The Chi Phi Chakett News Spring 2021

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Spring 2021

ALPHA ZETA CHAPTER RALLIES IN LATE BROTHER’S MEMORY Following the untimely passing of Alex Cawood, Alpha Zeta

of the Atlanta Braves. And that’s what got the ball rolling on a

2022, last February, the Alpha Zeta Chapter at University

memorial for Alex.

of West Georgia knew that they wanted to find a way to honor his legacy.

Brother Cawood was an avid baseball fan and played on his high school team, but during his time at Alpha Zeta he spent plenty of hours

When Brother Cawood’s parents, Tom and Melanie, established

on their basketball court. The solution for Alpha Zeta’s memorial came

Alex Cawood’s Universe, a pediatric cancer research fund with CURE

together when they decided to refurbish and rename their basketball

Childhood Cancer, the Chapter realized that supporting ACU would be

court to Cawood’s Court, including a new bleacher section made from

their best “shot” to make an impact.

the Turner Field seats. Complete with newly painted Chi Phi letters and a

This spring – one year after Brother

new, donated backboard, Brothers officially

Cawood entered Chapter Eternal – the

dedicated Cawood’s Court on February 26,

Chapter held a raffle which quickly became

the day of the raffle. Rather than serve as a

their most successful fundraising event ever.

somber shrine, Cawood’s Court will be an

With the goal of each Brother selling ten $20

active, lively place of spirited competition

tickets, Alpha Zeta quickly surpassed their

where Brothers can honor his memory

target and raised $10,860. Raffle entries

by participating in a sport he loved with

came from far beyond the campus of UWG,

Brothers he loved as well.

including the family and friends of Chapter members as far away as Illinois. In addition to the Chapter’s donation to ACU in

It is a fitting memorial for a Brother who is best remembered as one who always made sure you smiled with him and who – in spite of his

support of Ewing sarcoma research, the Brothers

ongoing treatment – continued to stop by the Chapter

were able to band together to establish a memorial

House to reassure everyone that he was doing okay.

for Alex near the Chapter House. Part of the

Alpha Zeta will keep playing on Cawood’s Court for

memorial came from Tom and Melanie themselves,

many years, and even plans to hold another fundraiser

who provided the Chapter with a donated set of

next spring to provide more support for Ewing

stadium seats from Turner Field, the former home

sarcoma research.


on March 7, Chi Phi hosted our first ever virtual Chartering Ceremony

We hope that this edition of The Chi Phi Chakett News finds you safe

to read more about the Fraternity’s Strategic Plan which you can

and well! It is still hard to believe that over a year ago we were forced to reshape the fraternal experience we had all grown familiar with. In-person gatherings became virtual experiences, leadership programs occurred via Zoom, and staff quickly learned to engage, support, and interact with Chapters and Alumni remotely.    As life began to look drastically different, the Fraternity and the Educational Trust swiftly adapted. The Fraternity implemented necessary initiatives to curb expenses all while ensuring a high level of service to members remained. The Educational Trust was able to offer additional financial assistance to the Fraternity through increased grant funding. And, in an effort to aid Brothers most impacted by the pandemic, the Scarlet & Blue Brotherhood Emergency Fund was established. We are proud to say that all of these actions have created a stronger, more resilient Brotherhood.  Despite the challenging year, we still have much to celebrate. The

for the Psi Delta Chapter at UNC Charlotte.   As we continue to look ahead, we hope you will take the time find in this edition of the Chakett News. Recognizing that further changes and adaptations are necessary to provide our Brothers with an exceptional fraternal experience, we encourage you to share your feedback on this plan.    Even though it has been well over a year since we have all had the opportunity to be together in person, we look forward to welcoming our Brothers and Friends once again at the 10th Annual Watts Gunn Memorial Golf Tournament on July 29 and at the 155th Chi Phi Congress on July 30-August 1 in Las Vegas.   Our Brotherhood is fortunate to have experienced such a tremendous amount of support from Brothers and Friends like you. It is our goal to use this momentum to steer Chi Phi in a direction which will ensure our Fraternity’s prosperity.    Fraternally,

Educational Trust completed a successful Founders Day Campaign, with over $85,000 raised by more than 250 donors! The Fraternity held a virtual Alphas and Thetas Academy and is currently wrapping up this year’s virtual Regional Leadership Alliance experience. Additionally,

Bob Walker Iota Delta 1970 Grand Alpha

Fran Nolan Kappa Delta 1990 Educational Trust Chairman




We are eagerly looking toward Chi Phi’s first in-person experience since March 2020, which also happens to be our most important annual event. Hosted at Bally’s Las Vegas, the 155th Congress has much work ahead of it, including the election of our next Grand Alpha, adoption of a balanced 2021-2022 budget, and deciding what the next steps of our Brotherhood will be as we continue to navigate the challenges in Greek Life today.

