Zeta Delta Chapter Charters
December 5, 2012: Charleston, S.C.—Phi Kappa Tau chartered Zeta Delta chapter at Charleston Nov. 3. The new chapter is the Fraternity’s 148th chapter to be chartered and seventh in 2012 alone.
The initiation ceremony Nov. 2, and chartering banquet Nov. 3, were the culmination of the colonization process, which started with an interest group and took more than two years.
“To finally be initiated was both a rewarding experience and unforgettable one,” said Chapter President James Lilly, Charleston ’12. “As myself and Vice President James Carroll were entering the initiation room, I told him, ‘We finally made it.’ We were the only surviving members of our associate class from almost two years prior, so to finally be initiated together was a moment we will always treasure.”
Thirty-six men were initiated into the chapter. National President Steve Nelson, Southern Mississippi '73, Blue Ridge Domain Director Tom Abrams, Bethany '76, and Chapter Advisor Larry Sabourin, Michigan Tech ’60, spoke to 100 brothers and guests at the chartering banquet.
The group was able to charter because of continual improvement each semester.
“The thing I am proudest about from my chapter during our colonization was the growing dedication and emphasis our members placed on becoming a chapter,” Lilly said. “I got to see us grow slowly to what we are today and it will be exciting to watch where we go from here.”
With the goal of chartering complete, the brothers are as motivated as they have ever been.
“Our determination to become the best chapter possible has been renewed,” Lilly said. “I see far more members wanting to take initiative. For the first time, elections were like a battleground as there were so many interested persons and not enough spots to fill. This was a ‘first’ for our group and we welcomed the change graciously. “
Expansion Coordinator Alex Koehler, Mount Union ’07, said he is confident the men will continue to make a positive impact on their campus and the Fraternity.
“The most recent addition of Zeta Delta chapter is an exciting opportunity for students at the College of Charleston,” he said. “The men show a lot of promise for continued progress and growth. At the banquet, President Nelson reminded them, this is a huge accomplishment, but it is only the beginning. I look forward to seeing where they go from here. They are a sharp group of young men and they are surrounded by some remarkable alumni. They are capable of amazing things.”
Phi Kappa Tau Thanksgiving Message
November 22, 2012: Oxford, Ohio—
The Thanksgiving season is the time of year when we customarily take a look back at the past 12 months and say "thank you" for all of the blessings we have received. Phi Kappa Tau has many things to be thankful for this year. 2012 was jam-packed with new and exciting developments, which inch us ever closer to achieving the goal of moving our Fraternity from "Good to Great."
Let's take a look at the past year and be thankful:
- Thank you for the courage to champion a lifelong commitment to brotherhood, learning, ethical leadership and exemplary character and stay the strategic course we charted for the Fraternity four years ago.
- Thank you for the robust menu of leadership and personal-growth opportunities we are able to offer our young leaders. Our leadership and educational programs are marks of distinction in the Fraternity world in which we may take just pride.
- Thank you for a successful Presidents Academy.
- Thank you for a successful Volunteer Development Institute.
- Thank you for not one, but two successful Leadership Academy sessions.
- Thank you for a full complement of Regional Conferences.
- Thank you to our Foundation donors whose generosity makes all of the above possible.
- Thank you to our Foundation trustees whose stewardship continues to squeeze maximum value out of every gift.
- Thank you to our undergraduate leaders for their hard work and dedication to moving the organization forward and believing in the spirit of brotherhood.
- Thank you to our alumni leaders for their time, treasure, perseverance, and patience as they continue to guide our chapters and mentor our future leaders and remain loyal to their college and chapter.
- Thank you for our eight new chapters that joined our leadership organization that binds men together and challenges them to improve their campuses and the world.
- Thank you for the four new colonies that have chosen to commit to brotherhood, learning, ethical leadership and exemplary character.
- Thank you to all of our members for seeing our growth potential, striving to attain our ideals and remaining confident in our ability to achieve our goals.
- Thank you to our host institutions for trusting in the quality and merit of our mission and vision and helping Phi Kappa Tau educate and build yet another generation of ethical leaders.
