Theta Chi Fraternity has named North Dakota State University senior Kyle E. Sebesta as the 2013 recipient of its highest undergraduate honor, the Reginald E. F. Colley Award. The award annually recognizes distinguished undergraduate service to alma mater, fraternity and chapter.
Garret Mueller of Iota Beta Chapter at Missouri State University was named first runner-up and Sterett Seckman of Chi Chapter of Auburn University was second runner-up. The winner and two runners-up each receive academic scholarships furnished by The Foundation Chapter of Theta Chi.
Sebesta, a Civil Engineering major, served his alma mater, community, and fraternity greatly during his time at NDSU as a leader and mentor.
He participated in NDSU’s Summer Leadership Institute as a freshman and later returned as a student leader and facilitated leadership seminars in 2010 and 2012. He was also involved with the Move-In Crew and as an NDSU Conference, Orientation, and Recruitment Leaders that helped students adjust to college life. He also participated in NDSU Transfer Student Orientation. He worked on campaigns for Student Body President and Vice President in 2012 and 2013. In 2012 he served on the Homecoming Planning Committee and ultimately was selected to the 2012 Homecoming Court. In 2013, he was Senior Speak Student for the College of Engineering and Architecture and published advice for incoming freshman in a university newsletter. In 2010/2011 and 2012/2013 he was nominated as a Student Leader of the Year.
Within the NDSU Greek Community, Sebesta participated in a number of events and projects hosted by the fraternities and sororities at NDSU. Sebesta was selected as the 2012 Greek Man of the Year, a 2011 Greek Man of the Year nominee, a 2012 Chapter President of the Year nominee, and was the winner of March 27, 2013’s “Wear Your Letters Wednesday”.
Scholastically, Sebesta maintained a 3.898 Grade Point Average, well above NDSU’s All Men’s Average of 2.810 and the All Fraternity Average of 3.031. He made the Dean’s List in the College of Engineering and Architecture every semester in college and was also admitted to Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society which is composed of the top 10% of the Senior Class. He was also a member of Phi Eta Sigma Honor Society and Order of Omega. He participated and served in the American Society of College Engineers, Institute of Transportation Engineers, where he organized a spring break trip for fellow students to tour four major airports to learn about airport engineering from top professionals in the field.
Service to others was a critical component of Sebesta’s time at NDSU. He became a member of the Blue Key Honor Society and served as Alumni Secretary as well as the Producer of Bison Brevities 2013, raising nearly $2500 for charity. He is also the Planning Committee Chair for the Blue Key Honor Society 2014 National Leadership Conference where he has invited over 70 participating colleges and universities and is scheduling nearly a dozen guest and keynote speakers.
He also found the time to work with two NDSU Faculty Members to found and charter the NDSU-Fargo Lions Club. As a Founder and Charter President, Sebesta increased membership from 8 to 50 in ten months. The Lions Club was nominated in 2010/2011 for NDSU Student Organization of the Year.
He participated in a number of activities in the NDSU/Fargo community including: Special Olympics, Fargo Marathon Kids’ Run, Pray for Grey Foundation Benefit, Kiwanis Pancake Breakfast, Miracle Network Phone-A-Thon, MLK Jr. Day Service Plunge, TNT Gymnastics Open Gym, Hoops for Hannah Spaghetti Feed, Dorothy Day Food Pantry, Fill the Dome Food Drive, Dance Marathon, Relay for Life, and several blood drives. He was also involved in a number of NDSU homecomings and commencements.
Brother Sebesta’s leadership potential was recognized within Phi Chapter as he was elected Recruitment Chairman, Vice President, and ultimately, Chapter President. As a senior, he was elected to serve as Chaplain to aid the chapter in remaining true to Theta Chi’s values and principles.
He lead countless committees and chapter retreats and assisted with updates to the chapter’s alumni database. He started an annual award for Phi Chapter Alumnus of the Year at Phi’s annual Pig Banquet event.
