Robert "Biff" Quinn '81 considers his time at Fitchburg State among the formative experiences of his life, and his association with the Greek organization the Fenwicks was central to it.
"Many great friendships were forged during those years on campus," Quinn said when he accepted the Booster Award on behalf of the Fenwicks at the Alumni Awards this fall. "They have only grown stronger through the years. The time we had here is still some of the best part of our lives, and our time here set us up for future success. I feel lucky and blessed to be part of such an amazing group of men for the last 45 years."
During the fall of 1965, a group of young men met, became friends and eventually did something that changed the face of what was then known as Fitchburg State College. A common interest in sports led to that group of first-year college students, many of whom had delayed their entrance into college by a year, to forming a team to compete in intramural football. As the academic year progressed it became apparent that the Fenwicks were not philosophically aligned with the social clubs already on campus. At some point, it was decided that the Fenwicks, under the Greek letters Pi Sigma Upsilon, would seek administrative and Student Government Association approval and would become the latest social club on campus. The Student Government Association approved the fraternity at their final meeting on May 15, 1966.
The Fenwick Society was formed and had the following objectives in mind:
- To promote social unity among social clubs and the student body
- To create better relations between students and faculty, students and clubs, and clubs and administration.
- To better the public image of our school and social clubs
- To bring more social activities on campus
- To meet the needs of a growing student body.
- To increase the academic standing of the Society’s members.
- To promote healthy athletic competition.
The Fenwick Society numbered 262 brothers through the years with 28 pledge classes. The final pledge class came in 1993. Over the years, the Fenwick Society worked hard to always complete their objectives became known on campus for intramural sports excellence, providing social events for the brothers and their dates and many charitable endeavors. Fraternities have gone in and out of fashion on American campuses over the years and have not always evoked universal admiration. And while the Fenwick Society is first and foremost a social organization, it has always had a sense of service to the university and the campus community. Pi Sigma Upsilon, The Fenwick Society, went out of active existence in 1993 as the college wanted to phase out local Greek clubs, but remains strong to this day through a strong alumni network.
In 2010, the Fenwicks reunited as a full group at Slattery’s for the fist time in many years. The group stayed connected now and decided that their goal should be something that provides greater good to the school and the students who attend Fitchburg State. They took this as an opportunity to bring back and continue that great Fenwick name in the future. They worked with the school to create a Fenwick Scholarship on campus to be given out to future generations of students. This scholarship will let the students of the university know that the Fenwick Society was a group who loved Fitchburg State and worked to promote social unity, instill pride and dignity on the part of the students towards the school and to better the public image of the school and social clubs. This was an opportunity to help meet the needs of the growing student body and keep their original objectives ongoing forever.
Over the course of the next several years the members of the Fenwick Society donated regularly and by July 1, 2015 the Fenwick Fund was fully endowed to the $25,000 minimum necessary to fund a scholarship. In April 2016 the first Fenwick scholarship was awarded for $750. The Fenwicks did not stop there. They kept gathering, reigniting friendships, reminiscing of the carefree days of college and giving back to the place that created this very strong lifelong bond. Currently there are 3 $1,500.00 scholarships given out each year and their goal is to increase the fund to give more. The structure of the scholarship fund is set up to help deserving students at Fitchburg State for many years to come.