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Thursday, August 16, 2012

57th Biennial Conclave

Brothers arrived in St. Louis on August 1, 2012 for four days of business and brotherhood at Acacia Fraternity’s 57th Biennial Conclave and Leadership Academy -- conducting the business of the fraternity, learning new skills to benefit our members and chapters, and strengthening the ties of friendship.

2012 Conclave delegation

The International Council -- the supreme judicial authority of Acacia Fraternity, and the Conclave delegation -- the official legislative body, had much official business to address. We reviewed the progress made over the previous two years and set the course for the coming biennium.

Membership Growth
The preceding biennium marked strong growth, with active membership of 1000+ men equaling our highest numbers in over a decade.

Current colonies include Michigan, Illinois State, and Trine University. Upcoming colonizations include Iowa (fall 2015) and, hopefully, Vermont. As always, there are a number of other universities that we are in early stages of communication with about colonizing. More news to follow as it becomes official.

Financial Health
The financial health of the fraternity improved greatly under the leadership of President Robert E. Roberson, Illinois Wesleyan ‘74, and International Treasurer Anthony D.J. Phillips, Carleton ‘06. Our accounts receivable diminished greatly, with many chapters working hard to address the debt saddled upon them by their predecessors.

The Conclave delegation, on the recommendation of the finance committee, voted to increase pledge fees from $70 to $85 and annual dues from $120 to $125. The cost of per capita liability insurance also increased from $165 to $175.

International Council meeting

Organization and Governance
A frequent topic of conversation -- and often confusion -- is that of governance and organizational structure among the international fraternity, alumni associations, housing corporation boards, and active membership. Common issues include housing, taxation, donations, and scholarships. In order to resolve these questions and provide increased continuity across generations of leadership, a new task force led by International Counselor Brian S. Downs, Central Oklahoma ‘99, and International Second Vice President Jeremy N. Davis, Iowa State ‘00, will address these issues.

Membership Education
Cornerstones, the Membership Development Program of Acacia Fraternity, still a relatively young program at six years, continues to evolve and have a greater impact on our active members, chapters, and alumni.

  • Our active membership is truly taking ownership of the program with the formation of the Undergraduate Cornerstones Task Force, led by brothers from several participating chapters. The UCTF is charged with creating programs to advance individual and chapter development.
  • Director of Membership Development Patrick W. McGovern, Indiana ‘99, has assembled a wealth of resources at to further the cause of lifelong learning. Learn more about Cornerstones.
  • The "Alumni Track" of Conclave continues to grow and provide our alumni members with new skills and expertise. This year’s highlight was programming that helps workplace managers understand how to best work with the millennial generation.
Director of Membership Development, Patrick McGovern

An area that the fraternity looks to improve over the next biennium is communications. The staff has added a full-time Director of Communications to the staff -- Michael Pastko, Purdue ‘04 -- to help lead this effort. We look to share existing resources more effectively, communicate more openly and regularly with our membership online, and assist chapters with their specific needs.

Our chapters continue to adopt ACACIAconnect, an online resource provided jointly by ChapterSpot and Acacia Headquarters. ACACIAconnect provides our chapters with an internal management & communications network and an easy-to-update public chapter website. Learn more about ACACIA connect.

Up for election at this Conclave were the positions of International First and Second Vice President, and both Undergraduate Counselor positions. After a close election, Acacia welcomed new International First Vice President Scott H. Meyer, St. Cloud State ‘89, to the Council. Running unopposed for his second term as International Second Vice President, we congratulate Jeremy N. Davis, Iowa State ‘00, on his election. Five strong candidates ran for the position of Undergraduate Counselor, with the delegation electing brothers George "Chip" A. Ray, Penn State ‘10, and Joel A. Zeni, Oregon State ‘10. All officers were sworn in during the final Conclave banquet and are anxious to contribute their time and effort to Acacia.

Undergraduate Counselors swearing into office

Featured Programs and Entertainment
Conclave attendees enjoyed numerous featured programs and events this year:

On Wednesday, August 1, attendees enjoyed the comedy hypnotism of Brother Doug G. MacCraw, Nebraska ‘86. Brother MacCraw’s show had Acacians laughing non-stop and set the stage for a great week. You can book Brother MacCraw for your recruitment events or corporate outings -

Thursday’s featured program, part of the John F. Hoffner Leadership Series, was "The Young and the Restless: A Millennial’s Guide to Success." Jeffrey Hiller of Job Bound explored the difference between work attitudes and preferences among various generations, while helping actives get ready to enter the workforce after graduation. Jeff later presented, "Dude, What’s my Job?" to our alumni attendees which provided a perspective on managing millennials in the workforce.

In supporting our motto of Human Service, dozens of Acacians donated blood to support the Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center on Friday afternoon. Our donations to the blood center will help almost 100 people in need of blood this year.

Brothers donating blood

"How Do You Want to be Remembered?" was the question posed by Friday’s speaker, Kent Stock. Kent’s story of following your passion, always having a Plan B, and being conscious about your interactions had an impact on all who attended.

