Recent grad receives prestigious North American Interfraternity Conference award

June 05, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Recent Penn State graduate and former Interfraternity Council (IFC) President John Lord received the 2019 Undergraduate Award of Distinction from the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) in May.

The award recognizes fraternity men who have found in their experience an outlet for developing as both a leader and a better man. The recipients are those who embody the values of their fraternity and expect the same from those with whom they associate. Lord is one of 12 undergraduate students recognized for 2019.

“It is an honor to be recognized with this award and I am proud of the steps that our Greek community has taken to lead the nation towards a safer and sustainable Greek experience,” Lord said. “Leading the change at Penn State was a transformative experience and I am thankful for all of the support that I received along the way.”

Lord served as IFC president in 2018 after first serving as vice president of community relations in 2017, where he provided a mediating voice between the students and the University in the aftermath of the tragic death of Timothy Piazza.

Timothy Piazza was a sophomore at Penn State who died in February 2017 during pledging activities at the now permanently banned Beta Theta Pi chapter.

Lord graduated from Penn State in May 2019 with a bachelor’s degree in finance. He joined Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity his first year at Penn State and served as IFC president his junior year. Following his personal motto of “Be the Change,” Lord set high standards for the Greek community and adopted educational initiatives in areas such as recruitment, mental health, sexual assault prevention, alcohol and drugs, and hazing prevention during his time as president.

During his time at Penn State, Lord also served as secretary of his Pi Kappa Alpha chapter and participated in speaking opportunities on campus, including State of State, an annual conference to foster dialogue on the current and future state of the University, where he spoke about his first-hand experience in fostering positive change in the Greek community at Penn State.

“I have rarely encountered a student with John’s ability to navigate complexity, advocate for the interests he serves, and remain open to learning and growing along the way,” said Damon Sims, vice president for Student Affairs and one of Lord’s nominators.

“Timothy Piazza's tragic death was a crucible moment for many, including John. While the constituency he represented, both undergraduates in our fraternity community and others intimately connected to it, pulled John in directions that often seemed at odds with the University’s intentions, John was always collegial and collaborative in his interactions with the University leadership," said Sims. "His advocacy for the interests represented by the Interfraternity Council was wrapped in his determination that the fraternity community should see itself as part of a larger whole, as part of a world-class university.”

The North American Interfraternity Conference is a trade association representing 66 international men’s fraternities. NIC member organizations represent a diverse range of fraternity men and interfraternal interests, including fraternities founded for leadership and business interests as well as faith-based, multicultural, historically black, and new or emerging fraternities. NIC annually recognizes excellence in the fraternal experience by conferring awards of distinction to individuals and groups who exemplify leadership, service and fraternal values.

Last Updated June 06, 2019