Kenneth Hall Receives National Undergraduate Award of Distinction

Samantha Mathewson

The University of New Haven’s own Kenneth Hall of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity is one of this year’s North-American Interfraternity Conference’s recipient of the 2013 Undergraduate Award of Distinction.

Kenneth Hall (left) receives national award of distinction.

Every year, the NIC honors five undergraduate fraternity men with this award. The award was presented to the five recipients at the NIC Annual Meeting on April 14, 2013, in St. Louis, MO.

“This national award is a very big accomplishment for the chapter, the University of New Haven, and myself. I wouldn’t have even been considered for this award without the efforts of my brothers, and I owe them a lot for my personal, professional, and fraternal developments,” said Hall. “The award also shows a lot about the growth of the University of New Haven, the improvement of its Greek life, and the work of student leaders and administration.”

The NIC is the governing body for 75 of the largest fraternities in the world, so the Award of Distinction acknowledges the top undergraduate leaders out of all fraternities. There are over 500,000 chapters located on more than 800 campuses in U.S. and Canada, totaling 350,000 undergraduate members.

The Undergraduate Award of Distinction seeks to recognize a fraternity man who has found in his experience an outlet for developing as both a leader and a better man. “We are pleased to announce that Kenneth Hall of Sigma Alpha Epsilon Fraternity at the University of New Haven is one of this year’s recipients,” according to the press release from the NIC.

Hall found out that he won the award while talking on the phone with a member of SAE’s national office about something unrelated. “Since UNH doesn’t have the same governing body for our Greek life (it’s in the process of changing), I wasn’t even aware these awards existed. The Executive Director and a few members of SAE’s national office submitted my name, and I didn’t even know I was in the running. I became only the third member of SAE to ever win the award, which is incredible considering the great leaders in our fraternity,” said Hall.

Hall has excelled during his time at the University of New Haven. He is committed to academic excellence having completed a double major and double minor with a cumulative 3.92 GPA. Hall previously received “The True Gentlemen Award” in August. He is an active volunteer for Give2TheTroops, and has actively supported fellow chapters of Sigma Alpha Epsilon in the region in learning what it means to be a fraternity man.

Hall was the Recruitment Chairman for two semesters when he organized all of the recruitment events in and out of Rush Week. He was the founder of UNH’s SAE toy drive event for Yale-New Haven Children’s Hospital, which he improved from a small social event into an incredible event that raises hundreds of toys for kids in need.

Hall also organized the Swimsuit Sprint, which, with over 1,000 in attendance, was one of the biggest events in UNH history. It raised over 800 pounds of clothes for families in need, and the concert got great student feedback. “The Swimsuit Sprint was one of the biggest undertakings I’ve had as an undergrad; it was a lot of work and a lot of headaches,” said Hall.

Hall finished serving as SAE’s two-term President in December, so this semester he essentially helped out by advising SAE officers and helping out with the pledge process. “Our chapter is having a great semester, and it is incredible to see how many guys have stepped up to make it possible,” said Hall.

The international fraternity’s executive director wrote in the press release, “He is the epitome of a brother who lives our creed every day by his interactions with not only his brothers but with all members of the university and interfraternal community.”

A fellow nominator says, “He has truly raised the bar in regards to leadership and brotherhood; his selfless actions are contagious.”

According to the press release, NIC President and CEO Pete Smithhisler commended all of this year’s award recipients saying, “The Awards of Distinction allow the NIC to recognize outstanding achievement and to publicize best practices among its members. This year, we had many qualified nominations and we are proud to honor these individuals and chapters for their accomplishments.”

“This is one of the highest awards that an undergrad could get,” said Shelissa Newball, Assistant Director of Student Activities at UNH. “It’s a really big deal.”

“I look forward to finally graduating this May after five years with two majors and two minors. I currently have my own practice in financial services doing basic financial planning for Northwestern Mutual, and plan on finishing up some more licenses over the summer to broaden my repertoire,” said Hall. “I’m also applying to some ‘reach jobs’ right now and keeping my fingers crossed, but I’d probably continue with my financial services work as well to help my friends out in that area.”

Founded in 1909, the North-American Interfraternity Conference is the trade association representing 75 international and national men’s fraternities. Through advocacy, collaboration and education, the NIC works to ensure that fraternities can operate in an environment conducive to their success.

Other recipients of the Award of Distinction include Joshua Beekman of Sigma Phi Epsilon at the University of Toledo, Michael Eberhard of Pi Kappa Alpha at California State University-Fresno, Nathan McDaniel of Pi Kappa Phi at Texas State University, and Scott Turk of Theta Chi at Missouri State University. The University of New Haven is the smallest university to ever have an undergraduate receive the award.

“As you can see, having someone from UNH on that list is pretty ridiculous,” said Hall.