2015 Colley Award Winner Announced

Posted by: Kris Taibl  | Thursday, August 13, 2015 10:00 am




AUGUST 13TH 2015 - CARMEL, IN - Theta Chi Fraternity is proud to announce William Marcus Gibson of Alpha Phi Chapter at the University of Alabama as the 2015 recipient of the Reginald E.F. Colley Award. The award is Theta Chi’s most prestigious undergraduate honor and annually recognizes distinguished service to alma mater, fraternity and community.

Bryce Ellis (Alpha Rho/Washington 2015) was named first runner-up and Cody Rominger (Gamma Theta/San Diego State 2015) was second runner-up.  The winner and two runners-up each receive academic scholarships furnished by The Foundation Chapter of Theta Chi.

Brother Gibson served his alma mater, championed challenges that faced his chapter, and exemplified the values of Theta Chi. "It is extremely humbling to be selected as this year’s recipient,” said Marcus. “The fraternity has given so much to me and I will forever be indebted to it.  I am proud of our accomplishments and I am even more excited to continue to work together as we pursue the mission of Theta Chi."

Marcus first major role was his appointment as Alpha Phi Chapter’s Alumni Chairman.  It was here that he worked alongside Alpha Phi Alumni while they fundraised for a new chapter house. Norwich Housing Corporation Secretary and, at the time, Alpha Phi’s Alumni Capital Campaign Chair, Wes Wicker reflected on Marcus. “He’s one of the most outstanding men I’ve met during my long career in Theta Chi. I’m proud to call him a brother and proud that he is a member from my own chapter.” Wes went on to describe how Marcus “embodies the attributes of a Colley Award Recipient: a leader in the chapter, a leader on the campus, and an outstanding student who excelled in the classroom.”

Upon entering his sophomore year, Gibson became Recruitment Chairman, leading the chapter to pledge 42 men. Later that year, Marcus was elected as Vice president of his chapter. Alpha Phi alumnus and 1973 Colley Award recipient Marvin McConaghy noted Marcus’ ability to “light the fire and fan the flames within the chapter to make changes…to re-embrace their values and inspire the chapter.” McConaghy contined, describing Marcus as “an excellent student, universally respected on one of the largest Greek campuses in America, one who has given sacrificially of his time in service to the underserved.”

During the fall 2014 semester, Marcus was unanimously elected Chapter President. He continued to lead Alpha Phi through a number of trying times, including the loss of one of their members. Sadly, an Alpha Phi brother took his own life during Marcus’s term, yet his resilience stood fast, and he led and supported his chapter through mourning, healing and remembrance.

“I have seen our undergraduate members react to terrible situations in a myriad of ways; however, I have never seen one react to a situation with the poise and strength Marcus did,” noted Alpha Phi Chapter Advisory Board Chairman, Phillip Burns. As a result, Alpha Phi Chapter hosted the Out of the Darkness Community Walk, a campus wide event. The walk stood as one of the most successful Sacred Purpose Events of the academic year, raising more than $30,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Through Alpha Phi’s actions in the midst of tragedy, the chapter received the 2014/2015 Sidney Ann Gilpin Lewis Memorial Trophy, an award recognizing a chapter that epitomizes “the assisting hand.”

Outside of his dedication to Theta Chi, Marcus remained active across campus and in the classroom.  He consistently made the Dean’s and President’s Lists, and maintained a 3.6 GPA.  Brother Gibson was a member of Beta Alpha Psi accounting honor society, where he participated in a number of community outreach programs. Marcus was selected as a Capstone Man early into his undergraduate tenure, serving as an official host for the University of Alabama. Award 2015/CapstoneMen.jpg

Alabama's Capstone Men and Women, Marcus is seen on the bottom right.



From Order of Omega, Marcus was named the Outstanding Greek Junior of the Year in 2014 and the Outstanding Greek Senior of the year in 2015.  He was admitted membership into Cardinal Key, a national leadership fraternity for Juniors and Seniors. Marcus was named the Tim Hebson Man of the Year, an award signifying the most outstanding senior fraternity man at the University of Alabama.  Lastly, as a senior, he was selected for membership into Omicron Delta Kappa and Jason’s Honor Society, two of the most prestigious societies on campus. 

Marcus served as the Chair of the Dean of Students Advisory Board.  It was here that he collaborated with the Dean of Students, reorganizing the board and developing marketing plans for a number of campus programs.  As a member of the Honors College, Marcus participated in Alabama’s English Learning Institute’s Culturally Speaking Program, facilitating cross-cultural understanding to students from across the globe.  During his time in the Dean of Students office, he managed BElieveUA, a peer to peer mentoring program that assisted hundreds of students.  Brother Gibson also created an organization called Clear Waters UA, a group committed to marine conservation and advocacy.   The Dean of Students, Tim Hebson, noted that “Everything Marcus does, he does right.”

Marcus will be returning to the University of Alabama in the fall to pursue his master’s degree, with a Graduate Assistantship with the Dean of Students.

“Theta Chi Fraternity is tremendously proud of Marcus,” said Executive Director and 2004 Colley Award recipient, Mike Mayer. “Throughout his college career, Marcus has demonstrated in word and deed his true understanding of the ideals of our Fraternity.”

Alpha Phi Chapter now boasts seven total Colley Award recipients, the most of any other chapter. Previous recipients include former University of Alabama President, Dr. Richard A. Thigpen (1965); Past National President and Former Executive Director, Dale Taylor (1969); Former Field Representative, Marvin McConaghy (1972); Peter Derzis, Jr. (1975), ESPN’s Sr. Vice President for Events, former President & CEO of MemberClicks, Thomas J. Howard (1993) and Former Leadership and Education Consultant, Capt. Lucas Elgie (2005). Award 2015/colleytrophy.jpg

First presented in 1929, the Colley Award is named for Reginald E.F. Colley, a World War I veteran and past member of Theta Chis board of directors, the Grand Chapter. As a member of Phi Chapter, Brother Colley developed a celebrated reputation as a campus, community and civic leader. He graduated in 1915 and eventually headed overseas to fight for the U.S. Army on the Western Front. Brother Colley died at the age of 39, but his legacy of leadership continues to inspire future generations of talented Theta Chis. Today, the Colley Award is treasured as the Fraternitys most prestigious undergraduate honor.