Alumna’s Dedication to Theta Helps Sorority Earn Two First-Place Awards

Lisa Gebken Thibault ’92 KAΘ of Indianapolis, IN, is proud to say she is the Content Manager of Kappa Alpha Theta’s comprehensive website. The Fraternity Communications Association awarded Theta two first-place awards in May during its annual conference in Columbus, OH. Read that story here.

Theta won “Best Inter/National Website” and “Excellence in Digital Integrated Marketing” for its Women Supporting Women campaign, competing with more than 800 award submissions and 54 member organizations. 

A native of St. Louis, MO, who majored in English with a minor in Classical Literature, Thibault has worked for Theta since 2007. She says the site is a labor of love and teamwork. “Our marketing and communications team worked very hard for two years, planning and building the new site,” Thibault says. “We are thrilled with the attention the site has received.” 

Read further to find out how a love of Kappa Alpha Theta at Westminster College turned into a career for Thibault, who finds sororities are a source of support and strength for women both inside and outside of college.  

What do you like most about your profession? The least? The best: I love being able to empower women … those just starting out in college and those who want to hold onto friendships made over decades. Our organization is volunteer-based, and I’ve had the pleasure (and the honor) to work with so many smart, professional women around the globe who share a common vision and values. The least: It’s sometimes difficult defending the Greek system to those who do not see it as a benefit to today’s college student and our larger society. Aside from the service and philanthropic efforts made by our collegians and alumnae, our members contribute to their local communities in their own ways, using skills learned and developed during their college years in their Theta chapters. It’s a joy — and an honor — to share these stories in our communications. 

What made you choose Westminster College? At first, I was attracted to Westminster because I was being recruited to play volleyball, but I soon realized what a wealth of opportunity Westminster had for students. I also loved the small-campus atmosphere.  

What other degrees have you earned? I graduated from Ball State University in Muncie, IN, in 1998 with a master’s in Journalism and Public Relations.  

What organizations outside of work are you involved in? Aside from school volunteering, I am a member of the Fraternity Communications Association and Lifetime Member of Girl Scouts of the USA, of which all three of my daughters participate.  

How did your Westminster education help you find your purpose? Aside from the essays, editing, and creative-writing experiences, all of which are extremely valuable throughout anyone’s life and in any career path, I was a tour guide at the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library (now America’s National Churchill Museum) for several years. This experience taught me not only how to speak in public but also to modify content for different audiences and to think quickly on my feet (I never knew what question I would be asked!). Whenever I mention my college and chapter to Theta staff and volunteers, they know exactly how great the school is by the caliber of women who are and have been members of the local chapter on campus.  

What is your favorite Westminster memory? There are so many to choose from … long nights studying in Reeves Library, walking to classes on The Hill, venturing to downtown Fulton for an afternoon, long days traveling on the team bus, and of course Theta gatherings, but my favorite would be the excitement of having Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev on campus to commemorate the unveiling of Breakthrough. It was extra special to me because my journalism class got a special press pass, so we had excellent seating!  

Which of your achievements are you most proud of? At Westminster, I remember being extremely proud when printing the final draft of my senior thesis and walking out of my defense meeting knowing that I was able to accomplish such a task! I am a first-generation college graduate, and achieving my degree was extra-special. I also was honored by being selected as our Theta chapter’s vice president of Fraternity Education (today known as Chief Learning Officer), an executive board role. That experience gave me my first chance at leadership, planning, and committee management.  

I’m also proud of our marketing and communications team and our recent website award! 

Based on your experience with the College, would you recommend Westminster to prospective college students? For anyone who is looking for a small-college environment, a wealth of activities and leadership opportunities, and tremendous alumni support through job leads, internships, and career advancement, Westminster is the place to go.  

Spouse? Michael Andrew Thibault, who passed away in 2017.

Children? Genevieve, age 19; Sophie, age 18; and Lucy, age 12. 

Favorite Westminster faculty members? I had quite a few favorites, basically everyone in the English department — Wayne Zade, Dave Collins, Carolyn Perry, Bill Bleifuss — and dear Dr. Bob (Robert Seelinger), who suffered under my unending translation mispronunciations and often lack of studying and preparation.  

Favorite spot on campus? Of course, it would be the Westminster Gym where I spent hours and hours on the volleyball court. And I would be remiss not to mention the Theta lounge in Wetterau Hall. My favorite classroom though was the first floor of Hall of Science (now Newnam Hall); depending on where you sat, the light poured in through the windows and had a great view of the campus grounds.  

A book you would recommend to others? The Five Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace: Empowering Organizations by Encouraging People. This book is important for those who work with other people (almost all of us do!), especially volunteers. I learned a lot about how to identify what motivates others so I can better interact and communicate with them based on what they need and expect.  

Favorite quote? I acquired an affinity for Winston Churchill while working at the Memorial. I ran across this the other day: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”  

What do you do in your free time? I am the assistant coach for my daughter’s cross-country team, I do yoga, and find some time to read non-fiction. 


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.