Ralph Talmage ’71 Invests in the Future of Theta Delta
When Ralph Talmage ’71 first arrived at Ohio State as an undergraduate, he intended to follow in his brother’s footsteps as a member of Phi Delta Theta. During recruitment, however, he realized that it wasn’t the right fit for him. He consulted his brother about what other houses he might be better suited for, which eventually led him to Beta Theta Pi. His experience there was completely different than those he had prior. The members were welcoming and he felt right at home.
Beta taught Ralph many things about business management. As Theta Delta’s treasurer, Ralph learned a lot about entrepreneurship, which broadened his horizons after college. During his undergraduate years, he and some friends purchased apartments, which inspired him to go into the real estate business post-grad. Today, Ralph is a real estate developer as well as an oil and gas developer in Columbus, Ohio.
“I took away many things from my Beta experience,” Ralph said, “but a sense of responsibility and allowing me to meet men I wouldn’t have otherwise met are the big ones. It was an opportunity for me to grow and learn about myself, and I’m glad that more young men were and are able to experience that, too.
“We as alumni have an opportunity now to preserve the Beta experience at Ohio State for future generations. The capital campaign is in full swing and I hope everyone takes a long look at their own experiences at Theta Delta and considers supporting the cause. I serve on Theta Delta’s alumni board and having met the young men involved with the new colonization. I can honestly say we have a lot to be proud of. The leadership exhibited is strong and I have high hopes that they will achieve great things moving forward.”
Ralph and his wife, Joan, live in Columbus, and have two sons. He and Joan are firm believers in “time, talent, treasure,” which is evident in the many charitable organizations they are involved with. If you would like to get in touch with Ralph, you can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rik Nonelle ’85 Paves the Way for Theta Delta’s Future
If Rik Nonelle ’85 traced his Beta membership back to where it all began, the path would lead to his sister. Liz was a member of Pi Beta Phi at Ohio State, and was a Beta sweetheart. She married a Theta Delta alumnus David Klein ’82, who is now a plastic surgeon and Rik’s brother-in-law. The connections and exposure to Beta started for Rik before he was even out of high school, but the decision to join ultimately was his own. The combination of culture, members, and tradition made the choice easy for Rik.
“Being in a fraternity creates a bond you can’t get anywhere else,” Rik said. “Some of my closest friends today are the guys I met in Beta. Living with so many people for three years doesn’t really allow it to end any other way than lifelong friendship. The memories and experiences we shared are cemented in us. You can’t get that type of relationship just anywhere.”
It’s natural then that Rik would want to allow the next generation of Betas the same opportunities he had. His commitment to The Campaign for Theta Delta is for exactly that reason. “In a fraternity, a code of ethics, integrity, and honesty come into play. It gives us as young adults a mini slice of our future lives and gives us the ability to work with many men with completely different personalities. Through numerous activities and actions, our personality traits develop and we become who we will be after college. My decision to give back is also paying it forward. When I stepped into the house at 18, I entered a house that was built and paid for by former Betas, so when the chance to do the same for the next crop of young men came along, I was happy to do my part.
“It doesn’t matter if you give a large amount or a small amount as long as you give something. I doubt there are many alumni who can’t attribute some of their success to Beta. My younger brother, Mike ’89, had an equally great experience, so together we wanted to pay back the organization that made it possible. We owe a lot to Theta Delta, so it’s our way of saying thank you, as well as keeping the chapter strong.”
Rik lives in Cincinnati with his wife, Kimberly, and their two Shar Peis. For 22 years, he has owned and operated Window Genie, the country’s leader in home services. Window Genie is located in more than 120 cities around the country and were ranked #170 in Entrepreneur Magazine’s 2016 Franchise 500 list. Rik is a car guy, so when he’s not working he enjoys collecting as many unique cars as he can. He also enjoys traveling, riding road bikes, and playing a little golf. You can contact Rik at email@example.com.
“No More Excuses” – Steve Jeney ’85 Pays It Forward
Steve Jeney ’85 believes that Beta has the best people. This sentiment has stuck with him since his days as an undergraduate at Ohio State, as have many of his Theta Delta brothers. It’s been more than 30 years, but Steve has maintained the strong bonds he made back then, which is why he feels so strongly about the Chapter and the capital campaign today.
