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Announcing 2021 ZBT Special Awards

Each year the Fraternity recognizes individuals (undergraduate, alumni, and friends of ZBT for achievements in the interfraternal world and the greater community. See more about Zeta Beta Tau awards and those leaders previously honored here.

It is our great pleasure to share more about the 2021 honorees!

These honorees were announced live at the Grand Awards Banquet as part of 2021 International Convention on July 24.


Man of Distinction Award

The Man of Distinction Award was created to honor those brothers who reach the apex of their various involvements. Through their life’s work, these men exemplify the brotherhood of Zeta Beta Tau. This award is to be presented occasionally, but no more than once per year.

Jerome A. Chazen, Alpha Kappa (University of Wisconsin) 1947

Jerome A. Chazen is Founder and Chairman of Chazen Capital Partners. Mr. Chazen is also Chairman Emeritus of Liz Claiborne, Inc., and is one of the four founding partners who established the Company in 1976. He was largely responsible for the innovative sales, marketing, distribution and licensing programs that were an integral part of Liz Claiborne, Inc.’s success. To Chazen, thinking globally and remaining abreast of worldwide issues and events is the only way for a consumer-driven company to exist in today’s environment. Thus, he believes that a company’s greatest challenge is the preservation and perpetuation of its philosophy and ideals both within America and abroad, as expansion into international markets continues in the future.

Brother Chazen is a Trustee Emeritus of Columbia University and Chairman Emeritus of the Board of Overseers of the Columbia Business School, as well as Chairman Emeritus of the Board of the Museum of Arts and Design. He is the Founder and Benefactor of the Jerome A. Chazen Institute of Global Business, the focal point of all international programs at Columbia Business School, and a Trustee of the National Jewish Center of Immunology and Respiratory Medicine. Mr. Chazen is also on the Advisory Board of the Louis Armstrong House & Archives at Queens College in Flushing, New York. Chazen and his wife, Simona, have three children and seven grandchildren and live in New York City. He is an avid art collector and jazz enthusiast.


Man of the Year Award

The Man of the Year award honors those brothers who stand forth above other brothers and fellow citizens in living the Credo and honoring ZBT’s Ritual from a position of leadership and service. These brothers serve as role models for brothers of Zeta Beta Tau and American society in general.

Denis A. Bovin, Xi (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) 1969

Denis Bovin is a Senior Advisor of the firm’s corporate advisory business with 40 years of experience advising Senior Managements and Boards of Directors of domestic and international companies and government agencies.

Prior to joining Evercore, Mr. Bovin was Chairman and CEO of Palimere Group LLC and had been Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Stone Key Partners LLC. He has previously been Vice Chairman – Investment Banking, Senior Managing Director, and Chairman of the Global Technology, Media, and Telecom Group at Bear Stearns & Co. Mr. Bovin is Chairman of the MIT Investment Management Company, which oversees the investment of MIT’s approximately $30 billion endowment and is a member of the MIT Executive Committee. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations; Vice Chairman of Business Executives for National Security, Inc. and a Vice Chairman of the Intrepid Foundation. He also serves on the Boards of the Center for a New American Security and of the MIT Lincoln Laboratory. Mr. Bovin is a member of the Defense Business Board and has served as a representative to the Defense Policy Board. He is a consultant to, and was a member of, the Defense Science Board. Mr. Bovin has been awarded both the Office of the Secretary of Defense Medal for Exceptional Public Service, as well as the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

Denis holds a BS from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.


Stephen P. Ehrlich Award (Outstanding Alumnus Volunteer)

This award is presented to those alumni who make significant contributions to the operations of the International Fraternity and those who give of themselves to make ZBT a better Fraternity.

Jerry N. Katz, CPA, Alpha Rho University of California at Los Angeles) 1976

Brother Katz recently marked a decade of service to the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation in roles including Director, Treasurer and President. He also is long-time advisor to the Alpha Rho Chapter. A Certified Public Accountant, he is President of Katz Accountancy Corporation. He and his wife, Linda — also a long-time supporter of Zeta Beta Tau — reside in the Los Angeles area with their family.



The Heritage Award

The Heritage Award was created in 2005 to be presented occasionally, but no more than once per year, to a member of the Jewish community who distinguishes himself or herself in a communal, philanthropic, artistic or professional endeavor.

Fred S. Zeidman, Alpha Xi (Washington University in St. Louis) 1968

Brother Zeidman serves as chairman of WoodRock & Co., a U.S. investment bank. He also serves as CEO and Co-Chairman of Good Works Acquisition Corp., and Good Works Acquisition Corp. II, both publicly-held Special Purpose Acquisition Corp’s. and director of Prosperity Bank. Fred is Chairman emeritus of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Council, to which he was appointed by President George W. Bush in March 2002. A prominent Houston-based business and civic leader, Fred is chairman emeritus of the University of Texas Health Science System Houston and former director of the Texas Heart Institute. He was chairman of the Israel Bonds National Campaign Advisory Council from 2010-2017.


Riegelman-Jacobs Award (Outstanding Inter-Fraternal Service)

This award is to commemorate two outstanding brothers of ZBT. Brother Harold Riegelman of Kappa Chapter at Cornell University was from the class of 1914. Brother Maurice Jacobs was from Pi Chapter at the University of Maine and from the class of 1917. Both served as President of the North-American Interfraternity Conference, and Brother Jacobs received the NIC’s highest award, the Gold Medal. It is fitting for the Fraternity to memorialize Brothers Riegelman and Jacobs with an award honoring outstanding service to the interfraternity community.

