Realizing the need for better coordination in its fundraising efforts, the Supreme Council on behalf of the Fraternity entered into a partnership with Affinity Connections, Inc. a firm that specialized in alumni relations. Affinity in the coming years would be responsible, amongst other things, for the Fraternity’s public facing website, donor database, mailers and direct marketing campaigns, and working with undergraduate chapters for the creation of content. One visible change was that the STAR, the Fraternity’s esoteric newsletter, would become an electronic publication sent to members with an email address. This version of the STAR would be dubbed the e-STAR and would be sent out monthly on a regular basis in the years to come.
On the expansion front, 2010 was dominated by our efforts at Wright State University. The Interest Group founded by two students, pressed forward despite Wright State’s opposition to expansion on their campus. Their efforts proved successful when on August 14 the group became the Beta-Zeta Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta our second foray into the state of Ohio. The founding members were Jacob A. Durdel, Dakota R. Kuhn, Benjamin K. Mahoney, Joshua A. Matthew-Martinez, Michael T. Morrison, Michael A. Watkins, and William P. Yokum.
The 2011 Thirty-Ninth General Convention was held in the Minneapolis area. The Convention Chairman was future Central Province Councilor Casey Fuhrmann. A talk on the Interstate 35 bridge collapse by the former Deputy Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Transportation was delivered to the delegates. This convention would have far reaching implications for provinces and Alumni Chapters. Nine years earlier, via an email ballot vote the General Convention stripped the outmoded layer of bureaucracy created by having Provinces that had their own by-laws, officers, and budgets. The necessity of having a more local organizational structure was deemed unnecessary given the advances in telecommunication. Continuing with this line of thought, the Thirty-Ninth General Convention made Province Conventions voluntary in the even years when no regular session of the General Convention was held. Chapters in a province would have to opt-in as a group and decide whether a
Province Convention was necessary. Recent expansion trips had caused Chapters in a province to interact with each other more. Chapters were conducting more visits with each other. The fellowship and knowledge sharing that typically occurred during Province Conventions was happening more organically. Since Province Conventions were now optional, elections for Province Councilors would be conducted via email ballot.
The topic of Alumni Chapter dues was also discussed. Treasurer Jon Wiegand shared that payment of Alumni Chapter Dues amongst most of the Alumni Chapters was sporadic at best. Many chapters found it hard to find a stable base of alumni who could pay local dues which in turn would be paid to the International Office in the form of the yearly Alumni Chapter Dues payment ($400 at the time). This left little money for their own activities and was proving to be a significant hurdle for the starting of new Alumni Chapters. Amongst the Alumni Chapters present (Delta, Eta, Kappa, Omega) these Alumni Chapters were fine with removing their reimbursement to General Convention and using the money saved to just set aside funds to send Alumni delegates to future General Conventions. After a lively discussion, Alumni Chapter Dues were set to $0.00 indefinitely.
In August 2011 Sigma Phi Delta partnered with Capital One to issue a Sigma Phi Delta credit card that came in three designs. A percentage of spending on the credit card would be donated to the International Office along with a flat donation for each new sign-up. This program would last until 2014.
In November, an email ballot was sent to the General Convention to consider a motion that was tabled for further refinement during the Thirty-Eighth General Convention. Continuing with the trend to outsource more manual elements of the Fraternity’s operations, the Supreme Council decided to partner with Greek Capital Management for the collection of membership dues, pledge fees, and activation fees. Additionally the firm could help chapters with budgeting and filing taxes. A dues increase of $10 was enacted to cover the program, with the Supreme Council subsidizing the rest. All chapters would begin using Greek Capital Management for the payment of dues beginning in the spring semester.
The winter of 2012 had two bright spots in February. Continuing efforts that began the previous years, the Fraternity welcomed two new chapters within a week of each other over successive weekends. Beta-Eta Chapter at Stony Brook University was started when an interested student contacted Omega Chapter. Counted among its founding members were Mohammed J. Ahmed, Armen G. Bandikian, Arthur Bangiyev, Jean Olivier Brutus, Jignesh Daniels, Abir Deb, Fabrice L. Guillaume, Ricardo Martinez, Vishnu K. Rajan, Brett D. Schuler, Jacob O. Spiegel, Emaj Uddin, and Kevin Yeh.