- Thank you to our Executive Offices staff for their commitment, dedication, and courage when it is tough to be committed, dedicated, and courageous in an environment of unique challenges.
- Thank you to our families, spouses and so many others that faithfully support us and our passion for Phi Tau that we may ever retain the spirit of youth.
- Finally, let us be thankful for this day and this nation that gives us the opportunity to take a few minutes to say "thank you" for the blessings we have received.
From all of us on the National Council and Executive Offices staff, we wish you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving. It is because of each and every one of you that Phi Kappa Tau has a bright and prosperous future.
Warmest Fraternal Regards,
Rick Keltner, Sacramento State '76
National Vice President
Phi Kappa Tau
Phi Kappa Tau Re-Colonizes Gamma Psi at Texas State
November 21, 2012: San Marcos, Texas—A lot of things are big in Texas. Gamma Psi colony at Texas State is no exception.
In accordance with Phi Kappa Tau’s current expansion plan, expansion consultants Michael Lukins, Washington ’08, and Matt Marone, Florida State ’08, spent time on campus recruiting new members and helping them become familiar with the colonization process. Lukins and Marone met with campus groups, sororities and the administration, hosted information sessions, conducted more than 55 one-on-one meetings, and tabled in the quad to recruit re-founding fathers.
“Texas State was primed for a big expansion,” Lukins said. “The students here wanted to see a fraternity with our values on campus and were eager to become a part of it.”
Lukins said the campus, especially many of the sororities, has been receptive and supportive of what the Fraternity is trying to do.
“The greek system here is strong,” Lukins said. “I have received incredible support from the sororities and fraternities on this campus, be it recommendations for new members, words of encouragement or volleyball game challenges. We have had tons of references from sorority women about men we should be recruiting; sometimes they literally dragged their friends to me. The sororities have also been very generous in inviting our colony to participate in events and really get integrated into the community.”
The group has already begun to make an impact campus with participation in several philanthropy events. It won Alpha Xi Delta’s Xi-Ball Tournament, which benefited autism research.
With alumni and campus support, the expansion consultants’ efforts yielded great results Oct. 11, during the colonization ceremony. More than 60 men participated in the ceremony and became associate members.
“It was one of the most amazing moments of my life,” said Colony President Jeremy Wortham, Texas State AM. “I felt respected and entrusted with the vision, dreams and responsibilities of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity.”
Wortham said the colony has been supportive every time a new man is added into the fold.
I think we've had the most success because we're such a close knit group that doesn't mind being undone and knit back together with the addition of a new brother,” he said. “I see that mentality in all of my brothers and it makes me the proudest man on campus.”
Along with chemistry and alumni support, preparation has played a key role in the expansion’s success to date. Expansion Coordinator Alex Koehler, Mount Union ’07, said discussions for this expansion started in 2008.
“We had staff in San Marcos presenting to the campus IFC more than two years ago,” he said. “They came back to us with a proposal that fall 2012 would be the best fit for their community. That allowed us a lot of time to work closely with the chapter alumni to develop an expansion plan and put together a Board of Governors to advise the new members.”
Gamma Psi is the third Texas colony in the last several years, joining the colony at North Texas and Beta Alpha colony at Texas-Austin.
“Texas is a haven for Phi Kappa Tau alumni,” Koehler said. “With professional opportunities in Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and San Antonio, there are alumni from all over the country moving to these areas. That, coupled with a continuous increase in male enrollment at these universities makes it a smart move for us to return to the Lone Star State.”
Larry Egbert, Texas State ’73, said the chapter alumni are excited about the group’s potential.
“This has been a long time coming since we lost our chapter in 1985,” he said. “I look back and the one thing that I do not take for granted is the Brotherhood that all of us have established since we associated with Phi Tau and became actives in the Gamma Psi chapter. This is something special that all of us alumni want to share with our colony again. We all look forward to making a new legacy with these new members.”
Beta Beta Celebrates 65 Years
November 15, 2012: Louisville, Ky.—Beta Beta chapter celebrated 65 years of brotherhood during Louisville’s homecoming weekend on Oct. 19-20.