Due to ongoing concerns surrounding the COVID-19 Pandemic, attendance at Congress will be limited to Delegates and a small number of guests. Those interested in attending are encouraged to register and book early. For more information on the event and registration, visit Each Alumni Association and City Club is entitled to one vote, and Housing Corporations are entitled to nonvoting representation. Each Chapter maintains two votes and each Colony one.


Nominate Chi Phi’s Next Grand Alpha You still have an opportunity to shape Chi Phi’s future! Visit to put forward a candidate for the Grand Alpha election. A qualified candidate may be nominated by any Brother.




ETA THETA CHAPTER GOES VIRTUAL TO SUPPORT BGCA With the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting campus operations, the Eta Theta Chapter at University of Maryland faced a predicament: How could they still host their annual philanthropy events while following social distancing protocols? Their solution came to a head this February, when the Chapter held its first raffle fundraiser to benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, done completely online. Back in January, while Chapter Alpha Matthew Haggerty, Eta Theta 2023, was at work, he saw the store had received a shipment of PlayStation 5 consoles, which have been in high demand since their launch in late 2020. When those consoles came in, Brother Haggerty immediately had an idea, “what if we raffled off a PlayStation and donated the proceeds?” Philanthropy Chairman Ryan Moody, Eta Theta 2022, worked tirelessly to sort out the logistics of the raffle, find a reputable online ticket entry software, and spearhead campus outreach to spread awareness. The raffle went live with ticket sales beginning at noon on February 1, and there was an immediate swarm of entries. With a lot of help from Alumni and Friends of Chi Phi, Eta Theta raised $1,000 over the course of the month for BGCA. After much hard work from the Public Relations and Philanthropy committees, the raffle winner was finally drawn on March 1 by the automated raffling system. Chapter Alumnus Corey Townsend, Eta Theta 2019, emerged as the proud owner of a new PS5. Eta Theta is grateful for the support which was shown for BGCA and they hope to build on this momentum. Pictured above: Brother Townsend with his newly acquired PS5.


The past year has seen everyone affected by the COVID-19 pandemic

Chapter’s Delta Joshua Lee, Tau 2022, and Alpha Spencer

in some way, shape, or form. Sadly, the Tau Chapter at University of

Murtha, Tau 2022, established a GoFundMe to raise enough money

Alabama has witnessed the impact of the virus through their House

to ease her burden of funeral costs and other expenses. Originally

Mother, Sarah Tinker. Sarah has been a cornerstone of the Chapter’s

thinking the fundraiser would pick up steam among the Chapter

operations throughout the past six years since she began working with

members and Alumni and not make it much further, our Brothers

Tau and has been a “mother away from home” for the Brothers on

were moved when they saw Sarah’s story shared throughout campus

campus. The Chapter was devastated to learn that Sarah’s husband

and across the country. With this community support, the fundraiser

and son both contracted the virus early this year; sadly, within weeks,

more than doubled their initial $10,000 goal; the total raised is now

both passed away. While they mourned with her, our Brothers leapt into

approaching $22,000.

action to support the woman who had shown them so much love. Determined to make a difference in Sarah’s time of need, the

While Sarah and her family continue to recover from this ordeal, the Chapter extends its heartfelt gratitude to everyone who has donated, prayed, and consoled her throughout this time of need.

A NEW VISION for chi phi for 196 years, chi phi has achieved the pivotal goal of continual existence. in that time, our fraternity has experienced a number of thriving years, a number of faltering years, and, during the largest span of that time, we simply survived. no matter the stormy weather, our brotherhood survived because of support from host institutions and the drive of young men to seek a fraternal experience. Our leadership knows that this climate has shifted, and Greek Life itself is in question. We acknowledge that Chi Phi must likewise evolve, and do so quickly if we wish to survive. We have been here before. Whether it happened in hard times like the

Today is no different, and the culprit of our needed shift is clear. While many great things are happening in our organization, there is an undeniable record that our growth has been stifled by the closure of Chapters and expulsion of bad actors. This lack of growth has negatively

Great Depression, or when the Civil War decimated all but one Chapter

impacted our financial health and, more importantly, expelling problem

in the Southern Order, the climate changed and so did we. Even in good

members or Chapters can only go so far to protect the health of our

times when our membership thrived, we adapted to changing climates

members and other students.