Beta-Theta Chapter at James Madison University was started via a student who contacted Grand President Steven Weiss. Despite some initial hesitation by the faculty, Beta-Theta’s founding class was initiated: Nic R. Acton, Tony Battu, Anthony G. Bonadies, Evan E. Bowen, Tim B. Eisenhardt, Grant K. Haskins, Armand N. Jennings, Bobby J. Kostinas, John A. LeMaire, Matthew W. Mooers, Bryan B. Morrison, Jason L. Nembhard, Jordan M. Pappas, Jared S. Price, John D. Quakenbush, and Arniko K. Singh. Both Chapters would come to rely on the support network of newer East Coast chapters.
Also in February, Treasurer Jon Wiegand stepped down and Brother Jeff Masters of Delta Chapter was appointed to replace him. Brother Wiegand had the unenviable task of picking up the pieces that were left him and setting the Fraternity’s books and accounts in order after the officer reshuffling in 2006. He was instrumental in applying standard accounting practices to the finances of the Fraternity.
The summer brought Beta-Iota Chapter at the University of Maryland. Grand Vice President Weiss was initially contacted by an interested student and the resulting Interest Group had the support of the local A.O.E. chapter. Founding members consisted of Quinn T. Borkey, Nathan V Caspar, Gregory Cheng, William D. Dunham, James T. Galatola, Patrick C. Gunson, Brandon S. Lee, Charles N. Lu, Richard J. Petrey, Adam A. Tajalli, and Shane G. Vetter. For the first time in a long time, the number of Active Chapters equaled the number of Inactive Chapters with sixteen a piece.
To accommodate the growing number of chapters on the east coast (three in the past year), Kappa and Beta-Zeta Chapters were moved to the Central Province in June during the Supreme Council’s annual Face-to-Face meeting in Austin, Texas. At that meeting, the Supreme Council instituted the tradition of meeting up with local alumni in the area for a night of dinner and fellowship, filling them in on what the Fraternity was up to. The Face-to-Face meeting was also remarkable because the first discussions on writing what would become the Fraternity’s strategic plan, were had.
Beta-Kappa Chapter at Lehigh University in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania followed in February 2013. Initial contact was made from a student who learned about Sigma Phi Delta from its Wikipedia entry. This interested member also attended the Eastern Province Retreat in the summer of 2012. Founding members of Beta-Kappa Chapter included Michael P. Altonji, Thomas J. Brogan, Kerem E. Calay, Robert L Hergüner, Edgar Macuil, Raphael (Rafi) S. Mills, Tyler Q. Moon, Andrew J. Papazian, Jameson Petrchko, Brian Jonas Reed, Nicholas G. Schan, Rodrigue T. Somda, and Nicholas A. Tashjian.
In April, Executive Secretary Ian Santarinala collected and refined the ideas discussed during the previous year’s Face-to-Face meeting and finalized the Fraternity’s Strategic Plan entitled “Plan for Building a Better Fraternity”. Within it a ten year plan was outlined that would take the Fraternity to its centennial celebration in 2024. Eight pillars were outlined in the plan which included Expansion, Operations, Infrastructure, Finances, Marketing, Member Development, Alumni Relations, and Engineering Identity. Such lofty goals as thirty chapters by 2020 and establishment of a headquarters and paid staff by 2020 were set. The Strategic Plan would serve as a guiding document in all of the Fraternity’s activities for the next few years.
Not to be outdone by the east coast, the first west coast expansion since Tau at Loyola Marymount was conducted when Beta-Lambda Chapter at San Diego State University was chartered in April. Close ties with A.O.E. and a visit to the Alpha Chapter ensured the success of the Interest Group. Founding members were Brent D. Boomhower, Michael C. Brekke, Alexander R. Brunson, Michael D. Duffy, Jaron H. Lin, Ryan A. Mitchell, Geoffery H. Retemeyer, Bryan L. Sims, Szilárd Vegh, and Everett D. Wolfe.