A golf scramble on Oct. 19, kicked off the reunion festivities. In the evening, following the golf scramble, a reception was held in downtown Louisville.
“My favorite memory would have to be the reception dinner at the Muhammad Ali Center,” said President Adam Clark, Louisville ’10. “It was an incredible turnout and a phenomenal site to see so many alumni in attendance. This event was a testament to the passion and loyalty that our alumni hold for the Beta Beta chapter. You could really tell that the alumni had an enjoyable time; Beta Beta knows how to throw a party.”
Before the football game on Saturday, Oct. 20, alumni were able to tour the chapter house. National Councilor and Reunion Coordinator Bill Brasch, Louisville ’67, said 250 people, including 160 alumni from 17 states, attended at least one of the chapter-sponsored events.
“I think that Beta Beta alumni really buy into the idea that membership in our fraternity is, indeed, a lifelong experience,” Brasch said. “They really enjoy returning to campus and seeing all of the guys. Even though our chapter was on a commuter campus for most of its history, as alumni now, they are spread out geographically and look forward to returning to Louisville.”
In addition to the events, the chapter celebrated the anniversary with the sale of a unique commemorative item.
“Several alumni bought a full barrel of Four Roses bourbon and bottled the contents with a special Phi Tau reunion commemorative label, each hand-signed by Master Distiller Jim Rutledge, Louisville ’62,” Brasch said. “This fundraising and ‘fun’ raising project was a really big hit with alumni and undergraduates alike and will raise more than $5,000 for the house fund.”
The reunion gave the chapter an opportunity to update alumni on its recent success, such as Ben Donlon, Louisville ’09, winning the Shideler Award at the 60th National Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
“Alumni are routinely asking me, ‘How is our chapter doing these days?’” Brasch said. “They were really excited to hear of all of the awards our chapter won at Convention. The chapter has always prided itself as a leader in winning the Shideler; we now have 5 winners. Several alumni’s wives told me how impressed they were with the undergraduates’ personalities and good manners.”
Planning and promotion for the weekend started in January.
“The great results we get at all of our events are the result of a long-term effort to do ‘friend-raising’ and to keep up an unbelievable data base of information on our alumni,” Brasch said. “I have been working on our alumni events for 41 years and the continuity makes a difference. Alumni only want to commit to attending something if they think that they will have a good time and they do at our events.”
Clark said the great alumni turnout for the weekend meant a lot to the undergraduate brothers.
"It's an incredible opportunity to be able to interact with so many alumni from our local chapter,” he said. “Listening to alumni reminisce on stories from the past is priceless. Also, many of our brothers currently hold internships and careers due to the networking opportunities available at Beta Beta. Knowing that our four years truly lasts a lifetime is a culture that has been instilled at Beta Beta since its inception 65 years ago.”
Beta Beta alumni from the '60s during the reunion weekend.
Foundation Interview with Brian Browne
November 14, 2012: Oxford, Ohio—Phi Kappa Tau had a major impact on Brian Browne, Case Western ’06, during his time as an undergraduate. It was an impact he hasn’t forgotten and one that has motivated him to stay active as a volunteer since graduation.
Browne, the 2010 Shideler Award winner, has been loyal to not only his chapter, but the Fraternity. Along with having served as Alpha Delta’s membership orientation officer and vice president, he is now its chapter advisor and a Building Men of Character lead facilitator.
In addition to giving his time, he has donated to the Foundation since 2011. The Foundation caught up with him to discuss his loyalty to Phi Kappa Tau.
Foundation: Reflecting on your association with Phi Kappa Tau, what is the one thing that stands out as a point of pride
Browne: I'm proud of the commitment Phi Kappa Tau has made to develop its undergraduate and alumni brothers. The caliber of our educational programs continues to increase, and the creation of programs like Volunteer Development Institute demonstrate Phi Tau's continued commitment to bettering every aspect of the Fraternity experience. Not every fraternity takes its opportunity to find innovative ways to develop its members as seriously.
Foundation: As a generous supporter of Phi Kappa Tau with your time, talents and treasures, why is your continued support significant to you?
