2010 Upsilon Xi Alumni Breakfast
The 2010 Upsilon Xi Alumni Breakfast was held at the First Baptist Church in downtown Cleveland. Lee recently announced that it had purchased the First Baptist property and will be annexing it to the rest of campus over the coming months. It was the second straight alumni breakfast not held at the Holiday Inn North.
Alumni Coordinator Jared Jaber was the emcee for the event, which began with a prayer from the current Chaplain, Mr. Jordan Green, followed by the annual breakfast. Toward the end of breakfast, each alumnus was asked to stand and stated their name, and semester and year of tap. Once complete, President Matt Keyt gave the annual "State of the Club" address.
President Keyt delivered a stirring and significant speech, where he highlighted the service projects of Upsilon Xi as well as his personal reasons for wanting to be a Upsilon man. Over the past year, Upsilon Xi volunteered to clean and begin to restore the Greenway, helped local Fire Stations throughout Cleveland on September 11th by washing vehicles and landscaping, and participated in an outreach to feed the homeless. Last semester, Upsilon traveled to Atlanta to visit City of Refuge where it helped with new landscaping, cleaning, and interacting with children in the program. Recently, Upsilon has helped build new houses for "Habitat for Humanity" (painting and landscaping) and assisted Alpha Gamma Chi load dorm furniture into a tractor trailer to serve the campus.
President Keyt also shared his personal testimony for why he wanted to be in Upsilon. Given that his father was a former Vice-President and Chaplain of Alpha Gamma Chi in the early 1980s, this was no easy decision for him. When his father was diagnosed with cancer, the decision became even more difficult. After his father passed away, Matt followed the principles that his father had instilled in him and decided to rush Upsilon and "give it his all." It was clear to all in attendance that Matt was more than a guy who wanted to wear a jersey, but he was a man driven to embody I Cor 10:31, and do his very best as a Upsilon man. Matt reaffirmed the club's commitment to live up to Upsilon's traditions and perpetuate the Upsilon Xi legacy. (President Key's complete address can be found here)
After the State of the Club address, Head Sponsor Bill Jaber took the podium to discuss the newest project Upsilon Xi is engaged in. In 2012 Upsilon will be celebrating its 50th Anniversary. As we prepare to celebrate this very significant milestone, we have become aware of an opportunity to work on a unique project for Lee University. Upsilon alumni and current Lee University Vice Presidents Dr. Jerome Hammond and Mr. Chris Conine, approached the club earlier this year to ask if Upsilon Xi would be interested in raising funds to construct two large “arches” on campus. The proposed project would be called the “Upsilon Xi 50th Anniversary Arch Project” and the goal would be to have the arches constructed in time to be dedicated at Homecoming 2012, when our highly anticipated 50th Anniversary celebration will take place. The project has been enthusiastically embraced by the current club membership and was met with tremendous support when presented to the UXAA at this year’s Homecoming breakfast.
At the breakfast, pledge cards for this project were distributed and collected. Our goal is to raise at least $25,000 to cover the project itself and associated expenses. Monthly, quarterly, yearly, or one-time contributions can be made via credit card, check, or telephone. If you would like to contribute, please visit the 50th Anniversary Arches website.
The annual update from the Upsilon Xi Alumni Association (UXAA) was given this year by current UXAA Vice-President Wayne Slocumb, as UXAA President Joseph Giove was unable to make it to Homecoming due to the recent birth of his first child.
Vice-President Slocumb provided an update on the status of the three major initiatives that President Giove announced the previous year. These activities were the formation of three committees:
Vice-President Slocumb called upon the co-chairmen present to stand and provide a brief update on the activities of each committee. Both Dr. Palmertree and Mr. Winters spoke briefly about the first ever Upsilon Xi "Book of History," which was the main deliverable produced by their committee. The Book of History remains a "work in progress" and all were encouraged to read through the material and submit any "suggested edits" in order to continue to help the committee meet their mandate to produce the most historically accurate account possible.
Dr. DeWayne Thompson then discussed the activities of his committee that was charged to update the UXAA Constitution. The present Constitution had not been altered since it was originally ratified in 1998. In addition to updating some of the document's language, the committee also recommended the elimination of the Alumni Board. The Alumni Board was originally conceived as a second body that would work together with the UXAA Executive Committee on the work of the Association. However, experience has shown that the board was unnecessary as the work of the UXAA can very easily be done by the Executive Committee. Since the board has never been used and plays no role, the Committee proposed removing it.
The UXAA Constitution states in Article VII Section 1 that any proposed changes or Amendments to the Constitution must be posted for a period of 10 days before a vote. These proposed changes have been posted on the Upsilon website for the past 90 days. Comments were also invited on the proposed amendments, but none were received.
When Dr. Thompson finished discussing the changes, Vice President Slocumb asked for a motion to adopt the new Constitution (motion was made and seconded). The UXAA Constitution states in Article VII Section 1 that a 3/4 majority must be achieved to alter the Constitution. A ¾ majority was achieved and the Constitutional change was approved.
Dr. Jeff Sargent gave an update on the activities of the Cornerstone Committee. Cornerstone has been an ongoing effort that focuses on faculty alumni mentorship of current members. Dr. Sargent reported that several meetings took place in 2010 and efforts to have additional meetings are ongoing.
The final UXAA portion of the program was given by current UXAA Treasurer Nick Humble who gave the annual “Treasurer’s Report.”
The final activity of the breakfast was the announcement of the 2010 Upsilon Xi Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award, which was awarded this year to Mr. Vernon Darko. The award is given each year to a Upsilon alum who has distinguished himself and in doing so has brought credit to himself, to Lee University, and to Upsilon Xi. Nominations were solicited this year from Upsilon alumni, but the club itself had the final say in who won the award.
After leaving Lee University, Upsilon alumnus Vernon Darko started his own company that has grown into a multi-million dollar exporting juggernaut. Vernon is the President of EquipXP, internationally known as an industry leader among export companies with specializations in procurement and distribution of transportation and heavy construction equipment. EquipXP is based in Houston, TX with international satellite offices worldwide. In addition to meeting President Obama on several occasions, Mr. Darko garnered national attention on May 13 of this year when U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke honored EquipXP with a Presidential “E” Star Award. The Presidential “E” Star Awards are the highest U.S. government honor for increasing U.S. exports. The Presidential “E” Award was created by President John F. Kennedy in 1961 to recognize persons, firms or organizations that contribute significantly to increasing U.S. exports. The “E Star” Award, meanwhile, recognizes continued superior performance in increasing or promoting exports.
Mr. Darko was very gracious in accepting the Alumnus of the Year Award. Mr. Darko highlighted his years in Upsilon and encouraged the present members to value their time in the club. Vernon stated that many of the valuable leadership skills that he has applied in the business world were learned through his involvement in Upsilon.
Once Mr. Darko had completed his acceptance speech, the breakfast was concluded in prayer.