Phi Kappa Tau chapter recognized as the best in the nation
July 28, 2011 By Elizabeth Trollinger
national councillor for Phi Kappa Tau), Wood Smith '14, Jim
Ransdell '12 and Jordan Fitch '12 with the Maxwell Award,
given to Centre's chapter for being the best in the nation.
“I'm proud to be part of an organization that consistently lives
up to its values and has fun doing it,” says Jordan Fitch '12,
president of the Delta chapter of Phi Kappa Tau.
Centre College’s five fraternities and four sororities have a longstanding tradition of service, community and leadership. Recently, the Delta chapter of Phi Kappa Tau received the Maxwell Award, presented annually to the best Phi Kappa Tau chapter in the nation.
The Delta chapter of Phi Kappa Tau is no stranger to winning the Maxwell Award — the Centre chapter has received the award five times since 2000. Still, members of the fraternity value the award and what it means for them as a campus organization.
“The honor of the Maxwell Award only gives our chapter more momentum towards excellence in the coming year,” says Jordan Fitch ’12, Delta chapter president. “After a strong year of recruitment with 26 men initiated, we have a renewed energy in our chapter that we knew would help us grow in the right direction.”
Along with the Maxwell Award, presented at the Phi Kappa Tau bi-annual conclave at the fraternity’s founding location in Oxford, Ohio, the Delta chapter was also recognized for excellence in academics, administration, chapter-produced newsletters and alumni programming as well as an outstanding alumni advisory board.
Patrick Noltemeyer, associate dean and director of community service and the Bonner Program, was honored with the Dr. Edgar Ewing Brandon Award, presented to the chapter adviser who has shown outstanding service to the fraternity. But for Noltemeyer, no award speaks as loudly as the actions of the fraternity brothers themselves.
“The Delta chapter demonstrates a balanced commitment to excellence. The undergraduate fraternity brothers have spent many hours serving with local agencies in an effort to meet needs in our community,” Noltemeyer says. “Their dedication to excellence and diverse membership has earned them national recognition. I am proud to be an alumni member of the Delta Chapter and to have the chance to support their efforts as chapter adviser.”
Award season started early for the Delta chapter, when Wood Smith ’14 won the John Cosgrove Spirit and Leadership Award at the fraternity’s leadership academy in Indianapolis during the first week of July.
“The Cosgrove award serves as a reminder of my potential as a member of Phi Kappa Tau,” Wood says. “It was the final push towards helping me realize that I sincerely want to use my standing as an initiate of Phi Kappa Tau to better the community.”
Winning such prestigious awards is meaningful to the members of Phi Kappa Tau, but nothing is more important to them than the brotherhood itself.
“Although Delta welcomes national recognition, the chapter's main commitment is to the brothers,” says Jeffrey Kaplan ’12.
Smith agrees, noting that the diversity of the Delta chapter is what brings them together.
“There's nothing more fulfilling than knowing that where you fail, someone else excels, and together you can maybe make a difference in at least one person's life,” he says.
For Fitch, the combination of service to the community and creating bonds with his peers has made being a member of Phi Kappa Tau an unrivaled experience.
“Phi Tau has provided me the chance to be a part of something bigger than myself — getting to know the brotherhood on campus and alumni around the nation has been my favorite part of being in this organization,” he says. “I'm proud to be part of an organization that consistently lives up to our values, and has fun doing it.”
National recognition will not change Phi Kappa Tau’s focus on service and brotherhood at Centre.
“Knowing you made a difference in the community or even the world via roadside cleanup or fundraising for curing kids' cancer because you were able to take part in something bigger than yourself is what pushes each individual brother to contribute to Phi Tau,” Smith says. “And that's what it's all about.”
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Forbes magazine ranks Centre 24th among all the nation's colleges and universities and has named Centre No. 1 among all institutions of higher education in the South for two years in a row. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, click here.