Sam Bessey, HΔ '97, has been the #23 of Chi Psi since 2002. After 20 excellent years in that role, Brother Bessey will be transitioning into the position of Chief Advancement Officer (CAO). The official transition will take place at the 181st Annual Convention in July 2022. Fore more information about the transition, see our press release. Frequently asked questions about the decision can be found at the bottom of this page.
The formal search, interview, and hiring process for a new #23 has officially begun with the following announcement:
#23 (Executive Director)
Chi Psi Fraternity and Educational Trust
Chi Psi Fraternity, a cultivator of student belonging and alumni affinity, seeks a new #23 and Executive Director, who also serves as Executive Secretary of the Chi Psi Educational Trust (the “Trust”), and Executive Secretary of Spencer Properties (which assists in the construction, ownership, and maintenance of Chi Psi Lodges).
Chi Psi is a private association that enrolls undergraduate gentlemen and supports them in their individual self-fashioning. The Fraternity nurtures in all its members lifelong friendship, loyalty to alma mater, and appreciation for the value of higher education generally. Founded at Union College in 1841, Chi Psi is the eighth oldest Greek-letter organization, but the first established on the fraternal and social ideals of a brotherhood, rather than as a literary society. Presently, 32 leading colleges and universities host an Alpha of Chi Psi, with local extension ongoing in other flagship public universities and highly selective private institutions.
Appointment as Chi Psi’s #23 is a singular not-for-profit higher education leadership opportunity. The position encompasses general management, advocacy, alumni relations, facilities, student development, and professional mentorship. It also affords the opportunity to create and deliver educational programming (around academic achievement, cultural capital, ethical discernment, socialization, community service, and career readiness) that enhances the classroom curriculum of 1,800 striving undergraduate members. The new #23 will be charged with elevating and stewarding a national college Fraternity that has long been a pioneer and beacon for progressivism and inclusivity in campus life.
Reporting both to the Chairman of the Chi Psi Executive Council and the Chairman of the Trust, the #23 is the chief executive officer of the Fraternity and Trust. The #23 oversees all programs, budgeting, financial reporting, and operations, including fundraising; communications to internal and external audiences; the development, delivery, and management of educational programs; the recruitment, mentorship, and supervision of 13 full-time and one part-time professionals working out of the Chi Psi Central Office in Nashville and remotely; and the production of Chi Psi’s Annual Convention, typically held each summer on one of the Fraternity’s host campuses. The #23 is the public face of Chi Psi and its most visible and representative ambassador. With 35% of the match for a 2019 ten-year, $10 million challenge grant raised over the past 33 months, the new #23 will take the helm of a financially robust membership organization with validated capacity for advancement support and a Trust whose endowment now stands at $21.5 million.
Since its move after 55 years in Ann Arbor to Nashville in 2006, the Chi Psi Central Office has made its headquarters in Jeffrey Hall, a historic house refurbished for fraternity use by Malcolm D. Jeffrey (Theta ’54) and his family. Jeffrey Hall contains gracious office, reception, and meeting spaces and serves as the archives, headquarters, and museum of the Fraternity. Chi Psi’s making its new address here precipitated the renewal of the Rutledge Hill neighborhood, now described as Nashville’s “hippest.” The new #23 will arrive in a city that is a top relocation destination for college graduates under 30. “Flush with young new residents and alive with immigrants, tourists and music, [Nashville] has made its way to the top of all kinds of lists,” according to the New York Times. Says another commentator: “Blurring the lines between a big city and small town, Nashville has retained much of its charm as it has grown into a much-desired place to both visit and live. The culture, climate, and increasingly cosmopolitan nature of Music City are big draws, and the welcoming community, rich with arts, schools, culture, and food, creates an opportunity for a quality of life many struggle to find elsewhere.” Vanderbilt, the #14-ranked national research university, provides a community of academic, alumni-affairs and student-affairs colleagueship for Central Office staff, with the pre-eminent PhD program in higher education administration.
The search committee is eager to consider a candidate pool possessed of diverse professional experience, academic credentials, and individual distinction and promise. Professional and/or volunteer experience in higher education, association management, and/or fraternity affairs is preferred. An internal position description, which is aspirational rather than mandatory in its requirements, is available upon request to Central Office Business Manager Martha Vetter at email@example.com. Inquiries and nominations may be directed to Ms. Vetter, who will forward them to the appropriate search committee member for response. Salary will be commensurate with experience and is targeted to be comparable at the top end of the range to that of a faculty member at the full professor rank. Benefits include comprehensive health, dental and a 5% IRA contribution match.
A complete application will include a two-page letter of interest, a current resume or CV, and contact information for five professional references e-mailed as separate PDF attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Referees will not be contacted without prior notice to the candidate. Review of applications will begin in late February and continue until the appointment, with a target start date of July 1, 2022.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why is Brother Bessey leaving his position as #23?
This transition allows Brother Bessey to focus solely on the strategic fundraising needs of Chi Psi.
2. How does this transition affect the rest of the Central Office Staff?
Overall, this is expected to be a boon to the Central Office staff for several reasons: first, it allows for a re-prioritizing of fundamental goals and a more equitable re-allocation of duties. It develops a long-necessary full-time Advancement team, headed by Brother Bessey, to ensure current and future needs of Chi Psi are met. Finally, it allows for the minimization and elimination of distractions for the entire staff, as the Advancement team’s singular goal will be to attaining established objectives and organizational goals.
3. What is the timeline of the transition?
Brother Bessey will transition to his new role as Chief Advancement Officer (CAO) immediately. In the interim, Assistant Executive Director Kyle Phillips will handle the operational duties of the Executive Director. A search committee has been formed to begin the process of pursuing and hiring a new full-time Executive Director, with the expectation that a new hire will be made in spring 2022. The formal transition from Brother Bessey to the new Executive Director will occur at the 181st Annual Convention in July 2022.
4. What are you looking for in a new Executive Director?
The Chi Psi Central Office will be posting a job description and application for the position shortly. Stay tuned!
5. Will this affect how the Central Office or Fraternity operate?
This transition will allow us the opportunity to make more permanent hires within the Central Office, re-envision the duties of some existing roles, and expand in a greater capacity in the future (which includes a potential Leadership Development Center on the Central Office property in Nashville, additional alumni educational development, and further work on the Fraternity’s Strategic Vision for 2030.