Jim Fleischer (Kent State, 1993) Chief Executive Officer
I can still remember the exact moment I walked into the AEPi house at Kent State and told the brothers that I was ready to join the Phi Deuteron chapter. It feels like yesterday. I was a freshman and had just experienced, for one of the first times of my life, real anti-Semitism.
I walked right over to AEPi. It felt like home.
It still does.
Since I left Kent, I’ve been a chapter consultant (we call them educational leadership consultants now), a chapter advisor, a regional governor, a member of the Supreme Board of Governors and the fraternity’s Chief Operating Officer.
Today, I became the CEO of our fraternity. It’s an honor to be entrusted with helping to lead this organization that has meant so much to me.
Before I go any further, I would like to recognize my predecessor, mentor, friend and brother – Andy Borans.
I am proud to say that Andy has done more for the growth of AEPi than any other brother in the history of our fraternity. During his tenure as Executive Director, we’ve grown to new – unimaginable – heights. We’ve expanded to Israel, Europe and Australia. We initiate more young men into AEPi each year than we ever have. We’re financially stable and a model for our interfraternal peers. Our standing in the world as a Jewish organization of consequence has never been stronger. All of this success is a direct result of the unceasing hard work of Andy Borans.
As great a fraternity leader as Andy is, he’s a better friend. I can never repay him for the support and love he has shown to my family and me. If you are lucky enough to have Andy as a friend, you know how fiercely loyal and giving he is. During Andy’s 39 years working for AEPi, he has impacted thousands of brothers to become better fraternity men, better Jewish citizens and better people. I count myself as one of those impacted in this way by Andy and I know that I can never thank him enough.
As you likely know, Andy will be moving over to work for the AEPi Foundation. There is no doubt that Andy will lead that organization – which helps to support our brothers – through a similar transformation to the one our fraternity has undergone. I am beyond excited to see the successes he has in this new role.
I owe it to Andy and all of our brothers to continue our current trajectory and I’m prepared to do just that. This is an especially difficult time for both fraternities and Jews on college campuses. Rising anti-Semitism, anti-Israel rhetoric and the BDS movement is making our mission of developing the future leaders of the Global Jewish community even more important. We cannot – and we will not – change our course of providing young Jewish men with the leadership development tools and training they need to help lead our communities during this time.
The climate on campus for fraternities in general is also challenging. We need to continue to do a better job to educate chapters about proper behavior and appropriately deal with those chapters who are unwilling to behave properly. But, at the same time, we are going to support our chapters and undergraduate brothers against the rising trend of scapegoating Greek life for all of the ills of campus student life and we are going to hold educational institutions accountable to follow their own judicial processes. I will not back down on these promises.
I’m looking forward to the challenges and responsibilities of being the Chief Executive Officer of Alpha Epsilon Pi. Working with our undergraduate and alumni brothers, I know that we can continue to fulfill our mission on college campuses. Thank you to the Supreme Board of Governors and all of our brothers for the faith you have placed in me. I will not let you down.