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Some 650 Betas, Sweethearts and Friends of Beta were afforded a rare opportunity last night when they engaged in “The Great Conversation Part III: A Radical Brotherhood.” The all-Convention session was led by former Beta Trustee, Shepardson Award Honoree and early Men of Principle Development Team Member Dr. Don “Dipper” DiPaolo, Michigan ’78.

An acclaimed international educator and NIC Award of Distinction recipient, DiPaolo first facilitated The Great Conversation at the 2005 General Convention in Scottsdale, Arizona, followed by Part II at the 175th in Oxford.

General Secretary John Stebbins, Emory ’92, introduced DiPaolo on stage just moments after conclusion of a fantastic Model Initiation. “Following that textbook performance of our cherished Ritual, I can think of no one better to continue the conversation,” he said.

The 3-hour session centered around DiPaolo’s call for Beta to reclaim the positive aspect of being “radical,” which has long been part of Beta’s DNA. “One need look no further than our litany of Beta Firsts to know we have prided ourselves through the years on being an innovative, progressive, big-thinking, outward-looking organization. How else do you think we earned justified monikers like ‘The Pioneering Fraternity’ and ‘The Leadership Fraternity?’”

Participants were quickly availed to Brother DiPaolo’s facilitation magic, as he mesmerized them with his vast knowledge, humor and inspiring storytelling.

In his trademark “knee-to-knee” setup with seat-shifting rotations and thought-provoking questions, he afforded attendees an opportunity to meet many more than they would have otherwise barely three hours into the Convention. It is clear the 184th is off to a fast start in terms of relationship cultivation, the first of five core purposes of the General Convention.

At the heart of the session, DiPaolo pressed brothers and friends to – in the wake of COVID and amidst a hyper-isolated and immediate-gratification-centered world – defy current norms and give themselves permission to talk, connect and pursue a life more focused on authenticity, humility, vulnerability, engaging with others and selflessness.

The messaging certainly seemed to resonate, as the Malachite Room was electric with Beta Spirit and deep dialogue. Closing comments reflecting deep emotion and gratitude from audience members validated the night, as a standing ovation thanked Brother DiPaolo for his special gift of facilitation.

Unified with arms around shoulders, the session concluded with brothers swaying to the “Parting Song,” followed by the “Beta Doxology.”

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