Thomas M. Mocella Award

The CAC/Thomas M. Mocella Collegiate Scholarship

Written by James L. Prescott, CAC Director Emeritus

The establishment of a scholarship funded by the Chicago Alumni Chapter had been discussed at various times during the decade of the 1990’s, but the first serious discussions occurred in 1999 and 2000 between CAC President Pete Bjelan, CAC Treasurer Jim Prescott and Leadership Foundation trustee Nick Steinkrauss (deceased). Once the details had been worked out regarding this scholarship it was decided to raise all necessary funds directly from alumni and friends of the CAC rather than put the burden on the CAC treasury. It was unlikely that the CAC treasury could come up with the necessary $10,000 to meet the initial minimum endowment without serious problems for CAC operations. By raising the necessary funds independent of the CAC the CAC could continue its normal successful operations without raiding the CAC treasury. This proved to be a very successful method for raising the funds to endow both CAC Scholarships and beyond. From the beginning in 2000 through 2017 over $57,000 has been raised for the two CAC Scholarships. Who knows what the future holds!

The formal agreement establishing a scholarship was signed at the Great Lakes Regional Conference in the fall of 2000 and was named after Thomas M. Mocella. Signing on behalf of the Chicago Alumni Chapter was the then CAC President Joe Ward. This was also the occasion of the first presentation of the award. This first award was handled through the Chicago Alumni Chapter from direct donations from CAC alumni, whereas all future awards would be handled through the Leadership Foundation. The very first recipient of the Thomas M. Mocella Scholarship was Sanjay Gupta, a collegiate member from Gamma Pi Chapter at Loyola University in Chicago. As part of the creation of this Scholarship the CAC established the CAC Scholarship Committee and named James L. Prescott the first Scholarship Committee Chairman, a position he held for both this Scholarship and for the next CAC Scholarship (H. G. “Gig” Wright Fellowship) until 2015. One of the primary duties of the Scholarship Committee Chairman was to conduct regular fund raising solicitations to raise the funds necessary to endow the CAC Scholarships. James L. Prescott is an alumnus of Gamma Pi Chapter at Loyola University of Chicago. Joseph T. Ward, an alumnus of Zeta Xi Chapter, was appointed Scholarship Committee Chairman for 2016 to mid-2018.

The Mocella Scholarship reached its initial minimum endowment ($10,000) in a little over 2 ½ years! The Scholarship Chairman is also responsible for reviewing all scholarship applications received from the Leadership Foundation and ranking them for the purpose of reporting the rankings to the Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee. The CAC rankings of the applicants are to be considered equal to the rankings of the Foundation Scholarship Selection Committee, with the two committee chairmen working out any differences for the purpose of determining the scholarship recipients for that fiscal year.

The Thomas M. Mocella Scholarship is named in memory and honor of Past Grand President and Past CAC President Thomas M. Mocella. Tom was initiated at Beta Chapter at Northwestern University (Chicago Campus), and joined the national Board of Directors in 1963 as director of the Central Region (now called the Great Lakes Region). He was elected Grand President at the twenty-eighth Grand Chapter Congress in 1971 at Pocono Manor, Pa. Prior to his service on the national Board of Directors Tom held the positions of president, vice-president, treasurer and director in the Chicago Alumni Chapter. The Chicago Alumni Chapter is pleased to establish this scholarship in recognition of his service to Delta Sigma Pi at both the national and local levels.

The Thomas M. Mocella Scholarship is available to collegiate members of Delta Sigma Pi who are in good standing from chapters within 75 miles of downtown Chicago and where their chapter is also located within the same Region as the Chicago Alumni Chapter. The reason for the 75 mile limit is to limit the eligible chapters to the region in which the Chicago Alumni Chapter resides and to exclude chapters from the State of Wisconsin. The reason for the Wisconsin exclusion is because another historically large alumni chapter has resided in the City of Milwaukee, Wi. It was felt that the Milwaukee Alumni Chapter should establish a collegiate scholarship for the collegiate members in their state.

The local chapters, as the eligible chapters are referred to, can automatically increase or decrease based on regional realignment, new chapter installations within the defined area, chapter deactivations within the defined area, and chapter reactivations within the defined area. And, there can be more than one applicant from the same eligible chapter in the same year. We feel these eligibility rules are fair for all local chapters and we hope that collegiate chapters in the State of Wisconsin will eventually be covered by a scholarship. Additional scholarship criteria are stated on the Scholarship Information page on the national website. Applications for each new year can be found on the Leadership Foundation section of the National website beginning around February 15th. The selection criterion includes GPA, fraternity involvement, community service, a written essay and letters of recommendation. One additional criterion is greater weight is given to fraternity involvement in the selection process. Collegiate chapters currently eligible to have their collegiate members eligible to apply (and who also must be in good standing) include: Alpha Omega, Gamma Pi, Eta Mu, Zeta Xi, Zeta, and Kappa Phi.

The Thomas M. Mocella award is presented once a year and is currently in the amount of $1,000 or more. Application is made during the spring via an online application and supporting information. The award is presented each year in the fall, often at the Founders Day Banquet conducted by the Chicago Alumni Chapter each November. The application and list of other required information is available on-line via the link below. Deadline for submitting all applications and supporting information is currently June 15th.

This award has been fully endowed through the generosity of the members and friends of the Chicago Alumni Chapter. However, raising additional money for this scholarship has been an ongoing function in order to increase the amount of this Scholarship over time. All funds raised for CAC Scholarships are added to the funds endowments. This Scholarship is the first in a series of endowed awards from the Chicago Alumni Chapter. The second CAC Scholarship is the H.G.”Gig” Wright Fellowship.

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.