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News & Press: Alumni News

E.Bro. Billy Peelle Awarded the St. Anthony Medal for Extraordinary Lifetime Service

Monday, April 1, 2019  
Posted by: Noah Holohan-Kantor

The St. Anthony Medal is the Hall’s lifetime achievement award. It recognizes extraordinary and enduring volunteer service by a member to their home chapter and to the Order as a whole. This past January, at the Grand Chapter Convention in Hartford, M.H.E.Bro. Stahlberg invited the assembled membership to join with him in conferring the St. Anthony Medal upon the very deserving and E.Bro. William Ravenel Peelle Jr. (Ε’1968), H.D. 1996.

Physically, the award takes the form of a medallion, patterned on the Delta Psi coin of 1860, with the Tau cross shield displayed on one face and a skull-and-bones motif on the other, borne upon a blue and gold ribbon. It is not often seen, however, as it is only infrequently bestowed. E.Bro. Peelle is just the fourth member of our Order to be recognized with the St. Anthony Medal since the award was created nearly 20 years ago. As its newest recipient, he joins the august ranks of such lions of the Fraternity as E.Bros. Hap Johnson, Jack Danforth, and David Beers.

E.Bro. Peelle – Billy – joined the Epsilon Chapter of St. Anthony Hall in 1968 and has ever since demonstrated a steadfast commitment of service to the Fraternity, both locally and nationally. His volunteer efforts on behalf of Delta Psi span nearly half a century and have had far-reaching impact on the educational, financial, and charitable activities of the Hall.

At Epsilon, Billy led the graduate board of directors of the St. Anthony Trust of Hartford for many years and has served as its President Emeritus for the last three decades. In that capacity, he liaised with the administration of Trinity College when the leadership of the school was decidedly hostile towards fraternities, acting as an ambassador for our interests, and helping to preserve our presence on campus there. In matters great and small, E.Bro. Peelle has continuously worked to support his home chapter. In the late 1990s, Billy led a successful capital campaign that raised $1.3 million to revitalize the Epsilon Chapter, and to this day it is not unusual to discover that Billy has quietly fixed a broken piece of furniture, hung new curtains, or given other help to the undergraduates.

E.Bro. Peelle is just one of two living St. As who has served in the chief executive officer position of all three of our national organizations: as H.D. of the Fraternity in 1996; as president of the St. Anthony Educational Foundation; and as president of 1847, Inc. At SAEF, Billy presided over the foundation’s 25th anniversary as a public charity and spearheaded the successful fundraising E.Bro. Billy Peelle Awarded the St. Anthony Medal for Extraordinary Lifetime Service campaign prompted by that milestone. He was also one of the leaders most responsible for creating the special endowment at SAEF that funds the Hall’s annual undergraduate leadership retreat held each September. As president of 1847, Billy was the first to commit funds to subsidizing undergraduate attendance at our annual Grand Chapter Convention, undertaking the hard, practical work of balancing draws against the income-generating investments of 1847 with our priorities to support financial inclusivity and participation in our flagship national event.

For many years, E.Bro. Peelle also served as the chair of the Hall’s Investment Committee. Reporting jointly to both SAEF and 1847, he was instrumental in the stewardship of the endowments of both institutions and in the oversight of the relationship with our third-party capital management firm. This role was substantially informed and professionalized by Billy’s decades of personal work experience in finance, asset management, and investment advisory services.

It is difficult to quantify one person’s effect on the performance of something as complex and interdependent as investment funds. Looking back, however, the SAEF and 1847 endowments have grown considerably during Billy’s tenure on the Investment Committee, even considering the financial crisis of the last decade. Such growth has been critical to the ongoing missions of SAEF and 1847 since to fund the educational and capital projects of our chapters and individual members. Billy’s own, personal efforts have magnified and compounded throughout the years, as the monies he has helped grow have propagated outward to do good in the world in the form of SAEF grants and 1847 loan guarantees. It is not an exaggeration to say that, over the last decade or so, every speaker series, every literary magazine, every gallery show, every purchase of computer equipment or art supplies, every mortgage guarantee, every seed funding for capital campaigns—all such projects backed by SAEF or 1847 have been made possible at least in part by the service and stewardship of Billy Peelle.

For these efforts, and for all the others he has done quietly over the years to enrich the life of the Hall, with unassuming dedication and often in the absence of recognition or praise, the Fraternity of Delta Psi has gratefully presented Ex. Bro. Billy Peelle with the St. Anthony Medal for extraordinary lifetime service to the Order.