EAST LANSING (WWJ) — The brothers of Triangle Fraternity at Michigan State University had a secret plan. They thought 17 years of advising by Bernadette Friedrich, the College of Engineering’s director of student engagement, deserved much more than just a thank you, so they helped create a new national award to honor her.

Friedrich is the first recipient of the national Triangle Fraternity Outstanding Advisor Award. The tribute is a hand-blown glass sculpture depicting a person lifting up and coming together at the apex, which is the Triangle Delta T. The glass is infused with shades of blue to represent a calming force.

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It was presented Nov. 9 after months of planning by members of the MSU fraternity, who helped craft its qualifications and ushered it through the fraternity’s national council.

“Bernadette Friedrich’s dedication to our organization has been unyielding in my 3 ½ years with Triangle Fraternity,” said Kevin Waldmann, a senior from Farmington Hills, majoring in media and information. “She has made herself available for personal, professional and academic advancement for our entire organizations membership. Combined with her personal assistance, she is a necessity for the continued operation of our chapter.”

Friedrich said getting the inaugural advising award is humbling.

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“It’s really fun to be part of something with a social component that helps them succeed professionally,” she said. “My work with Triangle Fraternity connects me better to all those studying engineering because it provides a greater picture of working with today’s students.”

Triangle Fraternity has had a chapter at MSU since 1955. Today’s chapter has 45 active members, all of whom are studying the technical fields of engineering, science and architecture.

The fraternity, originally founded in 1907 at the University of Illinois, has 23,000 members in 45 chapters nationwide. Triangle is the only national fraternity that selects members based on academic concentration. It promotes balance between academic, social, and philanthropic excellence.

The award presentation on Nov. 9 was at a regional leadership conference shared by Triangle Fraternity and Phi Sigma Rho, a social sorority for women studying engineering and engineering technologies. Phi Sigma Pho National Council President Allison Lenhoff applauded Friedrich’s dedication during the surprise ceremony.

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“Dr. Friedrich has, on multiple occasions, provided the chapter with service opportunities in the fields of business and engineering through networking events at Engineering Expo, Career Fairs, and Night with Industry banquets,” Lenhoff said. “This past academic year, Bernadette was instrumental in helping our Triangle chapter recruit the founding members of a new Phi Sigma Rho colony at Michigan State. Bernadette goes above and beyond the role of a faculty advisor. She guides, she loves, she pokes fun…she is one of us.”