William E. Gortney

Distinguished Alumnus Award

The William E. Gortney Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually to alumni of the Lambda-Lambda chapter.  The Award recognizes brothers who bring great honor to Kappa Sigma Fraternity, whether it is through service to his community, outstanding career work, or other achievements.  Gortney is a retired United States Navy four-star admiral. He most recently served as Commander, U.S. Northern Command and Commander, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).   He is the Kappa Sigma International Fraternity 2013 Man of the Year and the Elon University 2013 Alumnus of the Year.  Admiral Gortney was the 50th initiate of the Lambda-Lambda

Past Award Winners

These men have brought great honor to Kappa Sigma Fraternity and Our Brotherhood

Nicholas D. Dyer

2018 Award Winner

    Nicholas (Nick) D. Dyer of Hoboken, NJ has been named the recipient of the William E. Gortney Distinguished Alumnus Award for 2018. Dyer is a 2011 graduate of Elon University and the 682nd initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. 

    Nick is an Emmy Award-winning producer at Comedy Central for The Daily Show with Trevor Noah. Dyer collected a Creative Arts Emmy in 2017 for “Outstanding Short Form Variety Series,” recognizing the show’s online content supplementing the late-night television program and was nominated for three Emmy Awards in 2018. Additional honors for Nick’s work on the show this year include four Webby Awards, a Shorty Award, a ProMax award and the Outdoor Grand Prix at the Cannes Lions Festival. 

    In April 2018, Nick was promoted to Director – Late Night, Digital at Comedy Central where he oversees the development of digital content, strategy and production for the show. Nick is also a producer on The Daily Show Presents: The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library book, which is now a New York Times Best Seller and peaked at #2 on the Amazon Best Sellers list. With over seven years of experience in television and digital media, Nicholas has produced over 400 episodes of The Daily Show for online audiences. Previously, Nick was a producer at Comedy Central working on a variety of series and specials including South Park, Key & Peele, Tosh.0 and Nathan For You. 

    Nick participates in Comedy Central’s parent company, Viacom, community activities including Viacommunity Day, a clean-up project in Brooklyn, NY and has served as a mentor for Reel Works, a filmmaking program that matches teens 1:1 with professional filmmaker-mentors to tell their stories and have their voices heard. 

    Nick is married to Elon Graduate Jackie Dyer, a Tri-Sigma sister. They met at Elon, and reconnected two years later at an Elon Alumni Event in 2013 and married in 2017. They reside in Hoboken, NJ with their two dogs. 

    “Elon provided me the opportunity to learn every aspect of the entertainment industry,” he said. “My time at Elon and Kappa Sigma really helped shape who I am today, and I have Elon and Kappa Sigma to thank for giving me a foundation to succeed.” 

 

Jason A. Knight

2017 Award Winner

    Jason A. Knight of Greensboro, NC is a 1996 graduate of Elon University and the 408th initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. After his 1996 graduation from Elon, Jason earned a law degree from Wake Forest University School of Law in 1999. He has been an attorney in Greensboro since then in general practice. Jason has represented NFL and other sports athletes as well as recording artists.

    In 2010, Jason formed a local community ministry in Greensboro called ARISE AT GRACE, which feeds 150 homeless people each week. After that experience, Jason began to shift his career focus and, in May 2016, earned a Master of Divinity degree from Campbell University Divinity School and was ordained as a Baptist Minister. He currently serves as Senior Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Jamestown, NC. Jason was a Worship Preacher / Leader at the Oak Ridge Military Academy in 2016 and since June, 2016 he has served on their Board of Trustees.

    At Elon, Jason was an Honors Fellow, Presidential Scholar, Scholar Athlete for Men’s Soccer and a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science honor society. Subsequently, Jason served many years on the Elon Society Board. In addition, he served as Adjunct Professor for Elon in 2011, and taught law classes at the Guilford Technical Community College from 2009 – 2015.

    Jason and his spouse, Amy (Elon ’95), are active in their community and devoted to their family, including sons Joshua and Jacob, and their daughter Emma Grace. He has Coached in the Greensboro United Soccer Association for a while.

 

William N.P. Herbert

2016 Award Winner

     Herbert is a 1968 graduate of Elon University and an initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. Herbert demonstrated great promise as a student at Elon College, earning his bachelor’s degree in biology in 1968 and then his medical degree from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University in 1972. He completed his residency in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Vanderbilt University in 1976 and a fellowship in maternal and fetal medicine at the University of Texas Health Science Center (Southwestern) at Parkland Hospital in Dallas.