The Fourtieth General Convention was held in August of 2013 in the Washington D.C. area. Eastern Province Councilor Werner Born was Convention Chair. Besides the business portion of the Convention, a friendly competition was set up between chapters in the form of a scavenger hunt. In terms of business conducted, a major reordering of the Supreme Council was undertaken adding the positions of Director of Chapter Development (Erik Schultz of Delta Chapter the first holder of the office) and Director of Alumni Relations (Josh Lester of Epsilon the first holder of the office). The Supreme Council previously at their Face-to-Face meeting had determined that exec-level positions were needed to deal with Chapter Operations (especially for newer chapters without alumni support) and also our oft-neglected Alumni. In fitting with the desire for a more corporate structure and organization of the Supreme Council, Province Councilors were renamed Province Directors or effectively
regional vice-presidents. Most roles with Director in their title were switched to Managers. The Communications Director (now Manager) was removed from the Supreme Council. The Board of Directors gained two ex-officio appointed members. The first being an Agent for Service of Process which allows us to appoint a California resident indefinitely. The second was a Trustee who would act as a Legal Liaison.
The departure of Grand Vice President Steven Weiss should be noted here. For eight years he led the Fraternity in a period of unprecedented expansion, similar to the growth of the Fraternity when it was first founded as well as the post-WWII years. Elected to replace him was his Omega compatriot Eric Pew who up to that point was Steve’s right hand man as Director of Expansion.
Speaking of expansion, an addition in the Central Province soon followed in October. After several attempts at expanding to the Milwaukee School of Engineering, including Eta’s efforts in the 2000s, the Fraternity’s persistence finally led to success. Founders of Beta-Mu Chapter included Jordan A. Bauer, Aaron D. Becker, Benjamin J. Callen, William S. Dani, Andrew M. Gmeiner, Samuel A. Graves, Gregory T. Harreld, Ben D. Kealty, Corey M. Pruess, Mihir C. Shah, and Kai M. Swanson.
2014 marked the Fraternity’s 90th Anniversary with no sign of slowing down given all the activities it was undertaking. In February the Statutory Code was revised to clarify how long Supreme Council email votes were open (7 days); clarify matters of pledging such as voluntary resignation from pledging, GPA requirements, and pledging lengths; clarify membership matters such as voluntary resignation from membership and undergraduate member types; updating chapter payment instructions; and adding the Recruitment Chair as a required office. The changes regarding pledging would be the first of many changes to come in the next few years, the impetus of some of these changes coming from the North American Interfraternity Conference, but mostly as necessary changes the Supreme Council deemed needed due to changing societal attitudes toward fraternities. In 2014, several high-profile stories involving the Greek System debuted. In order to address these issues, and to ensure
we were training only the highest caliber engineers, pledging would be a topic of interest in the coming years.
During 2014 a topic of continued interest was finally put to rest. Thanks to the efforts of Grand President Minden we finally renewed our marks and symbols with the U.S. Patent Office after they had lapsed years before. This had previously been deemed cost prohibitive, but understanding the benefits that could be derived from merchandising, the Supreme Council moved forward.
Once again, thanks to our association with A.O.E., in April, Sigma Phi Delta expanded to California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo. For decades, the only two chapters in the Western Province were Alpha and Theta Chapters. With the earlier additions of chapters at UBCO and SDSU, with the chartering of Beta-Nu Chapter at Cal Poly SLO the number increased to five. The founders of Sigma Phi Delta’s seventh foray into the state of California were: Austin C. Abernathy, Ryan M. Eakins, Robby B. Hulia, Garrett T. Klunk, Alex J. Kost, Minnal J. Kunnan, Greg T. Lane, John Jae Woo Lee, Andrew Pimintel, Ryan J. R. Rumsey, Ethan M. Tietze, and Ian A. Washburne.
