Thursday, November 15 , 2018, 12:57 am | Fair 47º


CSU Channel Islands Gamma Beta Phi Honor Society Continues Winning Streak with National Awards

The CSU Channel Islands chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi (GBP) National Honor Society has yet again earned a handful of national awards recognizing its outstanding leadership and community service. 

CI’s oldest student honor society garnered the highest national honor as Exemplary Chapter of the Year for the second consecutive year, as well as Exemplary Chapter Award for the third consecutive year and Advisor of the Year for the second consecutive year.

“I consider CSU Channel Islands my flagship chapter of the Gamma Beta Phi National Honor Society,” said Jimmy McNutt, national eexecutive director of Gamma Beta Phi.  “Year in and year out, the Gamma Beta Phi Chapter at CI has consistently amazed me with thousands of hours of community service and outreach both on and off campus,”

The Exemplary Chapter of the Year Award recognizes CI as the top chapter out of more than 130 chapters nationwide. 

“This chapter is a shining example for which we stand. We do community outreach in the name of academic excellence, and no chapter does it better than CI,” McNutt said.

The national organization also recognized 2014–15 Chapter President Danit Havton as President of the Year and Chapter Advisor Wm. Gregory Sawyer, CI’s vice president for student affairs, as Distinguished Fellow and Advisor of the Year.

Havton, a recent graduate of CI’s psychology program with cum laude honors, served as the group’s president for the 2014-2015 academic year.  During that time, she led the chapter to double its membership, triple its donations and win campus and national awards. 

Havton is also a member of the Mortar Board Honor Society and the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society. She is planning to study for a master’s degree and hopes to work in higher education supporting students to succeed in their own higher education processes.

“I may have led this chapter but CI’s Gamma Beta Phi received these national accolades because of the hard work on the part of each one of our incredible members,” said Havton. “Gamma has proven to me that through community, most anything can get done, whether it’s by wearing women’s heels or raising awareness for something important to volunteer for.”

CI’s 229 GBP members work to promote the principles of scholarship, character and service by performing volunteer projects in the community. Each student must maintain a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 and complete a minimum of 10 hours of community service each semester. 

Over the past year, Gamma’s CI chapter volunteered 5,466 hours of service, held multiple events to benefit the needy and made sizable contributions through fundraising, collections and donations. 

Among the highlights, student members collected 415 holiday toys for children at the RAIN Transitional Living Center; raised $2,197 as an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team; donated over 100 teddy bears to the UCLA Medical Center Oncology Pediatric Floor; sent 569 holiday cards to the troops; raised $1,700 through the Walk a Mile in Her Shoes event for the Family Violence Center for Interface Children & Family Services and collected 110 sets of school supplies for local elementary school children.

Sawyer was awarded the highest national award the society can give an advisor: the Gamma Beta Phi Distinguished Fellow and Advisor of the Year.  

Since starting the chapter as its founding advisor, he has helped inspire hundreds of students to become dynamic leaders and participants in their campus and community.  The veteran student affairs administrator was appointed by Governor Jerry Brown to the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC). 

Sawyer earned the Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a Dean/Vice President from the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) in 2011. 

“I could not be more proud of CI’s chapter of Gamma Beta Phi,” Sawyer said.  “For the past two years, the National Executive Director has attended CI’s Induction Ceremony to present our campus with the Chapter of the Year, Gamma President of the Year and the Advisor of the Year awards.” 

Originally formed in South Carolina in 1964, Gamma Beta Phi has more than 130 chapters on campuses in 28 states and an active membership of approximately 40,000 students. 

For more information on Gamma Beta Phi, visit or contact either Samantha Cole at [email protected] or Greg Sawyer at [email protected].

— Kim Gregory is a communications specialist for CSU Channel Islands.


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