the company internally that heavily incorporates freelancers working on oDesk’s own platform — for every internal employee in the company’s headquarters, there are approximately three “full-time equivalent” team members working for oDesk in their online workplace.
Swart is a mentor to entrepreneurs and students, and frequently speaks to these groups about the challenges growing businesses face.In 2012 alone, Swart gave more than 30 talks to universities, incubators and other organizations fostering entrepreneurship.
As the CEO of oDesk, Swart is also a thought leader in the future of work, how best to hire and manage teams, and the rise of the “freelance economy.” He has spoken at the Inc. Leadership Conference, The Economist’s Ideas Economy panel, South by Southwest, TechCrunch 50, GigaOM Net:Work, and at Harvard Business School which teaches a case study on oDesk.
His commentary has appeared in a variety of publications including LinkedIn, Forbes,TechCrunch, and The Washington Post. He has also appeared on numerous TV and radio shows, including CNBC, BBC, Bloomberg Television, NPR, and the Fox Business Network.
Follow Gary on Twitter: @garyswart
This is cross-posted from Phi Delta Theta’s website where Brother Smart was listed among a number of other impressive Phi Delts on the Road to Greatness.