     He returned to North Carolina in 1978 and served for 22 years as a faculty member at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and then Duke University medical centers before moving on to the University of Virginia Medical Center, where he further distinguished himself as Professor and Chair of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. He retired in 2011.

     A respected scholar and practitioner, Herbert made significant contributions to medicine during his career, assisting in the development of groundbreaking prenatal tests to measure fetal lung development and, as an educator, preparing students and young physicians for careers in ob/gyn. He has published numerous research articles and is a co-author of an ob/gyn textbook now in preparation for its eighth edition. Herbert is a member of Alpha Omega Alpha Honorary Medical Fraternity.

     He has a national reputation as a successful educator and has received numerous awards in recognition of his contributions to medicine. He has served as President of the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics, as well as Vice Chair of the Council of Residency Education in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

     In recognition of his professional accomplishments, Herbert has been named both Elon’s Distinguished Young Alumnus of the Year and Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. Despite a demanding schedule, he has made his alma mater a priority, serving in a variety of leadership capacities. Since 1996, he has served as a member of Elon’s Board of Trustees, and he was Chair of the Board from 2014-2016. Bringing his professional experience to the campus, Herbert has served as a member of the Elon University Health Professions Advisory Board, providing an outstanding example of leadership and mentoring students preparing for careers in health care. He and his wife, Marsha, have been generous donors to the university over the years and are very devoted to their family, including son Turner (Kappa Sigma, Davidson) and wife Allison, and son, Coleman, and his wife Jennifer. Each couple has two children. 

 

Casey Beathard

2015 Award Winner

     Beathard is a 1990 graduate of Elon University and the 236th initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. While at Elon, he was a starter on the football team as Wide Receiver and Punt Returner. During his Senior year, he was named Most Valuable Player and All SAC 8. His love of football inspired his song, the “Boys of Fall”, recorded by Kenny Chesney.

     After receiving his bachelor’s degree in business management at Elon, Beathard initially took a job in landscaping.  However, after a few months he decided to try to make it in the music business and moved to Nashville, even though he had never been there before.  After finding work at various jobs in Nashville, he was eventually signed to a songwriting contract; his first cut as a songwriter was the title track of Kenny Chesney’s 1998 album “I Will Stand,” which was released as a single that year.  

     Beathard has collaborated on dozens of singles throughout his career, including six that peaked at #1 on the charts.  He has penned hits for Trace Adkins (“Hot Mama”), Gary Allan (“Right Where I Need To Be”), Rodney Atkins (“Cleaning This Gun”), Tracy Byrd (“Ten Rounds With Jose Cuervo”), Kenny Chesney (“No Shirt, No Shoes, No Problems”), Eric Church (“Homeboy”), Billy Currington (“I Got A Feelin”), Billy Ray and Miley Cyrus (“Ready, Set, Don’t Go”), Tracy Lawrence (“Find Out Who Your Friends Are”), Tim McGraw (“Do You Want Fries With That”), Jake Owen (“Yee Haw”), Darius Rucker (“Come Back Song”), and George Strait (“How ‘bout Them Cowgirls”).  He is a two-time recipient BMI’s Songwriter of the Year Award (2004, 2008).  

     In addition to his professional accomplishments, Beathard is active in his community.  In conjunction with BMI, Casey has participated in the “Behind the Hits – Songwriters for St. Jude’s” fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, an annual event where Nashville’s top songwriters perform hits they have written for country’s top stars.

     Casey and his wife, Susan, have five children: sons C.J., Tucker, Clay, and daughters Charly and Tatum.  C.J. is the starting quarterback for the University of Iowa Hawkeyes, Clay is quarterback of his high school team and Tucker is a budding country-music singer recently signed to Dot Records.

Les Hall

2014 Award Winner


     Les Hall is a 1977 graduate of Elon University and the 56th initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. After receiving his Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration at Elon, Les went on to work in the Hampton Roads area as an industrial contractor. He started his own firm, ALLFIRST, LLC – an industrial general contractor, in 2000, and continues as its Chief Executive Officer today. The firm serves a variety of clients in the Southeast. ALLFIRST is an active supporter of the Rotary Club, United Way, Red Cross, Volunteer Hampton Roads and many other non-profit organizations. 

     Les is active personally in the community, having served as a Director on the Boards of the Suffolk Foundation, Suffolk Center for Cultural Arts, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Volunteer Hampton Roads and Monarch Bank.  Les also served on the Elon University Alumni Executive Board. 

