A Historic Weekend in Kansas City

Published on July 15, 2022 in News

Alumni brothers, undergraduate brothers, and friends of Sig Tau traveled far and wide, gathering in Kansas City, Missouri, for Grand Conclave Kansas City. What turned out to be a historic meeting, hundreds of brothers learned more about our history, passed important legislation, and celebrated over 100 years of Sigma Tau Gamma.

Day One

The weekend began with the opening of the 49th House of Delegates, officially opening for legislative business for the first time since 2018. 40th National President Jim Johnston, Carnegie Mellon, presided over the meeting, walking attendees through what they should expect over the next few days and giving an official welcome to Kansas City.

After spending the afternoon together as the House of Delegates opened, attendees made their way to the Barney Allis Plaza for the Welcome to Kansas City ReceptionFamous Jack Stack Barbecue was served, along with special appearances by Slugger, the Kansas City Royals mascot; K.C. Wolf, the mascot of the Kansas City Chiefs; and the Chiefs Rumble, the official drumline seen on Sunday’s pumping up the Kansas City Chiefs.

Day one concluded in the historic Barney Allis Lobby at the Kansas City Marriott for the House of Trotter Donor Recognition Reception. This reception was unique because several national awards were given out, including two Principle Awards. The Principle of Leadership was awarded to Brother Andrew R. Youngstrom, Michigan Tech., and the Principle of Citizenship Award was presented to Brother Clay J. Miller, Youngstown State. Both brothers talked about the impact the Sig Tau Foundation has had on them and their chapters.

Day Two

The House of Delegates focused on passing multiple pieces of legislation and on electing the 2022 – 2024 Fraternity Board of Directors, including the next President-Elect. After candidate forums, discussion, and tallying the votes, Brother Mike Van Camp, Indiana State, was selected as the next President-Elect of Sigma Tau Gamma. After the President-Elect elections, the House of Delegates voted for the remaining at large positions on the Board of Directors. Brothers Jeremiah King, Missouri S&T; John Barger, Murray State; Christian Ely, Southern Indiana; and Erik Kahl, UW – La Crosse, were all elected. A new Ritual of Initiation was also passed, along with an updated academic policy and a new emergency virtual meeting policy.

Outside the House of Delegates, the Service track spent most of Friday serving the Kansas City Community. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity, nearly 50 brothers helped build houses, clean up properties, and organize materials, displaying the Principle of Citizenship.

The Chapter Recognition lunch was also held on Friday, with many chapters taking home recognition for the efforts. Brothers Bob Bernier, Kent State, and CEO Emeritus Bill Bernier, Kent State, were in attendance to present the Bernier Family Communication Award. This was the first time this award had been presented at a Conclave, and was an exciting experience for all involved.

Friday afternoon, attendees headed to the World War I Museum & Memorial in Kansas City. The Eternal Light Ceremony was held there as everyone overlooked Kansas City and shared stories of brothers who departed. Everyone then received a private tour of the museum. With multiple Founders of Sigma Tau Gamma serving as veterans of World War I, our brotherhood got a clearer understanding of the conditions our founders faced as they began to create the foundations for this great Fraternity.

The final day of Grand Conclave began with Ritual Exemplification to show our undergraduate brothers the proper way to practice our newly passed Ritual. A surprise was unveiled as three descendants of Founder Rodney Herndon were initiated. John Herndon, Dave Herndon, and Matt Herndon are now all initiated brothers of Sig Tau. Matt Herndon is the great-grandson of Founder Rodney Herndon. Dave Herndon is the grandson of Founder Herndon, and John Herndon is another grandson of Founder Herndon.

The regional lunch was filled with spotlighting the new regional structure, handing out more national recognition, and presenting Special Olympics with a check from chapters philanthropic efforts.

The House of Delegates met one final time for the closing ceremony and installation of the newly elected Fraternity Board of Directors. The evening concluded with the Chain of Honor Centennial Gala. National White Rose Recipient Shelby Ebert, Emporia State, was pinned and serenaded by the members in attendance; Brother Scott Troester, Truman State, was chosen as the newest member of the Society of the Seventeen, and 7th CEO Vanessa Ryan, Alpha Gamma Delta, was given the Winebrenner Distinguished Fraternity Service Award. A special gift was also presented to Vanessa as Wendy Bernier gave her White Rose Pin to Ryan for her outstanding leadership over the last four years. CEO Emeritus Bill Bernier, Kent State; Society of the Seventeen Inductee Michael Schermer, Illinois State; and one of our newest initiates Steven Vogel, Southeastern Louisiana; all gave “toasts” to Sig Tau, celebrating our Centennial and the true meaning of 100 years of brotherhood.

Grand Conclave Kansas City was indeed a historic meeting. Initiating three descendants of a Founder, passing a new Ritual of Initiation, honoring the Centennial, and feeling the camaraderie of brotherhood once again, everyone left Sunday feeling proud of this organization and excited for the future of Sig Tau.

