Alumni Spotlight

New Faces Bring Stability to Illinois Beta
House Director, Cook Establish Relationships with Active Brothers

Recently beginning their new positions with Illinois Beta, Brian Schnitz and Zach Polifroni have fit in quite nicely. Brian, the new house director, easily adjusted into his role and has had a great experience with the undergraduate brothers since he began in January. Zach began cooking for the chapter last fall and has enjoyed the stress-free environment Illinois Beta offers compared to working in a restaurant. “The members are really good kids and they’re focused on the right things,” Zach said. “They’re here to get their degree and I respect what they’re doing and encourage them to do well.”

As a handyman, Brian has been working with Greek life for nine years and has numerous friends who are house directors for other chapters. So far, he is impressed with Illinois Beta and has enjoyed his time living in the chapter house. “The men are polite and always studying,” he said. “They’ve been very inviting and I’ve felt welcome since I started.”

Living in the chapter house, Brian has started to build personal relationships with each of the members and is impressed with how polite, nice, and courteous all of the men are. “I am looking forward to the fall when everyone moves in again and we can continue to get to know each other better,” he said.

When Zach began with Illinois Beta, he took the skills he learned from the restaurant business and combined them with his own creativity to cook meals for the chapter. Zach makes each meal from scratch and likes to break each meal down so that members have options to choose from. Additionally, he also prepares gluten-free options and vegan meals for one of the active brothers. “Nobody has the same taste pallet,” he said. “I’m able to cook at my own pace, be creative, and develop a personal relationship with them. I’m not wasting time or energy because I know what they like.”

Zach prepares a steak dinner twice a semester and likes to make fancier meals every Friday. Chicken Tender Tuesdays have become a regular on the menu, and brothers also like Zach’s made-to-order quesadillas. He also treats the active members to desserts and fresh, homemade breads courtesy of his wife, Britany. Zach originally moved to Terre Haute, Ind., to do ministry studies, and moved to Champaign, Ill., when he was offered the job with Illinois Beta. In March, Zach graduated from ministry school and plans to work with youth ministry in the future. He can be reached at

Staying Involved with Illinois Beta
Michael Morthland ’12 Steps Up as Chapter Advisor

As a third generation legacy, Michael Morthland ’12 followed in the footsteps of his grandfather, James Welch, Millikin University ’57, and uncle, Jimmy Welch ’86. Growing up a block away from his grandfathers’ office, Michael remembers the impressive collection of ΣΑΕ memorabilia displayed on the walls and how active his grandfather stayed with the fraternity after graduation. Before leaving for college, Michael was reminded to keep a look out for Illinois Beta and their recolonization at the University of Illinois. “My brothers taught me how to treat people from various and wide backgrounds and that it was important to be kind as well as humble,” he said. “ΣΑΕ is something to ascribe to. Being a True Gentleman rubbed off on me.”

Throughout his undergraduate years, Michael served in numerous offices and was heavily involved as a member. In January, he officially became the Illinois Beta Chapter advisor. “I saw the same opportunity that my grandfather had to stay involved and I couldn’t not say ‘yes,’ because of how important the fraternity process was to who I am now,” he said. “It is an incredible honor to have been considered and I will work tirelessly for those who think worthy of my position.”

Michael has several goals he’d like to accomplish in this new position; most importantly, continuing the brotherhood of the chapter. “One of the coolest things as ΣΑΕ is that bond we all share. The immediate recognition through our letters and a handshake,” he said. “This is an impressive group. We’ve gone from being on the fringe into a singular group working together for a common goal and that is such a neat thing to see.”

Several alumni made a positive impact on Michael’s undergraduate years, including Greg Martin ’76, John Epifanio ’82, and Doug Fink ’77. He’s also thankful for his connection with alumni from other chapters, including Brian Naas, Northwestern University ’12, Ryan Wise, Indiana State University ’00, Chad Bell, Millikin University ’11, and Jonathan Sharp, Millikin University ’10. Michael encourages Illinois Beta alumnae who have lost touch with the chapter to reconnect. “Remember the brothers you struggled with,” he said. “The bonds you forged. The relationships you had with your brothers. Remember what you can teach generation to come.”

Michael met his fiancée, Kathryn, in law school and the couple is planning an October wedding. In his free time, Michael enjoys playing and listening to music, cooking, and being outdoors. He lives in Decatur, Ill., and can be reached at

Past Alumni Spotlights:

Thomas Rose, Wisconsin-Madison 50
Bill Johnson ’55
John A. Stevenson Jr. ’60
Ken Love ’62
Ted Schnell ’71
Doug Fink ’77
W. Scott McAdam ’79
Jamie Wareham ’82

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