By Caleb Whitmer, Ball State ’10
As seen in the Winter 2018 Edition of The Scroll
I would like to recognize a fellow Indiana Kappa alumnus, Johnny Velasquez, Ball State ’99, (Bond #588) for his service on the Indiana Kappa Chapter Advisory Board for about 15 years, through the good and the bad. Just recently he indicated that he will be stepping down from his role on the CAB. While I have no doubt that a qualified and motivated candidate will replace him, it is hard for me to believe that there is anyone out there that can bring to the table as much wisdom and passion about the success of Indiana Kappa as he did.
I served as chapter president from 2008–2009. In the years during and preceding that, we struggled mightily in nearly every area … scholarship, recruitment, campus presence, etc. There were very few bright spots on the chapter’s résumé and realistically we were very near to dissolving. Obviously, that’s not where things ended up seeing that Ball State University’s chapter of Phi Delta Theta was just recently named as one of only 16 Gold Star chapters. I would be remiss if we didn’t recognize Mr. Velasquez as being an integral part of the process that turned our chapter around and helped maintain its current success.
Aside from his ongoing support on a personal, professional and fraternal level, Mr. Velasquez and a few other alumni accompanied the active member representation to the Presidents Leadership Conference/Recruitment Bootcamp conference in St. Louis in January 2009. It was there that a strategic improvement plan was formulated; much of it derived from Mr. Velasquez’s guidance. I look back at this being the single most pivotal point in the last 47 years in Indiana Kappa’s history (Indiana Kappa is only 48 years old).
Besides the major impact that Mr. Velasquez has had on the existence of Indiana Kappa in an operational capacity, he is also one of the most involved alumnus in the day-to-day functionality of the active chapter. He regularly makes trips to Muncie to grab lunch with active members and attend chapter meetings. This was not uncommon, even when he lived three hours away. Beginning in 2009, every year his family has hosted a Thanksgiving meal for the active chapter where a transition of the incoming and outgoing officers is held. This is one of the most meaningful and anticipated events that the active chapter and CAB take part in. It would certainly not be possible without his support. Even his three children look forward to the event each year. His two boys already view themselves as honorary Phis until they can make it official.
I would like to recognize and thank him for his friendship, support and dedication to Phi Delta Theta Fraternity over the years. Mr. Velasquez truly exemplifies the meaning behind Morrison’s philosophy.
Indiana Kappa gathers for the annual Thanksgiving dinner at CAB member Velasquez’s house