Robert A. Biggs Begins Service as Executive Vice President1990
With the retirement of Robert J. Miller after 40 years of service, Robert A. Biggs, Georgia Southern ’76, assumed the duties of Executive Vice President.
Bob’s career journey to becoming the fourth executive leader of Phi Delta Theta Fraternity began when he was hired at General Headquarters as a chapter consultant. This was a time for personal and career growth, while working with two other consultants and the director of chapter services. He visited chapters in North America, coached chapter leaders, opened new chapters, planned conferences, met with alumni, and, his least favorite of all Phi Delt tasks, closed chapters that simply weren’t able to meet the sound and firm criteria required.
After he completed his two-year consultant service, he was hired on as director of chapter services. Bob still holds a twelve-year record as DCS. During this time, his mentorship began with Robert Miller. Miller gave young Bob many opportunities to lead and this relationship created an unbreakable bond that endures today.
Bob Miller and General Councils never failed to give Bob opportunities to lead. In the fall of 1986 Bob joined with volunteer Ed Whipple, Hanover ’74, to create and execute the first-of-its-kind international educational leadership event on the campus of Miami University.
The Leadership College gathered the best undergraduate Phi Delt leaders, brought them to Oxford, Ohio, to meet and learn from each other, and to be influenced by a stellar faculty made up of Fraternity alumni volunteers. What began as the Leadership College in 1987 has developed into the enormously successful Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute.
From the Leadership College a solution to find good volunteers also emerged. An ambassador-style program helped bring the brightest of the chapter’s more experienced leaders to serve as assistant faculty at the Leadership College. Many of these ambassadors, now known as peer mentors, have become the robust volunteer corps of Phi Delta Theta as chapter advisers, house corporation members, province presidents, alumni club leaders, as well as professional staff.
The Presidents Leadership Conference (PLC), is also a product of a Bob Biggs collaboration. This time, he joined General Council President Charles “Charley” Pride, Western Kentucky ’87 to develop the PLC in 2000.
The move to alcohol-free housing became Biggs’ most significant undertaking during his tenure. Risk management was becoming increasingly difficult, as was the troublesome rising cost of liability insurance. With increasing insurance claims and membership dues, and decreasing membership numbers, the tides were changing. Brother Biggs became passionate about a new way. Bob worked with then General Council President Bob Deloian, Arizona State ’66, and the rest of the General Council to build unanimous support. Soon, the Fraternity had a new and momentous goal.
In January 2011, both Fraternity and Foundation executive roles were merged
into a one-leader model, naming Brother Biggs to the dual leadership position. Bob’s transition to number one spokesperson for both sides of the Phi Delta Theta organization resulted in the successful growth of the Foundation’s endowment from $4 million to $24 million.