Omegalite THE • PI • KAPPA • PHI • FRATERNITY
Affinity alumni groups transcend time
Four groups of alumni have used sports to maintain close ties to their fraternity brothers. The major sporting events – the Indianapolis 500, the Big Ten Basketball Tournament, Kentucky Derby and fantasy football – are as varied as the eras the chapter members represent. The smallest of the alumni groups has been doing it the longest. Matt Stuve, Kevin Johnson, Steve Beeler and Steve Noth started attending the Indy 500 in the 1980s. Most of them were already race fans when they joined the fraternity. Many of them were part of the 1987 Pi Kappa Phi Purdue Grand Prix championship, too. “We’re children of Indiana and look to the 500 to anchor our Hoosier memories,” Stuve said. He said his group started attending sporting events together in 1988 during senior week at the fraternity; the group attended Indianapolis 500 race qualifications. After attending the qualifications, they learned that fellow brother Brandt Hershman was involved in a serious motorcycle accident that same day. “All of us were stunned after spending a great day together,” Stuve said. “I was glad we were together as Pi Kapps, but it was a marker day that I will not forget.” For Beeler, the fraternity brought together guys with a common race interest. “It just made sense to get together for the race following graduation,” Beeler said. “We may not see each other or talk to each other a lot during the year, but when we get together before the race, the conver-
An alumni group gathers during a Big Ten Basketball Touarament in Chicago. Front Row: Mike Ohaver, Dick Barker (Wisconsin, someone the group befriended at a Tournament) and Jim Sibert (Ohio State, high school friend of Jack). Back Row: Joe Rose, Al Christoules (IU, high school friend of Jack) and Jack Berlien. sation is easy.” More than a quarter century has passed and the group continues to gather on Memorial Day weekends. What has changed are some of the traditions associated with the race. “Most recently we’re all realizing that tailgating in the new ‘Snake Pit’ is probably not advisable given our ages,” Stuve said. “That said, our college-age children seem to find it appealing.” A Pi Kappa Phi Big Ten Basketball Tournament group is older in chronological age, but not necessarily spirit. A group of alumni who gathered for the Omega chapter’s 75th anniversary celebration on campus in 1997, has been meeting each year since. Jack Berlien, Mike Ohaver, Jack Strang and Joe Rose, Purdue students in the ‘60s, became the stalwarts in the group. They attended the first such post-season
tournament for the Big Ten in 1998. The whole group got together in Chicago for the first event. Berlien and Rose have attended all 18. Ohaver has attended most of them that have been in either Chicago or Indianapolis over the years. Berlien, from Washington, DC, and Strang from California, are the geographic outsiders. Sporadically, the original cast has been joined by other Omega Pi Kapps, including Jim Berlien (Jack’s brother), Jim Eary, Bob Harvey, Bill Corry and Jim Seeds, among others. “Jack and I were close friends at the chapter even though our backgrounds were as different as they could be,” Rose said. “The reunion (in 1997) seemed to bring us together again.” Over the years the group took on a Continued on Page 2
OMEGALITE Omega of Pi Kappa Phi, Inc. Housing Corporation P.O. Box 2700 West Lafayette, IN 47996-2700 Chapter Web address: http://www. purduepikapps.com Corporation Officers JAY SEEGER PRESIDENT 3817 Old Farm Road Lafayette, IN 47905 765/742-4529, work 765/474-1986, home jseeger@SeegerForbes. com
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AUGUST 2016 Continued from Page 1 new flavor as they met people at the annual tournament. “Jack is one of a kind,” Rose said. “He never met a stranger.” By the fall of 1998, the group started a fantasy Big Ten Basketball League, complete with an awards banquet and traveling trophy. “Of course, Jack is the commissioner,” Rose said. Ohaver said, “there’s a lot of trash talking during the fantasy season.” The winner of the season-long competition gets free tickets to that year’s Big Ten Tournament. The fantasy league has grown to 10 members, which includes the four original Pi Kapps, Jack’s nephew, two of Jack’s high school friends and three random fans they have met over the years at the spring tournament. Members include alumni from four Big Ten schools – five from Purdue, two from IU and one each from Ohio State and Wisconsin. The league has two divisions with the winner of each division getting tickets “free” to that season’s tournament. “I originally accused Jack of setting this league up to cover his Big Ten Tournament tickets as he won most of the time the first few years,” Ohaver said. “Competition has gotten better over the years.” The league members have assignments, too. “One guy makes dinner reservations,
PURDUE UNIVERSITY another hotel reservations and my job is getting the tickets,” Rose said. “We are all getting older so you never know how much longer it will last, but it has been fun, fun and fun.” Four of the league members periodically take a different basketball excursion during the season, too. They see games as part of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge. “We go with no tickets or reservations (to the Challenge games) and no women on these trips,” Rose said. “Our wives do get to go the Big Ten Tournament, though.” One year members of the group traveled 2,700 miles for a multitude of sporting events. It started with an Indianapolis ColtsTennessee Titans game at Lucus Oil Stadium. Then they did a day tour of the 9/11 memorial in Shanksville, PA, followed by a Loyola at West Virginia basketball game. Next it was off to see Michigan at Duke one day, Wisconsin at Virginia the next and then Marshall at Vanderbilt. The trip ended when they toured Ryman Auditorium, home of the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame in Memphis, TN. That same group once traveled to Pittsburgh, PA, for Pirates games, too. “I guess the greatest satisfaction is getting together for continued friendships and camaraderie that started in high school, college or at the Big Ten tournament,” Berlien said. “Certainly the fraternity has Continued on Page 3
PAT KUHNLE SECRETARY 720 Chelsea Road W. Lafayette, IN 47906 765/743-1111 ext. 205, work 765/743-6087, fax 765/743-1256, cell firstname.lastname@example.org The Omegalite is published at least once a year by the Omega of Pi Kappa Phi Housing Corporation for its alumni. Address corrections should be mailed to us at the contact information listed at the top of this box.