- as we did following the introduction of the GI Bill and, later, student

To chart our path forward, Grand Alpha Bob Walker commissioned

loans which allowed men who would otherwise not go to college the

a Strategic Planning Committee on March 14, 2020. The committee is

opportunity to join our ranks.

chaired by Brother Jerry Blakeslee, Rho 1970, and is composed of the signatories of this letter.


Chi Phi grows and reaches our peak organization size in the early 2000s with 62 Chapters and Colonies, following the adoption of the federal student loan program.

spring 1970

1980s, 1990s, 2000s

An effort to revive former Chapters that have larger Alumni support networks is undertaken with little success on campuses with entrenched negative cultures. The number of total Chapters and the size of the organization never reaches beyond its peak a decade earlier.


Chi Phi reports 50 Chapters and Colonies after decades of growth following World War II. Chapter growth is stunted with the revolving door of Chapter closures due to alcohol abuse and hazing that has become commonplace in the Greek system.



spring 2020

At the Spring Grand Council Meeting, Grand Alpha Bob Walker, Iota Delta 1970, appoints a committee of advisors to rethink the strategic plan of the organization due to mediocre growth.

summer 2020

After months of weekly meetings, the Strategic Planning Committee determines that the growth issues were intrinsically tied to behavior and a reshaping of the Chi Phi Vision is needed to survive.

By March, the COVID-19 epidemic places the existence of the Chi Phi Fraternity in jeopardy. The number of Chapters and Colonies dips into the 40s for the first time in decades. The Grand Council sees the need for an organizational transformation.


To date, the committee established three fundamental elements crucial to our success. The first is a new Vision for the Fraternity: To transform Chi Phi to an organization whose existence provides men an opportunity to belong to an historic organization based on values, friendship and secrecy - an organization that provides a supporting and learning environment for young men transitioning from adolescence into manhood - an organization where men gather for the purpose of fellowship, intellectual development, and promoting good citizenship. The second element is the change needed for our organization to meet the new vision: 1. H azing, sexual misconduct, and alcohol and drug abuse in all of its forms has no place in our organization, nationally or locally. These practices must be eradicated from our Chapters and our membership. Any member or Chapter unable or unwilling to commit to a fraternal experience free of these detriments should be exorcised from our organization. 2. A Total Membership Education program is needed to ensure a communal and safe experience for every member at every Chapter. 3. O ur need to educate our members on the importance of the sacred oath we all took upon Initiation, and its influence on the deeper meaning of membership in the Chi Phi Brotherhood. The third element is that our greatest resource is our membership. We cannot effect the necessary positive changes that will be required without the total commitment and involvement of Alumni.

With the inability to meet in person, the committee meets digitally and brings together Fraternity advisors and National Staff to develop a new Chi Phi Vision.

The Strategic Planning Committee presents its findings to a large group of Chi Phi stakeholders including key Alumni, Staff, the Chi Phi Educational Trust, and Advisors. The new plan is met with overwhelming support.

fall 2020

winter 2020

The committee develops a new Vision Statement of the values and behaviors of a Chi Phi man. Chi Phi’s first ever Code of Conduct is created and a grassroots plan to gain insights and train Advisors begins to take form.

january 2021

spring 2021

At Congress, the new Vision will be presented to all members along with the new Code of Conduct and a Chi Phi brand refresh.

august 2021

A round of regional meetings will take place to train local advisors on the new Vision of Chi Phi and equip them with the resources needed to help move local Chapters toward a more perfect organization.

summer & fall 2021

Local Advisors will hold retreats with support from the national organization to equip and train Chi Phi’s undergraduate leaders.


how did we get here? Our leadership is well aware that this shift will likely result in the loss of additional Chapters and the individual members unable or unwilling to evolve with the larger organization. The same has been true throughout the stages of our history, and we have always emerged stronger. This will be no different. There is more work to be done to fully develop the Strategic Plan for the organization, and Chi Phi will need your help. This Spring, regional meetings will be conducted virtually and, circumstances willing, in person. All Alumni and members are encouraged to contribute to these planning meetings to help shape this magnificent Brotherhood into a new Chi Phi that is able and worthy to survive. Fraternally, Jerry Blakeslee, Rho 1970, Chairman Michael Azarian, Psi Delta 1997 David Ebner, Delta Zeta 2008 Ron Frank, Nu Delta 1983, Iota Zeta 1989, Delta Zeta 2000

Steve Hopkins, Nu 1999 Matt Scheller, Psi 2007 Jim Soderquist, Alpha 1967, Epsilon 2014 Bob Walker, Iota Delta 1970


alumni news

& notes

Share your news and updates with the Brotherhood! Email Director of Member Engagement Dan Coutcher at or visit to submit your story.


