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Phi Delta Theta nets top national honor

Barry McNamara
07/06/2010
Monmouth College representatives DeMarkco Butler (center) and Anthony St. Clair pose with the Kansas City Trophy, which is awarded to the best Phi Delta Theta chapter on a small campus in the nation. On the left is Mark Oshenbein, former president of Phi Delta Theta’s General Council.
It hasn’t taken long for the Monmouth College chapter of Phi Delta Theta to make an impact at the national level.

Chartered in 2008, the Illinois Gamma Chapter brought home several awards from the 78th Biennial Convention of Phi Delta Theta, which was held last month in Orlando, Fla. That included the prestigious Kansas City Trophy, which is presented to the most outstanding chapter on a small-sized campus. It is one of four major awards that are presented at the convention.

“This is huge for the Monmouth College Greek system, and of course for our chapter, to be recognized at the national level,” said Anthony St. Clair, a senior from Overland Park, Kansas, which is, coincidentally, a suburb of Kansas City. “It is incredible for the fact that we are the fastest chapter to be installed and to then win this award. For most chapters, you would expect at least a decade before they would be in contention for this award.”

All-around excellence in campus leadership, campus participation and internal chapter operations are the criteria for the Kansas City Trophy, which is named after the Phi Delta Theta alumni club that sponsors it. The Monmouth College chapter dethroned last year’s recipient, Southern Indiana University. Mercer University was runner-up for the second consecutive year.

“As DeMarkco Butler and I made our way up to the stage to receive the award, we were greeted with a standing ovation with Monmouth’s fight song playing,” said St. Clair.

Butler, who graduated from Monmouth in May, was appointed earlier this year to a two-year position as a leadership consultant for Phi Delta Theta, becoming the first African-American to ever fill that position.

The fraternity’s “all-around excellence” also led to its Gold Star Award, which is presented for overall excellence in chapter operations. Guidelines used for determining eligibility include scholarship, chapter management, alumni relations and fraternity life.

The Monmouth chapter received two additional trophies – the General Headquarters Trophy and the Hayward Biggers Ritual Trophy – as well as the Academic LIFE Award.

Created so that “greater excellence may be developed in chapters and a feeling of greater unity may grow in the fraternity,” the General Headquarters Trophy recognizes organization within the chapter and outstanding relations with Phi Delta Theta’s general headquarters. The Hayward Biggers Ritual Trophy is awarded to chapters demonstrating quality ritual performance in accordance with the laws of the fraternity.

Chapters receive the Academic LIFE Award by achieving the top academic ranking for a semester in their respective Greek community. Based on scholarship rankings prepared by the respective institutions, the award recognizes scholastic achievement and is designed to promote one of the three cardinal principles of Phi Delta Theta.

“We achieved that top academic ranking twice out of the three semesters during the award period,” said St. Clair, serves as the awards chairman for the MC chapter and is the Interfraternity Council’s vice president of scholarship and service.

Phi Delta Theta began in 1848 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It was founded on the cardinal principles of friendship, sound learning and rectitude.