Matt McKee, Brenden Hulett, Caleb Shoup and Kaleb Stephens gather with friends at the 2016 Kentucky Derby.
Continued on Page 3 been a significant coalescing force in these reunions.” A group of more recent alumni gather for the Kentucky Derby. While it’s only a two-year tradition, more than 10 people gathered in 2016. It started when Caleb Shoup graduated in 2015 and moved to Kentucky. The next year Matt McKee moved there, too. “More or less, it started because I moved to Louisville,” Shoup said. “If there’s ever a reason for friends to visit Louisville, it’s Derby weekend.” Other Pi Kapps attending the last two years were Nick Eckstein, Kaleb Stephens, Brandon Mattox, Brant Fettig, David Scott, Nick Prichodko, Nolan Xahn and Austen Burkholder. Girlfriends have attended, too. “Anytime you can get a group of fraternity guys together it makes for a good time,” McKee said. “Everyone gets dressed up and it has much more of a formal, or date function, feel to it.” In 2016, the Derby was hit by heavy rain. No problem for Shoup and Stephens – they talked their way onto a covered area without paying the several hundred dollars’
ticket price. The others got soaked. “Getting to watch the Derby from that balcony was definitely a highlight,” Shoup said. “Not to mention we were out of the rain while it poured on everyone in the infield.” And the final group – the pledge class of spring 1989 – keeps in touch with fantasy football and periodic reunions. The members of the group – Brian Carlson, Jeff Rollo, Jacob Rohleder, Pat Lyons, Jae Sparks, Rick Harvey, Scott Kryder, Mike Porter, John Bowling, Ron Sadkowski and Chad Johnson – never tire of hanging out together. This fall, they will begin their 13th year of Fantasy Football. They have gathered more than a dozen times in the last 27 years. “We’ve gotten together as a class in person numerous times since graduation,” Porter said. The gatherings include “weddings, tomfoolery, Purdue events, hardships, etc. “We’re spread across California, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Arkansas, Connecticut and Oklahoma,” he said. Many in the group pushed for, and achieved, an alumni initiation ceremony for Eric Strohacker. After being a Fall 1991 pledge, Strohacker
Top: Members of the Spring 1989 pledge class. Bottom: The pledge class gathered for a wedding. now a firefighter in Indianapolis, dropped out of school and joined the US Navy. After four years in the military, he went back to school and earned a degree at IUPUI. Strohacker was initiated in December 2009 when the chapter celebrated Founders Day, 18 years after he pledged Pi Kappa Phi.
Purdue honors chapter academic adviser
John Sauter, retired vice president for housing and food services, notifies Rita Baker of being selected as a Special Boilermaker on Aug. 17.
Academic advisor Rita Baker is among one of the rarest groups within the Purdue family. On Aug. 17, she learned that she would be enshrined as one of only 92 people named a recipient of the Special Boilermaker Award. Established in 1981, the award recognizes a faculty or staff member “who has contributed significantly to the improvement of the quality of life and/or betterment of the educational experience for a substan-
tial number of Purdue students.” She will be presented with the award on the field during the Sept. 24 Nevada at Purdue football game. Baker has been an academic advisor since 1985. She now advises students in the Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. She won both the Purdue and national Academic Advisor of the Year awards in 2002. About 50 people gathered on Aug. 17 for the
surprise announcement. “For once I found myself speechless when I walked cluelessly into a room to retrieve my flash drive and found, instead, a room full of family, friends and colleagues.” she wrote in a Facebook posting afterwards. “All had looks on their faces that said ‘gotcha.’ “I'm totally surprised and so very honored. You cannot imagine. Hugs and Thanks to Everyone, and as I always end my notes, Hail Purdue!” She became Omega academic advisor in 2003.
