Dear Tau Alumni & Parents,
I'm proud to report that we are continuing the strong growth trajectory started by our previous leadership several years ago. In 2021, we initiated a record number of pledges for the second year in a row, a trend we hope to repeat this year.
Prior to senior graduation, the Tau Chapter had 151 active members, ranking us as the sixth-largest fraternity at the University of Texas.
Kappa Sigma has a vital presence across campus, with members active in various organizations and business fraternities.
Ten of our active brothers are members of the Texas Silver Spurs. In addition, I was honored to serve Silver Spurs as Spring Jam Chair this season. Collectively, we raised more than $100,000 to benefit the Neighborhood Longhorns Program.
Our philanthropy chair, Tristan Zheng, coordinated efforts with the Alpha Phi sorority to co-host the annual Heart of Texas Cookout. Kappa Sigma's portion of the proceeds benefitted our designated charity, Horns for Heroes.
Along with Beta Upsilon Chi, we hosted the third annual Nicky Cumberland Classic, an annual golf tournament to honor Tau brother Nicky Cumberland '16, who passed away in 2018. All proceeds benefit the Nicholas Antonio Cumberland Scholarship Fund.
We also participated in Round-Up, helping raise money for a variety of local Austin charities.
And, in sports news, the Kappa Sigma intramural softball team won the fraternity league championship!
In April, we were honored to have Russell Zwiener MD '01 as our distinguished alumnus guest speaker. Dr. Zwiener shared his incredible journey from the event that inspired him to become a doctor through the many challenges he overcame to get where he is today -- serving as a top-ranking pediatric gastroenterologist at the Children's Hospital of New Orleans. It was a special evening that made us all proud to be Kappa Sigs.
Tau Chapter has a bright future thanks to the support of our wonderful alumni and parents. We send a special note of gratitude to Matthew Ziemnicki, our alumni advisor. "Ziem," as he's known to his brothers, has been a mentor and good friend to all of us, and we're lucky to have him.
Warren Residence Hall and the Kappa Sigma Lodge continue to serve as a beautiful residential, social, and fraternal environment for Kappa Sigs during our time at UT Austin.
A huge shoutout is due to House Director Ernie Taliaferro, executive chef Dennis Fenn, assistant chef Dylan Fenn, and porter Aubrey Brown for all they do for us. They go the extra mile for us and do so with warmth and good humor.
As most of you know, Ernie had a health crisis earlier this year. He has now fully recovered and is extremely grateful for the outpouring of Chapter support during his illness and recovery. Ernie is dear to us, and we wish him all the best for continued good health.
We realize that our good fortune would not be possible without your financial support, guidance, and encouragement. So -- on behalf of the Tau Chapter of Kappa Sigma -- thank you!
Jack Smith '19
Kappa Sigma Tau Chapter
Jack Smith '19
Kappa Sigma Tau Chapter
John Martin, ranked among the top financial advisors in the country, was a featured alumni speaker at the Kappa Sig Lodge on October 16. John shared insights about financial management and his Kappa Sig brotherhood's impact on his life, stating that the bonds he created with his Tau brothers during his college years still remain strong.
"We were a close group who knew we could count on each other. That has certainly played out in my career." His first client came to him by introduction from a Kappa Sig brother. That client is still with him today.
In 2020, the Financial Times named John to its elite group of Top 400 Financial Advisors chosen from the largest brokerage firms in the nation. John attributes his success to his close attention to detail tracking the stock market and his ability to see "the big picture" for long-term performance. His objective is to keep clients focused on their long-term plans rather than reacting to market volatility.
After studying economics at The University of Texas, John launched his career as a financial advisor in 1984. He began with Dean Witter, moved to Rauscher Pierce, then to A.G. Edwards, which later became Wells Fargo Advisors, and now serves as managing director of investments for Raymond James.
John currently serves as a Tau Trustee. He served as both a Trustee and alumnus advisor during the late 80s and early 90s, a time he recalls the Chapter was "recovering from a pretty low spot and beginning to flourish." In 1992, the Chapter presented him with the Frank C. Erwin Award for exceptional support and leadership. He was chosen the same year as Outstanding Alumnus Advisor, a national award given by the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
"To this day, the national award from Kappa Sigma is my most gratifying accomplishment," John said. "Like being named a top advisor by the FT, it was an acknowledgment of a team effort with a group of very loyal people."
John also values philanthropy. "There's no greater feeling than giving back," he said. His chosen charities include the Alzheimer's Association, Partnership for Children (Austin), The Victoria Bach Festival, The American Book Review, David's Legacy Foundation (a resource to fight cyberbullying), The University of Houston-Victoria, The Austin Parks Foundation, and several other worthy causes. He has also given substantial donations to the Tau Chapter capital campaigns to build the Lodge and Warren Residence Hall.
