Past Foundation Presidents
Harry Steiner, Delta (Columbia University) 1918, followed his brother, Leo Steiner, Delta (Columbia University) 1916 in ZBT. “Service” was Harry’s theme in life. On graduation, he deferred law school to enlist in the Army. When the United States entered WWII, being too old for the Army, Brother Steiner joined the War Production Board in Washington, helping coordinate the conversion of civilian manufacturers to making military equipment (i.e. automobiles to tanks). Harry served on Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity’s Supreme Council for several years and was President of Zeta Beta Tau in 1926. Brother Steiner and the other members of the Supreme Council recognized the benefits that could be achieved if funds were available to provide financial support to both chapters and individual brothers when circumstances warranted, giving birth to the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation in 1950. Known by his ZBT brothers as a natural leader and ceaseless worker on behalf of the Fraternity, Brother Steiner was the obvious choice to father the new Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. As an attorney, based in Newark, NJ, Harry’s formula was to provide legal assistance to any person or organization that needed it, regardless of ability to pay, occasionally accepting barter or other services instead of cash. Harry was continuously active in community affairs, serving as attorney for the Orange Planning Board and other civic groups, heading up the new AJC chapter in Essex County NJ, and performing legal services for community, Jewish, interfaith and charitable organizations, and occasionally giving classes on the law to the Orange NJ police and other organizations. Harry’s son, James (Jim) Steiner, Delta (Columbia University) 1953 was also initiated into ZBT.
Harold E. Grotta, Esq., Chi (University of Virginia) 1931, a past Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity International President, followed Harry Steiner as President of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation. His years of service witnessed rapid growth in the Foundation’s ability to fulfill its scholarships mission. He served for many years as the senior partner of the distinguished New Jersey law firm that bears his name.
Stanley I. Fishel, Delta (Columbia University) 1934 served as Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity’s International President in the mid to late 1950’s, a time when states were greatly expanding their university systems to accommodate, among other things, veterans using their G.I. Bill’s educational benefits. It was therefore a time of great ZBT chapter growth. Brother Fishel was partners with his brother, James W. Fishel, Alpha Epsilon (Washington and Lee) 1939 in the NYC advertising firm of Fairfax, Inc. They specialized in real estate display advertising.
Jack London, Alpha (City College of New York) 1938 served as Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity’s International President in the early 1960s, as the country was beginning to question the relevance of college fraternities. The re-examination of traditional organizations took place when Americans were becoming engaged in the Civil Rights movement, the initial stages of the Viet Nam War and the emergence of a new generation of national leadership. Brother London’s steady hand during a shaky time produced among other things, The ZBT Credo and the notion that ZBT remains relevant and important because it’s a Powerhouse of Excellence. The phrase, first heard in Brother London’s inaugural address to his electing convention, became both a statement and a call to action among ZBT’s chapters. Later Brother London served as President of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation, building on the success of his predecessors. Brother London lead the NYC law firm of London and Becker, specializing in entertainment law and representing many well-known persons in the arts and show business.
Richard S. Simon, Phi (University of Michigan) 1943 is a past Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity International President, a past North-American Interfraternity Conference President and one of four ZBT recipients of the Conference’s coveted Gold Medal. Following his tenure as Foundation President and the passing of Professor Emanuel Saxe, the long-time chairman of the Foundation’s Scholarship Selections Committee, Simon took over the job, streamlined the process and chaired the committee for several years. He also co-chaired the Fraternity's Special Awards Committee for more than 20 years. Brother Simon had a 58-yearcareer in manufacturing in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Brother Simon’s son, Kenneth L. Simon, Beta Phi (University of Pittsburgh) 1975 also served as International President of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity. Two of Brother Simon’s four grandchildren are brothers of ZBT, Chad D. Simon Gamma Lambda (University of Hartford) 2003 and Wesley C. Dunlap, Zeta Alpha (Florida State University) 2014.
Saul A. Fern, Pi (Boston University) 1954, is a past Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity International President and served during the early rebuilding years of the mid-1970s. Fern was the second International President initially a brother of one of Zeta Beta Tau’s antecedent fraternities. He was initiated a Phi Alpha then became a Phi Sigma Delta on the mergers of those two brotherhoods and then a ZBT upon its merger with Phi Sigma Delta. In addition to his continual strong presence in Fraternity events, Fern served as the principal chapter advisor to Rho Iota Chapter at the University of Road Island for decades. Professionally Brother Fern enjoyed a 40-year career in Rhode Island where he and partners owned an advertising, public relations and marketing agency from which he retired in 1994. He then became a sales and marketing director at AAA/SNE for 6 years. Saul’s biological brother, Sanford Fern, Pi Chapter of Phi Alpha Fraternity (Boston University) 1948 is also a brother of ZBT. Saul has three children and eight grandchildren. Brother Fern and his life partner, Phyllis Barmak (his college sweetheart) live in Cranford, NJ.
