August 30, 2010: Denver, Colo.—Greg Hollen, Maryland ’75, and Dave Lapinski, Penn State ’74, were named Palm Award winners at the 59th National Convention in Denver, Colo. Hollen received the award at the Recognition Banquet on July 15, and Lapinski was recognized at the Brotherhood Banquet on July 17.
The Palm Award is one of the Fraternity’s most prominent awards. It is presented to alumni, after a nomination and vote of the National Council, who show outstanding service to the national organization.
Both Hollen and Lapinski have impressive résumés with Phi Kappa Tau. During his tenure with the Fraternity, Hollen has served on the Foundation, National Council and countless committees. He held the positions of National Vice President and National President, is a loyal Foundation supporter and regularly attends Phi Tau events. Hollen even has an award named after him—the Greg Hollen Colony President Award.
Lapinski’s track record is equally impressive. He served on the National Council, as a Domain Director, national housing advisor, and BOG chairman and chapter advisor of his own chapter. Lapinski, too, is a loyal Foundation supporter and makes it a priority to attend national, regional and local Fraternity events.
Both recipients said they were humbled to receive the Palm Award.
“The Palm Award is an honor that no brother can really ever think he ‘deserves,’ rather it’s something one could hope to receive someday,” Lapinski said. “My shock upon receiving the award was evident when I needed a few moments to gather enough composure to simply thank the Fraternity for this honor. It is not often that I am at a lack for words.”
Often times, alumni choose to serve the national organization because their undergraduate experience was life-changing. For Hollen it was no different, and he said he was hooked on working with the Fraternity as a national entity after his first Convention in 1977.
“My first job out of college was to work on the Headquarters staff, and that deepened my love for the organization and my determination that I should help it grow stronger and greater,” he said. “My mentors in business were Phi Tau National Councilors and officers, and I realized that by surrounding yourself with brothers, you always have someone looking out for your business and personal development.”
Lapinski believes that getting involved at the national level helps you fully understand what the Fraternity is all about.
“No matter how good a brother’s undergraduate experience may be or how outstanding his chapter is, you cannot truly grasp the significance and meaning of what Phi Kappa Tau is called to be until you experience it on a national level,” he said. “The diversity and breath of our brotherhood is both impressive and, in its own way, challenging. The young men who follow us need the mentoring and guidance just as much, and perhaps even more today, as we did at their age, and it is our duty to provide it to them. Once you leave the ‘cocoon’ of your chapter, you get a better sense of the lifelong experience that Phi Tau provides.”
Both men said they plan to continue to serve the organization for many years to come. Hollen added that he hopes to “be worthy [of the Palm Award] by [his] future actions as well as [his] past accomplishments.”
When asked to reflect on the most important thing they’ve learned through their years with the National Fraternity, both men answered confidently.
“One of the founding principles of our Fraternity is the innate worth of the individual,” Lapinski said. “Each of us has certain unique gifts, talents and abilities. In order for someone to be reach his full potential, to be everything one is called to be, requires the proper guidance and mentoring. This is our duty to our brothers, so that they can serve others as we are called through our Ritual and the Cardinal Principles of Phi Kappa Tau.”
Hollen offered succinctly:
“To continue to grow as a person and contribute to our society.
“I think you need to be around folks who are positive and optimistic in their thinking, and I believe Phi Tau undergraduates are that for me. Our national organization has more than 63,000 gems out there doing terrific things and making their communities brighter spots, and I get charged up connecting to like-minded individuals.”
Hollen receives the Palm Award from National President Bill Macak, Florida State ’73.
Lapinski with the Palm Award after the Brotherhood Banquet.