When he graduates this spring, Steven Gethard of Freehold, N.J., a senior majoring in industrial design in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies, says he hopes to take what he has learned ― both in and out of the classroom ― and apply it to a career in packaging systems and design.

Gethard said his fraternity leadership experience was an unexpected bonus in his Virginia Tech education. 

“I never thought I would join a fraternity in college, but joining Pi Kappa Phi has been the strongest decision I have made,” Gethard said. “It has provided me the opportunity to grow in all aspects ― leadership, academics, socially, and more. Although it was the most challenging thing I have ever done, serving as our president in 2013 gave me the chance to become a stronger person. I couldn’t be more proud of what our organization was able to accomplish.”

“From the first interaction I had with Steven it was evident that he was ready to ‘do leadership’ differently," said Byron Hughes, director of fraternity and sorority life. "Specifically, he was ready to embrace a leadership style that would resonate perfectly with civility. It is the intersection of his personality, skill, and belief in others that enables Steven to bridge differences within his organization so his members reach a place of mutual respect.”

Members of his fraternity often comment on Gethard’s receptiveness to divergent views, and credit him with making sure every voice was heard and valued, throughout their 102-member chapter.

Current chapter president Alex Roberson of Richmond, Va., a junior majoring in economics in the Pamplin College of Business, described Gethard as a transformational leader who leads with a sense of respect for all ― including the marginal members within the fraternity.

“Steven found ways of connecting with each and every individual member of the fraternity, enabling them to have their voices heard,” said Roberson. “He learned to listen well, understand multiple sides to a conflict, and resolve it in the best interest of the entire fraternity. His courageous leadership was recognized by the entire fraternity, as he always put the fraternity before himself. I want to continue the tremendous work that Steven has done, with getting our grades as an organization up and increasing our involvement in service projects.” 

The Virginia Tech chapter of Pi Kappa Phi is one of the most active in Push America, a national effort to raise money and awareness for people with disabilities.

Gethard remains on the executive board of Pi Kappa Phi and also serves as the fraternity’s historian. In addition, Gethard is an associate justice to the Student Government Association, and a weekly volunteer with Special Olympics Virginia. 

There is also an entrepreneurial side to Gethard. He is founder and owner of Campus Cracked iPhone Repairs, which provides phone repair for the college market.

“Time flies by in college so you must take advantage of every opportunity you can while you have the chance. It is easy to let your doubts to stop you from seizing opportunities, but you can’t let that happen," said Gethard, a soon-to-be Virginia Tech graduate. "During your time at Virginia Tech, you will have opportunities that you will likely never have again. From the moment I stepped foot on campus I tried to take advantage of every opportunity that has come my way and it has paid off. I met some incredible people, joined a number of organizations, and had the best college experience I could have imagined.”

Gethard is a recent recipient of a Division of Student Affairs Aspire! Award for Civility. The awards honor students who exemplify Virginia Tech’s Aspirations for Student Learning.

 

 

Written by Sandy Broughton.