Communications Award Namesake Transitions to Honor Bernier Family Legacy
INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Sigma Tau Gamma Headquarters is excited to announce the namesake of the national communication award is evolving. The E. Kennedy Whitesitt Communication Award, beginning in 2021, will now be the Bernier Family Communication Award.
The Bernier family has cemented a legacy that will forever have an impact on Sig Tau.
Robert “Bob” Bernier, Kent State, was a Refounding Father of the Iota Chapter at Kent State University in 1970 and served as Iota Chapter President. Upon graduation, he joined the Fraternity Staff as Assistant Executive Director and served in this role for two years. Bob also served as the Volunteer Editor of the SAGA Magazine from 1973 – 1984. During this time, he became the first member of Sigma Tau Gamma to lead an inter-fraternal organization when he was elected President of the College Fraternity Editors Association in 1980. Bob was the 1976 recipient of the Winebrenner Distinguished Fraternity Service Award, served on the Foundation Board of Trustees, and was inducted into the Society of the Seventeen in 2002.
William “Bill” Bernier, Kent State, was also initiated in 1970 into the Iota Chapter at Kent State and attended his first national conference that same year. Three short years later, in 1973, Bill was named Executive Director (now Chief Executive Officer) of Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity and Sigma Tau Gamma Foundation and faithfully served in that position for 42 years. Retiring as Sig Tau’s fifth Chief Executive Officer in 2014, 51 new chapters were installed during his tenure, and 35,000 new brothers were initiated.
He is a past president of the Fraternity Executives Association, recipient of the Marvin Millsap Distinguished Foundation Service Medal in 1982, recipient of the Winebrenner Distinguished Fraternity Service Award in 1994, and was inducted into the Society of the Seventeen in 1995. He was also recognized by the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) with the NIC Gold Medal.
“We feel privileged to have our name connected to the fraternity communications award,” Bill said. “We know from our labors that success in communications is the result of skill and hard work by dedicated brothers who care about the success of Sig Tau. It is our honor to be connected to an award that recognizes their efforts.”
Since its inception in 1966 at the 22nd Grand Conclave in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the communication award has been consistently given to chapters. In its inaugural year, the Beta Chapter at Truman State received the E.K. Whitesitt Chapter Newsletter Award. Then, the award recognized the best chapter newsletter. Today, the Bernier Family Communication Award recognizes chapters with the most impressive communication strategy, including using the Sig Tau brand and utilizing printed materials and social media pages to positively tell their chapter’s story to the community at large.
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 75 campuses from coast to coast, our membership includes more than 2,700 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.