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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

After hiatus, Saul A. Fern Scholarship will again benefit Zeta Beta Tau

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. -- October 25, 2005 -- Zeta Beta Tau (ZBT) fraternity brings the university nothing but good news lately. In addition to its recent win of the Brummer Cup (awarded to the most outstanding chapter in the nation), and the building of a new fraternity house on campus, the Rho Iota brothers’ hard work in academics has contributed to bringing the Saul A. Fern Scholarship in marketing back to the fraternity.

Created in 1993— and named for former national ZBT president and long-time adviser to the fraternity Saul A. Fern— the University has awarded the scholarship every year to a junior marketing major, originally with preference given to a ZBT member. When the national fraternity revoked the URI chapter’s charter in the mid-90s, the University continued to award the scholarship to other qualified students; however, the fraternity no longer benefited. Now, since ZBT has been back and active at URI for the past five years, the University will again give preference to a ZBT brother.

“Every spring we have a golf tournament to raise money for the scholarship,” said Leo Robinson, a 1996 psychology graduate of URI and president of the ZBT Alumni Corporation. “This year we raised about $4,500.”

Daniel Riley, the current ZBT chapter president and an accounting major from Tiverton, said he and the brothers are excited that they are now first in line for the scholarship because they have worked so closely with Fern.

“This scholarship is important to our fraternity because it helps demonstrate our academic focus to the [URI] community and ZBT alumni,” Riley said. “Just like anything else, there should be rewards for being a good student—Saul has always found academics to be an important aspect of the fraternity.”

Robert Stubbs, ZBT Alumni Association treasurer and former URI chapter president, said the ZBT alumni decided to initiate the scholarship to honor Fern’s ongoing involvement in the fraternity and his history in the marketing and advertising fields.

“Saul has been a great mentor to the brothers at URI for four decades and continues to serve nationally as a life member of the ZBT Supreme Council,” Stubbs said. “After he retired from years in the advertising business, the alumni knew Saul would appreciate a scholarship that gives back to students majoring in the field to which he devoted his professional career. The fact that it could likely go to a member of the fraternity was not critical to us but it was an extra benefit.”

“You have to have faith in the young guys who are going in to make this kind of investment— and we do,” said Fern, who in addition to serving as adviser to the forerunner of ZBT at URI in the 1960s, played a big role in the opening of the chapter’s new house earlier this year.

If more than one member of the fraternity applies for the scholarship, the University will award the money to the applicant with the highest cumulative grade point average. All junior marketing majors at URI are still welcome to apply. “If no one from ZBT is eligible, then the scholarship goes to the general applicant with the highest GPA,” said Ruth Jarrett, chief financial officer of the URI Foundation. “But the University is focusing on preference toward rewarding a member of the fraternity.”

Among its numerous activities, ZBT has participated in the URI Adopt-a-Walkway program by cleaning and maintaining the Dieter Hammerschlag Mall, the walkway between the library and the Multicultural Center, and is continuing a campus beautification project during which 10 to 15 brothers devote every Saturday afternoon to cleaning one area of the campus per month. The brothers helped Meeting Street, the special needs facility in East Providence, prepare for a telethon. The fraternity has also been involved in a mentoring program for students in the North Kingstown school district.

“We are not going to lose sight of our values and priorities, and academics are definitely always on the top of that list, ” said Riley. “Bringing the scholarship back again— within the fraternity— is just another way we emphasize how far we have come in the past five years.”

Pictured above
CUTTING MOMENT: Saul A. Fern, former national president of Zeta Beta Tau and long-time adviser to the URI chapter of the fraternity, prepares to cut the ribbon signifying the grand opening of the fraternity’s new chapter house. Other ZBT officials participating in the ceremonies were Leo Robinson, president of the ZBT Alumni Corporation, Max Bialick, house manager, and Dan Riley, president. URI News Bureau photo by Michael Salerno photography.