Following a remarkable 44-year career, Robert A. Biggs will retire as executive vice president & CEO of Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity and president & CEO of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation on June 30, 2020. The Fraternity’s governing board, the General Council, has named Chief Operating Officer Sean S. Wagner as Mr. Biggs’ successor in both roles starting July 1, 2020. Mr. Wagner will become the Fraternity’s fifth executive vice president & CEO in its 170-year history.
“On behalf of the General Council, I am pleased to announce the promotion of Sean Wagner as our next executive. Continuity in leadership is highly regarded in Phi Delta Theta, and this provides a seamless transition that has been years in the making. We recognized Sean’s amalgam of intelligence and industry as well as his outstanding leadership abilities, and we began working diligently to prepare him for this role and to develop a group of talented leaders around him,” said General Council President Dr. Chris Brussalis.
As Brother Wagner enters this new role, he brings with him vast knowledge and experience of Phi Delta Theta and the General Headquarters, having previously served as a leadership consultant, director of expansion, director of alumni services, and associate executive vice president and COO with oversight of both Fraternity and Foundation operations. According to Dr. Brussalis, “Sean is ideally and uniquely prepared to lead Phi Delta Theta into the future. As COO responsible for the execution of the Fraternity’s first long-term strategic plan, Phi Delt 2020, Sean provided the operational leadership to take the International Fraternity to a significantly higher plane of performance in all areas. As the Fraternity launches the next version of its strategic plan, Phi Delt 2030, Sean is exceptionally qualified to lead Phi Delta Theta as its chief executive.”
The Fraternity’s initial 10-year strategic plan, Phi Delt 2020, resulted in 60 new or recolonized chapters, a 30 percent increase in the average chapter size, 76% increase in on-ground leadership programming attendance, growth in online learning platforms reaching over 5,000 online learners annually, revised brand position with enhanced communication strategies, new health and safety programs, and new alumni investment in the Phi Delta Theta Foundation that exceeded $20 million.
A native of Philadelphia, Sean is a member of the Pennsylvania Mu Chapter and a 2002 graduate of Widener University where he studied communication. He holds a master of public administration and nonprofit management from Northern Kentucky University (NKU) and a certificate in executive management from the University of Notre Dame. He is also a Certified Association Executive (CAE) as credentialed by the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE).
A leader in his community and industry, Sean is a board member for the Go Norse Fund that supports NKU athletics and its student athletes. He is a former board president of the Inner City Tennis Project, a non-profit organization that teaches health and life lessons through the sport of tennis in Cincinnati. Sean formerly served as a member of the ASAE Membership Development Committee, chaired the Fraternity Executive Association’s Annual Meeting Planning Committee for alumni/engagement programming, and volunteered as a Chapter Advisory Board member for both the Pennsylvania Zeta (Penn) and Ohio Theta (Cincinnati) chapters. Sean lives in suburban Cincinnati with his wife Michelle and daughter Elise.
“I’m honored and humbled to serve Phi Delta Theta, its members, volunteers, the General Council, Foundation Board, and our dedicated General Headquarters team in this new capacity. I am also proud to inherit the tremendous foundation of success and legacy of an organization focused on values-based decision making. This is a pivotal juncture for Phi Delta Theta and the Greek community. We will continue to build, further evolve, and strengthen the Fraternity’s position as the recognized fraternal leader, while working to improve the individual trajectories of our members,” said Wagner.
Dr. Brussalis further remarked, “Robert A. Biggs leaves a monumental legacy on the International Fraternity and beyond. We have positioned Phi Delta Theta as a leader in the Greek movement under Bob’s leadership. We have clearly walked the talk around our values and modeled the way in making positive changes on college and university campuses throughout North America thanks to Bob’s leadership and interfraternal collegiality.” An alumnus of the Georgia Epsilon Chapter, Brother Biggs joined the General Headquarters staff as a chapter consultant after graduating from Georgia Southern University, became director of chapter services in 1978, and later succeeded Robert J. Miller as executive vice president of the Fraternity in 1990. In 2011, Brother Biggs assumed the additional role of president of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation. Among other successes, he was instrumental in establishing the Leadership College (Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute) in 1987, Presidents Leadership Conference in 2000, and Shaffer Honors College of Leadership in 2013. Additionally, Bob’s hallmark accomplishments include shepherding the implementation of alcohol- and substance-free housing in 2000 and leading the successful growth of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation endowment from almost $5 million to over $23 million within a 7-year period, exceeding the Phi Delt 2020 goal over two years ahead of schedule.
“We’re excited to have Sean continue his work with the Fraternity and Foundation and build upon the strong momentum toward accomplishing the initiatives and goals set forth in our strategic plans, Phi Delt 2020 and Phi Delt 2030. Over the years, Sean has been a trusted resource for our volunteers, undergraduates, and staff. His promotion is a testament to the significant contributions he has made to the organization,” said Biggs.