May Graduate of Southeast Awarded Lambda Chi Alpha’s Highest Honor


Photo of Joe Gholson

Southeast alumnus Joseph “Joe” Gholson of Harrisburg, Ill., has received Lambda Chi Alpha’s most prestigious award, the Cyril F. “Duke” Flad Award.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Aug. 17, 2009 — J. Joseph “Joe” Gholson of Harrisburg, Ill., a May graduate of Southeast Missouri State University, has received Lambda Chi Alpha’s most prestigious award, the Cyril F. “Duke” Flad Award.

The Duke Flad award committee selected Gholson from the Delta Phi Zeta chapter at Southeast. Gholson, who will enter Harvard University Medical School this fall, graduated from Southeast with a biology degree and excelled academically throughout his undergraduate career, earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average. Gholson was very active in his fraternity chapter at Southeast, serving as High Sigma and High Delta, as well as serving on the executive committee and standards board.

He also was named to Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma and Beta Beta Beta honor societies, and was co-founder of Alpha Epsilon Delta, a pre-professional health honor society. In May, he was awarded with a $5,000 Phi Kappa Phi scholarship for graduate study as he enters medical school. On campus, Gholson served as student body vice president, freshman senator, senate president and senior senator. He was the recipient of the President’s Award for the Spirit of Southeast, which is the highest award available to an undergraduate, for his exhibition of the values, character and spirit of the model Southeast Missouri State student.

Gholson also was active with many philanthropic endeavors.  He founded and chaired the Southeast Dance Marathon, which raised more than $22,000.  He served on the Southeast Missouri University Foundation Board, and was a presidential ambassador for the University. He also volunteered more than 1,000 hours in the Philippines, Vietnam, East Timor, Papua New Guinea, and Micronesia aboard the USNS Mercy, a Military Sealift Command hospital ship which serves as an enabling platform to assist humanitarian operations ashore in collaboration with host nations and international relief organizations. While there, he worked as a surgical technician, field optician and personally provided more than 2,000 patients with glasses, eye drops, anti-biotics and other medication.

Gholson also worked as a National Air and Space Administration research intern, specifically looking at factors affecting the severity of epidemics, and is the author of a manuscript that is being submitted for publication.

Gholson’s Delta Phi Zeta fraternity brothers said Gholson has “personally improved the lives of every brother in this chapter by demonstrating that living Lambda Chi Alpha, the Seven Core Values, and Kalepa Ta Kala, leads to the highest attainable level of success.”

Gholson was recently presented with the award at the Lambda Chi Alpha Centennial Celebration in Indianapolis.

The Cyril F. “Duke” Flad Outstanding Undergraduate Award is Lambda Chi Alpha’s highest honor bestowed upon an undergraduate.  The award is named in memory of Lambda Chi Alpha’s second executive director, who led the fraternity from 1942 until his death in November 1968. Cyril F. “Duke” Flad labored with love and profound dedication for more than a quarter of a century for Lambda Chi Alpha.

Duke’s predecessor, Bruce McIntosh, described Duke as “A capable executive. Duke Flad contributed much to the stability and prestige of the fraternity.  His greatest gift, however, was his character.”

Duke’s successor, George Spasyk, called Duke “a man of infinite patience, wisdom, and diplomacy — He was a humble man in a world that almost had forgotten the meaning of humility.  He was a deeply religious man who was greatly moved by lasting friendships at a time when men thought more of receiving than giving.  He exemplified more brotherly love and concern than any brother I have ever met.”

The Cyril F. “Duke” Flad Award was created by the Grand High Zeta in 1970.  Selecting one outstanding undergraduate from roughly 11,000 student members is extremely difficult, Lambda Chi Alpha officials say. Thirty-eight fraternity members now share in this most distinguished honor.