National fraternity recognizes two Omega alumni
Omega alumni are prominently represented in the national fraternity’s “30 Under 30” recognition. Two recent graduates – Craig Vargo (Omega 1676) and Matt Waldersen (Omega 1765) – are among the third class of the 30 Under 30 recognition for 2016. Vargo is a board-certified oncology pharmacist at the Ohio State James Cancer Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. His expertise is specializing in treating breast cancer. Prior to his graduating with a doctorate from Purdue, he spent a term in Kenya as part of his pharmacy rotation. There, he worked in a hospital, providing free community healthcare. He’s also done research on the correct usage of antibiotics to the effectiveness of various chemotherapy agents. While in the chapter, he served as historian and vice archon. He represented the Omega chapter nationally as a cyclist, too. He rode in the 2010 Journey of Hope – a year after his identical twin and fraternity brother Kevin did so – and then completed the 2011 Gear Up Florida ride. “It is extremely humbling to be able to share this award with 29 other extremely deserving men from across the country and especially with my pledge son, Matt,” Vargo said. “While this is an individual honor, I would not be where I am today with out my Omega brothers and my fellow Pi Alphas (Journey of Hope or Gear Up Florida participants). Being recognized in this manner is an honor but most importantly it provides motivation to continue to strive in my career and to continue to give back whenever possible.” Also part of the 2016 class of 30 Under 30 recipients is Waldersen. He graduated from Purdue with an electrical engineering degree in
2013. Since that time he has held a variety of interesting/cutting edge jobs with NASA. He has been consistently the youngest team member in developing next generation space flight technology as a design, research and development engineer. While at Orbital ATK, he worked on the space launch system. The space launch system is the most powerful launch vehicle ever designed. It is intended to take astronauts back to the moon, a near earth asteroid and Mars. He's been responsible for designing electrical systems for SLS that are half the weight of pre-existing systems. The systems can be manufactured much quicker and lighter. Now at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Flight Research Center’s Sensor and Systems Research Directorate, he researches advanced flight sensor system, new telemetry technology for air and spacecraft and autonomy algorithms for unmanned aerial vehicles. Since his chapter days, when he
was very involved in Omega’s Ability Experience programming including regular visits to local high school special needs classes, he’s continued to serve after graduating. He’s tutored in an after school program for low-income, atrisk students in Cincinnati to being a middle school math and science tutor in Utah. He currently lives outside Edwards Air Force Base in California. “I think the biggest thing for me is that it reaffirms the notion that there's something special about the Omega chapter,” Waldersen said. “I could put together a pretty lengthy list of other Omega alumni that are more qualified to win this award than I am, and I’m excited to see which Omegas get selected next year and the years after that.” He said his phone “blew up” shortly after the notice went online about his selection. “One reaction that stood out to me in particular was when another Purdue Pi Kapp alumnus commented “Boiler Up” on the individual bio the national organization posted about me on its Facebook page,” he said. “Here's a person that I’ve never met and the only thing we have in common is that we're both Pi Kapps and Boilermakers.”
Chapter offers second chance prom
The Omega chapter prides itself on creative programming, particularly when it comes to outreach for people with disabilities. It added a prom for those with disabilities in 2015-16 to its already packed outreach. The event was intended for those who because of how they look or the challenges they face never had the chance for a high school prom. As the chapter has done previously, members worked with Best Buddies for on-campus programming. The Apirl 5 prom was held in the auxiliary gym at Purdue’s Recreational Sports Center. More than 100 people participated in the three-hour event that included drinks, snacks and dancing. Other Ability Experience programming included the Fifth Annual David Feltner Bike a Thon, an Arctoberfest and War of Roses week. The Bike a Thon runs 72 consecutive hours leading up homecoming celebration in the fall. For all the daytime hours, three bikes are used and at least two go through the night. In the first hour of the ride, Purdue football Coach Darrell Hazell participated for nearly a half hour at the cycling site next to the belltower. The event also includes off-site, stationary “distance” competition among various sororities. Sororities alternate riders during five minutes to determine how many “miles” they can ride. Furthermore, there was a poster that passersby could sign to commit to
Justin Kinney poses with members of Purdue’s Best Buddies and clients with special needs during the second chance prom. not use the “R” word when referencing people with disabilities. More than 1,500 people signed the poster. The Bike a Thon is named for David Feltner, who died of cancer in 2011. His parents – Steve and Candy Feltner – have ridden during the last five minutes of the event each year. This year, David’s sister, Jessica, joined them. The annual Arctoberfest is a Halloween-themed costume party for clients of the Arc of Tippecanoe, a local outreach program for people with disabilities. More than 100 people attended that event last fall. The War of Roses week starts with a disability dinner for participating sororities and disability races follow that. The event concludes with a sorority talent show in Loeb Playhouse on the Purdue campus. One component of the talent show
is a performance by Spirit! Theatre troupe – always a crowd favorite. The troupe members are adults with various disabilities. It was the third year that Spirit! performed at the War of Roses capstone event. The chapter also volunteers in special needs classes at Lafayette Jefferson High School nearly every school day, too. As a result of the programming, Omega ranks among Pi Kappa Phi’s best in fund-raising. In calendar year 2015, the chapter raised $12,013. Going into the fall semester, chapter members have raised $6,619 during 2016. Alumni who wish to support the chapter’s efforts may do so by sending in donations payable to The Ability Experience and return it to the chapter along with the enclosed donation slip.
Omega plans 95th anniversary; can you help?