Bernard S. Kaplan, Esq., Mu (University of Chicago) 1947, a past Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity International President, originally initiated into Phi Sigma Delta continued ZBT’s steady return to normalcy from merger turbulence and the anti-war dislocations. In his term, however, the Fraternity was drawn into the sometimes new and other times renewed challenges of substance abuse and hazing. Risk management programming and mandatory chapter liability insurance coverage became critical for the Fraternity’s good and welfare. His Fraternity and later his Zeta Beta Tau Foundation presidencies were marked by his unfailing belief in the fundamentals of Brotherhood and its power to provide lasting value for its brothers and to the wider community. Brother Kaplan was senior partner in the Chicago Law firm of Komie and Kaplan. Brother Kaplan’s family has several ZBT brothers spanning a few generations including son-in-law, Neil M. Yaris, Alpha Xi (Washington University – St. Louis) 1985 and grandsons, Jeffrey M. Kaplan, Beta Gamma (Indiana University Bloomington) 2009 and Robert I. Gottlieb, Alpha Xi (Washington University – St. Louis) 2014
Harold R. Oseff, Eta (University of Michigan) 1968 is a Michigan licensed attorney who has been practicing with private law practices for the past 47 years, specializing in estate and charitable planning, probate, tax law and employee benefits. Harold is married to Patricia Gordon, and they are the parents of Garon, Beta Gamma (Indiana) 2001. Garon currently resides in Las Vegas, NV, and Garon and his wife, Erica Rubin, are the parents of Carson and Charlotte, Harold and Patricia’s grandchildren.
Irving M. Chase, Alpha Rho (UCLA), 1974, is a California licensed attorney who manages a private real estate company that owns and manages properties throughout the United States. Irv is married to Nancy, his college sweetheart, who he met at a ZBT event. They are the parents of Ryan, Alpha Delta (Southern California) 2005, and Catie. Ryan is Irv’s business partner and Catie is a high school athletic director and soccer coach. Ryan and Brooke, his wife, are the parents of Sadie and Benjamin, Irv and Nancy’s grandchildren.
Barry M. Aarons, Gamma Tau (Arizona State University) 1971 is the owner of the Aarons Company LLC, a public policy consulting firm specializing in legislative representation, coalition building, business management, seminar and strategic planning facilitation and grassroots advocacy. Brother Aarons has fifty years’ experience in policy development, public affairs implementation and lobbying in the Arizona Legislature, other state legislatures, and the US Congress. Brother Aarons received the Arizona Capitol Times Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and is a previous recipient of ZBT's Edwin N. Sommer and Stephen P. Ehrlich awards. Barry and his wife, Jody, live in Phoenix, Arizona. They have four children and five grandchildren.
James B. Drotman, Zeta Lambda (Stephen F. Austin State University) is Ford Motor Credit Company executive vice president responsible for the company’s operations in the United States, Canada and International Markets. Previously, Drotman was executive director, Sales and Marketing, Ford Credit Europe and, before that, managing director, Ford Credit Britain. His other key Ford Credit leadership positions include vice president of Marketing in North America and president of Ford Credit China. Drotman joined Ford Credit in 1993 as a customer service representative. He has served in numerous operational, central staff and sales positions of increasing responsibility in Asia, Europe and North America. Jim and his wife, Shannon, live in metro Detroit with their two children Blythe and Benjamin.
Bruce H. Weinstein, Psi (University of Alabama) 1970, is a principal of Your Wealth Partners, a division of AXA/Equitable Financial Services. He specializes in Estate, Retirement, Charitable, and Insurance Planning. He is consistently in the top tier of AXA's representatives and frequently speaks at National Industry meetings. He is on the board of and past officer of numerous civic organizations, including the Atlanta Jewish Federation, Atlanta, Jewish Community Center, Hillels of Georgia, and JF&CS; he has been honored by many of these organizations for his volunteer work as being their "Man of the Year." He was also awarded the National Honor Associate of AXA/Equitable Financial Services. The award is given annually to one person out of 10,000 associates.
His latest honor was being named one of the 10 inductees into ZBT's Psi Chapter Hall of Fame at their Centennial Celebration in March 2016. Bruce is married to Germaine. They have 3 children (who are all attorneys); Harris (Rachel), Brooke (Matt), Michael (Gail). They currently have six grandchildren, Georgia, Max, Savannah, Levi, Blake, and Grace.
Jerry Katz, Alpha Rho (University of California Los Angeles) 1976 began his career in 1977 with a local CPA firm. After 3 ½ years, at the age of 25, he was promoted to a Partner in the firm. He left in 1983 to start his own accounting practice, Katz Accountancy Corporation. Katz Accountancy specializes in providing accounting services primarily to the health care and the entertainment industries.
Jerry obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from UCLA in 1976. After attending UCLA, he went on to receive his Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Loyola Marymount University in 1980.
Despite not holding an office as an undergraduate brother, Jerry joined the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation Board in 2011. In 2015, Jerry became the Foundation Treasurer; President in October 2017. Additionally, in 2013, Jerry became a Trustee and Advisor to the Alpha Rho Chapter (UCLA). His philosophy is one in which he firmly believes that one is obligated to give back to an institution or organization (such as ZBT) where you have derived substantial benefit. Jerry’s wife, Linda, also believes in the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation Mission. So much so, that in 2015, Linda was awarded the Inaugural Nancy Simon Award for outstanding support of Zeta Beta Tau by a spouse/partner.
It is Jerry’s belief that the friendships that have come from being involved in the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation, are in many ways similar to the brothers that Jerry was initiated with. He firmly believes that it is an honor to be elected President of the Zeta Beta Tau Foundation.
Currently, Jerry serves as President of Katz Accountancy Corporation. His philanthropic efforts include serving on the LMU Board of Regents, LMU Business Advisory Counsel, Director of Zeta Beta Tau Foundation, Trustee and Advisor of Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity’s Alpha Rho Chapter (UCLA), and President of Harbor House, a non-profit serving the homeless community in Ventura County, California.
In his spare time, Jerry enjoys travel, as well as racquetball, UCLA football, wine collecting, and fine arts. Jerry and Linda will be married 34 years this November. They have one son, Jeff, who is a residential realtor in San Diego, California.