Written by Rachel Stallard
Photographed by Randy Mallory
For 36 years, Dr. Paul Kubricht has promoted brotherhood at LeTourneau University as the advisor of the Alpha Omega Society. In the future, his name will be linked to scholarship of more than an academic meaning. AO men will find the burden of securing a Christian education a little lighter, thanks to an open endowment started by former AO member Steve Iffland and his wife Tess.
Kubricht’s service with AO began when he was “a brand-new professor” in Fall 1974 when the previous AO advisor, English professor Ralph Gilbert, asked him to think about helping him co-sponsor the society. They worked together for many years, and Kubricht took charge of the group after Gilbert died.
“A student named Merle Stoltzfus was the (society) president at the time. He and some of the other guys came to my office to visit with me and see if I was the ‘right kind of material for AO,’” Kubricht said. Stoltzfus would later become an LETU trustee.
Kubricht was approved and settled in to watch the society, as well as the student body, grow over the years. In the early ‘80s, when the Ifflands attended, AO even built what Kubricht still calls the “new” brick house on campus where the society brotherhood could live together.
In honor of the society’s 50th anniversary on campus this summer, the Dr. Paul Kubricht (Alpha Omega) Endowed Scholarship was announced at a time when many of the society brothers were on campus to celebrate the reunion.
“We are giving honor where honor is due,” Tess Iffland said. “Dr. Kubricht has been a wonderful mentor — a man with so much wisdom and heart. We’re very fortunate he was the sponsor of Alpha Omega for the past 30 years.”
Kubricht’s leadership was also a gift to the community at large. “The guidance we received here left such an imprint on us,” Iffland said. “We had some wonderful experiences here, and so when we got a chance to connect back to LeTourneau and help students who were financially strapped, more so than when we were here, we wanted to do it.”
Kubricht is starting to see sons of an earlier generation of AO alumni come through, including current AO president Logan Iffland. Kubricht calls each of them “a blessing to the house. They offer a continuity and perspective to the society.
"Part of that common denominator over the years is the desire to “come together as a brotherhood.”
AO has a chaplain in charge of weekly devotionals, a vice president who plans social events, an intramural director to organize teams and a member to coordinate community activities chosen each semester. The men’s annual dues are earmarked for missions, either for someone they know or to help one of their own go on a trip.
“To watch these freshmen boys mature into seniors who take on leadership roles has been very rewarding,” Kubricht said. “Sometimes I don’t think they even realize what is happening, and then I see God working through them in His omniscient way to help them develop and grow into men after His own heart.”
Tess acknowledges that she and her husband gave the Kubricht Scholarship “a good start,” but she is encouraged and hopeful that others can contribute and add to it over time.
“People our age are looking for ways to be connected to something bigger than themselves,” she said. “We hope this endowment gives current students and alumni an opportunity to give to something bigger that will last long after their time as students at LETU is done.”
While the intent is to help an AO student get through college, the after-effects reach even further.
“We wanted to honor the Alpha Omega society of brothers who have meant so much to us through the years,” Iffland said. “That society has been the glue that brought us back to LeTourneau and that’s what gave us the good feelings of unity we have had.”