Browne: I had a life changing experience as an undergrad thanks to Phi Kappa Tau, and I want to help ensure that future generations of Phi Taus have the same kinds of opportunities that I did. Continued involvement with Phi Tau is also giving me an opportunity to see our brotherhood in a bigger way. Volunteering has given me a chance to build relationships with brothers from other chapters and other eras, which is both fun and a reflection on the strength of Phi Kappa Tau.
Foundation: What encouragement would you offer to a graduate brother who has not yet engaged the Phi Kappa Tau as an alumnus, whether as a donor or volunteer?
Browne: You would be amazed at how much you still have to offer Phi Tau and how much Phi Tau still has to offer you. The power of coming back to mentor active brothers through a Building Men of Character Retreat or by speaking at a Regional Conference is profound, particularly if you give back to a chapter that isn't your own. There's also a lot to be said for the network you can build and skills you can hone while volunteering.
Foundation: As you look at the young men on campus today, what challenges do you perceive that they face and how might Phi Kappa Tau play a role in equipping them to meet those challenges?
Browne: The expectations placed on young men on campuses today are mounting, and an ailing economy isn't helping them. Phi Kappa Tau and its alumni have a unique opportunity to serve as a resource by connecting men to internships and teaching undergraduates how to speak to the strengths they developed because of Phi Tau. The skills employers are looking for are ones that Phi Tau builds, and helping brothers translate service to the their chapter to service to a potential employer will only strengthen the perception of Phi Tau.
Foundation: Do you have a particular Phi Tau memory that stands out the most?
Browne: Leadership Academy in 2007. It was my first exposure to Phi Tau on a national level and really framed the rest of my undergraduate Phi Tau experience. It connected me to Phi Taus from across the country, helped me understand how my chapter fit in to our brotherhood and inspired me to think about my Fraternity experience in a new way. Helping my chapter to win and accept the Maxwell Award was an indescribable way to end that experience.
Get to Know Brian
Family: No family of my own quite yet, but I'm the oldest of three with two younger sisters and am lucky enough to have great parents who supported me through my Phi Tau experience.
Profession: I'm the assistant director of chapter and regional programming for The Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University.
Favorite Sports Teams: I'm a pretty big Cleveland Indians fan and am looking forward to seeing if new management can breathe some life in to the Tribe.
Life Philosophy:Good enough will forever be the enemy of greatness.
Alumni Set Sail on Cruise
November 13, 2012: Miami, Fla—Past National President and Executive Director John Green, Nebraska Wesleyan ’60, took many trips with his brothers when he was an undergraduate. On Oct. 13, Green set sail for an adventure much different than the long weekend trips to Boulder, Colo., while in college.
Green, six other Phi Taus and their wives went on an alumni cruise. The eight-day trip, which left from Miami, Fla., made four stops, including Grand Turk Island, Dominican Republic, Curacao and Aruba.
The group included couples from coast to coast and one from Germany; representing six chapters.
“Although most of us did not know each other, it took no time to become comfortable as we all shared the bond of brotherhood,” said Mark Scher, Rider ’85. “Our wives embraced each other’s company and the wives understood our common bonds even if the words were left unspoken.”
The couples almost hit rough water on the first night when they arrived for dinner and their assigned table didn’t have enough seats for everyone. The maître d' quickly resolved the issue and was able to secure them seating at the captain’s table each night.
Jim Kallaher, Louisville ’61, said that he hadn’t had much interaction with brothers since graduation, so dinner with everyone was one of his favorite things.
“We all had different agendas during the day, but we were all together during dinner,” he said. “The camaraderie and conversation were priceless. I looked forward to that each day.”
Each couple had different motivations for being a part of the trip. For Dr. Reinhard Coulon, Ohio State ’63, it was a way for him to celebrate a special anniversary.
“Fifty years after I went to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship, I wanted to celebrate that event with my wife, plus do our first cruise,” said Coulon, who lives in Germany.
It was also the first cruise for National Vice President Rick Keltner, Sacramento State '76, and Cindy Keltner.
“I think Rick and I would both agree that since this was our first cruise, being able to experience the cruise with other couples we knew was a great experience,” Cindy said. “It was wonderful to know that while we were getting on a ship with over 2,500 people, we would at least know a few other people that we would be able to enjoy events with like the musicals and late night comedy shows.”