Sebesta participated in a number of regional and national Theta Chi leadership events including attendance at the Mid-Year Leadership Conference in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013 as well as the 2011 Deranian Presidents Conference and the 154th National Convention in Orlando, FL in 2010
Phi Chapter President Daniel Kvasnicka noted, “What amazes me is his work ethic with everything he does for the Fraternity. He pushes himself and his brothers to constantly be thinking of how the chapter can be better.” Kvasnicka added, “Leading the way with recruitment (recruiting over 20 men while Recruitment Chairman), Kyle is continually searching for men who have shown potential to be great brothers. Although I was someone who vowed never to join a fraternity, I am so grateful he recruited me to join as a junior.”
Phi Chapter voted Sebesta as the 2010/2011 Chapter Member of the Year, the 2010/2011 Scholar of the Year, the 2011/2012 Chapter Member of the Year, 2012/2013 Scholar of the Year and won the “Slugger Award” for Highest GPA with the most credits on three separate occasions.
Past member Theta Chi Fraternity’s national board of directors, the Grand Chapter, and Phi alumnus, Dr. Jim Hardwick, acknowledges the significance of the Colley Award recognition. “To be recognized as a leader among leaders attests to the commitment that Kyle has made to the mission and success of Theta Chi Fraternity and North Dakota State University.” Hardwick continued, “The first time that you meet Kyle Sebesta, you are impressed with his genuineness as a person and his passion as a community and campus leader. He is a mission-centered student leader who challenges members to live the values of the organization.”
Hardwick also noted, “Past Colley Award winners are recognized as successful leaders who continue their selfless service after college in their professions, communities and congregations. Kyle Sebesta exemplifies the standard of lifelong excellence in the leadership identified in past award winners.” He continued, “The fact that Kyle is the second undergraduate from Theta Chi Fraternity at NDSU to receive the Colley Award in the past three years is a testimony to the outstanding leadership culture in the fraternity chapter.”
As the 2013 recipient, Sebesta joins three other recipients from Phi Chapter member: 1934’s Roman E. Meyers, 1941’s Maj. Gen. Larry F. Tanberg and Cory Loveless, who received the Colley Award in 2011.
Cory Loveless noted, “I have had the pleasure of knowing Kyle throughout his time as an undergraduate, and I have seen him develop into the student leader he is today. His commitment to his academic pursuits, his dedication to his fraternity, and his character that upholds our shared values in Theta Chi makes me immensely proud to be his brother.” Loveless continued, “As a past Colley Award Recipient, it means a lot to see another Phi chapter brother win this award. While the award recognizes a single undergraduate, it carries more weight with me that my chapter continues to develop more young leaders to perpetuate our great fraternity. Kyle represents the best of Theta Chi in my eyes, and I am very proud of him.”
2011 Colley Award Recipient Cory Loveless (r) visits with Kyle Sebesta in 2012
to congratulate him for his nomination to NDSU's Homecoming Court
Phi Chapter alumnus member Ben Buresh commented, “Kyle exemplifies leadership by working with his brothers to get things done while maintaining harmony in the chapter. His pragmatic style has been critical to Phi chapter's success, both as president and as a member. I have no doubt that the skills Kyle has developed will serve the chapter in his final year as an undergraduate and himself as he enters the work force.”
The Colley Award applications were reviewed by a committee composed of top Theta Chi alumni from around the country, primarily consisting of past Colley Award recipients. The committee reviewed hundreds of pages’ worth of applications submitted by applicants from around the country. The committee was chaired by Theta Chi National Vice President William W. Palmer.
“With so many applications this year, it was a challenging process. But the results speak for themselves: The “Best of the Best,” and in a few instances, barely a razor-width of difference in the vote count among the top candidates,” Palmer said. “Our country and our beloved Fraternity are indeed lucky to have such young men as our future leaders and decision-makers.”
Arrangements will be made to present the award to Sebesta in person. Information about the award presentation will be made available on Theta Chi’s website, www.thetachi.org, later this semester.
First presented in 1929, the Colley Award is named for Reginald E.F. Colley, a World War I veteran and past member of Theta Chi’s board of directors, the Grand Chapter. It is interesting to note that brothers Colley and Sebesta share the same alma mater. 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 Fraternity’s most prestigious undergraduate honor.