Lenoir-Rhyne University - Fall 2015

Phi Beta Lambda Chapter returns to Lenoir-Rhyne University


Professor Jamie Conrad and the staff of the Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics at Lenior-Rhyne University is proud to announce the reactivation of the Zeta Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda.  More than a dozen students have joined Conrad in her efforts to recapture the stature the organization once held.

"I find it to be a great honor to follow in Dr. Simmons' footsteps and lead the Zeta Alpha Omicron chapter of Phi Beta Lambda" said Professor Conrad when asked how she felt about reviving the chapter.

In 1976, Dr. Bob Simmons had a dream of starting his own Phi Beta Lambda Chapter at Lenoir-Rhyne University.  He established the Zeta Alpha Omicron chapter in 1976 and the chapter was active until 2007.  In its more than 30 years of existence, this chapter won enough awards to cover three walls in the Mauney-Schaeffer Building that houses the Charles M. Snipes School of Business and Economics, and it won the Gold Key Award, the highest honor in Phi Beta Lambda, for 15 consecutive years.  Lenoir-Rhyne's chapter consistently placed in the top 8 in state and national competitions.

Zeta Alpha Omicron boasted members of all races and genders, as well as special needs students.  Although business majors are the primary target for members, the former chapter included students from a variety of majors, all of whom were very integral in winning the awards that are displayed in the Mauney Building. 

These students not only banded together to win awards for themselves and the school, but to help one of their advisers in a time of need.  When Hurricane Hugo swept through the east coast of the United States, then Phi Beta Lambda Adviser Patty Wike’s farm was heavily damaged.  The students helped Wike and her husband clear the debris from their farm. 

The Zeta Alpha Omicron chapter was highly active in both the Phi Beta Lambda competition circuit and across the campus of Lenoir-Rhyne University.  Each year, the chapter would attend at least 12 events and return with plaques won by both individuals and the team.  These events have been described as "screaming frenzies" by Wike.  To raise money to travel to competitions, the chapter sold LR gear at football games for "decent prices and gained a decent profit," she added.

In 2006, Dr. Bob Simmons retired, and the organization suffered some leadership difficulties.  The decision was made to go inactive in 2007.

Plans for the revived chapter continue to move ahead.  Under the direction of Professor Conrad, the chapter has elected officers, attended the regional kick-off event at Appalachian State University, and enlisted professional members associated with the chapter. 

The 2015-16 officers are:
President: Hope Rust
First Vice-President:  William Young
Second Vice-President:  Brooke Contreras
Secretary: Jessica Rumple
Treasurer: Garrett Conley
Parliamentarian:  Timberly Wood
Reporter:  Sarah Mauney

The members of the Zeta Alpha Omicron Chapter of Phi Beta Lambda plan for the chapter to last at least another 30 years and cover three more walls with awards.