“No man wins the loyalty of others by preaching loyalty. It is given to him as he proves his possession of the other virtues.”
LOYALTY: Establishes the correct ordering of our obligations and commitments. Unswerving allegiance to the organization and its laws, ideals, and defining principles prevents us from misplacing our loyalties.
The Value in Action
George W. Spasyk (Michigan 1949) became executive director of Lambda Chi Alpha in 1968. Hired originally in 1950 as a traveling secretary (now known as an educational leadership consultant) by his predecessor, Executive Director Cyril F. “Duke” Flad (Wittenberg 1940), Spasyk served Lambda Chi Alpha in a remarkable array of jobs. From 1950 to 1968, bearing the title of service secretary, he oversaw chapter operations, expansion, colonization, chartering, office and financial planning, conference and convention planning, as well as fundraising and the purchase, building, and renovation of chapter houses.
After becoming executive director, Spasyk led Lambda Chi Alpha in its move to abolish all forms of hazing and to eliminate traditional pledgeship, replacing it with what we now know as Associate Membership. Under his leadership, Lambda Chi Alpha experienced explosive growth during the late 1960s and 1970s, and became widely admired in the fraternity world as the most creative and progressive men’s collegiate fraternity. Always known as a champion of undergraduates, Spasyk, in the 1970s, elevated undergraduate participation to the highest reaches of Lambda Chi Alpha’s decision-making apparatus with the creation of the Student Advisory Committee, which created an undergraduate position on the Grand High Zeta, our Board of Directors. Lambda Chi Alpha’s growth during this time prompted the expansion of the Fraternity’s staff. Executive staff positions were created to oversee financial affairs, alumni services, chapter services, fundraising for the Educational Foundation, publications, conference planning, and foundation management. In 1973, Spasyk supervised the planning and construction of our current, modern International Headquarters at 8741 Founders Road in Indianapolis.
Throughout his 22-year tenure as Lambda Chi’s CEO, Spasyk traveled tirelessly to chapters around the United States and Canada. For many undergraduate brothers, he was the face and voice of Lambda Chi Alpha. Spasyk understood the value of “leading by walking around,” of being there and being seen where the really important things were taking place, in our undergraduate chapters. When he retired in 1990, the Grand High Zeta voted him executive vice president emeritus. His quiet manner and depth of commitment inspired generations of Lambda Chis to continue serving Lambda Chi Alpha long after their graduations. Even in retirement, Spasyk continues to serve Lambda Chi Alpha and the interfraternity community. He has served as director, president, and chairman of the board of the North American Interfraternal Foundation and as a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference Commission on Values and Ethics.
The Take Away
LOYALTY: Properly order your loyalties by bearing true faith and allegiance to Lambda Chi Alpha, your chapter, and your brothers.
Of the Seven Core Values, loyalty is the most complex in its application. The very notion of loyalty begs the question: loyalty to whom? Loyalty to what? The demands of loyalty appear in many guises. There is loyalty to friends, to family, to country, to school, to Lambda Chi Alpha, to a set of ideas. Often we are confronted with situations where we must deal with competing loyalties, and we are faced with deciding which demand on our loyalty takes precedence. In the Personal Courage section, you will read the story of someone faced with this very dilemma and learn how he resolved it. Spasyk’s overarching loyalty to Lambda Chi Alpha led him to seek the elimination of hazing and the abolishment of pledgeship as inconsistent with our fraternal values and our notion of brotherhood. Although resisted and criticized initially, Spasyk knew that pursuing this groundbreaking course would make Lambda Chi Alpha a better organization.
When we speak of loyalty in Lambda Chi Alpha, we do not mean loyalty that is blind or unquestioning, quite the opposite in fact. What is best for an organization is not always what its leaders and members say or do — think of the Enron embezzlement scandal for example or the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. In cases like these, a sense of loyalty should compel one to challenge and question. When situations present competing loyalties, rely on the other Core Values for guidance. Having a clear sense of your obligations, treating others with respect, acting in the service of something greater than yourself, practicing good stewardship, striving to be an honorable person, and having the courage of your convictions will always prevent you from misplacing your loyalties.
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