|Remembering Stewart Howe
|Stewart Samuel Howe (’28) dedicated his business and personal life to higher education and the fraternal world. He is renowned for his work and accomplishments as a Kappa Sigma, journalist, author, businessman, and fundraiser.
Stew was a native of Streator, Illinois and a descendant of a pioneer American family. His long and distinguished career began in 1923 when, as a teenager, he rose from reporter to assistant city editor of the Streator Times Press. He entered the U of I the following year and was active in journalism from the start. He became editor of the Daily Illini and the Illinois Magazine while earning bachelors and master’s degrees in journalism.
In 1927, Stew spent the summer in New York City as an intern at the Young & Rubicam advertising agency. During this time, he spent many hours researching the William R. Baird collections on fraternities, sororities, colleges, and universities. This research was the basis for Baird’s Manual of American College Fraternities and served as a catalyst for Stew’s career and life-long interest in adding to this famous collection.
Stew was an active Kappa Sigma as an undergraduate and alumni. He was an active leader in the Alpha Gamma Club, serving over 40 years as its secretary. In this role, Stew was well known as the long time editor of the Alpha Gamma Messenger – Kappa Sigma’s first and still most notable chapter newsletter. Stew also served as national alumni secretary for some years and in 1935 was responsible for producing Kappa Sigma’s first alumni directory.
In 1930, he founded the Stewart Howe Alumni Service in Champaign to provide services in alumni relations, communications and fund-raising for fraternal chapters on campus. This successful business blossomed into a network of offices from New York to California.
As a journalist and alumni relations specialist, he authored more than 200 magazine articles for many publications. As a devoted and dedicated alumnus, he was an early member of the President’s Council, a charter member of the Library Friends and the first major donor to its archives.
From his college days to the end of his life, Stew was a diligent collector of archive materials on higher education and fraternity life. Upon his death in 1973, over 13,000 pounds of material that he had collected through the years was donated to the archives of the University of Illinois Library. Today, the Howe Collection is recognized as the largest archive of fraternity, sorority, and related student material ever assembled.
The perpetuation of Stew’s life-long interests and ideas has been achieved largely through the Stewart Howe Foundation. The Howe Foundation sponsored and granted funds for the creation of a newsletter that brought forth Friendscript – a quarterly journal telling and selling the wares and needs of the U of I’s world famous library. The Howe Foundation also sponsored the creation of the Stewart S. Howe Archival Endowment Fund for the university archives. These funds perpetuate Stew’s dream of continuing to attract to his notable collection of materials from the world of higher education and fraternal life.
|Remembering Philip Schoch
||Philip F. Schoch (’26) was a Varsity I member of the Track team from August 1925 to May 1926 and a successful businessman from Ottawa, Illinois. Upon his passing in 1988, Phil left his entire estate to his charitable trust, remembering Kappa Sigma/Alpha Gamma among many other organizations.
Consistent with Philip Schoch’s demonstrated success and stewardship, Schoch Scholars are recognized each year based on academics (3.0+ GPA), commitment (living in the chapter house), and financial stewardship.
| Remembering Bill Tselepsis
|Throughout his life, Bill “Potsie” Tselepis (’90) profoundly touched the lives of so many in a positive way and Alpha Gamma is fortunate to have counted Bill amongst our loyal ranks.
Hailing from Berwyn, Illinois, Bill majored in finance. In addition to the fraternity, Bill was active in many campus activities including the University of Illinois Athletic Association, for whom he served as its Vice President of Illini Pride.
Bill first served the undergraduate chapter as its Grand Treasurer and then as Grand Master. During his term as Grand Master, Alpha Gamma was a winner of the prestigious Founder’s Award for chapter house excellence. During his tenure, the chapter also began laying the foundations for its important 1991 Centennial Celebration.
Bill graduated in May 1990 and initially worked in Chicago’s financial district. A few years later, Bill was offered a job with Cantor Fitzgerald and relocated to New York City. After a stint in Tokyo, Japan, Bill eventually accepted a promotion which returned him and his family back to New York City. Cantor Fitzgerald promoted Bill to partner and he eventually settled with a new company called eSpeed, a Cantor Fitzgerald spin-off.
As an alumnus, Bill never forgot the great friends and strong emotional bonds he had forged with his Alpha Gamma Brothers. He continued to participate in various Alpha Gamma fundraising events and philanthropic activities after his graduation. Further, he remained closely connected to his Brothers via e-mails, visits and telephone calls.
Sadly, Bill did not survive the tragic events of September 11, 2001. Working on the 105th floor in the south tower of the World Trade Center, Bill and the majority of his co-workers were unable to escape the devastation. Bill left behind his wife (Mary), daughter (Katie), and son (Will) who was born shortly after Bill’s passing. Bill will always be remembered as a great and dedicated friend, son, brother, husband, father and lifelong Kappa Sigma.
The Bill Tselepis Memorial Scholarship is to be awarded annually to a member of the fraternity who resides in the chapter house, is financially current, and has a B grade point average or above. He must embody Bill’s demonstrated characteristics in the areas of academics, leadership (inside and outside of the fraternity), participation in house activities, sense of humor, and overall ability to be well liked and respected by everyone he encounters.
|Remembering Richard “Dick” Russell
|Richard J. (Dick) Russell was born in 1938 and raised by his mother in the Chicago, Illinois area. He spent part of his teens in a home for young men of dysfunctional families. He graduated from Libertyville high school in 1957 and then entered the University of Illinois, where he was invited to pledge in the Kappa Sigma fraternity. After his graduation in 1961 he entered the United States Navy and served four years as a combat navigator-bombardier aboard A3D Skywarrior jets.