During the Face-to-Face meeting in July held in Daytona Beach (which was coupled with an attempt to talk to the Embry-Riddle administration about possibly rechartering Pi Chapter) the topic of the day was Pledging. During the course of the weekend, the Supreme Council began formulating changes to the organization of the Pledge Program, standardizing it across all chapters and restricting all Pledge Programs to eight weeks. Tests would be administered online. Each week would correspond to a module, and the outline of what those modules would contain was determined at this meeting. These lessons correspond to the chapters of revised Pledge Manual, namely, 1. The History of Sigma Phi Delta 2. A Fraternity of Engineers 3. Brotherhood 4. Duty 5. Interchapter Relations 6. Sigma Phi Delta, Incorporated, with some leeway for other materials and local traditions. The Supreme Council would spend the better part of the next year tweaking the program.
The end of the year had the Supreme Council piloting the new Pledge Program to two new Colonies. Beta-Xi was founded when Arniko Singh, a Charter Member of Beta-Theta Chapter at James Madison University decided to transfer to West Virginia University. Along with help from A.O.E., Beta-Xi was chartered on December 6th, founding members being: Alexander S. Bartholomew, Drake A. Cargnino, Noah C. Clark, Conor R. Gallagher, Matthew E. Hergenroeder, Joshua C. Hudson, Seth F. Huy, Joseph T. Kotula, Charles T. Litchfield, Edwin P. Mann, Quinton P. Mays, Kyle P. McLaughlin, Drew H. Michael, Alejandro N. Guitz, Zachary T. Pritchard, Brett O. Radcliffe, Drew R.J. Rainier, Scott W. Saber, William S. Shipley, Garrett L. Sollon, Ryan F. Weakland, and Christopher J. Yenchko.
A week following the Beta-Xi chartering, Beta-Omicron was chartered at the University of Missouri. Sounding, like a broken record, once again our association with Alpha Omega Epsilon proved to be essential in this expansion effort. Mizzou proved to be one of our more successful Colonies initially pledging 36 members during Colonization Weekend. These members quickly became active within the community and on December 13th became Sigma Phi Delta’s twenty-second (at the time) active chapter. The thirty founding members included: Jacob B. Ash, Christopher M. Blasius, Nicholas G. Bowman, Daniel J. Brewer, Michael R. Brooks, Arvin C.S. Bustos, Jackson C. Chandler, Alexander R. Chung, Kevan S. Clarke, James P. Clynes, Justin C. Distler, Nicholas S. Endsley, Nicholas A. Eschbacher, Calvin D. Irwin, Earle J. Lariosa, David S. Lindsay, Jason D. Lohe, Ryan A. Mathewson, William B. Meyer, Ethan J. Roussin, Jacob J. D. Sanders, Chase L. S. Skawinski, Jackson T. Smith, Paul L.
Smith, Matthew J. Taylor, Spencer G. Tompkins, Jesse N. White, Kyle J. White, Ethan A. Wilken, and Garrett R. Wilt.
Everything old was new again in 2015. Two expansion efforts were undertaken to recharter two inactive Chapters, Rho at Bradley University and Upsilon at the University of Wisconsin. As this History previously recorded, Rho had gone inactive in 1996 after a storied 30 year run. Upsilon was a bright flame that burned out quickly in the late 80s. Hopes were high for both rechartering efforts, but ultimately Rho Alumni support was the ultimate deciding factor in ensuring Rho was rechartered. The students at Wisconsin made a valiant effort but ultimately were unable to find enough interested candidates. The undergraduates who brought Sigma Phi Delta back to Bradley University and rechartered Rho Chapter on April 15, 2015 consisted of Luca A. Boettger, Peter A. Borowski, Michael F. Castelluccio, Aaron M. Green-Van Zee, Evan C. Krueger, Zachary R. Pakula, Nicholas J. Peters, Trevor A. Peterson, John J. Roop, Brian W. Roskuszka, Jacob M. Ruemelin, Hovhannes Sahakyan,
Samprati V. Shah, and Christian M. West.
