Winning at International Convention

Nearly 350 undergraduates, alumni and guests took advantage of the finest opportunity in ZBT to learn new ideas from experts in various fields and grow together as a family.

The world’s first Jewish Fraternity convened in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 20 to 22 for the 2017 International Convention. Zeta Beta Tau International Convention is a four-day event that includes educational programming, social events, hands-on workshops and seminars for both undergraduates and alumni brothers. The educational programming of the 2017 International Convention for undergraduates was funded in part by a generous grant from the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. Learn more about how you can support the Foundation at zbt.org/donate.

The 2017 event had a focus on the legislative business of the Fraternity. Brothers engaged in discussions of the Fraternity’s future through topical commissions and shared ideas to take home to their campuses.

“I found the event very informative and got a lot of good ideas,” said Adam Berlinghoff, Xi (Georgia Institute of Technology) 2019.

The theme of the 2017 International Convention was “Be a Champion.” Being a champion can manifest in many ways. We often see this through championing a cause, which has either personally affected the brother or one which is important to a community. Paul J. Norcross, Kappa Nu (University of San Francisco) 1986, shared his own champion story and how their work continues today.

“This was a great experience. (International) Convention helped give me more ideas to become a better person. I will be back next year,” said Christian P. Failla, Delta Iota (University of Central Florida) 2018.

Brothers had the opportunity to have a screening of ON THE MAP, which tells the against-all-odds story of Maccabi Tel Aviv’s 1977 European Championship. Brother Tal Brody, Rho (University of Illinois) 1965, is featured in the movie. Brother Brody, now Israel’s Ambassador of Goodwill, was in attendance at Convention and met with many undergraduates and alumni. He also emceed the Heritage Lunch.

ZBT also celebrated the centennial anniversaries of two  chapters — Omega Chapter at the University of Missouri and Alpha Alpha Chapter at Purdue University — and closed the program with the Grand Awards Banquet.

The 2017 Brummer Cup for Best Chapter was awarded to Alpha Alpha Chapter at Purdue University. See more on the Brummer Cup here. See the full list of award recipient chapters and individual trophies here.

The annual Ronald M. Mankoff Alumni Panel, a leadership program set in a talk show-style format, per usual engaged both ZBT undergraduate and alumni through the panelists’ career and life stories and advice. Attendees interact with the panelists through a question and answer dialogue.

Featured speakers included:

  • Brother Dr. Robert (Bob) E. Fischell, Alpha Upsilon (Duke University) 1951, prolific inventor, scientist and innovator
  • Brother Eli R. Seidman, Epsilon Mu (University of Kansas) 2015, entrepreneur and business owner
  • Brother Samuel H. Rudman, Epsilon Delta (Binghamton University) 1983, securities and investments attorney
  • Brother Barry M. Aarons, Gamma Tau (Arizona State University) 1971, Zeta Beta Tau Foundation Past President moderated of the panel

Zeta Beta Tau also honored several influential brothers and friends for their commitment to the Fraternity and their communities over the course of the Convention. Honored were:

  • David T. Brown, Rho (University of Illinois) 1982, Jewish community activist, attorney and philanthropist, with the Man of the Year Award
  • Anti-Defamation League (ADL), with the Gottheil Award
  • Libby Anderson, CAE, Assistant Executive Director of Zeta Beta Tau and prominent Greek movement volunteer, with the Riegelman-Jacobs Award
  • Richard L. Kaplan, CPA, Alpha Delta (University of Southern California) 1965, long-time volunteer in the Southern California area, with the Stephen P. Ehrlich Award
  • Alfred (Al) K. Berg, Omicron (Syracuse University) 1973, with the Heritage Award
  • Branden M. Engorn, Beta Zeta Epsilon (University of Maryland-College Park) 2004, with the inaugural Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
  • Melissa Kish, Indiana University, with inaugural Campus Partner of the Year award

The Fraternity was pleased to host a Sexual Assault Prevention, Title IX and Risk Management Panel featuring several experts and moderated by International President Norman M. Waas, Esq., Alpha Omega (University of Miami) 1982, a noted trial attorney. Panelists included Melissa Kish, Associate Director for Student Life and Learning and Leadership/Inclusion Programs at Indiana University; Sarah Diaz, Associate Director of Health Education and Outreach Programs at Butler University; Dr. Mahri Irvine, Director of Campus Initiatives for the Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault; Dr. Frank E. Ross III, Vice President for Student Affairs at Butler University; and Jonathan D. Frieden, Esq., Phi Epsilon (University of Virginia) 1994, International Vice President of Zeta Beta Tau, an e-commerce, technology and intellectual property attorney who has been ZBT’s commission chair on sexual assault prevention efforts since 2016. The session was the annual Zeta Beta Tau Foundation sSponsored program, made possible by a gift from Harold and Nadine Davidson. Harold A. Davidson, Ph.D., is 1965 alumnus of Alpha Delta Chapter at the University of Southern California, and Past International President of ZBT.

A photo gallery from the 2017 International Convention is available online.

The 2018 International Convention is scheduled for July 12 to 15, 2018, at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles.