The upcoming Zeta Beta Tau international convention in Atlanta will feature a Pulitzer Prize-winning speaker, according to Laurence Bolotin, the executive director of ZBT International.
This convention also will celebrate the 100th anniversary of three ZBT chapters that are in or near Atlanta: the University of Georgia, Georgia Tech and the University of Alabama. The three chapters will be individually recognized for their centennials.
The convention will take place at the Grand Hyatt Atlanta in Buckhead from July 21 to 24. Bolotin said approximately 500 people are expected to attend, including current ZBT brothers and alumni, as well as family and friends of ZBT members.
“It’s going very well. We’re really putting the finishing touches on our convention at the moment, and we have registration going very well. We have some excellent speakers that are scheduled,” Bolotin said.
Those speakers include Sam Massell, the only Jewish mayor of Atlanta; Mike Luckovich, a nationally syndicated editorial cartoonist; and Lori Hart, who will speak about student advocacy.
Bolotin said ZBT is particularly excited about having such high-profile speakers. Luckovich, the longtime cartoonist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has won two Pulitzer Prizes for his editorial cartoons. Like Massell, who was part of ZBT at the University of Georgia, Luckovich is a ZBT alumnus, having been a member of the University of Washington chapter.
Massell, besides speaking at the convention, will be honored with ZBT’s Man of Distinction Award.
“The amazing thing about Sam is how available he is to lend anyone a helping hand,” ZBT Foundation President Bruce Weinstein, an alumnus of the University of Alabama chapter, said in a statement announcing the award. “He is the ultimate mentor, and he has been my role model … since I have lived in Atlanta.”
Another Jewish Atlantan, Mike Wien, an alumnus of ZBT’s Colorado State chapter, will receive the Stephen P. Ehrlich Award for Outstanding Contributions to the Fraternity by an Alumnus Volunteer.
“Mike is invaluable on both a national and local Atlanta basis. He is a sought-after speaker for both alumni and undergraduate groups,” Weinstein said. “Mike never turns down anyone in ZBT that needs help or just has questions.”
ZBT will recognize former George Washington University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg, an alumnus of the fraternity’s Columbia University chapter, as its Man of the Year.
“It is truly the honor of the fraternity to celebrate the spirit of innovation in higher education and the devotion to public service championed by Dr. Trachtenberg,” ZBT International President Matthew Rubins said.
The final major ZBT award at the convention, the Riegelman-Jacobs Award for Outstanding Interfraternal Service, will go to University of Alabama System Chancellor Robert Witt, who recently became an honorary ZBT brother.
Weinstein said Witt’s support was crucial for the Greek system growing across the University of Alabama. “In particular for ZBT, he oversaw and spearheaded increasing Jewish enrollment, which was directly responsible for Psi Chapter doubling its size to over 100 brothers.”
The rest of the convention will involve a variety of sessions and meals, including the Centennial Lunch, at which the three 100-year-old chapters will be celebrated.
Convention attendees can choose among four tracks with educational breakout classes: Growing Yourself, Creating Change, Ethical Leadership, and Supporting and Challenging Others. There is also a track allowing undergraduates and young alumni to sign up to be mentored by ZBT alumni in the Atlanta area.
Registration is open at zbt.org.
“We have a very strong alumni base in the Atlanta area,” Bolotin said. Several thousand alumni are in the area, and the convention is being planned mainly by different alumni associations, as well as the ZBT headquarters.
“There are many ways local alumni and friends can participate,” Bolotin said. “There are opportunities for alumni to attend one event or participate in the entire weekend. They can participate in meals, speakers.”
Bolotin will deliver a State of the Fraternity speech.