The past year has proven to be a time of change in nearly every

Unaware of his affiliation, Jeremy was surprised to see Brother Lang

regard - including for the residents of New York’s District 56, who

at the Upsilon Chapter’s house when he visited that spring. It did not

are now represented by State Senator Jeremy Cooney, Upsilon

take much convincing for Jeremy to follow Gil as a member of Chi Phi

2004. With nearly two decades of public service experience in roles

and, later, as Student Government President.

with the federal, state, and local government in Rochester, January

Adopted from India and raised as the only child of the late Prof.

2021 marked Brother Cooney’s first term in his own elected office.

Anne Cooney, a single mother of Irish descent (he still jokes about

Throughout those years, he has never faltered in remembering Chi

how a South Asian man ended up with Cooney for a surname), Jeremy

Phi’s influence on his life and career.

experienced Brotherhood for the first time in the ranks of Chi Phi. But

Jeremy spent his first year at Hobart College acclimating to campus and

at the very forefront of his reasons for choosing Chi Phi over other

visiting various fraternities (students at Hobart cannot join Greek Life until

organizations at Hobart was our Brothers’ acceptance of each other

their sophomore year). Among the early connections he made on campus

and their differences. He still recalls how the Upsilon Chapter was

was with the Student Government President, Gil Lang, Upsilon 2001.

particularly welcoming to Brothers of all backgrounds, including openly

gay members, “which led to us hosting the first charity drag show on campus. That was something unheard of at the time, even in New York.” The Chapter was also instrumental in supporting Jeremy’s change from a biology to a public policy major, following a challenging bout with his organic chemistry course. Later graduating from Albany Law School and forming his career as an attorney, Brother Cooney continued to be involved with the Upsilon Chapter. For several years he served as


Chapter Advisor and has always maintained his personal connections

Chi Phi is saddened by the loss of Denman

to Brothers. Now as Senator, he continues to network with our Brothers

McNear, Beta 1948, who entered Chapter

and has staffers from the Chapter as well, having hired former Alpha

Eternal on January 5, 2021.

Joey Vertoske, Upsilon 2017, as a legislative aide. Throughout these various roles and experiences, Brother Cooney

Brother McNear joined our Beta Chapter at Massachusetts Institute of

continues to reflect on not just how welcoming Chi Phi has been to

Technology on January 10, 1943, but his

him, but also how little they made him conscious of being “the brown

undergraduate career – like many of his

guy in the room - whether in business or law, I was often the only

generation - was interrupted by World War II when he enlisted in the

South Asian.” Even on road trips to our Chapters at Rochester, Boston,

US Navy. He served as a radio technician throughout the war and

and Cornell, Brothers never contributed to any such feeling for Jeremy.

toured the Pacific. When he completed his service in 1946, Brother

At a point in history when organizations and institutions across the country must reexamine their past and emphasize Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in their member education and beyond, Brother Cooney

McNear returned to his beloved Beta Chapter and MIT, where he graduated in 1948 with a degree in civil engineering. A dedicated fixture at events on MIT’s campus for decades, Brother

makes a positive note about Chi Phi; so many Brothers and Chapters

McNear was always a staunch supporter of the fraternal experience.

openly welcoming him as a South Asian man speaks a lot to an

His support was not limited to the Beta Chapter; he served as a Trustee

organization which has made positive change over the years.

of the Chi Phi Educational Trust for several years and was an active

Now as the first Asian elected to represent upstate New York in any state-level office, Brother Cooney hopes to use his role to improve the lives of citizens of his state. He also expresses his desire to help ensure

part of leading the Changing Lives Campaign, which raised more than $11 million for scholarships and other educational priorities. Outside of Chi Phi, Brother McNear may be best remembered for

that Chi Phi remains a viable, open organization available to men during

his contributions to the business world. He served as the Chairman &

their formative years to embrace our Values of Truth, Honor, and Personal

CEO of Southern Pacific Transportation Company from 1982 until its

Integrity - the same Values he plans to use in his service in Albany.

merger with Rio Grande Industries; he continued employment there as Vice Chairman. In addition, he played an active role in supporting nonprofits such as Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, Mount Vernon, the Yosemite Conservancy, and Colonial Williamsburg.

Brother Cooney is sworn into the Senate by his wife as her parents look on. (Photo Credit: New York Senate) Opposite page: Brother Cooney and his wife, Dr. Diane Lu, a urologic surgeon in Rochester.


