Gimbel Honored with Big Pi Award

The illustrious “Big Pi Chapter” grew with the addition of Franklyn “Frank” Gimbel on Saturday May 18, 2019. The Big Pi Award is bestowed to alumni Brothers held in high esteem by virtue of outstanding accomplishment which brings honor to the Brother and Pi Lambda Phi. It is the “lifetime achievement award” for Pilam and the “Big Pi Chapter” has become a “who’s who” of well-regarded and famous Pilam alumni.

Frank is a 1955 initiate of the Wisconsin Omega Chapter out of the University of Wisconsin Madison. He has distinguished himself over the course of a long and successful career as a trial attorney and as a tremendous community servant of the Milwaukee area.

The historic Pfister Hotel in downtown Milwaukee was the host venue for this spectacle of an event. On hand for Frank’s induction were three other Big Pi recipients – Steve Marcus (Wisconsin Madison), Roger Orloff (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), and Mitch Liss (Illinois). Steve’s opening remarks reminisced of memories with Frank from their college days to the present. His comments elicited many smiles and multiple laughs! Steve noted it was “…a very well-deserved award [for Frank]. A wonderful tribute from an organization that was so important to the way my life was shaped, and I believe [Frank’s] life was shaped.”

Also in attendance were Frank’s family, alumni and students from the Wisconsin Madison Chapter, and members of the International Executive Council, Educational Foundation, and Headquarters Staff. Wisconsin Madison alumnus Ed Kinney also provided a brief overview of the Chapter’s long and distinguished history. He highlighted both funny stories and key moments throughout time when the Chapter lived our Creed and demonstrated our values.

During Frank’s acceptance speech, he reflected on his Chapter experience and what Pilam meant to him.

About his Chapter Experience:
[We] wanted to take kids and help them become better. We wanted to excel and to be recognized, to have the highest grade-point average, and to be very competitive in sports against other fraternities – which we were. We were involved in a lot of on-campus activities. The Chapter had a winner’s mentality!

What he took from his Pilam experience:
“My Pilam days were a hallmark in my life. I got from Pi Lambda Phi not only an appreciation of the importance of the Creed, but I came to understand how despite the things that make each of us different, how we’re all very similar.”

About Frank’s Professional & Civic Career:
Frank started practicing law in 1960 after graduating from Marquette University Law School (from which he also won the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015) and soon became one of four assistant U.S. attorneys in Milwaukee. He prosecuted the local head of the Mafia for tax evasion and won a conviction. Attorney Gimbel established Gimbel, Reilly, Guerin & Brown in 1968 and has tried 200 jury cases over his legal career. He has had multiple homicide cases with acquittals in several. In 1988, he argued a case in front of the United States Supreme Court, winning a reversal and establishing a new rule of law for asserting entrapment as a defense in a criminal case. Frank served as the lawyer for the Milwaukee Deputy Sheriff’s Association for 31 years and negotiated many contracts on its behalf. In addition to his law practice, Frank has always been community-minded. He served on the Milwaukee Fire and Police Commission and served as Chairman of the Wisconsin Center District Board that oversaw the construction of Milwaukee’s first Convention Center. Frank also served as President of both the Milwaukee Bar Association and the State Bar of Wisconsin as well as the local Milwaukee Rotary Club.


To see photos from the event, checkout the album on our Facebook Fanpage.