Brothers across the realm concluded their 2023 summer by coming home to the Levere Memorial Temple in Evanston, Illinois, for the National Ritual Academy educational program on August 4 to August 6.
Check-in began at 5 PM CT in the Fourier. While attendees checked in, Temple tours were available, along with an opportunity to visit Foundation staff to learn about the Phi Alpha Club, a Be The Match table to learn about the benefits of swabbing and an area to provide testimonials for the Communications team. Dinner from Portillos was then served.
General Session I kicked off in the Peace Chapel with David Griego (New Mexico ‘83) introducing the weekend of events. Attendees were then sent to their breakout sessions to dive into the education of various aspects of Ritual.
General Session II consisted of an Initiation Ceremony Deconstruction, a mock Initiation to showcase how Initiation should look during individual chapter ceremonies. Day one was quickly in the books.
Yummy breakfast and coffee from Einstein’s refreshed the group early Saturday morning before the long day ahead of them. General Session III was led in the Peace Chapel by Brother Griego, where he discussed the history of membership. Morning seminars followed immediately.
Attendees spent the afternoon eating some lunch from Potbelly’s, participating in afternoon seminars spread out around the temple, and even got a group photo taken in the Peace Chapel.
Songs of Ritual kicked off the evening with Greg Brandt (Drake ‘84) helping the attendees learn the songs. They had access to lyrics to help guide them through their singing. They sang their way out the door to eat some delicious deep dish pizza from Malnati’s in Nippert Hall. General Session IV, Symbology and Icon of the LMT, followed dinner, then the tradition of the t-shirt swap concluded day two.
Sunday morning was an early one, with breakfast beginning at 8 AM CT with catered pancakes and sausage from Cupitol, a local diner. Griego and Joe Richey facilitated General Session V, touching on SAE History.
Breakout groups joined together to debrief and collect their certificates for attending this year’s Ritual Academy and acknowledging the impactful history each attendee learned this weekend in Evanston. General Session VI was the Graduation Closing, where brothers were recognized for their accomplishments. The Fraternity Service Center staff and facilitators were recognized for all of their hard work, along with Hannah Blenden (Director of Education), Shelby Fete (Assistant Director of Education), and Kayla McCloud (Coordinator of Communications) specifically thanked with all brothers singing the fraternity song, Violet. This was a great way to test their singing skills after practicing this weekend.
Photos from the event are ready to be viewed here. Thanks again, Lumatic, for capturing every detail of an amazing event.
Below are other important awards and recognitions that were presented during General Session VI:
- Joe Richey (Penn State) was presented with the Merit Key
- Rick Goodwin (Cal State Fullerton) was presented a 50-year Anniversary Certificate and recognized with the Order of DeVotie
For their service as Faculty Members, the following Brothers were recognized with the Order of DeVotie:
- Curt Masengale (Ball State)
- Justin Kelleher (Florida Southern)
- Noah Marcum (Morehead State)
- Tyler Hancock (Indiana State)
- Joe Richey (Penn State)
- Jim Skaggs (Oklahoma State)
- Seth Crawford (Houston)
- Trevor Bloom (Mount Union)
We received feedback from 101 participants based on their Ritual Academy assessment responses. Here is what they had to say:
- 96% feel that they know how to properly perform, execute, and apply the Ritual within chapter, ceremony, and life
- 97% feel that their Ritual knowledge has increased after attending
- 99% feel comfortable with educating members of the Ritual
Big Phi Alpha to the 44 gentlemen who signed up for the Phi Alpha Club during their time at Ritual Academy:
- Keeton Thomas Kauffman (Arizona State)
- George A Parra (Cal State-Los Angeles)
- Ryan William Fink (Central Florida)
- Matthew Alan Turman (Central Florida)
- Justin Connor Kelleher (Florida Southern)
- Gabriel Thomas Kenes (Rollins)
- Degan Leonard Rogers (Rollins)
- Michael David Fletcher (Bradley)
- Jackson Ryan Evans (Northern Illinois)
- Nicholas Massabni (Northwestern)
- Nicholas John Weyhmueller (DePauw)
- Sean Patrick Peters (Iowa State)
- Garey Steven Weaver (Iowa State)
- Tucker Allan Vandervelde (Simpson)
- John Michael Schaefer (Nicholls State)
- Rafael Jacob Caballero (Worcester)
- Vincent James Bruno (Central Michigan)
- Devin LaVette (Central Michigan)
- William Creighton Ponthie Ponthie (Millsaps)
- Gavin Jones (Mississippi)
- David Michael Phillips Jr. (Mississippi)
- Kenny-Dean Childers Smith (Southern Mississippi)
- Francesco Antonio James McElrath (Youngstown State)
- Kyle Alan Preusser (Youngstown State)
- Samuel Mastorides (Youngstown State)
- John Joseph Barnyk (Youngstown State)
- Elias Kondolios (Youngstown State)
- Clayton Emory Ketterer (Youngstown State)
- William Hughes Rayburn (Cincinnati)
- Christian Matthew Krsacok (Cincinnati)
- Andrew Michael Kelly (Cincinnati)
- Wyatt Caskey (Toledo)
- Conor Joseph Byrnes (Oregon State)
- Jared William Vamvakias (Mansfield)
- Alex Patrick Shellhammer (Mansfield)
- Wes J Beaver (Mansfield)
- Nolan Wayne Rounds (South Dakota)
- Wylie Elmer Wiebe (South Dakota State)
- Krishiv Bipin Bharodiya (South Dakota State)
- McCormick Michael Evink (South Dakota State)
- Avery Clark Lewison (South Dakota State)
- Parker Beck (Texas A&M)
- Kyle Quinn Jacobs (Texas A&M)
- Gunnar Paul Gray (Washington City Alpha)