About the Award

In Phi Gamma Delta, we frequently talk about our values of friendship, knowledge, service, morality and excellence. But it is one thing to talk about values and another altogether to act on those values when they are tested.

Phi Gamma Delta seeks to recognize individuals who through acts of selflessness or courage, made a difference in the lives of others and demonstrated a commitment to personal/organizational values at a testing point.


To recognize leaders who have gone above and beyond in courageously living the values of Phi Gamma Delta – who have made a positive impact on others and/or their community through selfless and courageous action(s). Secondarily, to support the mission of the Fraternity by inspiring courageous actions in our members.

Who Is Eligible?

All graduate brothers, undergraduate members and friends of Phi Gamma Delta (faculty advisors, housemothers, parents of Phi Gams, supporters of Phi Gamma Delta, etc.), who have displayed acts of courage – whatever the role or settings. Recency is preferred (previous calendar), but the award committee will consider all acts of courage if they have not been awarded or submitted previously.

Nomination & Selection Process

Nominations are due by October 31 and are awarded the following January. However, nominations will be accepted year-round. A committee will judge whether the nomination meets the provided criteria and warrants recognition. Award winners will be recognized at Academy in early January.

What Is Courageous Leadership?

There Are Three Elements of Courageous Leadership:

  1. Understanding and committing to Phi Gamma Delta’s values: friendship, knowledge, service, morality and excellence
  2. Recognizing the testing points – times when your values are challenged
  3. Applying the values at the testing point and confronting the issue

What Is a Testing Point?

A testing point is a situation when your values are challenged and there are repercussions to the choices you make.

Types of Testing Points

  • Stance
  • Intervention
  • Opportunity
  • Accountability

Learn More About Courageous Leadership

Nominee Requirements

  1. Nominee clearly understands the Fraternity’s values.
  2. Nominee must have recognized a Testing Point and understands their action could have adverse personal consequences and requires courage.
  3. They must have acted in accordance with our values to make a positive impact on others, their chapter and/or their community.
  4. Be a member or friend of Phi Gamma Delta (faculty advisor, housemothers, parent, supporter, etc.).

Nomination Criteria

Provide a brief summary of the deserving person’s actions as well as recommendation letters or supporting articles, if applicable. The form should follow the Building Courageous Leaders template: Understand our values, recognize the testing point, and act in accordance with our values.

Submit a Nomination

Nominations are due by October 31 for consideration.

Award Nomination Form

Courageous Leader Award Winners

2023 Winners

Ryan K. Groel (Embry-Riddle 2023)

Ryan received the Courageous Leader Award for demonstrating the Fraternity’s value of service. Ryan has dedicated much of his time volunteering throughout the Embry-Riddle and Daytona Beach, Florida communities. In 2022 along, he has volunteered over 115 for the local emergency response team and over 200 hours as a lifeguard.

Ryan has also shown that he will act courageously when faced with a testing point. During spring formal, when a brother had to go to the hospital for drinking too much, Ryan decided to go with him, even though his other brothers were leaving for the evening. Ryan ended up staying the whole night, showing his dedication to his brothers. Additionally, Ryan held save someone’s life by performing CPR and hooking up a defibrillator on a Southwest flight. This once again showed that Ryan is willing to jump into action when others are unable.

Chanpreet Singh (Alberta 2023)

Chanpreet was honored with the Courageous Leader Award for exemplifying Phi Gamma Delta’s values and acting courageously when faced with a testing point. When Asian hate incidents were happening in the United States, the University of Alberta community also experienced its own challenged with Asian racism on campus. At that time, Chanpreet was elected President of the International Students’ Association (ISA), which represents over 9,000 international students (the majority of which are of Asian ethnicity). As a self-identified Brown, South Asian individual, Chanpreet decided to organize and host a campus-wide Asian Community Leaders Summit. The goal was to create a safe space for Asian students and campus leaders to meet and discuss challenges students were facing. This summit led to the creation of a six-point advocacy priority for the ISA, which was widely well-received by the campus community. More information about the ISA can be found here.

2021 Winners

David Ellis (Virginia Commonwealth 2021)

In the summer of 2020, when incidents of racial inequality and violence increased, David, the former President of the Mu Pi Chapter,  knew he needed to stand up for what he felt was right. The Virginia Commonwealth University community pulled together all student organizations to raise awareness and support for the Black community. David worked closely with his chapter to manage their interest in fundraising and joining the protests safely, while navigating challenging communication through the entire Greek community. As a part of this effort, David led others to assist local Black-owned businesses, raising over $3,000. He also worked with his chapter to make the house a safe zone for protesters to organize.

Richard Zane, MD (Johns Hopkins 1988)

Rich is an emergency room physician who worked on the front lines of the pandemic in Aurora, Colorado. Early in the pandemic, Rich faced a testing point when he chose to help people by sharing important medical facts instead of staying quiet. He has participated in podcasts and interviews and has been active on social media. Rich is also the Chief Innovation Officer (CIO), professor and chair of Emergency Medicine at the CU School of Medicine. As CIO, Rich works to disrupt and reinvent healthcare, and he has led a massive redesign of emergency services.

William Bradshaw (Rose-Hulman 2023)

William was elected Recording Secretary of the Rho Phi Chapter on February 17, 2020, as a freshman and new initiate. As an officer, he was heavily involved in his chapter’s COVID-19 planning during the spring and summer of 2020. Once students returned to campus at the beginning of fall 2020, he personally created PPE kits for every brother living outside of the house. He also went grocery shopping and ran errands for brothers who were in quarantine. Even when William got COVID and was quarantined himself, he still organized brothers to get groceries for others who were quarantined. William’s care for his chapter brothers is not the only reason he is a Courageous Leader. He also was selected because he spent the last half of his senior year working to become a volunteer firefighter, completing 400 hours of training in six months while attending school full-time. William currently studies mechanical engineering and hopes to one day design lift-saving equipment for first responders.

2020 Winners

Debbie Woodfin

Debbie is the former housemother of the Beta Sigma Chapter at Ball State. She became housemother when Beta Sigma was colonized in 1999, getting involved as soon as her husband, Dan Woodfin (Auburn 1964), became Beta Sigma’s first Purple Legionnaire. Brothers quickly saw that Debbie embodied the Fraternity’s values. She was a friend to every brother, taught membership development classes, and was a sounding board for any problem brothers faced. Debbie was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an aggressive blood/plasma cancer, over five years ago. While saddened by the news, she refused to give up. She recognized this personal testing point and vowed to fight. Her courageous leadership was a quiet strength. She wasn’t overly vocal about her battle with cancer, but she led and inspired by example. Unfortunately, Debbie passed away on October 21, 2019, after a long-fought battle. The award was presented to Debbie’s family this spring.

Matt Guzman (Arizona 2023)

In October 2019, Matt was walking on the UA campus when he saw a fellow student who had fallen to the ground from a dorm walkway. Matt ran to the student and saw blood coming from their mouth. He immediately called 911, and the dispatcher gave instructions to provide lifesaving compressions, which Matt performed calmly and with precision until EMTs arrived. Unfortunately, the student later died in the hospital. But Matt had not hesitated to help. He saw someone in need and immediately came to their aid. Rather than wait for someone else to act, he did the right thing when it mattered.

Nominate Someone for the Courageous Leader Award!

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
Are you nominating yourself or someone else?

My Information

(members only)

Nominee Information

Nominee Is

Award Nomination Questionnaire

Why does the nominee deserve to win the Courageous Leader Award?
Do you have any supplemental information, URL links or files to include with the application?