During the day, the couples had the chance to explore the exotic destinations on their own or join others in organized excursions.
Kallaher took the stop in Grand Turk as an opportunity to do a little fishing.
“I landed a 40-pound barracuda,” he said. “I'm glad it was not any larger because my arm and shoulder were completely exhausted by the time I got him in.”
One of the days, the men met to honor late Past National President Jay McCann, Spring Hill ’74.
“We finally found a room that was open and that we could use and we did a little tribute to Jay McCann,” Green said. “Those of us that knew him, talked of our fondness for him and then at the competition of it we sang the Brotherhood Song.”
Before they were even were back on American soil, discussion started for the next trip.
“I think one of the things that makes it special is that you got to like to travel and everyone in this group has done a lot of traveling or has a desire to travel,” Green said. “So Phi Tau and travel were the two common denominators and would be again in the future. I think it would be easier to get more people in the future, because I think each of these guys will be able to promote within the brotherhood they know within their chapter and get a couple more people to come."
The alumni brothers and their wives on the cruise.
Phi Kappa Tau 2012 Veterans Day Message
November 11, 2012: Oxford, Ohio—
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country's service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations..."
-President Woodrow Wilson, 1919
What began as Armistice Day is now known as Veterans Day, but the purpose is still the same. Today, we think of all our brothers and sisters who have served, are serving, and even will serve in the name of the United States of America.
For me, Veterans Day is a personal one and a time to think of my father's service to our country. A WWII veteran, my father was a guard of President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the early years of the war. While he was stationed at the White House during that time, he was eventually moved to the Navy base in Gulport, Miss., where he met my mother.
Today, as we pause to honor the more than 23 million living American veterans, I will think of my American hero—my father—and his pride in our great country. If you know veterans, I urge you to seek them out and say, "Thank you for your service." That simple phrase always meant so much to my father, and I know it means a lot to others who have served.
On behalf of the National Council,
Stephan M. Nelson, Southern Mississippi '73
Phi Kappa Tau
Delta Volunteers During Vice Presidential Debate
November 6, 2012: Danville, Ky.— On Oct. 11, as many Americans tuned in to watch the Vice Presidential Debate, most of the brothers from Delta chapter couldn’t; they were too busy volunteering at it to sit in front of a TV.
With Centre set to host Vice President Joe Biden and Republican Mitt Romney’s running mate Paul Ryan for a debate, it turned to its student body to help facilitate the televised event. College Republicans Executive Vice President Benjamin Tudor, Centre ’11, was asked to recruit volunteers.
“I am incredibly proud of how well the student body came together and worked to put on a fantastic debate,” he said. “Interacting with members of the media, campaign staff and elected officials, Centre students did a great job of representing their school.”
Many of Tudor’s own chapter brothers were a part of the volunteer effort. Tudor said nearly 75 percent of the chapter helped in some way.
“Our brothers worked in every capacity during the debate,” he said. “Some of our members volunteered with the college as ushers in the debate hall, or in "catch-all" logistical tasks such as working the help desks. Myself and Jordan Shewmaker worked as liaisons to the campaigns, and pretty much did whatever they needed done in the weeks leading up to the debate. A couple of men also volunteered as surrogates with the campaigns following the event.”
Because of their roles with the debate, Tudor and Shewmaker, Centre ’11, took part in a local political show, “Kentucky Newsmakers.”
“As roommates, we've been arguing politics nonstop, but it was great to have the opportunity to come together and represent our college on a more public stage.”
This year was neither the first year Centre hosted a Vice Presidential Debate nor the first time Delta helped with it. Centre hosted the 2000 Vice Presidential Debate and Delta bothers were among the volunteers.
“The men at Delta believe strongly in participating in the democratic process and giving back, and the debate afforded us the opportunity to do both at the same time,” said Wes Fugate, Centre ’99. “While we all had differing political views, we knew it was important for us as a chapter to unite to make sure that Centre made the debate as successful as possible.”
In 2000, Delta was asked to physically exert more than just holding up signs.
