News Release

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$1 million gift honors Miami's Greek leadership

10/29/2004

What Miami University officials believe is a one-of-a-kind gift in college philanthropy--a $1 million contribution to endow Miami's office of Greek affairs--is being celebrated with an open house and dedication ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 9.

Cliff Alexander of Piqua graduated from Miami in 1956. He went on to found the Crayex Corp., a custom manufacturer of polyethylene shrink, non-shrink and specialty films and bags for the packaging industry, which has facilities in Piqua and McDonough, Ga.

The firm is known for its quality products and its philosophy that every customer is to be treated as employees would like to be treated themselves.

In 1976, Alexander was named the Ohio Small Business Person of the Year. He has served on numerous boards and is a member and past chairman of the board of trustees of the Upper Valley Medical Center, member of the board of trustees of Miami County YMCA and an elder in his church.

Despite these business and civic responsibilities, he never forgot his alma mater or his fraternity, Sigma Nu.

“Mr. Alexander agreed to endow our office of Greek affairs because the experiences he had as an undergraduate fraternity member shaped many of his values and provided early opportunities for leadership,” said Dick Nault, vice president for student affairs at Miami.

Long known as the “Mother of Fraternities” because four national chapters (and one sorority) were founded at Miami in the 1800s or early 1900s, the university expects that the gift will cement Miami’s leadership in Greek life well into the 21st century.

The university will use the endowment to:

  • Attract and retain skilled faculty and staff to serve as advisers to fraternities and sororities.

  • Encourage fraternities and sororities to communicate their core purposes during recruitment and reinforce the messages during new member education.

  • Develop new strategies to renew and perpetuate founding values. The Alexander gift will build on an effort already under way that was funded by the Kettering Foundation.

  • Support innovative programs that will keep Miami at the forefront of the Greek system nationally. There will be a focus on innovations and changes necessary to preserve important traditions while modernizing the contemporary fraternity. Partnerships in leadership development with Beta Theta Pi and Sigma Chi are being initiated.

  • Develop a historic archive of Miami’s fraternity and sorority system.

“The gift is remarkable because to my knowledge, it will be the first Greek affairs office in the nation to be endowed,” said Nault. “It will impact not only the almost 25 percent of our students who are members of fraternities and sororities, but the entire campus.”

Nault noted that Alexander never seeks credit for his accomplishments and only reluctantly agreed to allow the university to rename the office of Greek affairs in his honor. University officials insisted, however.

“We wanted undergraduate men and women who are part of Greek organizations to see clearly what a life of achievement and service means,” said Nault.

The open house will be from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 9, in 356 Shriver Center. A dedication ceremony, to be attended by Alexander, his wife and children, will follow.

National fraternities founded at Miami:

Beta Theta Pi, 1839

Phi Delta Theta, 1848

Sigma Chi, 1855

Phi Kappa Tau, 1906

National sororities founded at Miami:

Delta Zeta Sorority, 1902

Number of students involved in Greek life at Miami:

2,096 Greek women; 1,484 Greek men

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