I was absolutely caught off guard and astounded when I received an email from Latha Radhakrishnan, the International President and Grand Regent of Kappa Psi. She was notifying me that I was awarded the “A. Richard Bliss Citation of Appreciation”, Kappa Psi’s most prestigious award. My first thought was, why me! Other thoughts began to float into my mind…What have I done to deserve such an award? Could this be a mistake? Why after all these years would I be nominated for this prestigious award?
Let me explain how this came about. I received the message while on vacation with Barbara for the month of March in Naples, Florida. The award ceremony was to take place on March 25, 2017 at the APHA annual meeting in San Francisco, California. This created a problem for me because I had a prior commitment, on March 24th, which could not be cancelled. I thought…so much to do in so little time. First I had to respond to Latha and explain my dilemma. Next, attempt to work out a process whereby I could receive the award in absentia. I emailed a colleague, Dean Jack Reynolds, at Northeastern University’s College of Pharmacy. Jack can be relied on to do the impossible when it pertains to Northeastern University activities. Dean Reynolds informed me that he was going to be at the APHA convention and would be willing and honored to receive the award on my behalf. Together, Jack and I continued to communicate until we had what appeared to be a satisfactory plan to pass on to the Kappa Psi Fraternity for their review and acceptance. The plan was accepted. At the ceremonies, after accepting the award, Jack recited the following message on my behalf.
To My Brothers of Kappa Psi:
I am humbled and honored to be receiving this prestigious award. I offer my sincere appreciation to my Kappa Psi Brothers who have nominated me for this award. As a Kappa Psi Brother, my life has been an unforgettable experience. It starts with my Dad, who became a member of the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy’s, Mu Chapter, in 1928. Following my Dad’s footsteps, I was initiated into the Gamma Sigma Chapter, in 1953, while doing graduate work at the University of Florida. Upon graduation, I took a teaching position at New England College of Pharmacy. Although the New England College of Pharmacy at the time had two active pharmaceutical fraternities, Kappa Psi was not represented. Within a six-month period, I had completed an exhaustive process of interviewing and finally selecting thirteen students who would become the bedrock of a new Kappa Psi Chapter…the Gamma Lambda Chapter.
In October, 1958, the venerable, Frank Eby, installed the Gamma Lambda Chapter, at a memorable ceremony at the college. John DiNicola, Jr. was elected as its first Regent. We were absolutely elated that day. We had pledged to one another, that our newly established fraternity would represent the college in a most admirable way…and we did just that for several years! However, the fraternity came upon sadness, in 1975, when it had to be deactivated because of the merger between New England College of Pharmacy and Northeastern University. At that time, NU’s academic model was comprised of a trimester program combined with a cooperative work or internship responsibility. This created difficulties for the fraternity to schedule meetings and conduct fraternity business, which eventually necessitated the decision to deactivate the chapter. That was a very sad time for the Gamma Lambda Chapter.
In 2013, after 38 years, the Gamma Lambda Chapter was reactivated. I, and five Graduate Brothers had the honor of participating in the reactivation ceremonies of our beloved Chapter. Today, the Gamma Lambda Chapter is once again thriving at Northeastern University, College of Pharmacy.
Belonging to Kappa Psi has been a storybook episode in my life. I accept this award knowing and understanding, that fraternal brotherhood is not a whim. It is a revered and lasting love of fellow Brothers!
Thank you for this honor,
Brother Bob Crisafi
On April 21, 2017, the award was re-presented to me in person. The award presentation was made by Matthew Lacroix, Grand Historian of Kappa Psi. The occasion on that day was the annual Kappa Psi Luncheon, which I personally host at the Algonquin Club in Boston. The afternoon was fabulous for all of us. The keynote speaker was, Dr John Merianos. a former student whom I taught at NECP in 1959. Dr. Merianos stated in his speech that I was his mentor and influenced him to attend graduate school, at the University of Wisconsin, where he was granted his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Besides the collegiate Brothers, seven Graduate Brothers and their spouses attended this grand affair. Of course, my wife, Barbara, was also at the ceremony. Images on this page attest to the joy and happiness of the day!
Below is a photo of my Kappa Psi Brothers at the University of Florida. I recognize so many familiar faces after all these years. I instructed several of the senior students when I was serving as Dr. Husa’s laboratory assistant in the Dispensing Pharmacy laboratory. Kappa Psi was the most popular pharmacy fraternity at the College of Pharmacy. Four faculty professors, as shown in the photo, were members of Kappa Psi, namely, Dr. Harold Beal, Dr. Carl Johnson, Dr. Werner Lauter and Mr. Ray Dauphinais. I’m in the front row, fourth in from the right. My fraternity days at the University of Florida are so memorable, and looking at the faces in this photo brings back the great and lasting friendships of my days in graduate school at UF.