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A 30-year Beta Theta Pi volunteer, former General Fraternity President Bob Schnese, Wisconsin ’83, will receive the Fraternity’s highest honor for General Fraternity service, the Francis W. Shepardson Award.

Robert L. Schnese, Wisconsin ’83
Shepardson Award Roll No. 030

Bob Schnese’s leadership within Beta Theta Pi dates back to his time as a collegiate member of the Alpha Pi Chapter, where he served as chorister, new member educator and corresponding secretary.

In the 40 years since his graduation, Bob has volunteered his time for the Fraternity in various capacities, including as counselor and advisor for chapters at Lawrence, Wisconsin and Wisconsin-Oshkosh; assistant district chief; district chief; regional director; and as a facilitator for the John and Nellie Wooden Institute for Men of Principle.

He has served four terms on the Fraternity Board of Trustees, including six years as General Fraternity President. During this time, Schnese witnessed unprecedented growth of Beta’s collegiate membership – exceeding 10,000 undergraduates for the first time in the Fraternity’s history – as well as steady increases in the all-fraternity GPA and average chapter size.

Schnese was also involved in the Beta Foundation’s two most recent capital campaigns, “Upon These Principles” and “Promises to Keep.”

On December 30, 2016, Schnese retired from Motorola Solutions, Inc., the company he joined upon his graduation from the University of Wisconsin School of Business some 33 years earlier. He has served the Congregational Church of Excelsior, Minnesota, as a member of the choir and chairman of its finance committee, as well as First Congregation Church in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, as a member of its Board of Deacons.

An extremely active sports fan, “Badger Bob” is a season ticket holder for both the Green Bay Packers and University of Wisconsin football and hockey programs. He and his Convention-veteran Beta Sweetheart, Lori, have been married for more than 30 years and reside on Long Lake in Waupaca, Wisconsin. They have two children, Andrew and Daina.

The Francis Wayland Shepardson Award, created in 2001 to recognize exemplary devotion and dedication to the General Fraternity, its objects and obligations, is named in memory of “Mr. Beta Theta Pi,” Francis W. Shepardson, Denison 1882/Brown 1883, distinguished former President and General Secretary. The Fraternity has always counted on loyal volunteers throughout the years, and their consistent support of the foundation of Beta Theta Pi has proven to be priceless. Each honoree is presented with an attractive full-lead crystal cup, featuring the Fraternity’s coat of arms etched into the upper section. The cup is engraved with the award inscription and recipient’s name, chapter and class year.

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