Andrew Blokdyk has now followed his father's path to three major Alpha Upsilon benchmarks
Lightning strikes not twice, but three times for the Blokdyks.
In 1990, Steven Blokdyk was initiated and then elected Consul at Alpha Upsilon. In 2022, his son Andrew was initiated and then elected Consul at Alpha Upsilon.
Now, a third heart-warming father and son achievement: In 1990, Steven was awarded Alpha Upsilon’s coveted Exemplar pin for his Sigma Chi achievements. And in April 2022, Andrew was awarded the Exemplar pin as well.
Three benchmarks achieved by both father and son.
The next day, Steven expressed just how special it is. “Thank you all for inviting me to pin the Exemplar medal on Andrew last night. That was a memory I will never forget.”
"I can remember the first time asking my dad what that medal was framed in his office when I was younger," said Andrew. "and I remember him telling about the exemplar medal and everything it stood for."
This year marks the turn of the century for the Exemplar award at Alpha Upsilon, first begun in 1921 by Harry Lee Martin. In his founding documents, Martin calls for a secret vote of the chapter each spring to honor the one man among the undergraduates in good standing who best exemplifies The Spirit of Sigma Chi, The Seven Virtues and three fundamental characteristics: “Ambition, Perseverance and Reverence.”
The Exemplar was presented to Andrew by his father in a ritualized meeting of the Alpha Upsilon Alumni Advisory Board. It was an “unbelievable setting and a great time with our brothers,” said John Cervenka (AU 1982).
Andrew Blokdyk (2022), left, has followed the path of his father Steven (1990) to three significant Alpha Upsilon benchmarks; Initiation, elected Consul and now recipient of the Exemplar Award.
“It was amazing to be able to share this moment with Andrew,” said his dad, “as his days as an active and Consul are nearing an end. I remember the day I received my Exemplar award 32 years ago. I didn't realize the significance of the award until the meaning and history of the award were spoken at the dinner filled with prominent alumni.”
"My experience of being an Alpha Upsilon Sigma Chi has definitely been my own," said Andrew, "but to know that my path has been so similar to my dad’s tells me I did it the right way because that’s the kind of man he is and what I strive to be."
“As a father,” said Steven, “seeing your son be awarded a medal for his character is one of the proudest moments I could ask for.”
Andrew's Exemplar pin.
An Exemplary father & son
The emotional moment came last year during initiation when Steven Blokdyk (AU ‘90) pinned the White Cross on the chest of his son Andrew. So proud was Steven that he brought some of his Sig brothers with him. Eyes everywhere welled with tears.
It was especially gratifying for Steven because, in 1990, more than 30 years ago, he was Consul at Alpha Upsilon. And here he was initiating his son.
Little did Steven know that one short year after he pinned a pin on Andrew that his son would, just like him, be elected the new Consul at Alpha Upsilon for 2021-2022.
“I treasure my dad so much and look up to him,” said Andrew. “It’s really great to follow in his footsteps.”
“That means a lot to me,” Steven says. “I think it’s every Sigma Chi’s dream to have a son and hope he might become a Sig one day. For that to happen and to also be elected Consul at the same chapter I was Consul, makes me so unbelievably proud and quite frankly a little emotional.”
Undergraduate brothers at AU voted to make Andrew their new Consul during chapter the last week of April. He takes over from Cooper Allen who has done a remarkable job steering the ship during an existential pandemic storm that blunted nearly every fraternity activity and struck at the spirit of the undergrads. We should all give deep gratitude to Coop’s leadership. It may not have been the kind of year he envisioned as Consul. But we’re glad to have had him during such a historically challenging time.
“After this long year of Covid,” Andrew says about his brothers, “I just want to make sure the rest of their time at college and in the house is up to their expectations.” Almost all traditional events were cancelled.
“It was pretty tough for a while,” he says. ““I’m just really excited for this position. Especially with opening school next semester.” In fact, Andrew believes it’ll be one of the most rewarding years to be a Consul because Covid is coming to an end and there’ll be a feeling of rejuvenation.
Andrew, a junior, is from Huntington Beach. He’s an EMT when not at school, is majoring in business and intends to be a fireman after graduating.
His other priority for his term as Consul is communicating with alumni.
His father is a Senior Director with Salient, an investment firm.
“I know some alums through my dad,” he says. “They’d love to come to the house.” So, Andrew intends to hold alumni events at the chapter house as soon as Covid is fully behind us.
Steven remembers wanting to make certain his son considered other fraternities and did not push Sigma Chi. He even told the Consul at the time to give Andrew no special treatment. “I let him know Andrew should not be chosen because he was a legacy, but because he possessed the qualities they were looking for. I also asked that he not share Andrew’s legacy status with the brothers, so that they would choose him based on his own merit. I let Andrew know that he needs to make sure any house he chooses was for the right reasons and it had to be a good fit for him. Thankfully the best house on the row chose one my son and my son chose them.”
In his first days as Consul, Andrew reflects back on his moment during initiation with his dad. “It was a pretty emotional experience for him as well.” And Andrew contemplates that, someday, perhaps his son could come to USC, be a Sig and make a third generation.
ABOVE: The Blokdyk family. From left, Brother Steven, 1990 AU Consul; Andrew, 2021 AU Consul.
AND: Good times at Alpha Upsilon.
STEVEN BLOKDYK: "Every Sig dad's dream."
NEW CONSUL: Andrew Blokdyk "treasures" his dad.
More than 30 years later, a Consul initiates his son. What happened next is "every Sig's dream"