Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Chuck Eberly, former EIU faculty, receives honor

Former faculty receives honor

By Chacour Koop/Special Projects Reporter

On a warm spring afternoon, Chuck Eberly is barefoot and relaxing in the living room of his Charleston home.

At least it looks like he is relaxing.
The former College of Student Affairs professor retired two years ago this May, but this is the first week he has not helped former Eastern master’s students complete their dissertations. So, he has spent the spare time uploading his research and articles onto Booth Library’s repository, The Keep.

“I haven’t really noticed what I hear people call retirement. All I can say up to this point is I no longer teach classes,” Eberly said.

Though he no longer teaches, and has since handed over his adviser duties of Eastern’s chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon last November, at the age of 71, Eberly is still being recognized for his service to Greek life.

Eberly received the Alumni Award of Distinction for the North-American Interfraternity Conference Sunday in St. Louis. Founded in 1909, the North-American Interfraternity Conference is an association representing 75 fraternities from both the United States and abroad.

Eberly was in the Sig Ep pledge class of 1960 at Bowling Green State University in Ohio and was an adviser at Eastern for 20 years.

Bob Kerr, Greek life coordinator at Oregon State University, nominated Eberly for the award because he advocates for fraternity students and works with them on the front line. His first memory of Eberly was a fraternity conclave in Dallas.

“He was working with a new computer software that would help students,” Kerr said. “He was tireless in gaining support for the work and helping students.”

In a press release for the award, colleagues of Eberly also recognized him for his work with hazing prevention. He formed a coalition with colleagues after a conference in Hollywood to prevent hazing.

In fact, a hazing incident at Eastern played a part in how Sig Ep established a chapter at the university.

In 1990, the Sigma Tau Gamma chapter was removed from Eastern after a fraternity member was found unresponsive in front of a science building because of alcohol use at a hazing related incident, Eberly said.

“That was the last straw with that group. A lot of the fellows that were going to become Sigma Tau Gamma were some of the men that started Sigma Phi Epsilon,” Eberly said.

Sig Ep was officially founded in the living room of Eberly’s Charleston home more than 23 years ago.

Kerr said it is Eberly’s hands-on work with students that sets him apart from other candidates for the Alumni Award of Distinction.

“All too often, the scholars and people in the front lines go without the recognition they so richly deserve,” Kerr said.

And even as Eberly sat in his upstairs home office where he uploads his past research, he got a phone call from a former Eastern master’s student who told him he had received a job at a university in Colorado.

For Eberly, it is important that he stays connected to his former students and helps them receive their doctorate degrees — even forming a Facebook group to stay in touch with students he had 20 years ago.

“That’s something which I believe in deeply,” Eberly said.
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