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Many of you were in attendance for our Homecoming 2015 celebration which included the presentation of the Phi Gamma Delta Distinguished Fiji Award to Brother Tom Spurgeon ’61. In the presentation to Brother Spurgeon, Phi Gamma Delta Executive Director Bill Martin explained that “when done right, the Phi Gamma Delta experience should engender in our brothers a sense of loyalty and service to alma mater. And when that happens, both the Fraternity and the host institution are made stronger. Tom is a prime example.” Tom shared a few thoughts in his acceptance speech including his perspective on friendship: “Family is the love you’re given — friendship is the love you choose.”

We invite you to read through the comments from Bill Martin and Tom Spurgeon below.

(L to R): Past Chairman, Purdue Board of Trustees, Tim McGinley; Executive Director, Phi Gamma Delta, Bill Martin; Vice
Chairman, Purdue Board of Trustees, Tom Spurgeon; Purple Legionnaire, Bill Miller; Tom's Big Brother, Jack Coffin; Purdue Vice President
Emeritus, Dick Grace; House Corporation President, Chris Burke; and Purdue President, Mitch Daniels. 

Remarks from Phi Gamma Delta Executive Director Bill Martin (Mississippi State 1975)

Brothers, it is my privilege today to represent the Archons and the International Fraternity in presenting the Distinguished Fiji Award. This award was established by the Fraternity in 1964 and is presented to brothers for their faithful service to Phi Gamma Delta or their special contribution to mankind and society at large. Each year the Archons select up to six outstanding brothers for this recognition.

The prestige of this award is derived from the quality of the brothers who have received it over the years. Tom is the 18th Lambda Iota brother to receive the Distinguished Fiji Award. That impressive list includes Joe Rudolph ’48, Gene Cernan ’56, Brian Lamb ’63, Chuck Armstrong ’64, Dick Grace ’51 — who is here this morning — and the most recent recipients — John Edwardson ’71, Morgan Burke ’73, and Tim McGinley ’62, who is also with us today.

Tom’s record of achievement and his special contribution to society only add to the prestige of this award. He developed his entrepreneurial interest while serving in two wholly owned subsidiaries of Cummins Engine Company; his last position with the company was general manager of sales and service, North America. These experiences led to consecutive ownership and management of three companies — Gott Corporation, COSCO and, most recently, as president and CEO of Lincoln Office in Peoria, one of the largest distributors of Steelcase furniture.

Tom has served on various corporate and community boards and currently serves on two corporate boards and as a trustee for Methodist Hospital in Peoria. He has also served on the Board of Trustees of Bradley University and the advisory board for the Indiana University School of Business.

Tom’s greatest example of service has been here at Purdue. He joined the Board of Trustees in 2005; he has served as chairman of the board and is currently vice chairman of the board.

Other service to the university includes membership on the Campaign for Purdue steering committee and the Purdue Athletic Advisory Council. He also serves on the executive committee of the Purdue Alumni Association Board of Directors and has chaired its Strategic Planning Task Force. In 2002, he received the President's Council Distinguished Pinnacle Award, and in October 2008, he received the Purdue Alumni Citizenship Award. As a result of his generosity, three facilities at Purdue bear his name.

When done right, the Phi Gamma Delta experience should engender in our brothers a sense of loyalty and service to alma mater. And when that happens, both the Fraternity and the host institution are made stronger. Tom is a prime example.

Brothers, it is a privilege and an honor to present the Distinguished Fiji Award to Tom Spurgeon.

Remarks from Tom Spurgeon:

I am ever grateful for this recognition because Phi Gamma Delta is so special to me. As I anticipated this day, I wanted to thank some one, but whom? It could be Bill Miller (Indiana ’62, Purdue ’96) or Bill Martin or Fraternity staff. But it could be the Fraternity, particularly the immortal six for founding our Fraternity and the 175,000+ brothers who have continued to maintain our ideals and values for 167 years. I say thank you to each of them. Specifically, I thank my Big Brother, Jack Coffin ’59, a super mentor.

At a time in life when I look into the rear view mirror asking what experiences led me to where I am, the answer is always the same: my university and my fraternity, both of which helped me develop my knowledge and mold my character. Fraternity friendships became the basis. Family is the love you’re given — friendship is the love you choose.

Bill Zerman, former PhiGam executive director, said if you want to win, surround yourself with winners. At 640 Russell, we have winners. In my years in the house, it was Iron Keys, Gene Cernan, Bill Carson ’60, Brian Lamb, Jim Stukel ’59 — many more and even Jack Nicklaus (rooming with us).

Over the years, I have been excited to learn first hand that Phi Gamma Delta was not for college days alone, just as had been professed to me. Several of you have heard me speak to this importance of our friendships. Let me assure you of things you can count on:

1) sun coming up in the morning
2) sky darkening at night
3) Phi Gam friendships brightening your life

When I think of Phi Gamma Delta and my brothers, I smile — know that I smile a lot!

I’m proud to be a friend to each of you, brothers.

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