Recap of the 79th Convention

Recap Video

Brotherhood Heats Up in the Phoenix Desert

The Order’s 79th Convention & Brotherhood weekend was held from July 28 through August 1, 2021, in Phoenix, Arizona. The headquarters and all main meetings were held at The Arizona Biltmore, a living architectural masterpiece showcasing the work of America’s most heralded architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, which also hosted the 74th Convention just a decade earlier in 2011. Knight Commander C. Douglas Simmons III welcomed the official family, our province and national volunteers, the staff, and families, for a kick-off dinner on Wednesday in the Gold Room.

A sunrise hike to Piestewa Peak was organized for spouses and guests. Thursday played host to The Values Oasis, a trade-show style and golf-themed event registration that showcased 18 “holes” of vendors and partners, live music by KA brother and country artist Hunter L. Chastain (Delta Phi–Jacksonville State ’18), and the traveling archives. Additionally, the 19th hole featured wine tastings by Excelsior Napa, the Order’s wine brand. Spouses and guests also enjoyed a Southwest Cooking Academy off site.

During Convention Session I, brothers and friends of the Order were recognized (see below), the Knight Commander’s Biennial Report was delivered, and it was revealed that the Active Members once again attained a record 3.338 National GPA in the Spring of 2020, and achieved the highest GPA for a fall semester at a 3.085 in the Fall of 2020. The perfunctory business of assignments of committees rounded out the affair, and then the Convention was called into Executive Session to receive a particular report and hear the reading of a historic 1913 letter from Dr. Samuel Zenas Ammen, our Practical Founder. That night the KAOEF  24th Annual Bid for Brotherhood (B4B) was held in the Gold Room that evening. After “fund of need,” games, and the silent and live auctions, the evening grossed approximately $146,000—putting the net aggregate B4B total at more than $1.1 million since inception. These funds are directly used to support leadership education programs and scholarships for our undergraduate members.

Friday began with the province breakfast that allowed fellowship and dealings amongst the Province Commander’s and their chapters. After the Legislative, Finance, and Resolutions Committees met, the Undergraduate and Alumni Conferences were held, and then all gathered for the KAOEF’s 17th Leadership Lecture Luncheon. Michael L. Howell (Alpha Phi–Duke ’07), who is currently the Senior Advisor for Executive Branch Relations at The Heritage Foundation, delivered a speech about cancel culture. Spouses and guests enjoyed a tour of Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright’s beloved winter home and desert laboratory.

The afternoon gave host to Convention Session II. The committee reports were all received and adopted unanimously, thanks to the able leadership of four Former Knight Commanders: Legislative Committee Chairman David M. Warren, Finance Committee Chairmen James R. Estes and Darren S. Kay, and Resolutions Committee Chairman J. Michael Duncan. The Convention elected to retain C. Douglas Simmons III as Knight Commander, King V. Aiken, Jr. as Senior Councilor, and L. Blair Bailey, Stephen J. LaFallotte, Malcolm H. Liles, David T. Martineau, and Dr. James M. Schmuck as Councilors. Spouses and guests enjoyed Bubbles at the Biltmore,  a private sparkling wine tasting with Brandon Chaney, Proprietor & CEO Fairwinds Estate Winery, home of Excelsior Napa Valley, the Order’s wine program, and the Rose Circle of the Crimson & Gold Society toasted to their new members.

Friday evening, the KAOEF’s 9th Annual Crimson & Gold Society Dinner was held at the nearby Wrigley Mansion thanks to the generous support of the Foundation’s Chairman and President, Derick S. Close (Alpha Omega–North Carolina State ’78). The dinner recognized members of the Crimson & Gold Society, brothers and friends of the Order who contribute $1,000 or more each year in unrestricted support to the Foundation. For those not currently members of the Crimson & Gold Society, a Brotherhood Dinner and Outing was held at Top Golf.

Saturday began with a Devotional Breakfast led by National Chaplain Dwain P. Knight (Delta Kappa–Stephen F. Austin State ’04). The KAOEF Board of Trustees held their meeting, and the Convention attendees welcomed three new brothers and brushed up on the ritual during the Model Initiation Ceremony and Ritual Workshop which was held in the Grand Ballroom. Undergraduate and alumni brothers go the chance to discuss career goals and plans during a Professional Networking Session, and leaders in the Greek Life movement were recognizing at the Interfratneral Recognition Luncheon.  Following Educational Sessions on Social Event Management, Recruitment Strategy, and Diversity and Inclusion, brothers had a chance to enjoy the pools of the resort. Spouses and guests enjoyed the nearby Wrigley Mansion with a tour and brunch.

Saturday evening, the Crimson & Gold Society and Knight Commander’s Accolade Reception took place concurrently with the Convention Reception. The official Convention photo was shot on the Spire Lawn, and the Knight Commander’s Banquet was held to cap the weekend. After a rousing KA Chorus performance lead by Smith Province Commander Rob Wall (Tau–Waker Forest ’88), Knight Commander Simmons presented a newly established recognition, the Knight Commander’s Accommodation, to three outstanding undergraduate brothers and delivered his address. As all departed the Grand Canyon state, peace and harmony carried each on safe travels home.

Awards and Recognition

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Knight Commander’s Accolade
Douglas W. Hanisch (Epsilon Tau–Northern Arizona ’98)

Faculty Advisor of the Year
Altony “Tony” Lee III (Zeta Pi–Florida Gulf Coast ’17)
Faculty Advisor for the Zeta Pi Chapter at Florida Gulf Coast University

Alumnus Advisors of the Year
C. Shannon DeVaney (Gamma Chi–Texas Tech ’76)
Alumnus Advisor for the Gamma Chi Chapter at Texas Tech University

Certificate of Honor
Christopher “Chris” Morace (Alpha Pi–Stanford ’92)

William E. Forester Alumni Chapter Award
Cullowhee KA Alumni Chapter

Saturday, July 31, 2021

Special Initiates of the Model Initiation Performed by the Gamma Epsilon Chapter

Taylor R. Day (Gamma Epsilon–Arizona)

William F. Murray (Tau–Wake Forest)

Scott C. Reed  (Xi–Southwestern)

Service to the Order Award
Gamma Epsilon–Arizona, Model Initiation Team

Neal Province Court of Honor Induction

Certificates of Honor

  • Michael C. Howell (Alpha Phi–Duke ’07), KAOEF Leadership Lecturer
  • Dustin G. Brann (Alpha Omega–North Carolina State ’11), Model Initiation Co-Director
  • Jacob W. Warren (Gamma Gamma–Memphis ’14), Model Initiation Co-Director

Knight Commander’s Commendation

  • Alex F. Hallahan (Zeta Phi–High Point ’18)
  • Turner P. Hargrave (Epsilon Nu–Georgia College ’18)
  • Holden A. Quinn (Zeta Phi–High Point ’17)

Memorialization and Eugolys