Former Grand Eta George MacDonald Enters Chapter Eternal

Brothers & Friends,

It saddens us to announce the passing of former Grand Eta and truly great Chi Phi, George MacDonald, Kappa Delta 1971, Iota Zeta 1989, Eta Theta 2011.

Brother MacDonald entered Chapter Eternal peacefully in hospice care this morning after a long and valiant battle with cancer. Known for his passion for Chi Phi and unparalleled drive to see our Brothers succeed, he will perhaps be remembered best as “The Grand Reveler.”

For two decades, Brother MacDonald dedicated himself to our Brotherhood in the capacity of Grand Eta and as Legal Counsel to the Chi Phi Educational Trust. Most recently, he continued his Grand Council career as a Member-at-Large. At various times, he also served as Alumni Advisor to the Kappa Delta Chapter at University of Rochester, the Iota Zeta Chapter at George Mason University, and the Eta Theta Chapter at University of Maryland; Vice-President, Treasurer, and Secretary of the National Capital Chi Phi Club; and Governor, Trustee, and Treasurer of the Chi Phi Educational Trust. Brother MacDonald is also the namesake of Chi Phi’s Risk Manager of the Year Award, given to an outstanding Chapter Eta at Congress.

He was always eager to lend an ear and advice to any Brother in need, no matter who or when. His drive to work alongside our undergraduate Brothers to promote their health and safety was always at the forefront of his mind. Our Fraternity’s longevity owes itself in no small part to his efforts.

The true embodiment of a Gentleman and a Chi Phi, Brother MacDonald will be missed by all.

Brother MacDonald’s family has asked that anyone wishing to honor him should make a gift to the Chi Phi Educational Trust in his name. You can donate online at chiphi.org/donate or by mail to:

Chi Phi Educational Trust
1160 Satellite Blvd. NW
Suwanee, GA 30024




  • 9 Comments

    • Adam Calihman says:

      Rest in peace Mac. His kindness, humor, wisdom will be missed. His spirit will live on in hearts of the brothers at Kappa Delta chapter and Chi Phi as a whole. He left a lasting and positive impact on so many.

    • JAL says:

      George was a legend and will be missed. He was instrumental in the success of the Kappa Delta chapter and all of Chi Phi. Most of all, he was friend to everyone—with a big warm smile.

    • Thad Mauldin says:

      One of my absolute favorites. A tremendous adviser and supporter of Tau Chapter during some really tough times. He will truly be missed.

    • Scott says:

      Sorry to hear of this great Chi Phi go into Chapter Eternal….He Helped us Iota Zeta’s out far beyond what I can say.

    • Ron Frank says:

      Brother George MacDonald entered Chapter Eternal early this morning…I first met George in the fall of 1983. I had just graduated college and moved to the Washington, DC area. George was running the Chi Phi Capital Club when I attended one of their social events. His love for the Scarlet & Blue was infectious and we hit it off right from the start! We worked together to colonize and charter Iota Zeta at George Mason University in northern Virginia. I was a facilitator with him for several College of Excellence leadership events. He served on both my Grand Councils as the Grand Eta. We attended so many Congresses together I’ve lost count. Bottom line, he was always there by my side, through all the good times and the bad ones. He was the rock who anchored our beloved Fraternity, and always treated our brothers with respect, a smile, and a cold drink or two, George earned the title of our “Grand Reveler” several years ago and he cherished the honor. He could always be found leading the way to the local watering holes after a busy day of fraternal meetings. Always reminding us that we are the oldest national SOCIAL fraternity! Going to future Fraternity events will not be the same. I miss him already. He is now at peace and is watching over the Chi Phi Fraternity from our Chapter Eternal. For those of us who had the honor and privilege of knowing this genuine, kind human being and brother, be assured that our Fraternity is in a much better place today because of the positive impacts he has made. For the good of the Order, in Scarlet & Blue

    • Geoff Jacobs says:

