New scholarship unveiled, ceremony honors Greek leaders

By Steve Nakata, Division of Student Affairs | November 18, 2021

WSU Alumnus Aaron Fandel (left) congratulates Diego Lopez on becoming the first recipient of a scholarship he created to honor the IFC Man of the Year (photo by Neri Diomedi, Division of Student Affairs).

Over 80 Washington State University Greek leaders and chapters were honored last night during the Annual Arete Awards Ceremony in the Compton Union Building.

Arete is a Greek word for excellence and moral virtue, and Dan Welter, director of the Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life, said these qualities are well-represented among WSU’s 55 Greek organizations.

“We tend to forget to talk about what we do so well,” Welter said. “We are a national award-winning fraternity and sorority life community, and recognizing our successes is what keeps us going.” 

New scholarship is ‘powerful’

A highlight of the evening came when Pi Kappa Alpha member Diego Lopez was named the Interfraternity Council (IFC) Greek Man of the Year, which earned him a $5,000 scholarship.

Lopez, a junior majoring in accounting, was praised by his nominators for demonstrating excellent leadership as the IFC director of diversity, equity, and inclusion, providing valuable training for recruitment counselors, demonstrating excellent chapter leadership, and facilitating important risk management programming.

It was the first time a person being recognized at the Arete ceremony has received a scholarship, and it was made possible through a donation from 2020 WSU graduate and former IFC president Aaron Fandel [Sigma Pi alumnus].

Fandel said he created the scholarship to give back to WSU’s Greek community, which gave him a great experience and helped shape him as a person. His $25,000 gift will honor each person selected as the IFC Greek Man of the Year with a $5,000 scholarship through 2025.

Fandel, who lives in Minnesota and is training to sell commercial business insurance, returned to Pullman to present the scholarship to Lopez.

“What I came to realize during my time away from WSU is that there are a lot of people that work extremely hard to get things done and don’t get recognized enough for it,” Fandel said. “What I hope this scholarship will do for those who receive it is allow them to take more time to do things that advance their education or help their community. Those experiences are so important.” 

Welter said he is thankful Fandel chose to support the Greek community in such a meaningful way.

“For someone who just graduated to immediately turn around and say his time in the Greek community was such a valuable experience is really powerful and incredible,” Welter said.

Recognizing America’s future leaders

Each of WSU’s 55 Greek organizations was represented by eight of its top leaders at the event.

Many of the awards presented were connected to the Greek Pillars of Excellence: intellectual development, academic success, community engagement, membership advancement, global citizenship, leadership development, chapter management, and building positive relationships.

In the top award categories, in addition to Lopez’s award, Bailey Maykovich from Chi Omega was recognized as Panhellenic Council Greek Woman of the Year, and Sharina Bautista from Chi Sigma Alpha National Sorority was named Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) Greek Person of the Year.

FarmHouse Fraternity (IFC), Alpha Chi Omega (Panhellenic Council), and The Lovely Sisterhood of Chi Delta Sigma Sorority (MGC) received Chapter of the Year awards.

Fandel said he already has his eyes set on expanding his scholarship someday to honor more individuals and organizations recognized at the Arete ceremony. In the meantime, he is happy for this opportunity to stay connected with the community he calls home.

“Creating this scholarship is a way I can keep connected with the IFC and WSU, to stay involved, and help take care of the community that gave me a lot,” he said.