Alumnus Invests Time and Money in Inaugural Service Immersion Trips

Of all the lifelong advantages Phi Kappa Psi has to offer young men today, Charlie Maxwell (Iowa ’83) believes the fraternity is exceptionally equipped to provide leadership and service opportunities — the kinds he says employers today need and want in college graduates.

“I would advise our young members to seek out those experiences to balance a strong academic record,” Maxwell said. “They shaped my own, although, in my day, those efforts were limited to things like dance marathons.”

Today, brothers can choose from many more in-depth offerings, including Phi Kappa Psi’s upcoming Service Immersion Trips. Later this month, undergraduate Phi Psis will travel to Denver and to Minneapolis in May to participate in these life-changing experiences. They’ll be challenged to immerse themselves in a new culture and participate in a series of hands-on service projects with local nonprofits and Phi Psi alumni.

When Brother Maxwell learned that one of the trips was being held near his home in the Twin Cities, “I was thrilled to support it, both as a leading financial supporter and as an alumni attendee and mentor. I feel I can provide a form of leadership behind the concept and help give younger brothers a model experience that builds upon the servant leadership at the core of molding them.”

Maxwell is inspired to help the next generation of Phi Psi brothers live up to its motto of The Great Joy of Serving Others. “I have spent much of my adult life giving back to my community. If I can help instill this in our young men and am fortunate enough financially to be able to give back, then I feel as though we will plant more seeds in many communities where our young brothers live and serve.”

During the Service Immersion Trips, students will learn about the social, political and cultural factors that can affect a community. They’ll also learn about themselves as servant leaders, how they can become advocates for important causes, how to get others involved in important service initiatives, and why a lifetime of service is an important commitment of a Phi Kappa Psi brother.

Maxwell learned the importance of alumni giving shortly after he graduated from college. “Our chapter house burned down, and many of our alumni came together to fund the rebuilding.” He says his support for the Phi Psi Foundation today is in part to the inspiring work of Fred Hegele (Ohio State ‘63) and Jerry Nelson (UCLA ’48) and their devotion to developing leadership opportunities for Phi Psi members.

Brother Maxwell is the founder and CEO of Meristem Family Wealth, serving affluent clients from offices in Minnesota, Arizona and Florida since 1999. He serves as the Foundation Board Chairman for Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and has devoted service to many charitable organizations, mostly focusing on the health and educational needs of children in his community. He and his wife Tara have triplets who are 19-year-old freshmen at St. Olaf, Stanford and the University of Minnesota. 

Phi Kappa Psi’s Service Immersion Trips are a unique opportunity for a select group of Phi Psi undergraduates to participate in a week-long experience with a targeted cause in a community of need. Led by staff and volunteers, students learn about the social, political and cultural factors that can affect a community, while dedicating their time and energy towards to hands-on service projects to learn about the potential for community impact and change.