      I’ve known George since he first pledged Chi Phi at Kappa Delta (U of Rochester) in 1967, a year behind me. We were a relatively small chapter and one of several fraternities that resided in a university dormitory, rather than a dedicated house. In the early 1970’s the Kappa Delta chapter folded – like many fraternity chapters around the country during that time – much to the dismay of many alumni, including myself. It was a big loss, as my view of Chi Phi and our Kappa Delta chapter was that of a lifelong connection, not just a 4-yr one. Many years later, George was instrumental in helping re-establish the Kappa Delta chapter at Rochester and, later on, even helped guide the chapter in securing a dedicated house near campus. His subsequent roles in helping establish new chapters and in serving as an exemplary Grand Eta for the National during increasingly challenging “scrutiny” times for fraternities speak for themselves. Over the years, George stayed in good touch with many Kappa Delta brothers, including myself. He was great fun and of those “bigger than life” individuals who made a huge, positive impact on so many people over the years. I was fortunate to have him as a Chi Phi brother and as a good friend; Chi Phi was fortunate to have him as Grand Eta – a great representative of the best qualities of Chi Phi. Will miss you, George!

    • Eddie Anguisno says:

      A great brother. Had the honor to meet with him at Congress twice. A great brother and great leadership.

    • Neil W. MacDonald says:

      Thank you for your many kind comments about my brother George. Chi Phi was a huge part of his life, and provided him with a very positive focus during difficult and lonely times.

    • Steven Hopkins says:

      With the passing of George MacDonald on September 10, 2019, the Chi Phi Fraternity lost a brother of indescribable character and warmth.

      During his two decades of service as Grand Eta and Educational Trust trustee, our Fraternity always had a man of fierce intelligence to guide us through the often choppy waters of modern fraternal existence. From his ideas regarding insurance, to his forward thinking approach to risk management, George benefited his brothers in ways that most will never fully appreciate.

      Few (if any) other Greek organizations were ever as fortunate as we Chi Phi’s were to have a man so knowledgeable and passionate serve as chief legal counsel. In his unprecedented sixteen years’ of service as Grand Eta, George set into motion policies and practices that still guide our Fraternity to this day. Generations of brothers, many of whom are not yet born, will benefit from his decisions. As Chi Phi prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary, few brothers have done more than George to ensure that we reach that historic milestone.

      Chi Phi will be the first fraternity to celebrate a 200th anniversary. And an organization does not survive for 200 years without phenomenal leaders like George.

      But most importantly, George was the living embodiment of our Fraternity’s unwritten motto. Whether you’d known him for forty years, or had just met him for the first time, you were sure to be greeted with his sly, infectious smile, and a hearty handshake.

      I had this experience myself almost 20 years ago when I, as a recent graduate, first met George. Though he was Grand Eta, and I was an unregistered alumni Congressional delegate, George welcomed me into his orbit with that famous smile (one that is etched into my memory and still brings a smile to my face when I think about it).

      Within minutes, I was no longer a stranger, but a friend in the making. I’m positive that hundreds (if not thousands) of other Chi Phi brothers could tell a similar story.

      I speak for many when I say that seeing George was the highlight of our national gatherings. Without ever trying, he was always the center of attention, both during our formal gatherings, and during whatever afterhours shenanigans we cooked up. People want to be around good people. And everyone wanted to be around George.

      George was also a phenomenal mentor to brothers far too numerous to count. I am blessed to count myself as one of those brothers. I would not have served as Grand Eta without George’s encouragement and support. Though he was far too modest to say it, he knew the brother who followed him into the Grand Eta position had an unenviable task of trying to fill his large, un-fillable shoes. But George was self-effacing as always, and insisted that it “wasn’t that hard.” In retrospect, it probably wasn’t “that hard” for George (though I would sometimes beg to differ with his assessment).

      To this day – and for every remaining day where I am fortunate enough to serve as Grand Eta – my first thought whenever confronted with a thorny legal issue is “what would George do?” And if I can figure out the answer to that question, I’ll be on solid ground.

      But most of all, George was my friend. And I will miss him deeply. No doubt all of the brothers whose lives he touched feel the same way.

      At the end of the day, our Fraternity is about people. And George was one of the best people I ever met.

      We will never see the likes of him again. Godspeed George.

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