Barry McNamara  |   Published July 26, 2021

ZBT Makes History

Monmouth’s chapter of Zeta Beta Tau earns fraternity’s most prestigious national award; Garcia receives national honor for chapter presidents.

MONMOUTH, Ill. – Score one for the underdogs.

Monmouth College’s Delta Lambda chapter of the national fraternity Zeta Beta Tau won the organization’s most prestigious award, the Brummer Cup.

BRUMMER CUP: Monmouth Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brothers Keegan Brown, Jake Rathgeb and Rodolfo Ga...BRUMMER CUP: Monmouth Zeta Beta Tau fraternity brothers Keegan Brown, Jake Rathgeb and Rodolfo Garcia display the coveted award on July 24 in Miami. May graduate Rodolfo Garcia, who served as president for the 2020 calendar year, also received a national honor, earning ZBT’s chapter president award.

The awards were announced Saturday night at the close of ZBT’s national convention in Miami. Past recipients of the Brummer Cup have been chapters from Big Ten universities such as Illinois, Purdue and Ohio State, and other large schools, including Vanderbilt and USC.

“They worked so hard for this,” said Karen Ogorzalek, Monmouth’s associate vice president of student life and co-dean of students. “Large institutions typically win this award, so it’s a real feather in the cap for a small liberal arts college like Monmouth. As a fraternity, they do exactly what I would want them to be doing. They’ve reaped the harvest of all their hard work during what has been a very rough year.”

“They decided a couple years ago that they really wanted this, so they looked at past winners and developed a plan for their chapter based off that. They focused on a few areas, including academics, developing strong leaders, chapter programming and providing better documentation.” Karen Ogorzalek

In addition to managing the pandemic so successfully, the fraternity also had to navigate a physical transition from the fraternity complex on the northeast corner of campus to the College’s Founders Village living area.

“They decided a couple years ago that they really wanted this, so they looked at past winners and developed a plan for their chapter based off that,” said Ogorzalek. “They focused on a few areas, including academics, developing strong leaders, chapter programming and providing better documentation.”

In addition to Garcia’s development as a leader, current chapter president Jacob Rathgeb ’23 of Petersburg, Illinois, served as president of the College’s Interfraternity Council in 2020.

The Brummer Cup uses a point system, with chapters reporting on a number of areas, including academics, programming, involvement, recruitment, risk management and philanthropy.

In the classroom, the men of ZBT had an outstanding spring, posting a group GPA of 3.26, which was above the average for Monmouth’s Greek students and male students.

“Throughout COVID, Rodolfo really made an effort to reach out and make sure his brothers were OK and that they had what they needed. He was the glue that kept that chapter together during COVID.” Karen Ogorzalek

“In March of 2020, they were sent home, and there’s been a lot of remote learning since then,” said Ogorzalek. “That they still managed to do so well academically is really phenomenal.”

Ogorzalek credited the men, in general, and Garcia, specifically, for navigating the tough year.

“Throughout COVID, Rodolfo really made an effort to reach out and make sure his brothers were OK and that they had what they needed,” she said. “He was the glue that kept that chapter together during COVID.”

Ogorzalek said ZBT’s guidelines during the pandemic “were stricter than the College’s.”

“Rodolfo was looking out for his guys,” she said. “He wanted to make sure that everyone was safe.”

Another highlight of ZBT’s year was presenting a program on the Holocaust, which featured a virtual presentation by a Holocaust survivor. Earlier this spring, it won the best program honor at the College’s Greek life awards ceremony, where Garcia also won the award for chapter president of the year.

Since its founding in 1898 in New York City as the first Jewish collegiate social fraternity, more than 140,000 men have been initiated into Zeta Beta Tau.

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