Tom Burton '84

Impacting Undergraduates at the Bequest of a Former Brother

The Gamma Chi Education Foundation is in its early years of supporting the undergraduate Sigma Chi Brothers at the University of Maryland. Foundation President Tom Burton ’84 is excited at the opportunities the Foundation is bringing to the undergraduates at Gamma Chi.

How It All Began

The Foundation started in 2014 and exists at the bequest of former fraternity Brother Jack Stinger. Stinger left in his will a bequest that the Sigma Chi Chapter use the funds to start an education foundation. It was that bequest that got things moving for the Gamma Chi Education Foundation. The capital from Stinger and the sale of the former chapter house totaled $1 million – an incredible asset to be used to benefit the chapter.

The infrastructure of the Foundation was put together by Barry DesRoches, the first president of the Foundation preceding Burton ’84. He did the leg work to get everything started and put in significant time and energy to try and ensure future success. Burton ’84 took over the presidency and currently serves in that role as well as on a housing task force organized by Sigma Chi.

Barry DesRoches '80

Current Leadership

Burton ’84 has been involved in officer roles since his undergraduate years. He has an accentuated understanding of the impact the funds can make after serving in officer positions throughout his time at Gamma Chi, including assistant quaestor, quaestor and consul – the equivalent roles of treasurer and president. He was responsible for the books for the entire Chapter, including the food, taxes, insurance and payroll. He learned a great deal about bookkeeping and finances, which was a skill he ultimately took into his early career. Much of the teaching and mentorship for Burton ’84 came from John Kennedy, a late Brother of the fraternity.

“I learned all that from John Kennedy,” Burton ’84 says. “There was a culture of teaching and mentoring and I learned everything about bookkeeping and financial management. I spent some years as a CPA and I attribute that to what John taught me and my time actually doing it.”

John Kennedy '82

Since his time in undergraduate service he has started alumni associations, served on the housing corporation, served on the board and as chairman of the fraternity lending company Constantine Capital, Inc. and as a grand trustee, making him a valuable asset to the Foundation.

The Future of the Education Foundation

The capital of the Foundation has funded renovations, enhanced the endowment for the Thomas Cowan Bell Chapter Challenge Scholarship and funded scholarships for upperclassman to live in the chapter house their senior year. The idea behind getting seniors to live in the house is one founded on mentorship and example – the same things that influenced Burton so greatly in his four years living in the fraternity house. Acknowledging upperclassman who have performed well academically and subsidizing some of their living cost helps provide leadership to the underclassmen.

Each of those efforts have been valuable to the fraternity, and Burton ’84 is hoping to continue seeing the capital used in different ways that offer support to undergraduates. Looking to broaden the horizons on grant and scholarship opportunities requires a great deal of support, and currently the Foundation is looking to bring in alumni Brothers interested in supporting their efforts.

Gamma Chi Alumni have an incredible and unique opportunity to support and strengthen the perpetuation of their fraternity. The Foundation is designed to be permanent and support undergraduates at the University of Maryland for years to come, which means every alumni Brother has the chance to support the future of Gamma Chi.


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