“I believe the Saturday before the debate, another student organization had failed to show up to help install security fencing around campus, so the department of public safety immediately turned to the men of Phi Kappa Tau to assist,” Fugate said. “As you can imagine, not many college students are up super early on a Saturday morning, so we woke up any and all brothers we could find to help with the project. I was unbelievably proud that the college knew that our chapter was the group they needed to turn to in a time of need. That vote of confidence demonstrated to me that the men of Delta were indeed living our lives in accordance to the values and ritual of Phi Kappa Tau.”
Fugate’s role in the 2000 debate was more than just a fond memory.
“Participating in such an important event for our nation, and indeed, the world, had a profound effect on my life,” he said. “While I had been somewhat active in politics prior to this point, my involvement in the debate eventually launched my political career. Because of the experiences of working the debate and the connections I made while at Centre, I eventually went on to work on behalf of the President and Vice President and served as the deputy chief of staff to the Governor of Kentucky.”
The experience even became a talking point for Fugate while he worked for Vice President Dick Cheney four years later.
Maybe one day Tudor will be able to use his experience during this year’s debate as a talking point too.
“I got to see a different side of politics, but that just made me want to be a part of the system, on some level, even more,” he said.
Upsilon Returns to Nebraska Wesleyan
November 5, 2012: Lincoln, Neb.—It was a Saturday that they will never forget. On Oct. 20, Upsilon chapter was officially re-chartered.
As Nebraska Wesleyan celebrated 125 years, 33 of 34 newly initiated Upsilon Phi Taus (one member is studying abroad) assembled to sign the charter. This signing signified Upsilon chapter’s official return following a four-year suspension by the university and the Fraternity.
Alumni Advisor Warren Mattox, Nebraska Wesleyan’69, said he was confident the chapter would return to campus.
“We were all very optimistic about a quick return and yet at the same time realistic knowing how much work and determination it would take,” he said. “After meeting the young men who decided to join Phi Tau and become founding fathers of a re-chartered Upsilon, we knew anything was possible. They are a very determined bunch. With the resources of Executive Offices staff and alumni, they were able to make it happen.”
The Fraternity’s 20th chapter, Upsilon was originally founded as Orophilian Literary Society in 1888 as Nebraska Wesleyan’s first social organization and eventually chartered as Phi Kappa Tau on April 21, 1923.
On Oct. 19, CEO Steve Hartman, Muskingum ’89, conducted a pre-initiation discussion with the new members. Then on Oct. 20, after assembling at the newly- remodeled chapter house, the men with their family, friends and alumni brothers walked to Emerson Recital Hall in Rogers Fine Arts Center on the NWU campus.
The crowd, which also included members from the NWU greek community and other campus organizations, was estimated at nearly 300. During the ceremony, lead by Director of Chapter Services Tim Hudson, Truman State’97, the audience heard congratulatory remarks from NWU President Fredrick Ohles and Board of Governors Co-Chairman Erik Thomas, Nebraska Wesleyan ’02.
National President Steve Nelson, Southern Mississippi ’73, presented the history of the charter. Each new member was individually called onto the stage for signing, witnessed by those in attendance. Once everyone had signed the charter, Foundation First Vice Chairman Scott Stewart, Nebraska-Kearney '69, joined President Nelson in affixing the Phi Kappa Tau seal to each charter.
“The re-chartering of Upsilon to the ranks of Phi Kappa Tau's roll of active chapters is a tremendous accomplishment for all current undergraduates and alumni who supported this effort,” Hudson said. “The partnership built between all levels of the organization and the university has enabled a successful return of this historic chapter.”
After the charter signing ceremony, the group moved to Hillcrest Country Club for the chartering banquet. Nearly 130 members, parents, friends, alumni and NWU administration attended.
Following dinner, NWU IFC President Paul Hubert, Greek Life Advisor Erin Morettes and Dean of Students Peter Armstrong welcomed Phi Tau back to campus.