     Les has been married 37 years to Wanda Watson, an Elon graduate. Les and Wanda met during Greek Week at Elon. They are well known for their elaborate, and award winning, tailgate parties. Les and Wanda have two daughters and a son-in-law, Cristin Hall Pond, (Class of 2005) also an Elon graduate, is a Program Manager for Fest Events in Norfolk, VA, son-in-law Chris Pond is Vice-President of Suffolk Energies, Jordan Lynn Hall is an Online Marketing  Coordinator for ADS, Inc.

 

John Hill

2013 Award Winner

     Hill is a 1976 graduate of Elon University and the 57th initiate of the Kappa Sigma chapter at Elon. After receiving his Bachelors degree in Business / Economics at Elon, John went on to do graduate work at the University of Baltimore. He earned the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) designation and in 1993, started a financial service firm, Pinnacle Advisory Group, Inc. and continues as its Chief Executive Officer today. The firm serves over 700 families and $1 billion in assets.

John is past chairman of the Finance Committee at the Maryland School for the Blind, Past President of the Maryland Financial Planning Association, and served as President of the Elon University Alumni Board. Recently, John was named to the Board of Trustees of Elon.

John has been married 37 years to his high school sweetheart, Lesley, a UNC- Greensboro graduate. They split their time between homes in Bonita Springs, FL and Severna Park, MD. Their son, Brady, is an investment banker in Richmond, VA.

Award Nominations & Governance

Focus Statement

The William E. Gortney Distinguished Alumnus Award is presented annually to alumni in good standing of the Lambda-Lambda chapter. The Award shall recognize Brothers who bring great honor to Kappa Sigma Fraternity, whether it is through service to his community, outstanding career work, or other achievements.

Eligibility and Application Procedure

The individuals selected to receive the Award shall have accomplished some significant achievement(s), as evidenced by recognition outside of the Fraternity. Any individual may submit a nomination for this Award using the application form posted on www.kappasigmelon.org. All alumni board officers, alumni, and undergraduates are particularly encouraged to submit Kappa Sigma Brothers as nominees. Nominations for Advisors or Directors of the Kappa Sigma Elon Alumni Association are not accepted.

Judging Procedure

Selected by the Kappa Sigma Elon Board of Directors. Selection to be made and announced after the September AA board meeting each year in order to have plaques available by ELON University’s Homecoming Celebrations.

Form and Number of Awards

No set amount. Kappa Sigma Elon Alumni Association Board of Directors would like to approve not less than one recipient per year. Nominations may be made on the official form located here: 

Process to select Distinguished Alumnus Award:

  1. On or before August 5 each year, the Chairman of the Board of Advisors (BoA) shall convene the BoA, and previous Distinguished Alumnus Award recipients, to begin the process of selecting the current year recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award award.
  2. On or before August 10, the BoA shall designate an Advisor to coordinate with the GS to send an email to the Elon Director of Alumni Relations, Kappa Sigma National, the Alumni Association Yahoo Groups ListServe, BoA members and previous recipients to ask for nominations, and post on the home page of the kappasigmaelon.org web site, and our KappaSigmaElon Facebook page, to ask for nominations by August 24, with nomination applications to be sent via email to kappasigmaelon@gmail.com or any Advisor, or mailed to Kappa Sigma Elon Alumni Association, Attention GS, PO Box 5, Elon, NC 27244.
  3. The BoA will review and discuss the nominations during late August and early September via email, conference calls and other methods determined by the Chairman.
  4. The BoA shall present a nomination, or if consensus cannot be reached, a slate of nominations, to the EC/Board of Directors at the September Alumni Association meeting (1st Saturday after Labor Day). The nominee will be selected by vote by the board at that time. An email message with this information will be sent to the Board’s Yahoo group list within three business days.
  5. Within one week after the Board vote, the Chair of the BoA Scholarship committee, or other Advisor to be determined by the BoA, will order the plaque for the individual to be sent to the AA GM and the plate for the permanent plaque to be given to the GS of the chapter to affix to the permanent plaque, on or before Homecoming.
  6. The BoA shall strive to ensure that the current year recipient attends homecoming to receive the award in person.
  7. The award, and plaque, shall be presented to the recipient during the annual meeting by the GM of the alumni association during homecoming weekend.
  8. This process and the application form, upon approval by the board, shall be posted on the Web site page http://www.kappasigmaelon.org/williamegortneyaward/
  9. The Alumni Association GS shall notify the Webmaster to update the web site with the current recipients name, by October 15.
  10. The Alumni Association GS or his designate shall notify the following organizations by October 15 via a press release or other document: Kappa Sigma National, Elon University Alumni Department, Kappa Sigma Elon Facebook page, Kappa Sigma Elon LinkedIn page