Parents reflect on their sons' experiences
as featured in the Spring 2012 issue of The Bridge Builder
On Sunday, May 20, 2012, twelve of the Eta Epsilon Chapter's finest walked across the graduation stage to receive their bachelor's degrees from John Carroll University. The undergraduate experience of being a member of Beta Theta Pi was no doubt memorable and impactful for each of these men. However, the experience was just as much a privilege for the parents of the Class of 2012. Some of them take time to reflect on the growth they witnessed in their sons, and how they themselves have been changed by the experience of being Beta Parents.
"There for each other"
It's hard to believe that four years at JCU and being a proud Beta parent have come to an end. Our son, Greg, was lucky enough to become a Beta right away as an incoming freshman. At the time, we had no idea the magnitude and honor that it was for our son to be a Beta. There really are no words that suit the feeling we have for Greg being a Beta. We can honestly say that his college experience and the person he has become over the last four years was largely due to being a Beta. Being a Beta has made him just what Beta boasts - "Gentlemen, Leaders, and Scholars." Greg has become the true meaning of a gentleman. From his mannerisms in caring for others, to the way he opens the door for a lady or leaves a simple handwritten thank you note, it's all what he learned as a Beta. Leadership is the strongest aspect of Beta that Greg has developed. All the Betas are leaders on campus. Each Beta is given the opportunity to grow into a leader. We watched our son become a young Beta four years ago and how much he looked up to the older Betas. It was clear that the senior Betas have had the time to be molded into respectable leaders and ones that the younger Betas looked up to. Now, four years later, our son as well as the other senior Betas were the ones being looked up to. As far as the scholars part is concerned, this too is close to our hearts. When our son was a freshman he struggled with his grades. He was brave enough to step down from his Beta position until he could get himself back on track. If it was not for Beta and having to reach a specific grade point average, who knows what would have happened. Greg's grades have not only since then become important for himself but for the simple fact he needed good grades to be in Beta. Making the Dean's List this spring became possible because of the driving force of Beta in Greg's mind.
We will always treasure the memories we have had with Beta the last four years. Mothers' Tea will be missed the most by me, Greg's mom. This is where we got the first glimpse of how lucky we were to have a Beta son! Beta Barbeques are another highlight each year. It is always so much fun to be together with other Beta parents who we have become friends with. Being part of Installation Weekend (two years ago) is one of our proudest Beta moments. To be able to say we were able to take part in celebrating JCU becoming a chapter will never be forgotten. Also, that evening Beta advisor Ric, who has done so very much for Beta, was surprised and given a bid of membership into the chapter. This was so very touching. Lip Sync...well, what can we say...by far the most favorite evening every April! The guys work so hard and put in so many long hours and have never in our four years let us down with an outstanding performance!
Betas are the best group of young men on campus. Each and every one holds up to being "Gentlemen, Leaders and Scholars." They are brothers who are there for each other and who help one another. When a Beta falls short on one of these things another Beta is always there to offer his guidance to get him back on track. When you become a Beta you get an instant group of brothers to support you and make lifelong true friends. We have seen Greg's Beta brothers be there for Greg so many times. When Greg's grandfather died, the Betas were there at the funeral for support. When Greg's girlfriend was in the hospital ER, Betas were in the waiting room. Whenever Greg needed help, a Beta was always there. We cannot end this testimony without mentioning the Beta advisors, Joel, Ric, Ben, Kathleen, and Peter. These advisors are the backbone of Beta and why it is so much stronger. They have given endless hours of personal time because they believe in all Beta stands for. They are the top role models and leaders of Beta. This chapter would not be if it wasn't for their guidance and support.
Sadly it is over for us now. Greg has graduated. Whenever we think back now about JCU, Beta will always be the first thing to come to our mind. For those of you just starting out as a Beta, enjoy the honor that you have been given. It is the utmost honor to be a Beta. It is now your turn to carry on the Beta legacy like the past group of graduating seniors has done. Keep Beta going strong at JCU so that many generations to come will have the privilege of saying, "We are proud Beta parents."
- Jeff and Nancy Sloat, parents of Greg
"New family friends"
As parents of a John Carroll student, we feel our son joining Beta was a wonderful experience not only for him but us as well. The integrity, character, respect and brotherhood the fraternity represents is outstanding and second to none. The Mothers' Tea was a very special bonding memory with not only our son but the other Betas as well, and the Parents' BBQ has given us new family friends that we will have for a lifetime.
We feel our son has a bond of brotherhood for life that he would never have had without Beta. Thank you, Beta Theta Pi. It's truly a blessing.
- Jim and Jill Iacozili, parents of Dom
"These gentlemen have become like our own sons"
We experienced our son Billy becoming a Beta during his freshman year with many reservations and concerns about the typical "fraternity" issues. We quickly learned this was NOT your typical fraternity. The boys (our son and his graduating brothers) have truly grown into the "men of principle" that the Betas use as one of their mottos. In the past four years, these gentlemen have become like our own sons; they treat us with respect, kindness, and care just like our own son and we have grown to love each of them. Being a Beta has offered our son the opportunity to grow in many ways. He learned the importance of commitment, leadership, and service through his involvement in not only the JCU chapter but the international organization as well. Billy has been blessed to have become a brother to these outstanding young men, and it made his experience at John Carroll University better than we could have ever hoped for! When you send your son away to college you want the best for him, and we feel certain that is what Billy has had at JCU and as part of the Eta Epsilon Chapter of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.
