CHAPTER ETERNAL PA S T N AT I O N A L P R E S I D E N T J AY M C C A N N E N T E R S C H A P T E R E T E R N A L
n May 13, 2012, Foundation Trustee and Past National President Jay McCann, Spring Hill ’74, entered Chapter Eternal. He was 56 years old. The quintessential Phi Tau, McCann was devoted to his Fraternity. He served the organization in almost every capacity: National President, Foundation trustee, national councilor, Domain Director, chapter volunteer and committee member. As many of his Phi Tau brothers attested, McCann wasn’t looking for notoriety, he simply wanted to move his beloved Fraternity forward. “Jay was never one to just serve, he led by example,” said Past National President Greg Heilmeier, Bethany ’86. “He won the Stennis Award as a Domain Director and the Key Award for outstanding contributions to a chapter other than his own. He was very active while in various roles on the National Council and was a generous contributor to our Foundation, both monetarily and through being an active trustee.” Perhaps what he loved most about Phi Kappa Tau was his “second chapter,” a term he used to describe the bond all members can have with brothers from chapters other than their own—essentially a second chapter at the national level. “His major focus was always on getting more alumni involved in the Fraternity, and he loved to travel and meet members—for whom he had an incredible memory for faces and names,” said Past National President Charlie Ball, Miami ’82. “His happiest moments as president were those on the road at charterings, Conventions, Regional Conferences and the like.” In addition to getting alumni re-engaged, he brought non-members into the fold. At the 2002 National Convention in New Orleans, McCann led his father’s honorary initiation ceremony. “It was one of his happiest moments as National President,” Ball said. “He was thrilled to have his parents and so many close friends at the final banquet of the Convention in one of his favorite cities.” On a professional level, McCann’s résumé was equally impressive. He worked as a financial services provider for MassMutual Financial Group. In addition, McCann was involved with various charitable and community organizations, including the Pittsburgh Area Jesuit Alumni Club, Massachusetts Mutual Agents Association and Spring Hill College Alumni Association. “Personally, he was the reason my wife and I moved to Pittsburgh and I got into the financial advising field with MassMutual,” said Adam Goetz, Clemson ’95. “I was always impressed that Jay did things his own way and liked working with ‘regular people,’ never wanting to get into fancy options. He got to know his clients like
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nobody else and always had his home phone number on his card as he knew how important the work we did was.” One of McCann’s most notable personal hobbies was following the Pittsburgh Pirates, and his friends agree that it’s one of the first things they associate with him … although the list is long. “His passion really knew no bounds,” said National Vice President Rick Keltner, Sacramento State ’76. “He was passionate about baseball in general and the Pittsburgh Pirates in particular. In his home office, Jay kept a collection of baseball bats autographed by many Pirate greats. They were, I think, the only trophies that he didn’t keep stored in a filing cabinet somewhere.” But above all else, people, and the relationships he nurtured, were most important. “For Jay, life was all about relationships—relationships to other people and to important institutions and organizations,” Ball said. “And I think that is why he was so committed to Phi Kappa Tau—it is an organization that is fundamentally about forming and nurturing personal relationships. Jay was the walking, talking embodiment of brotherhood. Though he will be deeply missed, he will live on to the degree that others of us model what we learned from him.” At Phi Kappa Tau’s 60th National Convention in Nashville, Tenn., McCann was posthumously awarded the Palm Award for outstanding service to the national organization. His mother, Emily McCann, accepted the award on his behalf.
LEARNING. LEADING. SERVING.
Published on Dec 18, 2012