Tito Beveridge, creator and master distiller of Tito’s Handmade Vodka — the largest liquor brand in the country — is, by anyone’s definition, a huge success. But it didn't come easy. He had to reinvent himself several times before finding the winning formula. As the Tau Chapter’s featured alumni speaker on October 1, he spoke candidly about the importance of persevering through setbacks and disappointment.
“People need to learn how to deal with failure,” Tito said. “Learning to be resilient is the best lesson you could ever learn. You are not a failure until you quit.”
Tito’s college years included pre-med studies at Vanderbilt, roughnecking on oil rigs in the summers, and earning geology and geophysics degrees from UT. He started an oil company and ran 300-man seismic crews in Venezuela and Colombia before returning to Texas to start a drilling company in Houston. Tired of “chasing the buck,” he moved to Austin, first working for the Environmental Protection Agency and then as a residential mortgage broker.
Working in the mortgage business, he made flavored vodka to give as Christmas presents to his friends. Enthusiastic responses from friends and strangers who tasted his customized drink prompted him to take the leap from amateur to pro as a vodka maker.
Potential investors, however, expressed doubt that he could get permits or a distributor, leaving him to go it alone. Their negativity didn’t stop him. He used his savings and 19 credit cards to put himself in business.
He crafted a 16-gallon production still and went to work as a one-person production, sales, and marketing force. Then a pivotal moment came with an invitation to the World Spirits Competition. Too busy to attend, he sent a couple of bottles as entries. Tito’s vodka won first place and the double gold medal -- the unanimous choice among the judges -- beating out 72 other vodkas in the international competition.
Tito’s Handmade Vodka is now sold in 156 countries around the world. "Keep reinventing yourself until you get it right," he told his audience.
Tito offered some personal advice as well. “The most important decision you’ll ever make is choosing the person you’ll spend your life with,” he said. “Find someone with a great attitude who believes in you. What are the qualities you would like to see in your kids? Find those qualities in a woman. The person you marry will make you or break you.”
Tito was chosen Kappa Sigma International Man of the Year in 2017, honored not only for building a world-class vodka brand, but also for his generous philanthropic giving and community support, including Tito’s Handmade Vodka for Dog People initiative to support animal welfare causes.
Tito recalled that his mom often encouraged him to “Leave the world a better place than you found it.” He has taken that to heart with a lifelong commitment to giving. “The more you give, the more you get,” he said.
GM Griffen Croix '20 (979) 332-3380 firstname.lastname@example.org
GP Aiden Frazier '20 (972) 679-7227 Frazieraidan1@gmail.com
GT Preston Jong '20 (281) 352-9944 email@example.com
GS Billy Thackston '21 (804) 301-8386 firstname.lastname@example.org
GMC Joe Fulp '21 (925) 334-2055 email@example.com
GMC Ethan Bayeh '21 (832) 981-1174 firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Will Gallagher '21 (817) 905-7589 email@example.com
Social Pace McDonald '20 (469) 387-2781 Pacemcdonald5@gmail.com
Social Andrew Burton '21 (781) 201-0357 firstname.lastname@example.org
Social Rex Robins '21 (310) 614-1683 email@example.com
Head of Rush Jackson Weiss '21 (214) 801-2780 firstname.lastname@example.org
Head of Rush Marco Serrano '21 (281) 798-7779 email@example.com
Head of Rush Ryan Jinnette '21 (832) 962-0251 firstname.lastname@example.org
House Manager Noah Diano '20 (832) 794-3163 email@example.com
House Manager Derin Baysal '20 (713) 855-8282 Derinbaysal@utexas.edu
Kitchen Liaison Jake Malone '22 (281) 707-2857 Jrm2004@icloud.com
Risk Manager Logan Balmano '20 (281) 806-9623 Balmannologan@gmail.com
Build Cordinator Alex Weiss '22 (214) 502-1414 Aw04122004@gmail.com
T-Shirt Chair LJ Godfrey '22 (832) 284-1549 firstname.lastname@example.org
Tailgate Coordinator Ward Sontag '22 (954) 593-3445 email@example.com
Assistant Treasurer Ryan Jinnette '21 (832) 962-0251 firstname.lastname@example.org
Assistant Treasurer Chris Aubin '22 (505) 795-0953 email@example.com
Academic Chair Logan Balmano '20 (281) 806-9623 Balmannologan@gmail.com
Philanthropy Chair Harrison Blanton '21 (832) 538-6969 firstname.lastname@example.org
Alumni Relations Ali Merchant '20 (443) 900-1816 email@example.com