Delta Sigma Pi’s 50th Grand Chapter Congress was held August 12-16, 2015 in Chicago Illinois. Actually located at the Schaumburg Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center, GCC was fun, eventful, and well-attended by Iowans.
Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter President, Tom, was the alumni chapter’s delegate to the Grand Chapter (pictured above, 4th row, first from right). Other alumni chapter members present included the 2 alternate delegates, David (4th row, second from right) and Phil (2nd row, first from right). Jillian, the RVP of the Great Plains Region and Des Moines – Central Iowa Alumni Chapter member rounded out the Iowa crew (1st row, first from right). All those pictured above are members of the Great Plains Region, consisting of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota.
There were over 1,000 people registered to attend the 2015 GCC. During the 5-day conference the Leadership Foundation fundraised a record-setting amount (over $100,000). The event was an impressive display of Fraternity, brotherhood, Robert’s Rules, partying, and awards and recognitions.
Wednesday morning kicked off with a 9:00 AM Keynote by IBM associate partner (and brother) Jeff Zych. Brother Zych spoke about the changing business environment and what technologies like big data (and specifically Watson) were doing to the employment landscape. Talking about “workplace 2020”, Zych offered advice how to position yourself to work productively with the future of cognitive computing.
The rest of Wednesday featured mostly break-out educational sessions and other speeches. There were several sessions geared towards alumni chapters including a forum for alumni chapter issues and a sharing session for alumni chapter best practices. Several ideas were gleaned from these events. Wednesday closed with an address from 2014 Collegian of the Year, Nick Rizzi.
Wednesday night was the Grand President’s Dance. This dance had the theme of a tailgate. Brothers wore school colors and other casual or sports-like clothing they might actually tailgate wearing. Besides the typical DJ and a dance floor, there were several games set up around the room including bags, table tennis, basketball shooting game, Foosball, and perhaps the most popular – office chair hockey. This was a really innovative and interesting spin on a regular dance as it entertained many more people than who just wanted to bust a move on the dance floor. The Golden Knight Initiation Ceremony was performed at this dance… but not before a little entertainment from some REAL knights as a preview of the Thursday night event at Medieval Times. This was a great time, with the only complaint being that beers were $7.
Thursday kicked off the meeting of the Grand Chapter. After opening ritual, there was the Honorary Initiation of Barry Salzberg, now a full-time Professor at Columbia University and former global Chief Executive Officer at Deloitte. Taking a significant role in the initiation (every province was represented) was DSM-CIA Chapter President, Tom. Immediately following his initiation, brother Salzberg answered questions asked by Delta Sigma Pi’s 2014 Career Achievement Award Winner (and fellow Deloitte partner) brother Theresa Drew. Salzberg left an impression on the audience with his personal story of being poor as a child, but finding success by having people encourage him to get an education and a good career. Salzberg encouraged the audience to step our of your comfort zone as well as be committed to what you do. He recommended people listen more than they talk as well as stressed the importance of mentors and sponsors.
Then the Grand Chapter got down to real business… but not too much before the Alumni Recognition Lunch. After eating lasagna, many alumni were recognized for 25 years of fraternity service (Silver Helmet) and for reaching certain dollar donation levels or consecutive years of donations to the Leadership Foundation.
The Grand Chapter did not pass the proposed Alumni Committee Bylaw Amendment, nor did it pass the Ritual Change Proposal (although the latter issued was referred to the Board of Directors for study and will be back at the 2017 Grand Chapter Congress).
There were plenty of awards applied for and won by Chapters in the North Central Province and the Great Plains Region. Unfortunately the DSM-CIA Chapter took home no awards this year.
Thursday night was the awesome Deltasig takeover of Medieval Times. The Grand President even got to dress up and take part in some of the show. The entertainment featured knights representing the different provinces (and one for alumni) of the fraternity competing in various games, showing their skill. Then there was a challenge from a knight from a competing business fraternity! So the six Deltasig knights eliminated each other until the Black and White Knight (alumni) was chosen to represent DSP and thoroughly vanquished the knight from the rival fraternity. The food was good (even without silverware) and the show was a little corny, yet exciting and very entertaining at times.
Friday the Grand Chapter got together to finish up nominations for elected officers, then heard remarks from the candidates. Even though Grand President Onuka Ibe was running unopposed, he gave a speech, the theme of which was alignment, with the most-obvious example being the joint board-foundation meeting coming up in January 2016. Then there were remarks from the 4 candidates for VP of Finance (and the speeches that introduced them). Then the Provincial Caucuses were held. Because North Central Provincial Vice President, Jodi Schoh was running unopposed, this time was used to brainstorm ideas for the Province.
The Awards Lunch was Friday. It featured tri-colored tortellini with pulled chicken. (Everyone agreed that the tortellini all tasted the same even though they came in 3 different colors.)
The program consisted of the national awards being presented, scholarship award winners (who were at GCC) being announced, and an Address by the North Central Province’s own, the 2015 Collegian of the Year, Chad Robinson (pictured above). Chad’s speech had many who knew him best rolling with laughter and several a little tearful by the end. Chad’s parents were in attendance for the lunch and the end of Chad’s speech was punctuated by Chad’s father bounding up on stage to give his son a giant hug.
After lunch was the Regional Caucus. Because Jillian was running unopposed, this was a short and sweet meeting discussing upcoming plans for the region.
Saturday was the final day of the 2015 Grand Chapter Congress. Before the session could end, Randy Hultz (presiding over the meeting as Chancellor) worked in all his mafia references (as per a challenge from the first day of the meeting… stemming from Chicago’s mafia history including Al Capone). Onuka Ibe was elected Grand President by acclimation. Kelly Rabin was elected VPF on the second ballot. Testimonials were read. Most of these focused on thanking volunteer leaders for their service. Others focused on welcoming newly installed chapters and colonies. A couple of the testimonials grew very emotional as deceased brothers were remembered. Finally before the meeting was adjourned, Board Members, National Committee Chairs, and RVPs were recognized for their service.
Saturday night was the banquet. Many in attendance were dressed to the nines. The front of the room had some neat Chicago-type decorations around the podium. Much like a wedding party coming into a wedding reception, there was a Grand March of elected Delta Sigma Pi leaders that came into the banquet. This occurred at 7:15 pm. The march and marchers were very festive. The banquet dinner was a chicken breast in sauce as well as vegetables and rice. During the banquet program, many people in attendance were recognized. There was a travel award presented and a countdown for how many Grand Chapter Congresses each person had attended. Bill Tatum was the last person standing by several Grand Chapters. His total was something like above 25. There were a couple bobble-heads made up and a very memorable moment came when Grand President Ibe presented the diamond badge he had just received to his wife. The banquet ended at 10:24 pm. A DJ dance immediately followed. Many people, however, moved into the brighter hallways to take pictures.
After a great week, brothers and friends departed Schaumburg Sunday morning, many already planning their trip to the 51st. GCC in New Orleans, LA.