Joseph A. Weist '87
Brother Joseph Weist could very easily be singled out for reshaping the face of Phi Gamma Delta in the state of Indiana. Since graduation he has served as Purple Legionnaire for the Indiana State chapter, was instrumental in colonizing two new Fiji chapters, has been a board member of Rho Phi’s house corporation since 1992, and took on the responsibility of Section Chief. Brother Weist has truly embraced the value of service.
As an undergraduate at Rose-Hulman, he took positions as Kitchen Steward and House & Grounds Chairman. It was this work as House & Grounds Chairman that began his involvement with the Rho Phi House Corporation, of which he has been active in since 1986. In 1992 he became a board member, assuming roles as house corporation Secretary and Treasurer. It was this dedication that earned him honorable mention in the Coulter Cup for excellence as a graduate Brother.
Brother Weist began to expand his support outside of the Rho Phi chapter in 1991 when he assumed the role of Purple Legionnaire for the Iota Sigma chapter at Indian State. During the three years he worked with the chapter their membership grew from about ten to almost 70 brothers.
Soon after, he shifted his attention to the campuses at the University of Evansville and Ball State. At both schools he served as one of the principal Fiji graduates who cultivated the campus and initiated the colonization process. On April 15, 2000 the Epsilon Iota chapter was chartered at the University of Evansville. A semester later Brother Weist was invited to formally affiliate with the Epsilon Iota chapter; he proudly accepted. Within a year he also saw completion of the Ball State colony with the founding of the Beta Sigma chapter.
Perhaps Brother Weist’s most significant long-term impact on Phi Gamma Delta was his contributions in rethinking the Section Chief program. Serving as Section Chief of western central Indiana since 1994, Weist was appointed by the Archonate in 2000 to serve on a committee to reassess the role of Section Chief. He was subsequently commissioned to serve as the first chairman of the Section Chief Executive Committee, do in large part to his strong belief that the program held the greatest opportunity to reshape the structure of volunteering in Phi Gamma Delta. Brother Weist served as chairman for four years; helping to rebuild the program and bring back the influence of graduate volunteers to Phi Gamma Delta. For his continued dedication and excellence Brother Weist was awarded the Haynes Award in 2002 as the most outstanding Section Chief. He has also been awarded the Citation for Distinguished and Exceptional Service 3 times, the Certificate of Appreciation 5 times, and the Distinguished Fiji Service Award in 2004.
Weist has also dedicated himself to helping the community of Vigo County. A member of the Vigo County Historical Society’s board of directors since 1990 (serving as president for two years), Brother Weist has contributed to their efforts in a variety of ways. One of his biggest accomplishments was writing the grant application that brought almost $90,000 to the organization to renovate the birthplace of Paul Dresser (noted composer of the Indiana state song). In the organization’s 75-year history, Weist was the 14th and youngest ever recipient of the Distinguished Service Award.
When asked to explain Phi Gamma Delta’s importance, Weist replied, “She teaches tolerance for others. She teaches that any individual can make an important difference to those around them if they hold to their values and act as an example to others. And she teaches that the most important accomplishment as an individual is a life dedicated to the service of others. No other organization of which I am aware of teaches these lessons at this stage in a young person’s life.”