Higher Education Stalwart and 15th National President Ronald Roskens Enters Chapter Eternal

Published on March 3, 2022 in News

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA – Sigma Tau Gamma Headquarters has learned that 15th National President and Society of the Seventeen Inductee Ronald Roskens, Northern Iowa ’54, entered Chapter Eternal on Sunday, February 27, 2022.

Ron was initiated into the Alpha Eta Chapter in 1951 at Northern Iowa. After earning his Bachelor of Arts degree, he continued his education, earning his Master of Arts and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

A self-described “Green Country Boy,” Ron credits growing up on a farm in Iowa for his determination and work ethic. Early in his career, he took a position as Dean of Men at Kent State University and met Brother and 18th National President Paul Pfeiffer, IU Pennsylvania ’35. Among his fond memories is working with Brother Pfeiffer to convince Stan Musial to become a member of Sigma Tau Gamma.

Ron was elected to the Sigma Tau Gamma Board of Directors in 1962 and served as National President from 1968 to 1970, overseeing the Golden Anniversary Conclave. He transitioned to the Foundation Board of Trustees from 1974 to 1980 and was one of the first brothers inducted into the Society of the Seventeen.

Ron had one of the most distinguished careers in higher education. He became Chancellor of the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1972 and later transitioned to President of the University of Nebraska system in 1977, a position he served in until 1989. In 1990, he was appointed as administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development from 1990 to 1992 under the United States President George H. W. Bush, developing a close relationship with Japan. In 2010, he was recognized with the Order of the Rising Sun Award from the Emperor of Japan, the highest recognition the country of Japan can give to a foreign national.

He was incredibility influential for many brothers, including CEO Emeritus William “Bill” Bernier, Kent State, and Foundation Trustee Emeritus Robert “Bob” Bernier, Kent State; both now Society of the Seventeen inductees. 

“Ron was in large measure responsible for bringing Bob and me into Sigma Tau Gamma. Our dad was opposed to us joining a college fraternity until he met Ron Roskens. Then he became an advocate. Ron mentored us and countless others during an exemplary higher education career. He was a dedicated husband, father, and grandfather,” CEO Emeritus Bill Bernier said.

20th National President and Society of the Seventeen Chairman Buz Barlow, UW – Oshkosh, echoed many similar sentiments. 

“Ron Roskens was an iconic and indispensable part of Sigma Tau Gamma’s national leadership during the turbulent 1960s. He was a tall Iowan with a distinguished presence, and he had a one-of-a-kind ability to communicate thoughts and ideas through an unrivaled command of the written and spoken word. Whether as the longest-serving President of the University of Nebraska, a valued Presidential appointee based in Washington, or an NIC award recipient, Ron was always especially proud to declare his noble roots as a fraternity man… specifically a Sig Tau fraternity man.”



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 70 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 https://sigtau.org for additional information.