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The North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) recently announced the winners of the 2017 Awards of Distinction, Silver Medal and Laurel Wreath Awards. Eric Smith ’17, a recent Valpo graduate and member of Sigma Phi Epsilon, is one of six undergraduate fraternity men in the nation to be honored as a recipient of the Undergraduate Award of Distinction. Carolyn E. Whittier, Ph.D., assistant dean for Greek Life, Leadership, and Volunteer Programs, is in the inaugural class of recipients of the NIC Advisor Award of Distinction.

The Undergraduate Award of Distinction recognizes Smith for his excellence in leadership and service and as an embodiment of the values and standards of Sigma Phi Epsilon and the NIC — a true exemplar of the fraternal experience.

“It is truly an honor to have a student from the Valparaiso University fraternity community honored with an NIC Award of Distinction,” Whittier said. “The Undergraduate Award of Distinction is the highest honor that the fraternity industry can give to an undergraduate member, and Eric is truly deserving. His commitment to excellence and to advancing the wonderful work of the Valparaiso University fraternity community has been second to none. Eric is the very best that fraternity has to offer, and it has truly been an honor and a privilege to serve as his advisor for the last four years.”

Smith graduated this May with a degree in international relations and international economics and cultural affairs. He is a member of Christ College, Valpo’s honors college, and earned the Scholar designation.

While at Valpo, Smith was involved with the Commission for an Inclusive Valparaiso Community, the Christ College Student Advisory Board, Dance Marathon, in addition to Sigma Phi Epsilon, through which he was president of the Interfraternity Council and co-founded the group Greeks United Around Respect and Discussion of Sexual Assault.

A member of Alpha Omicron Pi, Whittier joined Valpo in 2012 and is one of three in the inaugural class of Advisor Award of Distinction recipients. This honor recognizes her high level of excellence in the industry and exceptional commitment to guiding and mentoring the fraternity community. Among the three recipients, Whittier is the only campus-based fraternity and sorority professional to receive the award, while the others are fraternity volunteers.

Enjoying nearly 115-year history, the fraternity and sorority community at Valpo hosts more than 150 events per year and holds members to the highest standards. In 2016–2017, fraternity men and sorority women dedicated 14,000 hours to community outreach, in addition to achieving a 3.291 GPA.

Founded in 1909, the NIC represents 66 international and national men’s fraternities that advocates for the needs of its member fraternities through enrichment of the fraternity experience; advancement and growth of the fraternity community; and enhancement of the educational mission of the host institutions. The NIC honors fraternity chapters, Interfraternity Councils, individuals, and organizations annually, highlighting those who exemplify the highest levels of excellence in leadership, service, and education within the fraternal community.

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