Apr 18, 2024

Phi Delta Theta Foundation Receives $1 Million Gift to Expand Educational Programming

The Scroll News
Phi Delta Theta Foundation Receives $1 Million Gift to Expand Educational Programming

The Phi Delta Theta Foundation has received its third-ever $1 million donation from a living donor. Phi Delta Theta member Mark Craig, Colorado State ’71, and his wife Shirley are two retired public servants. Passionate about education and shaping new leaders, this contribution represents their commitment to supporting the mission of the Phi Delta Theta Foundation.

A gift like this showcases the impact of philanthropy on individuals’ lives and the communities they serve. Mark and Shirley worked as teachers for thirty years, and towards the end of their careers, they observed changes in the education system that raised worries about the future of education. Additionally, they noticed a decline in leadership opportunities and wanted to create something that would inspire a lifelong passion for learning and leadership in students.

About the Craigs

Mark Craig thanks Phi Delta Theta and his thirty years in the United States Army Reserves for his personal and professional growth; he often compares the camaraderie of the Army to his brotherhood in Phi Delta Theta, both groups helping him become who he is today. “It truly is a Fraternity for life, and just like the military, you are a part of this for life,” Mark said.

During his undergraduate experience, Mark was reminded of the etiquette and social skills he learned from his brothers, but most importantly, the networking opportunities are what set the Fraternity apart from the other Greek organizations on campus. “While most of the other houses felt the same, the Phi Delts were totally different; no members were the same, and I think that sets [Phi Delta Theta] apart,” Mark responded.

In 2023, Mark attended the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. Mark was inspired by the Phi Delta Theta Foundation’s work to shape young minds through its educational programming and, most importantly, how the Fraternity opens the doors to the network of Phi Delta Theta. “Before attending [Phi Delta Theta] conferences, you may only know a handful of guys, but after the conference, you now have a network,” Mark said, “the Fraternity opened that door.”

In January, Shirley joined Mark at the McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference in St. Louis, Missouri, where she, too, saw the benefit of investing in the lives of young leaders. Although Shirley was never a part of a Greek organization, she has always thought fondly of Phi Delta Theta, “We have met through this Fraternity some really good, caring people. How much they care for each other, and keeping in touch after college, and even accepting me . . . . Although I wasn’t a part of a Greek organization, they have even included me. It’s a family,” Shirley shared.

Mark and Shirley Craig attending the 2024 McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference in St. Louis. Pictured left to right: Mickey McKenzie, Texas Tech ’67, Bill Lappin, Wichita State, ’79, Howard Gellis, Penn ’75, Shirley Craig, Mark Craig, Colorado State, ’71 Rocky Kmiecik, Davidson, ’85.

The Colonel Mark and Shirley Craig Scholars Program

This $1 million gift will fund a new educational program at in-person conferences including the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute, McKenzie Family Presidents Leadership Conference, and other future endeavors.

“The greatest benefits in Phi Delta Theta membership are the leadership experience and relationships gained,” Phi Delta Theta Foundation President & CEO Sean Wagner shared. “We thank the Craigs for their generosity and vision to exponentially increase the number of students who will experience those benefits through member development programming. More Phis will come to understand both the magnitude of their brotherhood and calling to live our values to serve our communities.”

About the Phi Delta Theta Foundation

The Phi Delta Theta Foundation exists to strengthen men for life by building on the tradition of our core values: Friendship, Sound Learning and Rectitude. The Foundation grants $1 million annually in scholarships, fellowships, and educational grants to help Phis on their pursuit of greatness. 

Critical to the Fraternity’s strategic plan, Phi Delt 2030, is the Phi Delta Theta Foundation’s comprehensive campaign: Campaign 2030: A Greater Version for Tomorrow. The campaign’s goal is to achieve an impact of $60 million in the areas of member development, health and safety, and people support.


Supporting Phi Delta Theta ensures the next generation of college men is prepared to lead in any environment. We are grateful for your consideration of an annual donation to secure Phi Delt’s position as the pinnacle of college fraternities. Learn More

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