Notes from Carmel

An abbreviated version of this column appears in the Summer 21 issue of The Link

by Chris Pockette ΒΥ896
ΛΧΑ Director of Expansion
Carmel, IN

As we at the Office of Administration (AKA Nationals or IHQ)
have reconnected with Sigma-Lambda alumni to consider
restarting our chapter at Virginia Tech, we’ve reflected on what
we’ve learned over the past four years. In 2017, our chapter
had strayed away from Lambda Chi Alpha’s core values and
principles. Our team lacked an interpersonal connection with
the chapter and local alumni advisors. We’ve realized that the
Office of Administration must work hand-in-hand with our
alumni brothers to provide frequent support and assistance
to our undergraduate brothers if we are to sustain our
brotherhood through the next generation of college students.
Over the past several months, we were impressed and
honored when the alumni board contacted us to build a
partnership and consider returning to Virginia Tech’s campus.

Our research proves that restarted chapters are far more
successful with active alumni engagement. The Office of
Administration is in full support of the opportunity to restart
our chapter at Virginia Tech with the alumni board because
of our high likelihood for success. If we are invited back to
campus, the Office of Administration commits to providing our
physical, tactical, and financial investments to the chapter’s
restart, which we hope will position the chapter for a long and
prosperous future.

While the core values and principles of Lambda Chi Alpha
have not changed through the years, the experience will look
different from years prior. The newest generation of college
students, Generation Z (or Gen Z, for short) are entering the
collegiate landscape as we speak. Studies of Gen Z show that
they are pragmatic, intentional in their decision making,
and highly interested in their return on investment. If Gen
Z is going to college, these men and women want to clearly
understand, “What’s in it for me?” Knowing this generation
holds our future brothers, the fraternity must shift its value
proposition to incoming potential members. We have much
to offer this generation, but we must focus on adding value to
their lives and intentionally position them to be prepared for
life after college through skills and leadership development.

Lambda Chi has reinvented the fraternal experience for
today and tomorrow’s brothers. Over the past 18 months, we
have invested $2.5 million in reshaping our undergraduate
programming and developing value-added partnerships to
the fraternity experience. Our fraternity education process is
undergoing a revolutionary redesign that will provide a four-
year development program to all undergraduate members
to prepare them for the Lambda Chi Alpha experience and
life beyond the fraternity. Additionally, we’ve partnered
with Kaplan to build our new Leadership Skills Certification
Academy, which is a premiere training program that will
deliver professional development resources, training, and tools
that will enable fraternity members to turn relevant aspects
of their college and fraternity experience into practical,
marketable skills that will appeal to prospective employers.
These programs are targeted to add more value to the fraternity
experience and encourage Gen Z men to pursue Lambda Chi
while in college.

Our hope is, with the approval of the university, that this
revolutionized Lambda Chi experience will be available to men
across Virginia Tech’s campus for years to come. We’ve begun
building plans for the future chapter once we are given formal
approval to return. Our partnership with Dyad Strategies has
produced data that suggests the optimal Lambda Chi chapter
size is 65 to 85 men. At Virginia Tech, our goal will be to build
a sustainable chapter around the optimal chapter size, but not
immediately at the time of return. The restart process will
develop over the course of three to six years: from the startup
phase, through chartering, to long-term stability. Through the
initial startup phase, the Office of Administration will send
two team members who serve as recruiters and find around 30
men to restart the chapter. After the recruiting phase, we will
send an additional team member to educate and train through
health and wellness, operations, and fraternity education
programming. We will continue working directly with the
new chapter over several semesters, helping the chapter
recruit its own members each semester to grow to the optimal
chapter size. By investing in teaching the new members how
to properly recruit and manage chapter operations at the very
beginning, we will position the chapter to operate at high-
performing levels for years to come.

With proper investment in a successful restart, we will focus
on the principles, values, and opportunities that Lambda Chi
offers our young brothers. It is our hope we avoid any culture
of hazing or alcohol misuse through our intentional focused
efforts. Fortunately, with the investment of both the Office
of Administration and the local chapter alumni, we are well
positioned to support a restarting chapter at Virginia Tech.