“This campaign is important to Theta Delta’s future,” Steve said, “because I was one of those young college kids many years ago and appreciated (though maybe not at the time) those who made the Beta experience possible for me. In turn, it only seems fair that we provide current and future Betas the same great experience, particularly with the building of a new Chapter House. Unfortunately, however, there seems to be a divide on the subject, and regretfully, dollars are not being donated as a result.
“Forget about what things used to be like or how the kids today should live in the same conditions that we lived in decades ago. It’s a new era, and living conditions and arrangements are different. Any Theta Delta alumni with college kids or regent graduates concerned about the current state of Beta at Ohio State, rest assured all is well with 58 Chapter members who cumulatively carry a 3.37 GPA, all this without a Chapter House. OSU is the place where the phrase ‘pay it forward’ was created, so let’s get on with it. No more excuses.”
Steve and his wife, Andi, live in Columbus, Ohio, and have two sons. He is the co-owner of National Electric Coil, a company specializing in upgrading electric generators for all major utilities worldwide. In his spare time, Steve enjoys golfing, skiing, and working out. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beta Love Runs Deep
Spotlight on Dominic Jr. ’85 and Dominic III ’18 Bagnoli
The traditions of Beta unite us all, whether one of the first initiates, a refounding father, or somewhere in-between. Dominic Jr. ’85 and Dominic III ’18 Bagnoli are lucky enough to also share their Beta traditions as father and son.
Dominic III always knew he wanted to join Greek life, as both of his parents were involved, but wasn’t sure where he belonged. His father asked him to meet with the colony coordinator, Brock Griffin, Utah ’13, and Dominic soon found he belonged at Beta. “I saw something different in this group of guys. I saw their ambition and shared dream to fix the mistakes of the past and to build a bigger and better Beta.”
The father-son duo has enjoyed their shared Beta memories and look forward to making more. Domininc III notes, “One of the defining moments we had as father and son was when I was initiated in Oxford. My dad surprised me when he helped in the ritual and helped initiate me himself. That meant a lot to me.” Dominic Jr. is proud of Dominic III’s role in refounding Theta Delta—reestablishing a community he is so proud of.
Dominic Jr. was proud to be a Beta back in college, and still is today. “Our spot on 15th and Indianola just seemed like we were the prime house on campus. Those pillars, that porch: how could you beat it? I learned a lot by getting involved in leadership and self-governance, and some of the friends I made are among my best even today!” His favorite Ohio State memory was Script Ohio, and his favorite Beta traditions were all the history and singing.
The Bagnolis are enthusiastic supporters of Beta and know how important supporting Theta Delta is. Dominic Jr. volunteers his time serving Beta, thanks to the influence of Woody Hayes ’59, who said, “You can never pay back so you must pay forward.” Dominic Jr. says, “Beta was very important in my life and I know it can be for so many other young men, I hope I can be an example and encourage others to support Beta.” Dominic III is confident in Theta Delta’s ability to create Men of Principle. “Beta is a trailblazer nationally. The recolonization is the same thing: it will help good guys become great men through Beta.”
Dominic Jr. is CEO of U.S. Acute Care Solutions, one of the largest emergency medicine groups in the country. He and his wife, Dr. Vivian von Grueingen, a Kappa Alpha Theta at OSU, have one other child, Elise Bagnoli (17), who is a senior at Lake High School. Dominic III is majoring in biology with a minor in Italian and hopes to attend medical school. He enjoys traveling and participating in Off the Lake Productions, Ohio State’s student-run musical theatre group.
The Importance of Alumni Engagement
Q&A with Alumni Association President Scott Saffell ’78
Q: Why did you decide to join Beta Theta Pi? A: Ohio State is a big place with lots of students; I was looking for something to make the campus smaller, and find a place where I would belong. A high school friend was a Beta and asked me to come to a Chapter dinner and meet the rest of the guys. I loved the people, the friendships, and the environment. From the very first time I walked into the house I knew that I was home.
