Mercer’s Phi Delta Theta recognized nationally as most outstanding, most improved

Mercer's chapter of Phi Delta Theta recently won the Kansas City Trophy. Pictured, from left, are Chapter Adviser Steve Norris; Chapter Advisory Board President James Freeman; Dr. Carrie Ingoldsby, Mercer’s director of campus life and student involvement; former Chapter President William Duvall; current Chapter President Jacob Vick; alumnus Bob Lewis; and Mercer President William D. Underwood. Photo courtesy Dr. Carrie Ingoldsby

Mercer University’s chapter of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity recently received major recognition at the national level.

The chapter, known as Georgia Gamma, won both the Kansas City Trophy and the Phoenix Award at the fraternity’s Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute held July 30-Aug. 2 in Oxford, Ohio.

The Kansas City Trophy is awarded to the most outstanding Phi Delta Theta chapter at a small institution. The Phoenix Award recognizes a chapter that has shown dramatic improvement over the course of one academic year.

It was the first time the Mercer chapter won either trophy and the first time a Phi Delta Theta chapter won both awards in the same year.

“The Phoenix Award for us meant a lot because it encapsulated all the hard work we put in throughout the year,” said Chapter President Jacob Vick, a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. “In terms of the Kansas City Award, that meant a lot to us because that’s something we’ve never won, and it’s something that in the past our alumni had tried to do while they were in the chapter.

“It meant a lot that on our 150th anniversary we were able to do that for our alumni.”

In addition, the chapter won 14 other awards, including Excellence in Philanthropy, Excellence in Community Service and Excellence in Academics.

Georgia Gamma raised over $10,000 from its philanthropy efforts, Vick said. The money went to MU Miracle, which raises money for the Atrium Health Navicent Beverly Knight Olson Children’s Hospital in Macon, and Phi Delta Theta’s national philanthropy, The LiveLikeLou Foundation, which raises money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, research.

For the 2021-22 academic year, the 33 members of the Mercer chapter also put in over 500 hours of community service at the Brookdale Resource Center, a transitional housing and resource center for homeless people, and elsewhere in Macon, Vick said.

“The chapter spent the last year or more working on significant improvements related to community service, philanthropy and chapter management. They excelled in these areas, especially coming off of a hard year,” said Dr. Carrie Ingoldsby, Mercer’s director of campus life and student involvement. “Phi Delta Theta definitely made great improvements over the past 12-18 months. They worked hard to build the chapter through recruitment. They also worked to better manage the chapter through excellent officer leadership.

“It is impressive that the chapter was awarded both most improved chapter and most outstanding chapter (of this size campus) out of all chapters across the country by the Phi Delta Theta national office.”

Vick said the chapter made a conscious decision to improve.

“We had a heart-to-heart moment, and we said, ‘What do we want to do? Do we want to go back to how we had been, or do we want to make these things matter to our chapter again?’ Philanthropy, community service, academics — all those things we decided really mattered to us,” he said.

Georgia Gamma Awards

  • Kansas City Trophy
  • Phoenix Award
  • Gold Star Chapter
  • No. 1 in GPA
  • Social Media Award
  • Excellence in GHQ (General Headquarters) Reporting
  • Hayward S. Biggers Excellence in Ritual
  • Improvement in Recruiting
  • Excellence in Academics
  • Excellence in Philanthropy
  • Excellence in Risk Prevention
  • Excellence in Community Service
  • Outstanding Freshman: Garrett Tobin
  • Outstanding Sophomore: Garrett Kemp
  • Outstanding Junior: Themba Nsubuga
  • Outstanding Senior: Geomar Ngwang


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Jennifer Falk
Jennifer Falk is director of digital communications at Mercer. She edits and writes feature stories for The Den and examines web data and analytics to drive content decisions. She also creates and supervises the creation of content for primary University web pages and e-newsletters.