Planning is underway for the chapter’s 95th anniversary celebration next year. The date has been set – Saturday, June 10, 2017. A summer event will avoid the required two-night hotel stay and confusion caused on a football weekend. Furthermore, a summer event – much like the one that we had in 2007 – allows for a more leisurely gathering. Perhaps by Omega’s 100th anniversary in 2022, the Purdue football team will be a bigger draw for a fall event. In 2017, we hope to have a golf outing starting in the morning with an informal lunch at the house for the non-golfing types. We would like to organize a house
improvement project during the day, too. Then in the evening we will have a catered banquet in the West Faculty Lounge of the Purdue Memorial Union. We need alumni to volunteer to coordinate the various activities, including the house improvement project, the golf outing and the banquet speaking engagements. We also need volunteers to contact fellow alumni to encourage them to attend the events on June 10, 2017. Please contact chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle if you are interested. His contact information is on Page 2 of this newsletter.
Chapter earns highest honor
Setting the standard and being the best are ongoing objectives of Pi Kappa Phi at Purdue. On April 5, those efforts were rewarded as the chapter received the highest recognition the Interfraternity Council (IFC) and the University bestows – the RB Stewart Award winner for 2015-16. “The Chapter of the Year Award recognizes the organization that has gone above and beyond to move the fraternity and sorority community forward in the past year,” said Brandon Cutler, associate dean of students, at the awards ceremony.” There are eight different categories that determine the overall winner. Pi Kappa Phi was the outright winner of two of them – philanthropy & community service as well as recruitment & membership development. Furthermore, the chapter was in the top three of each of the remaining six areas – new member development, social development, scholastic excellence, leadership development, alumni relations, brotherhood and chapter pride. Pi Kappa Phi was selected among six finalists for the 2015-16 award. “We have always made the No. 1 priority as servant leadership,” fall archon Tyler Ochs said. “The RB Stewart Award is an affirmation of all the positive things this chapter does in an effort to serve others.” Ochs said the chapter doesn’t do things for public affirmation necessarily, but because it’s the right thing to do and helps set a standard for modernday Greek life. “Award or not, the chapter will continue to achieve academically, attain leadership in campus organizations and to serve others,” he said. “That is what makes us special.” A Purdue administrator often tells others that Pi Kappa Phi sets the standards on campus – he calls it “The Pi Kapp Way.” Some of the chapter achievements for the school year bear that out. The chapter was No. 1 in service hours and No. 1 philanthropic money raised in the most recent statistics – nearly double the nearest competitors in both
areas. It was No. 1 in chapter size and No. 2 in academics in the spring semester. Purdue has 38 fraternities. “I am incredibly proud of the accomplishments of this chapter and continue to do things not for awards, but because it is ‘the Pi Kapp way,’ ” Ochs said. Jarrod Wagner was also honored at the Greek Awards ceremony on April 5. He was named the Interfraternity Council’s Philanthropist of the Year out of seven finalists. The winner is the fraternity man who promotes philanthropy throughout the fraternity and community, not just within the chapter, according to Dr. Rhonda Phillips, dean of Purdue’s honor college, who presented the award. Wagner raised more than $8,000 while participating in the 2015 Journey of Hope, a cross county cycling ride benefiting people with disabilities. He’s been the chapter’s Ability Experience chairman and is a regular participant in the chapter’s community partnership with special needs classes at Lafayette Jefferson High School. “Pi Kappa Phi and Purdue University have given me so many amazing opportunities where I can help others,” Wagner said. “The fraternity's events have given me a basis and a mentality that keeps me focused on the needs of others and how I can provide support.” One other Pi Kappa Phi member was a finalist for another awards. Danny Kennedy was among nine finalists for IFC Scholar of the Year. But the highlight of the evening was Pi Kappa Phi winning its seventh RB Stewart Award in the last nine years. “It’s rewarding to receive such praise as we strive to be different through our programming and actions on- and off-campus.,” said spring semester archon Ambrose Haas. “Pi Kappa Phi exemplifies the difference between the stereotypical perceptions and what it really means to be in a fraternity. The work we do is unparalleled and our fraternity will continue to push to expand upon our successes in the future.”
Jarrod Wagner, Chris Beck, Ambrose Haas and Tommy Stotzer pose with the 2016 RB Stewart Award.
Omega chapter earns 3.15 grade point average Statistics bear out the chapter accomplishments for 2015-16. In the spring semester, the chapter averaged a 3.15 GPA – likely its highest average ever – ranking it No. 2 among Purdue’s 38 recognized chapters. It also was No. 1 in chapter size. A total of 81 chapter members had a 3.0 or higher, or 61.9 percent. Furthermore, there were 52 members who were recognized as being on the Dean’s List or Semester Honors. Twelve brothers earned a 4.0 in the spring semester. In the Fall 2015 semester, had a 3.09 GPA good for No. 6 on campus. That semester it was No. 4 in chapter size, No. 1 in service hours (1,905) and No. 1 in philanthropy dollars raised ($76,122, which included fund-raising for 10 guys on the Journey of Hope for 2015). For the school year, the chapter had 3,412 service hours and raised $79,697 for philanthropic purposes. In 2015, the chapter raised $12,013.67 for the Ability Experience. The organziation keeps track of fund-raising on a calendar basis, not a school year. Thus far in 2016, the chapter ranks No. 10 nationally in Ability Experience fund-raising with $6,619.12.
