The Order of the Sword & Shield is presented by Phi Delta Theta to very deserving individuals who are non-members. Recipients of this award have promoted the attainment of higher education, demonstrated an appreciation for Greek Letter Societies, and have exemplified the Fraternity’s cardinal principles of friendship, sound learning and rectitude.
Dr. Kent J. Gardner is a member of Kappa Alpha Order, Order of Omega and Omicron Delta Kappa. He served the international Greek honorary organization, Order of Omega, as Executive Director for over 40 years, and now holds the title of Executive Director Emeritus. He was also a very active, long-time member of NASPA, the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators.
Dr. Gardner has committed over 50 years to fraternity and sorority life through his leadership in his own fraternity, Kappa Alpha Order, and throughout his professional career. Through those years, he has not only mentored many students and young professionals in his role as Dean of Students, and later as Vice President for Student Affairs, but inspired countless young men and women throughout the country to challenge themselves to be the best Greek leaders they could possibly be. He has been a visible and vocal advocate for the benefits of the entire fraternity and sorority community.
Through hundreds of workshops and seminars and countless conversations with undergraduate students and FSL advisors, he focuses on leadership and ethical behavior as he continues to be an advocate for fraternity and sorority life. He has played a vital role in establishing an international organization to honor other outstanding men and women for their leadership and commitment to Greek communities and recognizing the positive aspects that come from their contributions to their communities.
When Kent was given the charge of overseeing Order of Omega, he was given a file with seven folders representing the total number of chapters and a checkbook with a balance of $50.00. Today, the national Order of Omega has 548 chapters in the United States and Canada and initiates over 11,000 members annually. Through his leadership, the organization established a scholarship and fellowship program, chapter awards program and programming grants for individual Omega chapters. Since the first program was established in 1984, Order of Omega has awarded $1.2 million in scholarships, fellowships and award monies.
Just a few of Kent’s accomplishments include:
- Robert H. Shaffer Award – 1993
- NASPA Pillar of the Profession Award – 2005
- North American Interfraternity Conference Silver Medal – 2008
- SEPC Distinguished Service Award – 2009
- NGLA Guenzler Award – 2013
- AFA Kent L. Gardner Award – 2013
For his lifelong and continuous support of the Greek community, it is with great pleasure and appreciation that Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity honors Dr. Kent J. Gardner with the Order of the Sword & Shield.