“Nebraska Wesleyan is pleased to have this historically strong fraternity make a comeback on campus,” said Armstrong during his speech. “They served the suspension, restored the chapter house and recruited new members. In terms of academics and leadership, Phi Tau is already making a positive and strong contribution to the [Nebraska] Wesleyan community,"
Nelson presented the keynote address. He spoke directly to new members about their mark of distinction as Upsilon founding fathers and what it means to be a Phi Tau.
Before a closing Candlelight Ceremony, Chapter President Steven Anderson, Nebraska Wesleyan ’12, spoke to what the chartering meant.
"We have successfully established a path for young men to follow,” Anderson said. “We have given future Phi Taus an opportunity to be leaders from the time they get to campus and a chance to experience the values, and tradition of Upsilon. Most importantly they now will have a chance to embrace what Fraternity and brotherhood really stands for.”
The Upsilon undergauate brothers with National President Steve Nelson, Southern Mississippi ’73.
Gamma Nu Celebrates 50 Years
November 2, 2012: Rochester, N.Y.—The Gamma Nu chapter at RIT celebrated 50 years of brotherhood, leadership and community service on Oct. 26-28.
It all began in November 1962 when Kappa Phi Omega (KPO) was born at RIT to increase greek opportunities for men at the university. Bob Mitchell, RIT’ 66, Ron Sick, RIT’ 66, John Helms, RIT’ 66, and Gary Proud, RIT’ 66, founded the group when they were freshmen business majors.
The men intended for KPO to offer the benefits of fraternal life to young men on campus. Rejecting the negative hazing practices so prevalent at the time, the KPO Founding Fathers pursued a positive approach to camaraderie and fellowship and quickly set about recruiting new members becoming readily involved in campus activities.
In just a few short years, the Fraternity had captured top scholarship honors among fraternities and acquired a chapter house on the former campus in downtown Rochester. Not long after, KPO became affiliated with the Phi Kappa Tau and after completing all of the charting requirements, it was installed as Phi Kappa Tau’s 85th chapter in 1966. It was at Eddie’s Chop House, a local banquet hall at the time, President Proud formally accepted the Gamma Nu charter from the National President Lou Gerding, Southern California ’24.
When the RIT campus moved from its downtown location to its current suburban home in 1968, the fraternities gave up their historic Victorian houses for modern on-campus residences. Gamma Nu’s new home became the prominent building opposite the southwest corner of the sun dial, the center of student residential life where it remained for many years.
It wasn’t until 2001 when RIT opened six new, free-standing Greek mansions, that Gamma Nu was relocated to and where it remains to this day. And through a number of fundraising efforts, Gamma Nu alumni went on to purchase an off-campus house in 2008 for its brothers to live in. This off campus house was dedicated and forever dubbed “Dean’s” in honor of and to commemorate the significant gifts secured by the fundraising efforts of Dean Giordano, RIT ’83.
The anniversary celebrations included a campus tour, a brothers’ only meeting, a pig roast and a “pumpkin hunt.”
Founding Father Proud said the hunt could be described as “a combination of rugby and capture the flag using pumpkins, which resulted in hundreds of pumpkins being smashed.”
More than 60 alumni and guests attended. Proud said his favorite part of the weekend was meeting alumni from different generations.
“I feel a bit of fulfillment and accomplishment having helped start our brotherhood and witnessing it's continued success for 50 years,” Proud said.
Gamma Nu is the longest, continuously running fraternity chapter on the RIT campus. In 2012, the chapter has 45 active members strong with more than 700 chapter alumni.
“Without question, Gamma Nu continues to provide a great opportunity for young men seeking a home away from home and the opportunity to develop civic-minded leadership skills,” said President Tom Baxley, RIT ’10.
Philanthropy has remained a priority for the chapter with four brothers volunteering at SeriousFun Children’s Network camps during the summer and others are already planning to next summer. Locally, Gamma Nu has also been very active; brothers volunteered their time visiting a local dog shelter and helped exercise the dogs contributing to their continued health and wellbeing. The chapter also coordinates several highway cleanups throughout the year joining forces with a campus sorority. Last fall, the men participated in volunteer work that benefited the on-campus daycare facility, Margaret’s House. And, the newest of the brothers recently put together a fundraiser through Five Guys restaurants to help raise money for SeriousFun.