Omega sets JOH national record This past summer a record 12 Purdue Pi Kapps participated in the Journey of Hope. The Journey of Hope is a cross country cycling trip to raise awareness and empathy for people with disabilities. JOH is sponsored by The Ability Experience, the fraternity’s national philanthropy. The JOH is split into three routes – Transamerica, North and South – with 107 riders and crew. They each start in Seattle, San Francisco and Long Beach respectively. Cyclists ride an average of 75 miles per day and travel 4,000 miles. A typical day is an early morning ride followed by Friendship Visits. Those visits are when the cyclists and crew cater to a special needs group along the way. Events can include a wheelchair basketball, a dance party or something with a local chapter of the Special Olympics. “The Friendship Visits are one of the most amazing parts of the summer,” Greg Bandy, an Omega cyclist on the North route, said. “We had one event where we went to a water park with kids with special needs. I was paired with a young boy with autism, who at first was terrified of the water slides. Over the course of the day I got to watch him overcome his fear and at the end of the day I practically had to drag him away from the slides.” This past summer, Journey of Hope raised a total of $615,000 for people with disabilities. Of this, $65,350 was raised directly by 10 Purdue cyclists, one crew member and one project manager. By comparison, no fraternity at Purdue had that much philanthropic fundraising during the entire 201516 academic year. You can watch video of the 2016 arrival on The Ability Experience YouTube channel. Mike McBride, project manager for the Trans-America team, took the spring semester off and worked at
Chapter members gather with the 12 Omega 2016 Journey of Hope participants in Washington, DC.
headquarters in Charlotte planning the trip. He had already ridden in the 2015 JOH. “They’ve done something that few will do in their lifetimes – spend an entire summer in service of others,” McBride said upon the completion of the ride. Indeed. The Purdue chapter also had one brother on Gear up Florida, a twoweek cycling trip across Florida early in the summer. In 2015, the Omega chapter tied a national record with 10 on JOH. Then it set a new standard with 12 in 2016. The chapter already has five brothers set to ride in 2017. They’ve done something that few will do in their lifetimes – spend an entire summer in service of others.
Tickets are available for the noon, Oct. 15 Purdue vs. Iowa football game in Ross Ade Stadium. The housing corporation will take ticket orders until Oct. 1 for those wishing to sit together. Tickets are $65 each (Purdue charges $55 per ticket plus $10 “legacy” fee) for preferred ticket locations. Tickets will be available at the house prior to the game. We do not mail tickets to you. Alumni are welcome to purchase less expensive tickets on their own, but by doing so you cannot guarantee you will be sitting in the Pi Kappa Phi section. The Oct. 15 homecoming schedule includes: • 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., open house and ticket distribution, 330 N. Grant
PURDUE UNIVERSITY St. • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., pregame lunch in chapter house basement. • Noon, Purdue vs. Iowa, RossAde Stadium. • 4 to 6 p.m., open house at the fraternity. • 5 p.m., completion of the Sixth Annual David R. Feltner Memorial Bike a Thon to benefit The Ability Experience at a location to be announced. Around 5:30 p.m. there will be comments, a slideshow of this year’s ride and thank yous in the Great Hall at the house. Alumni wishing to ride in the event should contact Pat Kuhnle prior to the event.
Pi Kappa Phi’s talent show at BMOC netted it a Top 10 finish among 32 acts on Feb. 26. The chapter had seven brothers decked out in all black with pink ties as the team did a One Republic Mash-up on the stage of the Elliott Hall of Music. Stephen Kirk was the lead singer and was accompanied by fellow vocalists Ben Walters, Johnny Fullerton and Chris Arnold. Alex Benson played a piano, Andrew Bohner a guitar and Drew Rudman a cello. The 32 acts performed for nearly 5,000 people during the annual Big Man on Campus competition sponsored by Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. The fund-raising event for breast cancer research brought in nearly $140,000. Kirk, an education major from Carmel, participating in the sorority’s dinner the week of the show impacted him the most. Contestants told their stories – what chapter they represented and why they participated in the fund-raiser. “I witnessed men sharing their stories on how breast cancer has effected them and their families directly,” Kirk said. “Hearing everyone’s story helped put into perspective how devastating, widespread and difficult it is to have a member of your family go through the trials and tribulations of breast cancer.”
Alumni singing group performs for Pi Kapp moms More than 300 enjoyed the celebration event of the 2015-16 academic year at Pi Kappa Phi – an April 16 Moms Day banquet honoring the chapter’s accomplishments. The day started with the early afternoon arrival of the Pi Kapp 100 team made up of more than 25 riders and crew amidst a rousing reception by fraternity members and their families. The 18th annual 100-kilometer ride from Zionsville to campus included a mom for the first time ever. Amy Fisher, mother of Thomas and Mark, left her West Lafayette home by 5:30 that morning to be with the fraternity members upon their 7 a.m. departure. Moms and their guests had free time with their sons until a 3:30 p.m. reception with appetizers at Pi Kappa Phi house, 330 N. Grant St. At 4 p.m., bidding began for a public charity auction of 25-plus items ranging from a picnic basket and potted plants to bar stools and a portable dog cage. Another 50 or so items were put into a silent auction that concluded after the evening banquet. A record number of 300 attendees got a special treat as three blood brothers, who were also Pi Kappa Phi fraternity brothers as undergraduates, sang songs they had performed as students in the late ‘50s to mid ‘60s. The Griffiths Brothers Trio gathered recently to celebrate the oldest’s 80th birthday last fall.