Q: What is your favorite Ohio State tradition? Beta tradition?
A: My favorite tradition at Ohio State is singing Carmen Ohio at the end of home football game—especially because the song was written by Fred Cornell ’06. As for Beta Traditions, all of the rituals around initiation are very special, as well as the tradition that was around when I was an undergraduate when we had a song circle at the end of all of our parties.
Q: How did the Fraternity prepare you for life after college?
A: Beta prepared me by helping me to grow as a person by living up to the principles of Beta Theta Pi and having the privilege to work with many different types of people within an organization for a common good. Working with 105 other men who were part of the same organization with the same goals and aspirations helped prepare me for a career where those same traits and values are needed to be successful.
Q: What are some of your goals while serving as president for the alumni association?
A: One of my major goals as president is to improve engagement with all of our alumni with the alumni association and with the active Chapter. We would like for alumni to have more opportunities to interact with the undergraduates to impact some of the vast wealth of wisdom and life experiences that they have in order to help to mentor our collegians. I would also like for alumni to have meaningful opportunities to meet and to rekindle past friendships that were so cherished by all of us, and to make new friendships as lifelong alumni of this Fraternity.
Q: Do you keep in touch with any of your Fraternity brothers?
A: By living in the Columbus area I have the opportunity to see many brothers at football and basketball games, as well as, at the alumni association events around Columbus. There are also brothers who live around the country that I keep in touch with from time to time. I have always said that for the last 35 years, there are 30 guys that I could call at a moment’s notice if ever I needed them…some of which I have not seen in 35 years.
Scott lives in Columbus, Ohio, with his wife of 36 years, Barbara Jane Saffell (Alpha Xi Delta, OSU). They have two children, Sean ’07 and Brian (Phi Kappa Tau, Ohio University). Sean is married to Brittany Loar Saffell (Alpha Chi Omega, Vanderbilt) and they have a two-year-old son, Bennett Walsh. You may contact Scott by e-mailing him at email@example.com.
Colony Development Coordinator Oversees Recolonization of Theta Delta
Q&A with Brock Griffin, Utah ’13
Q: Can you describe your role in Beta’s refounding at The Ohio State University?
A: My job is to oversee everything that goes on in terms of recolonizing, including recruitment, educating the refounding fathers, training the advisory team, connecting with alumni and the University, corresponding communications, and creating processes for the chapter.
Q: What steps will you take to ensure a successful future for the Chapter?
A: The strongest chapters are those that have a strong advisory team, so we will focus on developing, training, and preparing that team. That’s the main step we take to ensure a colony is functioning at the highest level from the very start. Then, we will conduct interviews with potential refounding fathers. Recruits must have a 3.0 GPA and be involved in at least one other club or organization to be eligible to join. Our main qualification is to make sure someone is a man of principle who embodies Beta’s values.
Q: How many brothers do you plan to recruit this year?
A: We will be relevant at Ohio State. The average chapter size is 50, which we will meet, and hopefully exceed, after Theta Delta’s first year of recolonization.
Q: What assistance will you provide to the undergraduate members?
A: I will be training the executive officers and helping them create the initial structure to base their year-to-year operations. I will be on site to help guide them for their first two years as a colony.
Q: What can alumni do to assist in this process?
A: We’re looking for strong alumni support to aid in the Chapter’s return. If you don’t have the time to be fully engaged you can still give back by attending Chapter meetings and speaking about your experiences and how Beta has been an influential part of your life. Most of these young men have not had a mentor away from home, so your time will truly impact their college experience.
Q: What do you foresee for Theta Delta’s future?
A: I think Theta Delta definitely has a bright future. Our expansion model has been extremely successful at other universities and the Fraternity has seen significant improvements in all areas of fraternal life. Beta now holds the highest GPA of all fraternities at 3.193, from 2.8, and has the highest average chapter size of 73 men, compared to 48 previously. There has also been a large increase in alumni participation; each chapter averages seven regular advisors, increased from two before the Men of Principle initiative was released. Theta Delta is already set up to be successful and there is a lot of external interest in seeing them succeed.