Friday evening, dozens of Acacians braved the intense heat and humidity at Busch Stadium to watch the St. Louis Cardinals take on division rival Milwaukee Brewers. After falling behind 3-0 early in the game, St. Louis erased the deficit to take the game 9-3. A second group of brothers chose to visit the the City Museum. We also welcomed local alumni to join us for the George F. Patterson Society alumni reception.

Brothers at the Cardinals game

On Saturday, featured speaker Andrew McCrea presented, "Losing to Win: The Leadership Paradox" as part of the speaking program sponsored by the International Council of Acacia Fraternity. Andrew illustrated that sometimes the direction you are heading is 180 degrees from where you thought you’d be, and how to adapt to changing circumstances.

Banquets, Scholarships, and Awards

On Friday, August 3, 2012, the entire delegation enjoyed the William A. Utic Acacia Fraternity Foundation Scholarship Banquet, recently named in recognition of the tireless service of William A. Utic, Cornell '74, to the AFF. The banquet was Brother Utic by its namesake as part of the Dr. Irving M. Field Lectureship Series. Through the generous support of the AFF, numerous scholarships were awarded to deserving undergraduate members (winners to be posted online later).

Brothers at the William A. Utic AFF Scholarship Banquet

Also awarded during the AFF Scholarship Banquet were the Spirit of Excellence awards, earned by chapters for excellence in specific areas of chapter operations.

G.K. Nelson Academic Programming - Iowa State, Kansas State
Alumni Programming/Advisory - Illinois, Colorado, Kansas State
Best Publication - Iowa State, California (PA)
Athletic Achievement - Penn State
Campus Leadership - Kansas State, California (PA)
Chapter Programming/Membership Education - Kansas State
Communication Technology - Illinois Wesleyan, Kansas State
Dining Operations - Nebraska
Financial Operations - Kansas State, Iowa State
Good of the Fraternity - Ohio, Iowa State
House Management - Wisconsin, St. Cloud State
Human Service - Oregon State, Penn State, Ohio
Membership Recruitment - Ohio, Penn State
Officer Organization - Syracuse
Pledge Education - Ohio State, Texas
Ritual Exemplification - Illinois Wesleyan
Risk Management - Nebraska

Final Banquet and Awards & Honors

The 57th Biennial Conclave Final Banquet was held on Saturday, August 4, 2012. A formal dinner was enjoyed by all in attendance, with brothers of all generations joining to celebrate our Acacia experience together. The fraternity awarded high individual honors, additional chapter recognitions, and our highest chapter awards.

Founders’ Achievement Awards

Kansas State Chapter Malcolm Award (best chapter of the biennium) - Kansas State

Iowa State Chapter Superior Chapter - Iowa State

Penn State Chapter Outstanding Chapter - Penn State

George F. Patterson Outstanding Alumnus Award
Brothers Mel Rapp and Ron Hopkins Melvin W. Rapp, Illinois ‘49
Ronald T. Hopkins, Syracuse ‘69
(also pictured: Executive Director Keith M. Bushey, Indiana '86)

Award of Merit
Brothers Rob Mickam and Jeremy Davis Jeremy N. Davis, Iowa State ‘00
Robert W. Mickam, Texas ‘85
Edward Cunnington, Minnesota ‘63 (not pictured)
Larry Forsland, Minnesota ‘61 (not pictured)
Lucas D. Shivers, Kansas State ‘01 (not pictured)
(also pictured: International President Robert E. Roberson, Illinois Wesleyan '74)

Roy C. Clark Award
Roy C. Clark Award Winners Justin M. M. Kaplan, Carleton ‘07
Michael S. Weber, Iowa State ‘06
Nicholas M. Montanari, Washington State ‘08
Joshua J. Gannon, Oregon State ‘07

Chapter Advisor of the Biennium
Cory S. Oakley, Ohio ‘94

Executive Director's Award (most improved chapter)
Illinois Wesleyan

President's Award (membership growth)

Best Young Chapter
Washington State

Most Man Miles Traveled to Conclave

Largest Conclave Delegation
Kansas State

Delegates on the hypotenuse

View more Conclave photos on Facebook.

The experience of attending Conclave cannot be expressed adequately on a blog, or even from the lips of the brothers that attend; however we can be sure that this year's Conclave benefitted our members in terms of: making connections with other chapters and brothers, gaining insight and wisdom, gaining a broader perspective of what it means to be an Acacian, and gaining a boost in motivation to return to campus life knowing that each member’s leadership matters and will make a difference. If you were unable to attend this year's Conclave, we’d love for you to join us in 2014. Stay tuned for official announcements.

Events like our biennial Conclave can only happen with your support and the gracious gifts of our donors. If you’d like to help ensure our members have access to invaluable programs like the ones listed above, please visit our Acacia Fraternity Foundation donations page to make a contribution. Consider giving to the Area of Greatest Need, Acacia Annual Fund, or Cornerstones Program, and your gift will make a real impact.

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