Wagner honored by Phi Delta Theta Lyle A. Wagner of Vermillion has been named the 2002 recipient of the Raymond L. Gardner Award by the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, headquartered in Oxford, OH.
This "Alumnus of the Year" award is presented annually to the most outstanding member of the fraternity and it is based upon service to the fraternity, community, and higher education.
The award is to be presented on Saturday, Oct. 12, during a special afternoon event hosted at the undergraduate chapter house by The University of South Dakota Alumni Association of Phi Delta Theta.
Charles W. Poore, South Dakota '61, who served as a president of the Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity, 1998-2000, will present the award. Conrad Thiede will represent the Phi Delta Theta International Headquarters during the presentation.
Wagner is a Vermillion Native and a 1954 graduate of The University of South Dakota. After graduation, Wagner served a two-year tour in Germany for the U.S. Army, returning home as a 1st Lieutenant. Wagner is a lifelong farmer, rancher, and landowner.
His wife, June Woodward Wagner, is a native of Brentford, a member of Kappa Alpha Theta and a 1957 graduate of The University of South Dakota. The couple has a son, Scott, who graduated from Iowa State in 1981 and is also a member of Phi Delta Theta.
A successful agri-businessman, Wagner was recognized by the Top Farmers of America Association in 1969 with the organization's Award of Honor. In 1987, Wagner was presented with the Distinguished Service Award from The University of South Dakota School of Business.
A board member of the University of South Dakota Foundation since 1978, Wagner served as board president from 1984-1986. Wagner has endowed a number of scholarships through the USD Foundation, including ones that benefit several sports programs, the School of Business and the local chapter of the fraternity.
During the 2000 Dakota Days celebration, the Lyle A. & June Woodward Wagner Center was dedicated. The expanded and renovated Wagner Center houses the USD Alumni Association and the USD Foundation. The Wagners are members of the Lewis Akeley Society, which honors the most generous and sustained supporters of The University of South Dakota.
A 37-year member of the Shriners (Abu Becker) and a 27-year member of the Lions Club, he has served both organizations as president. Wagner has also held the major leadership roles for the Sioux Valley Hospital, the Clay Union Health Foundation and the Trinity Lutheran Church.
Phi Delta Theta was founded in 1848 on the campus of MIami University in Oxford, OH. The undergraduate chapter at The University of South Dakota was installed in 1906. Phi Delta Theta has 170 undergraduate chapters, 100 alumni clubs, and 160,000 living alumni.