WATTS GUNN RETURNS: July 29 in Las Vegas

After our postponement of the 2020 Watts Gunn Memorial Golf Tournament due to COVID-19, the Educational Trust is excited to announce that registration and sponsorship opportunities are now open for the 2021 Tournament! This year, players will have the opportunity to tee off at the beautiful Cascata Golf Club, ranked the #2 best course to play in Nevada for 7 years straight. Located just 30 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip, this Rees Jonesdesigned fourcaddie par-72 course provides stunning vistas at every turn, lush fairways, lakes, and streams that will challenge even the most skilled players. For more information, to become a sponsor, or to register to play visit


REIMAGINE Exciting changes are coming to the Educational Trust’s

Beginning in Summer 2021, the Men of 1824 Council Networking

prestigious Men of 1824 program, Chi Phi’s undergraduate

Series will highlight Chi Phi Brothers of all ages who join us to share

and young Alumni giving society.

their trials and tribulations in the workforce, provide insight on their

All qualifying Brothers who join the Men of 1824 through a $25 gift to the Educational Trust will be extended the opportunity to serve

industry, and help develop career readiness skills. If you or another Brother would be a great fit for this program

on the Men of 1824 Council. The Council will play an integral role

and are interested in volunteering to mentor our undergraduate

in transforming the program’s membership experience, including

men, then please email or call

additional leadership and networking opportunities.


BOARD OF TRUSTEES WELCOMES TWO NEW MEMBERS The Chi Phi Educational Trust was pleased

Proving that the Board of Trustees is not

to welcome two new Trustees in March

just for “old guys,” Mario Lento, Xi Delta

2021; we look forward to witnessing

2012, became its youngest member ever.

everything these Brothers will accomplish in

Following experience with the Xi Delta

their new roles.

Housing Corporation, Scholarship Review

Dan Ahearn, Theta Delta 1999, joins

Committee, Accreditation Committee, and

the Board of Trustees after serving as both

as an RLA facilitator, there is no doubt

a valuable member of the Board of Governors and the Scholarship

Brother Lento is up for the challenge of serving as a Trustee. In

Review Committee. His goal as a Trustee is to continue working

fact, his immediate goals are to help Chapters grow their Chapter

with undergraduate Brothers and help all members understand the

Excellence Fund, increase the number of scholarship applicants, and

purpose and impact of the Educational Trust.

assist Brothers in networking opportunities.

Brother Ahearn credits much of his success to his ability to speak

This aerospace engineer, who currently works at John Hopkins as

both English and Spanish. Now the proud owner of his own startup,

a space system engineer and as an Instructor for the Whiting School

it is clear this skill has served him well. However, it’s not all work

of Engineering, does actually know how to relax and have a little bit

for Brother Ahearn. When not channeling his inner Duck Dynasty

of fun. When not changing the world, he can be found in the kitchen

personality by growing a full beard, he can be found baking bread,

making his own pizza, watching foreign TV shows with friends both

playing with his Labrador Retrievers, or rocking out to Pearl Jam.

near and far, or cheering on the Washington Capitals.

AN INVESTMENT IN OUR BROTHERHOOD The Chi Phi Educational Trust is excited to announce the launch of our reimagined and most prestigious annual giving society: The Gladfelter Circle. Originally established in 2001, the Gladfelter Circle pays tribute to Carl J. Gladfelter, Alpha-Tau 1933, who guided the Fraternity and the Trust through a period of vigorous growth during his four years as Grand Alpha and his fifteen-year tenure as National Director. This giving society recognizes those individuals dedicated to making a positive lasting impact on our Brotherhood.

Membership Benefits Include: • New, redesigned Gladfelter Circle lapel pin • Special recognition for consecutive year giving • Invitation to Educational Trust special events such as the annual Leadership Reception • Biannual Gladfelter Circle newsletter with exclusive updates and insider information • Opportunities to engage with the Men of 1824 Council, our undergraduate and young Alumni giving society through a networking series

By joining the Gladfelter Circle with a gift of $2,000 or more*, you are making a commitment to support Chi Phi

To join the Gladfelter Circle or for more information on the giving

Brothers across the nation and to play a vital role in our

society, contact Executive Director Laura Landry at

continued success.

or at 404.231.1824.

*To be recognized as a member of the Gladfelter Circle, donations must be received during the fiscal year (7/1 - 6/30).


The Chi Phi Fraternity Wm. M. Byrd National Headquarters 1160 Satellite Blvd. NW Suwanee, GA 30024 Change Service Requested

Upcoming Chi Phi Events June 6 | Chi Phi Awards Submissions Due June 13 | Educational Trust Scholarship Application Deadline July 29 | 10th Annual Watts Gunn Memorial Golf Tournament July 30-August 1 | 155th Chi Phi Congress


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