It is with great pleasure and FIJI pride that we would like to nominate Brother Robert Lee Wray for consideration of the Distinguished Alumni Award for the Theta Tau Chapter of Phi Gamma Delta.
This FIJI was a founding member of the Theta Tau Chapter. Through his vision and leadership, Theta Tau quickly became a force not only on the TECH campus but in the community as well. It is that reason we are here celebrating today. He has befriended and mentored many of us in this room, and has been very influential in our lives both personally and professionally.
This FJIJ has been instrumental in guiding Theta Tau, leading us to the forefront of fraternity life on TECH’s campus, as well as in the Cookeville community. During his years working for the University, this FIJI was able to use his inside knowledge to feed the chapter with insight to the freshman that would make great FIJI men as well as help in getting us to the point where we all dreamed to be, Fraternity of the Year. His connections within the community has made it possible for us to make to inroads in becoming the great service chapter that we have become. He has enabled many brothers to get jobs on campus, while enrolled at TECH, to further expand our college experiences, as well as served as a reference for many us in our professional careers. He has help us to gain campus activity points by allowing us to be involved in campus organizations.
Among many of This FIJI‘s contributions to the Theta Tau chapter, the one that in my opinion has the most long lasting impact, has been the implication of the Rush steering committee. The Steering committee has enabled Theta Tau to concentrate on the best men available to the fraternity, while avoiding those dreaded cattle call events. He shared his fraternity experiences to the recruits, and their moms, while visiting TECH’s campus. After the new student was enrolled, he headed them to our chapter house, so that we could get a leg up on the competition.
Lee Wray is a distinguished PHI GAM, not only to us, but to those who are yet to come. His dedication to this chapter has been evident over the years in the lives that he has touched and the young men that he has molded. Lee, in many instances, has given advice that not only kept some of “us” out of trouble, but also the direction to the cabinet to keep the chapter out of trouble. Through Lee Wray’s consistent advice and impeccable leadership, Theta Tau has been able to stay the course in becoming the best fraternity on the TECH campus.
Lee has became one of my best friends since our meeting 13 yrs ago. Lee has guided me on many levels, selecting a fraternity, (a bit bias was he) brotherhood, education, (dropping classes), money, and relationships. Lee has always been there for me, no matter the situation.
Lee is responsible for the call that I made to my wife, Nancy. After a week or so of dating, Nancy wouldn’t answer or return my phone calls. Rumor had it that she was sick, I thought “sick of me”, I tried to call and ask her out again, but no answer. I thought she was screening my calls. I had given up. I don’t know if he had an inside edge or used one of his many contacts, but Lee’s advice, and his rational thinking made me call once again. Come to find out, she was really sick, VERY SICK. Needless to say the rest is history and we’ve been happily married for the last 7 years. Lee has always been a friend since the day that we met. Someone that could talk about anything, and offer that brotherly advice that we all need. No matter the situation, Lee gives you the straight answer that we all crave in a time of need. As we have grown, our conversations have changed, but always, his insight has cheered me up in a time of need, and has inspired me in a time of desire. Lee has been there for me many times over the years and I know that I can count on him to be there many more. His love for me as well as this chapter is strong. He has shown that FIJI and the bond that joins us is truly “not for college days alone” and will always strive to make this chapter and its future his top priority.
Lee Wray has had a tremendous impact on my life as well. I remember coming through Rush in the fall of 1992 and on Gentlemen’s Night the Theta Tau’s were honoring Lee for his service as Purple Legionnaire. Kurt Chaffin, now Dr. Chaffin, got up and sang Jim Taylor’s famous song “You’ve Got a Friend.” As Kurt was singing you could feel the power of the famous FIJI saying “not for college days along” throughout the room. It was at that moment that I wanted to become a PHI GAM. Lee helped me make the most of my PHI GAM experience at TTU with his consistent, nurturing, and sometimes a swift kick in the ass type attitude. Lee helped me make the most of my best times at TECH and help through the dark pits as well. Lee was the first to come up with the now famous “Circus” story that we use at bid presentation. Many of you in this room may have pledged PHI GAM because of the “Circus” story. I was Rush Chairman at the time that the “Circus” story and the bid presentation was developed and I think we can all say that through Lee’s leadership and advice, the PHI GAM bid presentation is a very powerful experience.
I will never forget when I accepted my first head coaching job at South Doyle High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. Lee complied a folder of motivational quotes and strategies that I could use to not only motivate my team but myself as well. Many of those motivational thoughts and quotations appeared throughout my first and very successful first year. My most cherished gift from Lee though was my first coaches whistle. A whistle that I have kept with me throughout my basketball coaching career that now sees me coaching professionally with ABA (American Basketball Association). Every time I see or use that whistle, I reminded of the power of friendship and that no matter you can always count on your true friends.
I’m sure that each of you have a story of your FIJI life that either involves “Lee Wray”, or a person that he was responsible for molding in this chapter. Through his brotherly devotion to each and every one of us, Robert Lee Wray is truly a Distinguished member of the Theta Tau chapter of Phi Gamma Delta.