Bob, Jim and David Griffiths perform on the stage of the Purdue Memorial Union’s North Ballroom during Moms Day 2016. David Griffiths, the retired president and CEO of Citizen’s Gas, hosted the event in Indianapolis. Joining him were Bob Griffiths, vice president of Merrill Lynch in Lafayette, and Jim of Carmel. The group entertained the crowd for 20 minutes. Archon Ambrose Haas proudly recounted statistics that reflect the chapter’s successes in 2015-16. He said the chapter that was No. 1 in philanthropic volunteer hours and fund-raising, was named the RB Stewart Award winner this year. That award recognizes the top fraternity out of 38 Purdue Interfraternity Council chapters. “The ‘Pi Kapp Way’ is a winning formula for building great leaders and great people,” Haas told the banquet crowd. “We are privileged of being a collective group of fraternity
The 2016 Pi Kapp 100 team included a mom for the first time ever.
men who strive for excellence and rebranding what it one may think of a typical fraternity.” The Purdue Memorial Union’s North Ballroom audience also heard from Ability Experience chairman Mark Fanelli. He told of the various programming things the chapter does to assist people with disabilities. During the year, the chapter conducted a 72-hour bike a thon, a Halloween costume themed party, a War of Roses talent show held along with a special needs prom and the Pi Kapp 100. “It’s getting out of your comfort zone to try to learn about and improve someone else’s situation,” Fanelli said. “That’s how we create leaders. It keeps us grounded and it keeps us strong.” He also told of a story on his 2015 cross-county cycling trip with Journey of Hope. He, like other cyclists, was paired with special needs kids for a day in Las Vegas. Fanelli’s partner was an 18-year-old with Downs Syndrome. “That whole day it was him and I conquering his fear (about riding down a water slide) and having an amazing time,” he said. “What I did not realize was that while he was having his own doubts about going down the waterslide I was overcoming my doubts about myself (by dealing with someone with disabilities for a full day).”
2015 Annual Alumni Giving/Election Results
Annual fundraising to the Omega of Pi Kappa Phi housing corporation and chapter topped the $10,000 again in 2015. While the largest amount of dollars was nondesignated, a number of alumni chose to support specific causes. A total of 12 alumni gifts were given to the chapter’s Ability Experience annual fundraising for $3,954.22. Furthermore, another 12 alumni gave $1,170 to the building fund. The building fund was established after the mortgage was retired in 2012. In 2013, the late Charles Lowe (Omega 436) gave $50,000 that was used as seed money for the account. Then the estate of Harold “Cap” Johnson (Omega 159), left us another $3,247. At the end of the spring semester, the building fund stood at $121,147. Half of the money used to pay the old mortgage is now designated to the account while the other half may be used for annual chapter improvements. Alumni interested in
learning more about leaving money to Omega in your will should contact housing corporation president Jay Seeger (Omega 897) at his contact information listed on Page 2 of this Omegalite Nine alumni donated $1,170 to Omega’s CIF account in the national fraternity. That Chapter Investment Fund accepts tax-deductible donations for the educational needs of the chapter. Uses may include partial registration to national educational programming along with tutors and educational needs of the chapter. In 2015, there were seven gifts for $445 to help fund publishing the awardwinning Omegalite. It cost $1,868 to produce and mail the Omegalite materials in 2015. And former CEO Durward Owen gave $25 to the Pi Kappa Phi Foundation in honor of chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle. A total of 58 donations for $12,714.22 was donated in 2015.
