Gallaudet became the 72nd university to be chartered by the Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) International Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Collegiate Fraternity on March 29, 2017. GIS will offer students in the Maguire Academy of Risk Management and Insurance increased opportunities for networking, internships, and job opportunities.

The Gamma Iota Sigma (GIS) International Risk Management, Insurance and Actuarial Science Collegiate Fraternity chartered its Gamma Alpha chapter at Gallaudet University, in front of an enthusiastic crowd that filled Chapel Hall Museum on March 29, 2017.

James H. Bruner, executive director of the Maguire Academy of Risk Management and Insurance at Gallaudet, launched the event with opening remarks on what GIS will offer RMI students.

“GIS is an excellent way for Gallaudet’s Risk Management and Insurance (RMI) students to network, locate internships, and facilitate job opportunities,” said Bruner. “GIS will also help bridge the gap between what students learn in the classroom and how it will be applicable in a future career.”
Gallaudet joins 72 other universities that have a GIS chapter.

James J. Maguire, Sr., founder of the Maguire Academy at Gallaudet-and who, along with his wife, Frannie, founded the Maguire Foundation-welcomed those in attendance and offered a powerful message to heed.

“This is a historic day for Gallaudet University, and its future is bright,” said Maguire. “Remember this for the journey ahead, ‘you must believe in what you are, and become what you believe.'”

President Roberta J. Cordano offered insight to those in attendance, recounting parallels between the ceremony and Gallaudet’s own chartering by President Abraham Lincoln, and its significance in deaf history.

“[These] recognitions of deaf people having the right to an education through sign language are monumental in enabling us to contribute to society,” said Cordano.

Provost Carol Erting and Dr. Khadijat Rashid, interim dean, School of Education, Business and Human Services, expressed sincere gratitude to major contributors that made the chartering possible, and excitement for the future of Gallaudet students.

Zachary D. Israel, Gamma Alpha’s first president—and soon to be the University’s first RMI graduate in May 2017—signed the GIS charter, officially installing the chapter.

“This charter has opened innumerable opportunities nationwide for all of our new members, allowing us network and build connections, earn scholarships, and secure internship and job opportunities in the RMI industry,” said Israel. “I am very enthusiastic about Gamma Alpha’s future.”

GIS representatives from their corporate office administered the chartering ceremony at Gallaudet. Other notables in attendance included Steve Taylor, Washington, D.C. Commissioner of Insurance; Glen Dorr, Northeast regional director, Lloyd’s of London and member of the GIS Board of Directors; guest speaker Lori Badenhop, senior risk manager, FedEx, and risk manager-in-residence at The Spencer Foundation; several members of the RMI Board; other insurance executives; and students from other universities with established GIS chapters-including Howard University, St. John’s University, St. Joseph’s University, Temple University, and Virginia Commonwealth University.

RMI, housed within the Business Department under the School of Education, Business, and Human Services at Gallaudet, held a board meeting prior to the chartering ceremony. Several internship interviews with charter members also took place prior to the ceremony.

In all, 28 Gallaudet students were inducted as charter members of Gamma Alpha, signed the charter, and were presented with membership certificates during the ceremony.

The 28 members are: Ahmad Alabbad, Maryah M. Arzola, Yunhe Bai, Claudine Bastien, Sarah K. Bakos-Killian, Rebecca Jean Breitbach, Shua S. Clay, Cody Warren Crace, Jerome Dupuis, Jamal Garner, Jake Avis Grindstaff, Sean Richard Huber, Zachary D. Israel, Jasmine Jeter, Ramon Louis Johnson, Klimentina N. Klimentyeva, Joseph Mattiace, Alexseyia McBride, Tyler J. McIntyre, Camille A. Mitchell, Kevin D. Ogden, Angela Ortega, Antoine L. Parham, Farhan A. Rana, Miguel J. Rodriguez, Jennifer Savage, Chrissy Sze, and Jessalyn M. Wortham.

GIS is a registered 501(c)(3) educational organization and is the only international business fraternity for students of insurance, risk management, and actuarial science. GIS pursues a mission to promote and encourage student interest in the industry as a profession while encouraging the high moral and scholastic attainments of its members. Since its incorporation in 1965, GIS has chartered 72 chapters across North America and boasts an annual membership of more than 4,000 students and an alumni population of over 25,000.

For additional information about GIS, please go to
Photos by Zhee Chatmon

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