The CAC/H. G. “Gig” Wright Graduate Study Fellowship
Written by James L. Prescott, CAC Director Emeritus
In early 2002 then-CAC VP of Finance James L. Prescott proposed to the CAC Board of Directors that with the quick success that was enjoyed in endowing the CAC/Thomas M. Mocella Scholarship that the Chicago Alumni Chapter should immediately proceed with plans to begin a second scholarship. The initial plans of James L. Prescott were to have up to 3 scholarships, with the third scholarship named after CAC President Anthony Z. Fernandez (after whom the national award Anthony Z. Fernandez Distinguished Alumni Service Award is currently named). The CAC Board of Directors agreed to have the second scholarship and discussions began with the Delta Sigma Pi Leadership Foundation regarding this new scholarship, eventually named after Past Grand President and Past CAC President H.G. “Gig” Wright. This new scholarship would be available to Chicago Alumni Chapter dues paid members pursuing a graduate degree or law degree. The award amount started out at $250.00, but as the scholarship endowment grew the annual award has also grown to over $800.00. This new scholarship (called a Fellowship because it is for alumni) is named after H. G. “Gig” Wright. “Gig” Wright, just like Thomas M. Mocella (the namesake of our first scholarship) is a past president of the Chicago Alumni Chapter and a Past Grand President
Plans for a third scholarship was put on hold when it as decided that we not only needed to raise the necessary funds to endow the “Gig” Wright Fellowship but it was also desirable to continue raising money for the first CAC scholarship in order to continue building up that fund’s endowment. All money raised is added to those funds endowments. Further, The Leadership Foundation eventually increased the minimum fund endowment to $20,000 and later to its current amount of $30,000. Both CAC Scholarships have been “grandfathered” in so the higher endowment levels do not apply to our two scholarships. From 2000 up through early 2018 we continued to raise funds for our two scholarships in order to continue to increase the funds endowments, which also has the impact of increasing the amounts of the scholarships awarded. As of December 2017 each fund endowment was over $20,000. Continued fund raising also has the impact of offsetting market swings and inflation.
“Gig” began his fraternity career in 1914 as a charter member of Beta Chapter at Northwestern University (Chicago Campus). He left school soon after initiation to work in the family business, but soon returned to school, was elected chapter president and was awarded the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key. His personality and drive would gain him national recognition at the 1920 Congress of Chapters, at which he was elected National President, a position soon to be called “Grand President”. At the time of the 1920 Congress of Chapters (in 1926 this name would be changed to Grand Chapter Congress) there was great concern about the lack of new chapters being installed. It was a full two years after World War I had ended but the fraternity had not rebounded and quickly expanded, as had other fraternities. “Gig’s” leadership as Grand President is often credited not only with rapidly increasing the number of collegiate chapters in the early 1920’s, but some have also credited “Gig” with actually saving the Fraternity! This was the first time a brother from a chapter other than Alpha Chapter was elected Grand President. No other member of Alpha Chapter has ever been elected Grand President. “Gig” would not let the fraternity down. In his two terms as Grand President over two dozen new chapters would be installed and a new spirit would sweep the fraternity.
Upon leaving the Grand Presidency, “Gig” established The Central Office in Chicago and served as Grand Secretary-Treasurer (now called Executive Director) for 29 years. His extraordinary leadership and service over the years earned him the title of “Mr. Deltasig”. The Central Office building in Oxford, Ohio was dedicated to “Gig” in 1956. You can read more about the early years of “Gig” Wright in the May 1921 edition of the Deltasig Magazine which you can find online on the National website. The October 1921 issue of the Deltasig Magazine will cover Gig’s first year in office as National President (early name for Grand President).
We are pleased to name this Fellowship in memory and in honor of Henry Gilbert “Gig” Wright for his tremendous service to Delta Sigma Pi at the national and local levels. This Fellowship has been endowed by the brothers as well as friends of the Chicago Alumni Chapter of Delta Sigma Pi. We continue to welcome donations to this Fellowship (which are added to the Fellowship endowment) as a way to increase the annual award. We are pleased to remember “Gig” with this lasting tribute. The very first presentation of this award was to Brother Eric DeSimone, an alumnus of Gamma Pi Chapter, at the November 2002 Founders Day Banquet in Chicago. Criteria for this Fellowship can be found on the national website in the Foundation section. In general, there must be a fraternal essay, must be an alumnus in good standing, have letters of recommendation, and the applicant must be a CAC member in the fiscal year of application and a CAC member in the fiscal year of the award. These two events occur in different fiscal years, and as this Fellowship is intended to be a scholarship for CAC members it makes sense that the applicant must be a CAC member and that the recipient must also be a CAC member as the award is presented in the fall. Extra weight is also given to the applicants’ fraternal service in ranking the applications.
Note: Online applications for upcoming school year will be on the National website by mid-February.
Click this link to connect with the National website for more information and/or a Scholarship Application.