2015-16 Purdue Stats Interfraternity Council (IFC) 3,472 Multicultural Greek Council (MGC) 149 National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) 92 Panhellenic Association (PHA) 2,773 * 23.4 percent of undergraduates are Greek All undergradaute GPA All men’s GPA All women’s GPA All fraternity/sorority GPA All IFC GPA
2.99 2.91 3.10 3.05 2.96
HOW PI KAPPA PHI RANKS Spring Membership Spring IFC Grades
No. 1 No. 2
$2,500 TO $9,999 Kurt Schulenburg*
* Chapter Ability Experience fund-raising
462 751 696 722 1031 1488 2002 448 1457 1461 360 399 464 506 509 520 522 528 540 580 672 706 740 772 835 852 919 1197 819
AVERAGE CHAPTER SIZE IFC MGC NPHC PHA
$1,000 TO $2,499 John Gaydos John Lovell $500 TO $999 Dennis Trescott Jack Berlien Mark Higgins Brent Wunderlich Larry Morton $250 TO $499 Kelley Carr Peter Godd Kevin Johnson $100 TO $249 John Gumpper Eldon Knuth Robert Rust James Jackson Duane Davis Al Kirchner David Griffiths Lawrence Hines William Hounshell Larry Reed Ronald Lema Gerard Buente John McDonald Ron Geyer David Lane Kim Tubergen Dick Price Pat Kuhnle Jim Berlien
89 12 12 132
PURDUE SPRING ENROLLMENT STATISTICS Undergraduate enrollment 27,679 Graduate and professional 9,495 Grand Total enrollment 37,174 Men Women Indiana residents Non-Indiana residents
21,197 15,977 17,196 19,978
836 975 1017 1119 1030 1176 1244 1272 1390 1481 1506
Ted Coyle Jeff Gates Bruce Halley Rick Bonar Lars Kneller Doug Davis Larry Peach Todd Spaulding Jeff Lampe Jeff Hanson Phil Leslie $50 TO $99 596 Jerry Davee 621 Hugh Flanagan 769 Jay Hackleman 813 Glenn Manich 862 RM Little 956 Larry Metzler 970 David Sterenfeld 1154 Kurt Takara Xi Durward Owen Psi Bill Newell $25 TO $49 562 Sam Ward 613 Donald Katter 632 J. Michael O’Reilly 1160 Bob Finnerty 2016 HOUSING CORPORATION ELECTION RESULTS • Jay Seeger, president 34 in favor, 0 write-ins • Brandt Hershman, vice president, 34 in favor, 0 write-ins • Steve Bohner, treasurer 34 in favor, 0 write-ins • Pat Kuhnle, secretary 34 in favor, 0 write-ins
UNDERGRADUDTE ENROLLMENT BY PURDUE COLLEGE /SCHOOL Engineering Health & Human Sciences Science Polytechnic Institute Agriculture Management Liberal Arts Exploratory Studies Pharmacy Veterinary Medicine Temporary Education PROFESSIONAL STUDENTS Pharmacy Veterinary Science
7,575 3,772 3,355 3,163 2,536 2,511 2,447 822 603 223 170 502 598 330
Text of Sandi Wagner’s Moms Day comments Editor’s Note: On April 16, Jarrod Wagner’s mom, Sandi, addressed more than 300 people at Moms Day. Here is the text of that speech. This is our fourth year (attending Moms Day). The first year we were in the basement (of the house) having lunch. It’s such a testament to the boys having you all here. I was not in the Greek system in college. I did attend the frat parties and from what I experienced it really was “Animal House.” Sorry, Jarrod. Boxers were flying on flagpoles and beer slides in the basement – not that I took part in any of that. So, when Jarrod said he was rushing I was like ‘Oh gosh that is not what I want for you.’ I thought let him rush, he will find out, right? Then he said, ‘I found one that I really like.” (I said) You know I don’t like frats. (He said) “This one is different, really. It’s not a frat, it’s a fraternity.” I was like OK, whatever the difference is. My first experience was here four years ago at Moms Day. He did the (Pi Kapp 100) bike ride. I thought, ‘that’s nice’ – that’s what frats do, they have events and fund-raise.’ Then he told us about the charity aspect that it’s for people with special needs. Jarrod has two cousins with cerebral palsy, so I was very impressed. At the house, we saw all the jerseys. He explained there is this long bike ride to raise money. I thought, OK. Throughout the year, I would call Jarrod and he’d say “Oh, sorry mom I gotta run. We’re with the students at the high school – in a special needs class” or “we’re taking them bowling or we got this Halloween party that we are doing for adults with special needs.” And I kinda thought I was out of the loop, so I went to the (chapter) website and I looked at the photo galleries, which are just fabulous for you new moms you sorta feel part of it. You get to see what they are all doing. I saw guys dressed up in costumes and the boys really engaging and talking with the people at the Halloween party. I thought they really do walk the walk. So I was very impressed. Then I got another call from Jarrod that said that I want to do the Journey of Hope. I thought. ‘Tiny tires, long roads, cars – isn’t there another way you can you can fund raise?’ We were fortunate enough to see them in many cities so much so that the boys started to ask Jarrod, “Are they following us all the way to Washington, DC?” We were like stalker parents – “Oh, there are the
