Florida Colony Receives Charter and Wins Fraternity of the Year Award in Just One Month
Two and a half years of hard work and dedication culminated in one heck of a semester for brothers of the University of Tampa chapter.
In addition to earning its charter last month, the chapter was also dubbed Fraternity of the Year by the university, a feat that surprised the guys. The chapter was up against 13 other fraternities on campus for the award.
“It feels amazing. To think that two years ago we started off with absolutely nothing but ideas of what we could be … I’m on cloud nine,” Armando Mayo said. “The long nights, disagreements, failures — all of that was worth it to finally be recognized. It is a source of pride to be able to look at that plaque and that trophy and see that after just two and a half years, we beat out fraternities that have been around for decades [at University of Tampa]. It’s hard to believe we’ve come so far.”
High Pi Doug Fogh was not as surprised. He said the chapter is very deserving of the award.
“I am very proud of them. They did have some major disagreements along the way, but [winning this award] really shows that these guys can work together. Those little bricks in the road, they got past it,” Fogh said.
“I wish I could say I had a lot to do with it and the planning going into next year, because their goal is to continue getting it every year — they want to make it the ‘Lambda Chi award’ from now on — but it was all them,” he continued.
Mayo, who served as Chairman of the Chartering Banquet Committee, spent several months planning for and organizing the event with the help of his brothers and Fogh. The chapter began planning for the banquet in December. They met late at night every Wednesday for months, which shows their level of dedication.
“It was absolutely fantastic,” Mayo said. “I thought it was important to highlight what it was like to finally make it. So I asked all of the founding members if they would mind telling a story. I tried to really make sure all of the work we had done so far was showcased.”
The formal banquet was held at the Tampa Scottish Rite. Mayo made sure lions were incorporated into the decor. They even served a cake in the shape of Lambda Chi’s letters. It was attended by many, including Associate Director of Chapter Services Chris Pockette and Grand High Delta Lenny Bendo, who officially presented the charter to the chapter.
“It was awesome to hear from their perspective the journey they took with us,” Mayo said of Pockette and Bendo.
Mayo’s fondest memory of the banquet was taking a moment to breathe it all in, something he wouldn’t have done if not for an alumnus, he said.
“I was so up in arms about what was happening and making sure it all went well,” he said. “[The alumnus] told me to stop for a second. ‘You need to sit down and take a moment to appreciate what you’ve done,’ he said. ‘You’ve worked so hard for two and a half years to get to this point. If you don’t take a second to appreciate it right now, it’ll pass you by.’ And he was right. All of us had worked so hard, but we weren’t running the marathon anymore. We were sprinting toward the finish line. He encouraged me to take a moment to smell the roses, as they say, and I’m so glad I did.”
Since the banquet, the guys have spent much of their time planning for next year. They have 146 percent more money in the budget than they did last semester, Mayo said, and for the first time in two and a half years, they will be able to host a semi-formal and off-campus retreats, which they are all very excited about.
“It’s like watching your child grow up,” he said, laughing. “When you’re chartering, there’s a lot of pressure. We spent so much of our time making sure we hit all of those basic things other chapters take for granted.”
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