UNT Charters Texas' Largest Chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma

The University of North Texas Risk Management and Insurance Program became home to the largest Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) chapter in Texas when the Beta Zeta Chapter was chartered and 67 members were inducted Saturday, February 18, 2012. Gamma Iota Sigma is the International Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Collegiate Fraternity.

The chartering and conferment were the culmination of years of work by students and faculty and a rigorous review of the application by the national organization. The UNT chapter is the 54th chapter of Gamma Iota Sigma.

“The installation of this chapter marks the success of more than 60 years of risk management and insurance education at the University of North Texas,” said Marcia J. Staff, Chair of the Department of Finance, Insurance, Real Estate and Law at UNT. UNT has been teaching the discipline of risk management and insurance since 1949 when the School of Business Administration was first created.

Among those initiated were the chapter officers: Jin Na, President; Erika Villavicencio, Secretary; Ian Michaud, Treasurer; Amelia Bourassa, Vice President Public Relations; Walter Filmore IV, Vice President Alumni Relations; Charles Taylor, Vice President Student Organizations Liaison; and Megan Villegas, Vice President Communications and Webmaster.

Faculty Advisor is Debra Richardson, CPCU, CIC, CRM, Lecturer in Risk Management and Insurance.

“The Risk Management and Insurance program at UNT continues to be an emerging area of excellence and growth for the College. The establishment of GIS on this campus not only reinforces our commitment to scholastic achievement, but it also provides our students with meaningful opportunities to network with professionals in their field,” said Finley Graves, Dean of the College of Business.

More than 150 people attended the installation ceremony in the foyer of the new Business Leadership Building. Attendees included alumni, and industry representatives as well as students and faculty from GIS Chapters at Temple University, the University of Central Oklahoma and the University of Central Arkansas.

The chapter chartering and conferment were made possible by a grant from the Dallas-Fort Worth Chapter of RIMS Risk Management Society.

“We are so delighted to be part of this milestone for the program at the UNT,” said Ronna Schmoker, President of DFW RIMS, “Our partnership with the UNT program brings great benefits to all of us.” Schmoker also recognized students who received support from RIMS. During the past three years, students Jo Watson, Jin Na, Esequiel Nathal and Dominic Nguyen have been awarded the prestigious Spencer Education Foundation scholarships. In addition, RIMS and the DFW RIMS Chapter provide grants for students to attend the RIMS International Conference each year.

Installation of the chapter was highlighted on page 80 of the February 2012 issue of Best’s Review of Insurance available at http://viewer.zmags.com/publication/57f498e8#/57f498e8/1.

The purpose of GIS is to promote, encourage, and sustain student interest in insurance, risk management, and actuarial science as professions. Gamma Iota Sigma encourages high moral and scholarship attainment and facilitates the interaction and cooperation of educational institutions, industry, and professional organizations by fostering research, scholarship, and improved public relations.

For more information, contact Debra Richardson at Debra.Richardson@unt.edu.