Illiniwek Retreat Spring 2010
Men of Gamma,
On January 13 of 2007, forty Gamma alumni convened in Chicago to decide on the future of 401 E. Daniel and define the relevance of AKL’s Gamma Chapter at the University of Illinois. Three years later we find ourselves with a new building at the corner of Fourth and Daniel. Please see the construction progress photos on the AKL website (www.AKLGamma.com). You will see that the building structure is now complete, and the tradesmen are installing electric, heating, AC, and plumbing. Drywall will be installed by the end of February.
Your house will be fully ready for your inspection at our Grand Opening October 1-3 of this year. You are welcome to tour the building at any time before then; simply let us know when you want to do so.
Just as important to the future of Gamma Chapter was the launch of the Gamma Leadership Training program for the active men on January 13, 2010 – three years to the date of our Chicago Summit! A team of Gamma alumni delivered six leadership training sessions aimed at building a shared vision among the Active Chapter on what it means to be “Men of Character; Making a Difference.”
Imagine the benefits of a new leadership-training program developed on a solid foundation of experiences and educational content from the Aspen Institute, Booz Allen Hamilton’s Center for Performance Excellence, Motorola Institute, the University of Illinois, and the AKL National Education Programs, with training provided by world class leadership instructors and practitioners. Let me explain:
From January 13-16 seven alumni faculty delivered day and night training, workshops, and planning sessions to the Gamma actives and pledges, resulting in a comprehensive business plan for the Gamma Chapter that will ready the men for life in the new house. The plan was built entirely by the student members and approved by the Corporation Board.
An activation ceremony of the 2009 pledge class followed. Gamma’s student organization, programs, and active’s responsibilities to each other were re-engineered no differently than the transformations that have occurred among major global corporations.
Hell Week, or I Week as you remember, is now replaced by a corporate style visioning, team building and planning exercise, while our traditions remain intact. Faculty alumni Professor Steve Hall, Alumni Association Executive Jack Peirce, AKL National President Emeritus Brent Holmes, Motorola Technical Leader Rick Van Egeren, Campus Recreation Director Dave Bagger, and Gamma Transition Leader John Evans joined me by investing a half day to full time over four days engaging the men. We also received off site support from alumni education and training advisors – ADP’s Corporate Leadership Trainer Chris Burley, and Evans Scholar Foundation Director Gary Holaway.
We explored the aspirations of the alumni as a group, the personal aspirations of each active and pledge, and tailor made an experience and cultural program that will secure our ideals while building skills that prepare the men for life as they pursue their hopes and dreams. Award-winning actor and entertainer Will Smith provided a perfect backdrop for our discussions. Please see the You Tube clip ‘Will’s Wisdom’ to understand the ideas we explored last week: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OLN2k0b3g70.
The clip is inspiring and set the stage for the faculty to relate the stories of dozens of Gamma Alumni now making an impact in our society. We are fortunate to not only be able to talk about our alumni, but deliver them in person to the men. For example, Los Angeles media and software industry CEO Jerry Salzman will follow our program launch with a visit to the men next week as our first guest lecturer. Jerry’s one-on-one and team discussions with the men will begin to build the Gamma member’s comfort with a senior executive as he shares his perspective as an industry leader and importantly, an AKL.
I hope you can see that the role of our alumni in mentoring the men is now defined and ready for successful implementation. We are delivering the Gamma Vision adopted by our Corporation Board in 2007. The men are ready for your personal offers as mentors, leadership faculty, and experts in industry, politics, and faith. With your support, we can assure every alumni that Gamma will be known for its excellence on campus and be a place that truly changes a young man’s life.
Please help us deliver on this vision and the continuity of our legacy; help us protect our dream. Visit the new website (www.aklgamma.com), provide us with your profile information, and let us know how we can bring you and your class back home. Keep in mind our Grand Opening’s major reunion October 1-3.
Chris Disher ’77
New Gamma Campaign
Jan 13-16, 2010 Planning, training and recruitment meetings at AKL, 606 Ohio.
Sessions ran from 9 AM to 7 PM for 4 days