Theta Chi Fraternity Announces 2016/2017 Sidney Ann Gilpin Lewis Award Recipient

Friday, June 30, 2017 10:00 am

Theta Chi Fraternity Announces 2016/2017 Sidney Ann Gilpin Lewis Award Recipient

Bloomington, IN – Theta Chi Fraternity is proud to announce the Alpha Rho Chapter at the University of Washington as the 2016/2017 recipient of the Sidney Ann Gilpin Lewis Memorial Trophy, with special recognition to Brothers Joshua Bean (2018), Matt Gaylor (2019), and Nigel Hall (2018).

Every year, Alpha Rho shares the story of Brother Kyle Charvat with its new members. In the mid-2000’s, Kyle suffered from brain cancer and his chapter brother’s responded by raising over $100,000 to assist with medical bills. Sadly, Brother Charvat succumbed and passed on to the Chapter Eternal. In his honor, the Kyle Charvat Foundation was established to provide assistance to young adults battling any form of life-threatening cancer.

Alpha Rho Brothers Joshua Bean, Matt Gaylor, and Nigel Hall took Kyle’s story to heart and let it guide them to achieving something truly incredible. During a brotherhood camping trip near the end of their freshman year, they unveiled their plan: to bike across the country to raise money for the Kyle Charvat Foundation--something the entire chapter got behind. 

Pictured L-R: Executive Director Mike Mayer, brothers of Alpha Rho/Washington, and Initiative Academy facilitator Zach Smith (Iota Beta/Missouri State 2010)

As they planned the trip during their sophomore year, a tragic event occurred. Brother Bean learned that his father had been diagnosed with late stage cancer. His father’s health declined quickly with him passing away while in hospice care. Every brother of the chapter made it a priority to attend the memorial service and to lend an Assisting Hand to their brother. With this tragedy, the future of the bike ride was in jeopardy. However, Brother Bean turned an incredible hardship as an opportunity to persevere with the bike ride in honor of his father.

On June 21, 2016, Brothers Joshua Bean, Matt Gaylor, and Nigel Hall dipped their bike tires into the Pacific Ocean and set off for their ride. Thirty-eight days later, they arrived in Boston, riding their bikes over the sands of Revere Beach into the Atlantic Ocean. Their goal in the beginning was to raise $20,000. When all was said and done, the men raised over $25,000 in support of the Kyle Charvat Foundation.


Brothers Joshua Bean, Matt Gaylor, and Nigel Hall while on their bike ride across the United States

These brothers exemplify “The Assisting Hand.”. Amid heartbreak, the men of Alpha Rho Chapter rose to the occasion to make a positive contribution to a worthy cause.

The Lewis Award, represented by the Lewis Memorial Trophy, is based on the account of past National Vice President James G. Lewis of Alpha Xi Chapter at the University of Delaware (left). In 1930, his daughter, Sidney Ann, was stricken with spinal meningitis, which developed from an infection following a serious operation. Lewis gave blood transfusions but when doctors refused to use his blood again, it was essential that others be found whose blood would match Sidney Ann’s. Fellow Grand Chapter officer Dr. Robert L. Irish, of Alpha Chapter at Norwich University, was in constant contact with the situation and informed the officers of Upsilon Chapter at New York University.

The next day several of Upsilon’s members arrived at the hospital offering to donate their blood. Two more transfusions were made, but tragically, Sidney Ann passed away at midnight. Later that year, Brother Lewis presented a trophy to the Grand Chapter in memory of his daughter. He did not specify a purpose, but merely wanted to thank the Fraternity for its assistance during the period of his daughter’s illness.

Today, the Lewis Award recognizes Theta Chi members and chapters that most exemplify lending a helping hand to their campus and community, matching the true Theta Chi spirit demonstrated by Dr. Irish and Upsilon Chapter’s desire to help Brother Lewis in his time of need.    

Founded in 1856, Theta Chi Fraternity is a men’s collegiate fraternity with more than 185,000 initiated members and has established 235 chapters. Leadership development, personal development, and service to alma mater are fundamental to Theta Chi Fraternity’s mission.