At Wabash College’s annual Homecoming Chapel on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019, Jim Dyer (Wabash ’83) received the Frank W. Misch Alumni Distinguished Service Award. The award is presented to an alumnus who has distinguished himself by devoted service to Wabash College. Prime among his service to his alma mater was his work with the Chapter Advisory Board of Indiana Beta.
Here are excerpts from his citation:
“Jim Dyer, your deep and abiding love for Wabash began after you lost your father and saw how the College community embraced your mother. Your love and passion for Wabash is in your DNA, just as it is with generations of your family members who are alumni. But few Wabash men demonstrate such complete and unbridled enthusiasm for their alma mater.
…But perhaps your greatest achievements can be seen in the revitalized of your fraternity, Indiana Beta Chapter of Phi Delta Theta. In 2012, Indiana Beta — the oldest continuous chapter in all of Phi Delta Theta — was in dire shape (no pun intended). It had recruited just five freshmen and had only 36 total members. Fellow Phis Allan Anderson and Hugh Vandivier reached out to you — 240 miles away in St. Louis — and asked for help. You delivered. At that time, the Phi Delts were proud to wear t-shirts that read “We don’t care if you don’t like us,” and the attitude inside the chapter house was even worse. You got to work developing a Phi Delt 2.0 Action Plan, fought through the frustrations of apathetic, under-performing undergraduates, and gradually regained the trust of a few key alumni brothers. Back and forth from St. Louis to Crawfordsville, you made innumerable trips — scrubbing floors, bringing new furnishings, and continuing to inspire the brothers to reclaim the greatness of their history.
Hugh says that you “played the long game” with patience and virtue — but certainly not without frustration. Change for a tradition-rich fraternity is hard, but your catch phrase, “At Phi Delta Theta, change is our middle name” eventually took hold. The results are astonishing. Chapter leadership creates a strategy at the start of every semester. Undergraduates are taking pride in the cleanliness of the chapter house. And best of all, last semester, Indiana Beta posted a 3.24 GPA — and the freshmen had the highest GPA on campus. On top of that, you are a Day of Giving force without peer — helping push Phi Delt donors from 260 in 2018 to 462 in 2019.
It is with great pride that we honor you, Jim, with the Frank W. Misch Distinguished Alumni Service Award. Your fellow alumni in St. Louis, Indianapolis, and the NAWM Board, as well as the brothers of Phi Delta Theta are all better for your enthusiasm, spirit, and dedication. You are Some Little Giant!”