- Bill and Lisa Worms, parents of Bill
"Truly rewarding in so many ways"
I would like to take this opportunity as a parent of one of this year's graduating seniors to reflect on the past few years. I can't believe he has graduated! The time has truly gone by in a blink-of-an-eye! With that said, Christopher's time in Beta has been such a positive experience. The friendships he has made, will no doubt, be for a lifetime. We as parents have made friends and met so many wonderful people, too. I can see why our sons have so many of the same traits. When Christopher told us he was going to join Beta his sophomore year, I really had no idea what it meant to be a Beta. I knew it had to be worthwhile for Christopher to agree to the commitment and challenge of a fraternity. Christopher's whole college experience went into "overdrive" once he was a Beta member. I did some research and was completely blown away by all the community service projects, philanthropy, required GPAs, and the stellar reputation they have on campus, just to name a few. I could tell this was definitely going to be a good choice for him.
Every event I have been to has been top notch. These boys give 110% and more to every detail that it takes to put on these events. I can't say enough about the emotional Mothers' Tea. How truly special I feel that day! Memories I will cherish forever. The Lip Sync is like no other! Every time I have gone, it has been nothing short of amazing. You can't believe these boys have so much talent and creativity to offer. Carroll's Got Talent is another Beta-sponsored event with all proceeds going to the Milestones Autism Organization. Another awesome event I have been to is the Walk for a Cure for autism. I have walked with Christopher, fellow Betas, and staff from Milestones. How proud it makes you feel that your son is involved with Beta Theta Pi when you hear such positive praise from outside people.
The advisors, faculty and alumni members have been extremely instrumental in molding these young boys when they start to the extremely polished young men who are ready to meet any of life's challenges head-on when they graduate.
I look forward to continuing my support as an alumni parent in any way I can. I strongly encourage all parents to support your boys. It is truly rewarding in so many ways.
- Beth Saniuk, mother of Christopher
"True appreciation for integrity and values"
As parents, it is a natural instinct to worry when your son wants to join a fraternity. However, there was never a reason for concern with Nick's decision to become a member of Beta. We have been able to witness him develop as a leader and learn a true appreciation for integrity and values. Not often do college students involve their parents as the members of Beta have with events like Mothers' Tea, the annual fall BBQ and lip sync. Because of these functions, we have been able to develop lasting friendships with the parents as well. Nick has learned much more through his experience with Beta than could have been taught in a classroom. We are proud that Nick is a member of Beta Theta Pi and all the young men that we have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past four years exemplify "Men of Principle."
- Dave and Patsy Skiviat, parents of Nick
"One of the better decisions he made at JCU"
When we look back at Andy's four years at JCU we remember him calling us during his first semester freshman year. He told us he wanted to join a fraternity called Beta. We both advised him not to join yet because we thought it was way too early to join a fraternity. We wanted him to wait until second semester or sophomore year when he could get to know more people and make a better decision. Well, Andy did not take our advice and it turned out to be one of the better decisions he made at JCU. The friendships he has formed with his Beta brothers will be with him for the rest of his life. Becoming president of Beta during his sophomore year provided the opportunity for Andy's self-confidence and leadership skills to blossom. We could not be any prouder of Andy for how he has grown and matured at JCU and being a Beta is a big part of his success. The young men in Beta and the adult advisors have given Andy the guidance and encouragement to become the man that he is today. We would like to thank all of the Beta advisors and members of Beta for watching over and guiding Andy during his four years at JCU.
- Viv and Steve Lane, parents of Andy
"Blessed by this opportunity"
Parents are a child's first teachers. Once the foundation is laid, you hope and pray that your child makes choices which will support the values that you instilled in him, help him to thrive, allow him to make lifelong connections and friendships, mold him into a strong individual who will be a role model for others, and give back to society. One such choice our son made was to become a member of Beta Theta Pi. It has been a life-altering choice for which our son and we, his parents, are so very grateful.
When Christopher was invited to join the Beta Fraternity four years ago, he truly found his home away from home. He became part of a brotherhood with other young men who also set the bar high in areas of academics, altruism, and accountability. He arrived on the John Carroll campus full of hope and expectations and walked across the stage on May 20 with confidence, solid values, and a knowledge that his Beta brothers and the Beta organization would always be there for him and he for them. So many factors have impacted who our son is today -- home, family, religion, childhood experiences and friends, high school retreats, sports, college advisors, professors and faculty/staff, volunteer and social events, work as a tour guide and a Lubrizol intern, and academic accomplishments. However, quite easily, his membership in Beta has been unbelievably life-affirming for him. It has nourished him, sustained him in times of need, strengthened his core values, rooted him in his friendships, and given him confidence to go forward in his life to take on greater challenges.
As parents of a son in Beta, we have been privileged to get to know other Beta parents and their sons and now feel part of a special family. Without this connection, we doubt that we would have had such a wonderful experience during our son's college years. We attended Mothers' Teas, Parent BBQs, Lip Sync events, and the Installation Weekend two years ago. We were so proud to be invited to partake in these festivities and honored to be known as Beta Parents. The years have flown by too quickly, but we are comforted knowing that we are part of the Beta family forever and will stay in touch with other Beta parents and their sons.
In closing, we wish to thank the Beta organization for welcoming our son into its fold. He has been blessed by this opportunity as have we. We are deeply thankful.
- Bev and Dave Shaheen, parents of Christopher