Aaron M. Girson, CFRE

Aaron M. Girson, CFRE currently serves as the Vice President for the Triangle Education Foundation. Aaron joined the Foundation staff in December 2012. Aaron is responsible for development and stewardship of major gifts from alumni and friends of Triangle Fraternity as well as chapter specific housing campaigns.

Aaron comes to the Triangle Foundation after more than eighteen years of experience at Sigma Alpha Mu Fraternity where he served as a Field Representative, Director of Chapter Services, Executive Director and Foundation Executive Vice President.Aaron’s leadership was a major component of the success of Sigma Alpha Mu’s $5 million Centennial Campaign.While on the Sigma Alpha Mu staff he lead development and implementation of the Fraternity’s award winning Developing Leaders Initiative, revamping of the Fraternity’s insurance/risk management programs, and execution of the Fraternity’s Centennial Celebrations in two dozen North American cities.

Aaron is a graduate of Western Michigan University where he was a founding member of the Sigma Alpha Mu chapter; while at Western he was honored as the Greek Man of the Year, and as Sigma Alpha Mu’s Outstanding Chapter President. He is a member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals and is an Honorary Life Member of the Fraternity Executives Association. Aaron is a past Chairman of the Investment Committee of the Fraternity Executive’s Association, has served on the North-American Interfraternity Foundation’s Nominating and Institute for Greek Advancement committees. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Jewish Federation of Greater Indianapolis and Sigma Alpha Mu Foundation.

Aaron’s interests include golf, travel, boating, reading and history.


Edwin N. Sommer Award

Presented from time to time to a ZBT alumnus for “Selfless Dedication to the Ideals of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity.” Named in honor of Brother Edwin N. Sommer, a 1934 alumnus of the Alpha Theta Chapter at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, who served as Vice President of the Fraternity during the World War II era, shepherding the safety of Fraternity assets during a turbulent time.

Past International President Norman M. Waas, Esq., Alpha Omega (University of Miami) 1982

A Miami native, Norman M. Waas, Esq., is a 1982 alumnus of the Alpha Omega Chapter at the University of Miami. He served as Chapter Advisor and Executive Trustee to the chapter from 2007-2016 and has served on the Supreme Council since 2010.

Brother Waas earned his law degree with honors from the University of Miami in 1986 and immediately joined the firm which is now known as Falk, Waas, Hernandez, Cortina, Solomon and Bonner, P.A. For the past 12 years, he has served his firm as its Managing Shareholder and has helped expand the firm to Coral Gables, Plantation, Boca Raton and Orlando. Brother Waas, who has received a Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rating, has tried over 75 cases to verdict and also has over 25 reported appellate decisions. He lectures extensively throughout the state of Florida on matters related to tort litigation and medical negligence and he has been recognized by his peers as a “Florida Legal Elite” and a “Florida Super Lawyer”. He is also a past president of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) in Florida.

Brother Waas and his wife, Deborah, live in Palmetto Bay, Florida. Together, they have six children: Vanessa, Jessica, David, Jonathan, Michael and Benjamin. Benjamin is a brother of the Alpha Omega Chapter, Class of 2014.


Richard J.H. Gottheil Award

This award memorializes our spiritual founder, the late Professor Richard J.H. Gottheil, and is awarded periodically to “that individual or group that has advanced human understanding among all people.”

Zachery S. Banner, Alpha Delta (University of Southern California) 2017

Zachery S. Banner, nicknamed “The Hulk” is an American football offensive tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League (NFL). He is a native of Lakewood, Washington. At Lakes High School, he was a two-time All-American offensive lineman. He played tackle in college football for USC, with whom he was a two-time All-American who majored in Sociology and joined Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. Banner was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft, and made his NFL debut with the Cleveland Browns the same year. He saw action in 14 games (one start) for the Steelers in 2019. He wears No. 72.


Nancy Simon Award

Presented from time to time to a Spouse or Partner for outstanding support of ZBT. Named in honor of Nancy Simon, a 65-plus-year supporter of ZBT. Nancy Simon was wife of Past International President Richard S. Simon, Phi (University of Michigan) 1943, and matriarch of the Simon family, which is heavily involved in ZBT. She was a role model and supporter to all ZBT and ZBT family members.

Jody Aarons

Based in Phoenix, Jody Aarons is a retired teacher has a heart for educating everyone, including ZBT brothers, and open arms for those in and around the fraternity. She is a longtime supporter of all things ZBT Fraternity and Zeta Beta Tau Foundation, doing her part for the organizations and championing her husband, International First Vice President Barry M. Aaarons, Gamma Tau (Arizona State University) 1971, as he serves in international leadership roles for both entities. She opens her home to brothers when they are in the Phoenix area and ensures that other spouses and guests at ZBT events feel welcome and have a friend.


About the Grand Awards Banquet

Hosted by the international president of zeta beta tau

The Honorable Jonathan D. Frieden, Phi Epsilon (University of Virginia) 1994

A 1994 alumnus and past President of the Phi Epsilon Chapter at the University of Virginia. He has been a long-time advisor to Phi Epsilon and is currently the International President. He is a federal judge in the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area. He and his wife, Jennifer, have two daughters.



Master of Ceremonies

Faron A. Lewitt, Psi (University of Alabama) 1997, Zeta Beta Tau Foundation CEO

A 1997 alumnus of Psi Chapter at the University of Alabama, a past undergraduate member of the Supreme Council and Chapter Secretary. He has served on the Fraternity staff as a Chapter & Expansion Consultant, Director of Chapter Affairs and Director of Operations. He is the current Chief Executive Officer of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation.

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