A momentous occasion occurred in the history of the Fraternity when the first member of a dual-letter chaptered was appointed to the Supreme Council. Twelve years after the Fraternity entered the realm of dual-letter chapters, Kyle N. Gibb of Beta-Delta Chapter was appointed Western Province Director in April. The fruits of the Supreme Council’s labors towards expansion, was beginning to pay off in the form of grooming the future leaders of the Fraternity.
Increasing our foothold in the Lone Star State, Beta-Pi was chartered at Texas Tech University on May 2. The idea of forming the first engineering fraternity on campus led to a call between four interested students and Grand Vice President Eric Pew. The eventual success was facilitated by founding members Adam R. Venn, Kelvin E. Arrindell, Devin P. Espinosa, Jason A. Ebong, Amine Z. Benchemsi, Lance P. Blair, Matthew A. Carroll, Colton W. Darby, Kevin A. Doherty, Mitchell E. Dyer, Curtis A. Hallman, Michael H. Johnson, Nolan T. Kitching, Michael B. Lee, Jared L. Lehr, Christopher M. Memi, Ian C. Molock, Arjun P. Ogale, Frank Oranday, Douglas S. Pala, Christopher J. Stadtfeld, Nicholas A. Travelstead, and Bradon K. Uehling.
During the 2015 Face-to-Face meeting held in St. Louis (in advance of the Forty-First General Convention) further work on the revised Pledge Program was undertaken. The Risk Reduction Policy was heavily revised to take into consideration many of the topics that couldn’t be accounted for when the Risk Reduction Policy was first created in 1987, areas such as social media. The name of the document was also renamed to be the Risk Management Policy. As had become the tradition, a dinner with local alumni was scheduled and was well attended.
The Forty-First General Convention was held in St. Louis, August 3-5, Central Province Director Jon Eastham serving as Convention Chair. It marked the second joint convention the Fraternity had held with its sister sorority Alpha Omega Epsilon (the first being the Sixth Joint Province Convention and Tutorial in 2006). After much discussion, a motion to switch the frequency of the regular meetings of the General Convention to yearly (similar to most other NIC fraternities) was defeated and returned to the Supreme Council for further study. The Constitution and Statutory Code were modified to allow Chapters to pledge graduate students at their discretion, a practice followed informally by many Chapters at this point anyways. The General Convention passed a motion to enter into a relationship with FIRST, an organization that designs programs that motivate young people to pursue education and career opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math, while
building self-confidence, knowledge, and life skills. For years, active Chapters had been asking for some International Philanthropy that the Fraternity could sponsor. In keeping with our Object, FIRST proved to be the perfect partner in helping us advance the Engineering Profession. In the coming years, along with A.O.E., SPD Engineers would start sponsoring and volunteering with the high school FIRST Robotics competition and middle school FIRST Lego League.
The Forty-First General Convention Banquet ended with the Fraternity recognizing Executive Secretary Santarinala for his twelve years of contribution to the International Office: starting with his stint as the Thirty-Fifth General Convention Chairman, through his time as Communications Director, to his tenure as the Executive Secretary where he spent countless hours streamlining the operations of the Fraternity and his attempts to run the International Office more like a corporation. In a speech given to the assembled guests, he thanked his fellow Brothers and those who he had served with on the Supreme Council past and present. During his tenure, he reflected on the fact that his signature appeared on over 1100 membership certificates, a ninth of the fraternity at the time. This record number of initiations was due to the successful expansion efforts. As a result Executive Secretary Santarinala’s signature appears on more Active Chapter Charters and Alumni Chapter
Charters than any previous Executive Secretary. He remarked that through his tenure on the Supreme Council, Delta Brothers had served as Grand President or Executive Secretary for 76 of the 91 years of SPD’s existence. He believed that in the future this would most likely be the exception rather than the norm, thanks to the rise of all our new dual-letter Chapters. New leadership would arise from these new sources and enrich the already abundant pools of talent within the Fraternity.