After serving in the military, Dick felt a passion in continuing to serve his country. He entered the United States Central Intelligence Agency and served as an officer and an operative in the intelligence and counter terrorism units.
In April 2000, at the age of sixty-two, Dick suffered a stroke in his brain stem. He was diagnosed as having Locked-In-Syndrome (LIS), a rare neurological disorder characterized by complete paralysis of voluntary muscles in all parts of the body except for those that control eye movement. Individuals with LIS are conscious and can think and reason, but are unable to speak or move. This disorder leaves individuals completely mute and paralyzed. Communication may be possible only through blinking eye movements.
Though he found himself trapped in a prison, completely exposed to and dependent upon others, unlike most stroke victims, he suffered the kind of brain damage that did not affect his intellectual abilities. Seventy-five percent of those in Dick’s situation do not live out the first year.
In a letter to Dick written in 2002, after learning of Dick’s continuing courage and tenacious battle against all odds of surviving, former CIA Director George J. Tenet wrote: “The traits and talents that you brought to life in intelligence are the ones on which you continue to draw today. In countless situations you employed a profound strength in the face of challenge and hardship. You combined all the very best of America’s Clandestine Service.”
The Richard J. Russell Scholarships are awarded to those members of his fraternity who reside in the house, are financially current, and have a “C” grade point average or above. They must embody Dick’s strength in the face of academic challenge and hardship, while displaying Dick’s other characteristics as a Kappa Sigma: integrity, common sense, participation in all house activities, wry welcome sense of humor, and a propensity for displaying leadership. Stated simply, an award recipient should be a guy possessing the fore mentioned qualities with some backbone and grit and who may be struggling financially and/or academically. A candidate should be nominated for this gift by a vote; not by some board, but by the brothers who he lives with and are familiar with the candidate’s daily display of these attributes. In essence, like Dick Russell, this is a Kappa Sigma who will stimulate any gathering with his lovable wit and charismatic personality by his mere presence.
|Remembering Tim Bramlet
|Tim Bramlet (Alpha Gamma, University of Illinois ’80) served as president of the Alpha Gamma chapter and was a proud supporter of the Fighting Illini, which he covered as a sports journalist while at Illinois. Tim was also a fervent St. Louis Cardinals fan and he was proud to have spent an entire season working for the team. Tim had a distinguished career in public service, including 12 years as president of the Taxpayer’s Federation of Illinois, where he worked on issues concerning school funding and property taxes. Prior to that, Tim served as vice president of the Illinois Retail Merchants Association. On May 17, 2017, the Illinois House honored Tim’s long service to the state by passing House Resolution 409 (https://openstates.org/il/bills/100th/HR409/). Tim was a dedicated contributor to the Springfield community. He served nine years as a commissioner of the Springfield Airport Authority, and he was president of the Springfield Sports Hall of Fame, the Capitol Area Sports Commission and Illini Country Club.
The Timothy S. Bramlet Scholarship has been made possible by an endowment established within the U of I Foundation in Tim’s memory by his friends and fraternity brothers. The scholarship is awarded each year to an Alpha Gamma member who resides in the house, is financially current and in good standing with the University and shows financial need.
|Remembering Eric Kizer
and John Russell
|Noble Eric Kizer and John Brendan Russell (JR) were Alpha Gamma pledge brothers, class of 1984. Both graduated in 1985, Eric with a double major in History and English, JR with a degree in Finance.
Eric was from Buffalo Grove, IL and attended Stevenson High School. JR was from Highland Park, IL and attended Highland Park High School. Eric was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease in 1982. While fighting the disease, it was important to Eric to remain at school with his friends and brothers. After graduation, he applied to law school and was accepted and attended briefly at the University of Michigan. Eric passed away on April 15, 1988 from Hodgkin’s disease.
After graduating, JR worked in commercial real estate in Chicago until 2003, when he decided to pursue a lifelong dream of songwriting in Nashville and continued to buy and rehab industrial buildings. JR obtained his Juris Doctorate from the Nashville School of Law in 2014. JR passed away on June 23, 2020. His medical problems began in 2017 with a heart attack, followed by triple-bypass surgery. An unrelated diagnosis of leiomyosarcoma led to an intense eleven-month cancer battle. During this time, his youngest daughter had been accepted to Rice University, but there was no financial aid available. Fortunately, he was covered by good insurance and income continued to come in from real estate investments, but if that were not the case his daughter would not have been able to attend her dream school – something very important to JR and his wife Melissa.
Eric and JR both loved music and literature. Additionally, Eric was an avid sailor and seemed to live out the first stanza of Jimmy Buffett’s Son of a Son of a Sailor….and JR could always be found with a fishing pole in hand. Both of them lived in the East wing of the second floor of the chapter house and you could always count on good music (classical/country/rock), spirited and inspired discussions, and the occasional adult beverage after hours in their rooms. Both of their rooms were often a hub of some type of activity. 212 East Daniel has so many tales inspired by Eric and JR, and others - an eventful Barn Dance comes to mind.
Additionally, Eric and JR were informal leaders in the house, especially amongst their friends and pledge class. We hope this scholarship will encourage their spirit/example.
The John Brendan Russell and Noble Eric Kizer Legacy Scholarship fund has been made possible by an endowment established within the U of I Foundation in Eric and JR’s memory by their families and fraternity brothers. The scholarship is awarded each year to an Alpha Gamma member who resides in the house and is facing financial challenges due to personal or family medical issues. Second preference shall be given to a member that exemplifies the values of the fraternity through leadership and who are not elected officers of the chapter.