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Distinguished Merit Award

Recognizing Brothers' Professional Achievements

The Fraternity's second oldest award for individual alumni is the Distinguished Merit Award. It may be presented to no more than ten brothers per year in recognition of exceptional achievement and distinction in the brother's profession or vocation. The award was established by the Grand Council in 1950. Nominations for the Distinguished Merit Award are due on April 15 each year. Below is a complete list of the Distinguished Merit Award recipients.

2018 Distinguished Merit Recipient

Name: Charles Scarminach
Chapter Designation: Gamma Epsilon Chapter
College and Initiation: Buffalo '63
Birthplace: Syracuse, NY

Charles Scarminach, Buffalo '63, is among a handful of pioneers who helped shape modern-day Hilton Head Island. Brother Scarminach's practice area is in corporate and business law and, in addition, has an extensive practice in the area of real estate transactions, community development and land use covenant law.

Born and raised in Syracuse, New York, Brother Scarminach attended the University of Buffalo and Syracuse University College of Law before joining the U.S. Armed Forces. 

After serving in the judge Advocate General Corps of the U.S. Army, he moved to Hilton Head in 1973 to join the legal staff of Sea Pines Company, then the largest resort development company in the world.

Brother Scarminach ultimately became the Company's General Counsel and was involved in the planning and development of Sea Pines Company's numerous resort communities on the East Coast, including the world-famous Sea Pines Plantation and Resort. His work with Sea Pines Company involved all aspects of land development, from negotiating contracts with builders to securing loan agreements, to handling the company's SEC filings after the company went public in 1973. 

Brother Scarminach left Sea Pines Company in 1978 to enter private practice as sole practitioner with his own law firm, which he continued until joined by Mr. Novit in 1983. In 1985, Mr. Scarminach received an Award for Excellence from the prestigious Urban Land Institute for his contribution to the development of Sea Pines Plantation. 

He served as Chairman of the Board of Hilton Head Preparatory School from 1984 to 1993 and has been on the Board of Directors of the Hilton Head Island Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Island Committee. He is currently a member of the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation of the Low Country. He is also active in youth sports, coaching soccer, football and baseball for many years. In 1987, Brother Scarminach was included among the lawyers listed in the 1987 edition of The Best Lawyers in America by Steven Naifeh and Gregory W. Smith.

Bio courtesy of

Past Distinguished Merit Award Recipients

2017: Eugene Miller, Bethany '46
2016: Peter Fuss, Michigan '54
2015: Steven T. Brown, Penn State '55
2014: John Mickowski, Stevens Tech '64
2013: Dr. Robert Gardner, Westminster '54
2012: Michael Halloran, UC-Berkeley '59
2011: Arthur Keys, Bethany '64
2010: George Trubow, Michigan '53
2009: Willard Scott, American '53
2008: Ratan Tata, Cornell '56
2007: Stan Thurston, Iowa State '66
2006: Samuel Bodman, Cornell '57
2005: Frank Wolf, Penn State '60
2004: Thomas Hinkley, Indiana '84
2003: Dr. James Mongan, UC-Berkeley '60
2002: Michael Anthony, Westminster '75
2001: Warren Buffett, Pennsylvania '48
2000: Richard Ross, Iowa State '54
1999: Ronald Dollens, Purdue '65
1998: Horace Kornegay, Wake Forest '42
1997: Fitz Dixon, Widener '73
1996: Robert Wells, Ohio Wesleyan '57
1995: John Kasich, Ohio State '73
1994: John Trutter, Illinois '39
1993: C. Everett Koop, Dartmouth '34
1992: John Kauffman, Purdue '43
1991: John Zamparelli, Tufts '47
1990: Robert Sheehan, Westminster '76
1989: James Caldwell, Rensselaer '55
1988: Hon. Andrew Douglas, Toledo '51
1987: William Hutchinson, Washington '29


 ecipient List

 1985: Ross Swimmer, Oklahoma '62
 1984: John Savage, Toledo '51
 1983: Warren Hanna, Minnesota '18
 1982: Robert Sheen, Lehigh '30
 1981: William Norris, Nebraska '29
 1980: Bradford Corbett, Wagner '58
 1976: Ralph Burns, Ohio Wesleyan '32
 1975: Charles Schaeffer, Penn State '30
 1973: Robert Howsam, Colorado '38
 1972: Howard Reeder, Iowa '26
 1971: James Allen, Alabama '30
 1970: Elliot Ludvigsen, Minnesota '22
 1969: Joseph Lanterman, Illinois '34
 1968: Miles York, UC-Berkeley '19
 1967: Paul Cupp, Pennsylvania '21
 1965: Paul Herbert, Ohio State '09
 1964: Vincent Price, Yale '30
 1963: Charles Beeghly, Ohio Wesleyan '27
 1962: Owen Wangensteen, Minnesota '17
 1961: John Merrill, Wisconsin '15
 1960: Austin Cushman, UC-Berkeley '21
 1959: Dr. Winfred Overholser, Harvard '12
 1957: Paul Davies, UC-Berkeley '17
 1956: Ralph Follis, UC-Berkeley '19
 1955: Dr. Wilbur Cramblet, Yale '12
 1954: James Morrill, Ohio State '11
 1953: William Mullendore, Michigan '12
 1952: Arthur Flemming, Ohio Wesleyan '24
 1951: Robert Wilson, Jr., Harvard '12
 1950: Ralph Damon, Harvard '16

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