Listed below are the 2022 national award recipients. These individuals and chapters will now forever be tied to these accomplishments. Congratulations to all deserving individuals and chapters.

Chapter Awards

  • W.T. “Bill” Hembree Campus Leadership Award
    • Zeta Chapter, Northeastern State
    • Zeta Pi Chapter, Arizona 
    • Beta Alpha Chapter, Missouri 
  • Robert N. Jones Charitable Projects Award
    • Chi Chapter, Western Michigan
    • Epsilon Tau Chapter, UNC Charlotte 
    • Epsilon Phi Chapter, Alabama 
  • Bernier Family Communication Award
    • Chi Chapter, Western Michigan
    • Epsilon Tau Chapter, UNC Charlotte 
    • Beta Alpha Chapter, Missouri 
  • Thomas M. Hutsell Chapter Efficiency Award
    • Gamma Phi Chapter, Southern Indiana
    • Zeta Beta Chapter, Cincinnati
    • Epsilon Phi Chapter, Alabama
  • J. Gregory Rumpf Recruitment and Growth Award
    • Chi Chapter, Western Michigan 
    • Zeta Pi Chapter, Arizona
    • Zeta Omicron Chapter, Michigan State
  • Michael Schermer & Doug Lichtenberger Foundation Advocate Award
    • Kappa Chapter, UW – Whitewater
    • Zeta Beta Chapter, Cincinnati
    • Zeta Psi Chapter, Colorado
  • Ronald W. Erickson Alumni Engagement Award
    • Phi Chapter, Southeastern Louisiana
    • Alpha Omega Chapter, Missouri S&T 
    • Epsilon Phi Chapter, Alabama 
  • Edward H. McCune Distinguished Chapter Award
    • Delta Chapter, Emporia State
    • Zeta Pi Chapter, Arizona 
    • Epsilon Phi Chapter, Alabama
  • Dr. Emmett Ellis Chapter Scholarship Award
    • Beta Chi Chapter, Nebraska Kearney 
    • Epsilon Omicron Chapter, Monmouth 
    • Epsilon Upsilon Chapter, Virginia Tech.
  • Earl A. Webb Most Improved Chapter
    • Beta Xi Chapter, Winona State
    • Zeta Pi Chapter, Arizona 
    • Beta Alpha Chapter, Missouri

Individual Awards 

  • Winebrenner Distinguished Fraternity Service Award
    • Scott Troester, Truman State
    • Douglas Haman, Miami 
    • Vanessa Ryan, Alpha Gamma Delta
  • Marvin Millsap Distinguished Foundation Service Medal
    • Jeff S. Russo, Carnegie Mellon
    • Shawn Kelly, UW – River Falls
  • Barlow Medal for Distinguished Service to the WPN Housing Corporation
    • W.P. “Buz” Barlow Jr., UW – Oshkosh
  • Stan Musial and Eric Hillman Sportsmanship Award
    • Nicholas D. Kerkhoff, Carroll
  • Distinguished Interfraternal Leadership Award
    • Abbi Hanson Allen, Virginia Tech. 
  • Ted and Theresa Priem Undergraduate Scholarship
    • Kenneth Buckley, Robert Morris
  • Michael J. Steinbeck Graduate Fellowship
    • Josiah D’Albini, Emporia State
  • Professor O.F. Grubbs Advisor of the Year Award
    • John B. Barger, Murray State
  • Society of the Seventeen Inductee
    • Scott Troester, Truman State
  • Principle of Learning
    • Jonas M. McCaffery, Missouri
  • Principle of Integrity Award
    • Matias J. Vildosola, UNC Charlotte
  • Principle of Excellence
    • Owen M. Ballard, Southern Indiana
  • Principle of Leadership
    • Andrew R. Youngstrom, Michigan Tech.
  • Principle of Citizenship
    • Clay J. Miller, Youngstown State
  • Principle of Brotherhood
    • Joshua R. Combs, Pittsburg State
  • Ellsworth C. Dent Man of the Year Award
    • Nathan A. Yamaguchi, Alabama
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award
    • Norbert S. Hill, UW-Oshkosh 
  • 2021 – 2022 Noble Man Hall of Fame
    • Ryan Helms, UNC Charlotte
    • Truman Lauck, Nebraska Kearney
    • Peter J. Marra, Carroll
    • Brock R. Sherwin, Northeastern State
    • Nathan A. Yamaguchi, Alabama
    • Andrew R. Youngstrom, Michigan Tech.

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ABOUT SIGMA TAU GAMMA FRATERNITY

Founded at the University of Central Missouri on June 28, 1920, Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity celebrated 100 years of brotherhood in 2020. In the last 100 years, the organization has called 197 campuses home and has more than 73,000 initiated members. With a current presence on 62 campuses from coast to coast, our membership includes nearly 2,500 undergraduate men. The Headquarters, which is home to the Fraternity, Foundation, and WPN Housing Company, is located in Indianapolis, Indiana. Visit http://sigtau.org for additional information.