If you are interested in being involved in this process, we
are looking for 10 to 12 alumni brothers to serve as advisors
to the new members. Additionally, we will need an alumni
liaison, also known as the High Pi, to serve as the direct
liaison between the chapter, university, alumni, and Office of
Administration. Please contact Barry Buschow at fcbarry@
gmail. com or me to express your interest, and we will connect
with you about opportunities to be involved in the chapter’s

Thank you, Brothers, for your commitment and investment
in Sigma-Lambda and Lambda Chi Alpha. We value your
tremendous involvement, especially those with the legacy
of Sigma Omega Tau who founded the chapter at Tech. We
are eager to support your work to involve greater numbers
of younger alumni. We look forward to our partnership and
establishing a strong, prosperous chapter at Virginia Tech in
the years to come.

David Bowles Honored

The University of Florida Student Government Association has recognized David Bowles ’79 ΣΛ84 for his over 30 years of service to the University’s recreational sports by establishing David Bowles Outstanding Legacy Award. The language in the Student Senate Bill lists the qualities of the recipients that clearly articulate David’s many contributions to the University of Florida’s community. Scroll down the page to read David’s reaction and see some photos.

Bowles Bill

Kyle John Facada – Omega

Kyle Facada ’08 ΣΛ546, passed away on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Kyle graduated from Tech in 2008 and later received a Master’s degree in business from Georgetown University. As his friend Jeanie Bell Winslow wrote, “Kyle was just one of those guys that you liked instantly. He always greeted me with a beautiful smile and a twinkle in his eye. We enjoyed bantering back and forth, always in good fun with lots of laughter.”

Please read more about Kyle’s life here.

Gordon “Tom” Dickinson – Omega

Gordon “Tom” Dickinson ’71 ΣΛ5, passed away on April 13, 2020 at the age of 72. Tom was the spouse of Brenda Dickinson and they shared 42 years of marriage together.

Tom was one of the brothers who formed the Sigma Lambda Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha when the fraternity voted to become a colony. He was the fifth Sig Tau initiated into the new colony.

He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1971 and was a lifelong entrepreneur.

Please read more about Tom’s life here.

Doc Benoit – Omega

Robert E. “Doc” Benoit passed away on November 18, 2020.

Doc joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1962, was inducted into Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence in 2002 as he received the William E. Wine Award, and was also recognized by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as Virginia Professor of the Year. He served as pre-med advisor, mentoring the next generation of scientists who have become distinguished teachers, researchers, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and other health professionals.

Doc became convinced of the value of of the Greek system when he became a brother of Lambda Iota Society, the University of Vermont’s first Greek community and the oldest local student society in the nation.

Joe Kincheloe invited Doc so serve as faculty advisor to Sigma Omega Tau in 1965 and he served our fraternity continually since that time. He guided our transition to Lambda Chi Alpha and remained a role model, advisor, and mentor for 55 years, guiding over 500 brothers to become contributing members of their communities. At our 60th reunion, Woody Kessler presented Doc with a Resolution of Appreciation from Governor Ralph S. Northam.

Doc was born in Enosburg, Vermont. He attended a one-room school in Enosburg Center with teachers exacting some of the highest standards of public school education.

He was a lifelong learner and earned the following degrees in order to prepare his future students:

  • 1956 B.S. Agronomy, University of Vermont
  • 1960 M.S. Soil Physics, Rutgers University
  • 1964 Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology, Rutgers University

For 40 years, Doc and his students pursued their interests in microbial ecology of subsurface ecosystems, physiology of microaerophilic and psychrophilic bacteria, and microbial degradation of recalcitrant natural products and synthetic compounds. One of his more rewarding career experiences has been inspiring students as a teacher in such classes as General Microbiology, Microbiology of Aquatic Systems, and Biomedical Ethics. His dedication to teaching these and other classes, as well as advising, has led to numerous awards: Biology Department Teaching (1996), Biology Department Advising (1996,1997), Alumni University Teaching Award (1984), Arts & Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984), Wine Award (2002). Doc served on the Academy of Teaching Excellence continuously since 1984. In 2002 he was also awarded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Virginia Professor of the Year. In the Biology Department, he served as Assistant Professor of Microbiology (1962-66), Associate Professor of Microbiology (1966-2002), and Assistant Biology Department Head (1992-2002). Doc was promoted to Associate Professor Emeritus in 2002.

After retirement, he continued teaching General Microbiology and Biomedical Ethics, as well as participating annually in the American Society of Microbiologists In addition to his continued involvement with the fraternity, he was also active with the Blacksburg Master Chorale, Opera Roanoke and was a Trustee of Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library. (Source: Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences)

Click for more information on Lambda Iota.

Please read his obituary.

Please submit a memory of Doc to share with others on our site by clicking on the Comments link below and entering your memory in the Leave a Reply box.