Fraternal Thoughts in Print!

Big news! 24 of the most-read and beloved posts from this blog have been compiled into a book, Forever Fraternity: Essays to Challenge, Celebrate and Advance the College Fraternity. Discussion questions have been added in order to make the book an educational tool as well.

Order your copy off of Amazon or Barnes and Noble. If you wish to order a quantity of 20 or more to use for a program or Greek leadership class, contact John Shertzer at for a discount.

An e-reader version will be available soon!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Tribute to My Greek Advisor: Brian Breittholz

I hope you will allow me a very personal post this week.

I attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.  That’s where I became a Theta Chi in the Spring of 1995.  My Greek Advisor for all my years at Miami was Brian Breittholz.  Those who have been around the fraternal movement for a while know Brian very well.  He has always been a big personality, a loveable friend, and a brilliant thinker on fraternity issues.  He has won many awards, including the NIC Award of Distinction.

Brian hasn’t been the Greek Advisor at Miami for a while now, but he has always remained a fixture at Miami and in Miami’s Greek community.  Brian advised chapters, including the alpha of Beta Theta Pi, and mentored other professionals who came to Oxford.  He was someone I could visit when I went back to see my alma mater.  For many outside of Oxford, especially those involved with fraternity life, Brian was the face of Miami.  As an alum, I was very proud of that.

Brian announced this week that that he will be leaving Miami to take a new job at Indiana University.  The red bricks are shedding a tear.

Brian and I became friends 17 years ago when I worked as a student receptionist in the student activities office.  From there, he mentored me as a chapter president and as IFC president.  We were an unlikely pair.  A transplanted New Yorker with an affinity for cigarettes, biting sarcasm, and the occasional curse word advising an innocent plaid-shirted country boy from the Midwest.  He lost the cigarettes and I lost the plaid, but the rest of us remains.  Brian will always be a mentor and a friend. 

On that note, I wanted to quickly share some of the many things I learned from Brian Breittholz:
  •  Nothing can make you as memorable as a distinct laugh.  You could have a third eye and still be forgotten more easily than someone with a laugh that forces others to laugh back.
  • Good advisors, like most good parents, limit the times they scold or express anger.  However, there is no question when you disappoint them.
  •  If you’re going to do an awards ceremony or formal event, go all out.  A good production matters.  The Academy Awards had nothing on Brian’s Greek Awards night!
  • There is at least one person on earth who thinks Chaka Kahn is one of the greatest singers ever.
  • You can teach values and stress character, and do so with colorful language.
  • Treat students with the respect of a colleague and the care of a family member.
  • ALWAYS leave action-oriented messages.
  • Always listen to chapter advisors.
  • Once in a rare while, something good comes out of Ohio University.
  • Come prepared to meetings.  Be ready to answer tough questions.
  • When you have a sense of humor, others want to be around you.
  • You can like things the way you like them, and want things the way you want them, and not have to be considered “high maintenance.”
  • Sometimes an “I love you kid” is all you need to keep going.
Brian – Miami will miss you.  But, Miami will never forget you.  That’s what happens when a person leaves a legacy of significance.  Now, It’s Indiana’s turn.   

Congrats on the new job my friend.  You’re welcome for dinner anytime.