In Memoriam

In the past few months, Ohio Gamma lost 2 very special alumni who played key roles in our ability to maintain our chapter at OSU

Bob Barnett ‘71 , passed away September 20, 2020

We would never have implemented the Balanced Man program at OSU or achieved 8 straight Buchanan Cups without Bob Barnett. In 1999, as Alumni President, Bob realized the future of fraternities in general could not be stereotypical “ frats”. There had to be a better purpose and he felt that developing young men as leaders during their undergrad years was the best way we could serve them. By then Sig Ep nationally was in the early stages of developing our leadership oriented Balanced Man program. In 2008, at our Centennial banquet, we honored Bob by naming a new annual alumni service award for him. As I write this, I wish there was a way to properly recap the tremendous accomplishments of our graduates since 1999. Bob was most proud of these men as it best reflects the value of our program at Ohio State. Probably the best tribute comes from those undergrads who worked closest with Bob in making Ohio Gamma one of the premiere chapters nationally. Scott Phillips was our undergrad chapter President in 2005 and 2006 in a time when he worked closely with Bob and the chapter had it’s best “ growth” spurt. In 2015, Scott was named Ohio Gamma’s George Smith Distinguished Alumni for his achievements in the business world which again points to the value Bob Barnett brought to Ohio Gamma. Scott’s words below are really the best eulogy we could provide for Bob:

Friends, we stand on shoulders of giants. Few carried more weight for Ohio Gamma SigEp than this man... in a time when fraternity initiatives were geared toward alcohol abuse, Bob Barnett ‘71, stood tall as an alumnus and helped relaunch a fraternity with a clear mission around academic enrichment, service, character, and leadership development. He wasn’t alone, but also wasn’t broadly understood. 

As our Alumni Association leader for over a decade, Bob has made a huge difference in my development since age 18, and his support and guidance carries with me to this day. He taught me patience, diplomacy in conflict, assertiveness when a decision must be carried out, and how to listen to others among many more things.

Bob died yesterday, and the world will feel the void he’s left. The Robert Barnett service award winners of Ohio Gamma SigEp will help carry on his legacy, but it’ll never be the same without his jovial, confident, and often happy go lucky personality in the room. Our last time golfing together (his hole in one) is even more special in my memory now. Hard to think that I’ve been called “Broadway Scott” for the last time... I’ll miss you, Bouncer. Thanks for all you did for our men of Sigma Phi Epsilon.

Bob's obituary can be found here.

John Waggoner’70


Dick Walters ‘57, passed away June 24, 2020

Another alumni critical to our success was Dick Walters. In 1969, our chapter houses on Woodruff were in disrepair and close to being condemned. Dick Walters was part of the Alumni “ Board”, as we called it then. Without a new chapter house we would be relegated to meeting in the Union or renting a rooming house. Funds were also tight so finding a new chapter home was to be a significant challenge. Fortunately for us, the Alpha Epsilon Pi house on Waldeck became available that same year and Dick’s alumni board grabbed it, then worked out a sale of our old chapter house to Schottenstien Realty group. 

Over the years Dick has been a huge supporter of OSU and Ohio Gamma. He participated in virtually all our alumni events and contributed strongly to our Ohio Gamma scholarship program. We honored Dick in 2009 with the Bob Barnett Alumni Service Award. 

Dick’s obituary can be found here

John Waggoner’70