Wagners again.” I have to give you a little background.: Jarrod in high school didn’t want to do anything uncool – dancing socially was not part of it so much so he took the homecoming queen to homecoming dance. I said, ‘Does she know that you don’t dance?’ He said, “Oh yeah, mom, she’s fully aware.” Alright, OK, God love her. Fast forward to us being able to see these boys in the cities. They have things called friendship visits. That’s where the facilities that these kids raise all this money for – it directly benefits all these clients. It’s a year that they are waiting to see these guys come. We were able to be at a few of those. The boys have ridden up to 125 miles a day in high heat, high humidity, high elevations and then they go to a friendship visit for two hours approximately. I’m just amazed – and I asked one of the guys ‘How do you do it? I’d want to go home and take a nap.’ “That’s what keeps us going. That’s the reason why we want to go, we want to get there.” I was ashamed that I asked that. We were at a friendship visit and I saw over in a part of the room – I see Jarrod dancing with total abandon. His arms were going everywhere. And that was a little thing, but it was a big thing. It was a turning point for me. I was just really amazed. The clients were so thrilled to see these guys. It wasn’t just Jarrod, it was (fellow Omega brothers) Patty (Hobbins), it was Dillon (Pike) – it was all these guys who were so engaged – everyone – they were genuinely engaged. Like laughing, talking, playing, dancing – it didn’t matter who was with whom. It was something that was just amazing. If you are a parent and you are in a town where they come through and you have an opportunity and it’s alright with the fraternity I suggest you definitely have an opportunity. I was talking to a mom today whose son is going to be in the ride (in 2016). I said, ‘It will definitely change your life as a parent.’ I have to say there was something that I did not expect when we started out, they started out – we, like I was on the ride.. We were at the Golden Gate Bridge and you got college boys, fraternity boys, 20-somethings and they did something they were going to do every morning. They circled up, they crossed arms, they locked hands and the leader explained a disability that they could understand for the day. That day was cerebral palsy and explained what it was all about, so the boys could understand. Then
Sandi Wagner they said in whose name can we ride? Jarrod raised his hand and named his two cousins and there were several other boys that named someone. Never was I more proud of the choice that Jarrod made four years ago to be in Pi Kappa Phi. At that moment it was not something that happened lightly. These boys were so sincere and so caring. It was about others, it wasn’t about themselves. I got a call from Jarrod just last week. (He said) “I was at this thing this week and I got this award. (Purdue Interfraternity Council’s) Philanthropist of the Year”. Oh, the boy who wouldn’t dance? We are very honored and it was very gracious that they did that for him. (Today Ambrose Haas) mentioned that one of the administrators have said “Pi Kappa Phi sets the standard on campus.” That’s huge, that’s huge that you guys have to be so proud that you found something that’s so special. For you new moms if you are apprehensive, or have reservations like I did, I think Pi Kappa Phi is just a pathway for these boys to have an opportunity to grow in service and leadership and something they are going to take with them forever. It doesn’t end at the doors of Purdue. I think really we are all here on this Earth to find a reason to help each other. And this is a place the kids can do it. The vision statement that I noticed on the website just recently is “a future where every member embraces his role as a leader, puts service before self and improves the world around him.’” If you apprehensive, moms, know that your son really sees something special in this place. And trust him. I have to say that Pi Kappa Phi has made my son a better man. And Jarrod, you were right all along.
AUGUST 2016 Brent Wunderlich and Isabel Duque, Feb. 1, 2016
DIED 481 James R. Platt 1/10/15
Colin York and Caroline Skuta, March 26, 2016 Scott Bunosky and Abby Stroup, April 9, 2016
459 Billy L. Rush* 2/14/13 802 Abdreu “Andy” Tymoszenko 5/19/15 MARRIED Robbie Pels and Holly Vic, July 20, 2015 Scott and Celia Neidow, Sept. 19, 2015 Andrew Scheil and Ashley Poby, 10/3/15. Rob Woods and Derek Carwood, 12/10/15. Ramey and Jennifer Miller, Dec. 2, 2015 Erik Lauer and Analo Plaza, Jan. 16, 2016. Kevin Brouder and Stephanie, Aug. 22, 2015
Troy Wright and Sarah Dudley, Feb. 6, 2016
Connor Michael, son of Mike and Kathy DeCorte, Aug. 25, 2015 Carson Paul, son of Jason and Amanda Wade, March 9, 2015 Madelyn Grace, daughter of John and Melissa Reidelbach, Sept. 22, 2015.
Kevin Vargo and Erika Wintersteen, April 23, 2016
Victoria Marie Hilker, daughter of Marimer Maldonado-Hilker and Steve Hilker, Oct. 4, 2015
Ben Ross and Amber Armstrong, April 30, 2016
Ashley, daughter of Austin Carr, Oct. 10, 2015
Chris DeMuth and Rebecca Eve, May 7, 2016
Catherine Cecile, daughter of Andrew and Christina Jordan, Nov. 28, 2015
Brian Criehgton and Sheana Perry, July 23, 2016
Owen Thomas Mosbey, son of Kevin and Nichole Moseby, May 18, 2016.
TJ Strezelecki and Kristen Meeh, Aug. 20, 2016
Finley Rose Shea, daughter of Brian and Jamie Shea, June 16, 2016.
Josh Williams, and Brittany, Aug. 7, 2016
Lainey James Winn, daughter of Jared and Molly Winn, June 29, 2016.
Young Yang and TR White, Aug. 22, 2016
Preston Rhys Hofer, son of Kevin and Lorie Hofer, Aug. 13, 2016
CHILDREN: Oskar John, son of Shaun and Ashley Gilday, Aug. 18, 2015
Nolan Vincent, son of Donovan Higgins and Amber Murphy, Aug. 12, 2016
Photo: Dave Mason
Sami Renee Photo
Robbie Pels & Holly Vic
Scott & Celia Neidow
Andrew Scheil & Ashley Poby
Rob Woods & Derek Carwood
Erik Lauer & Analo Plaza
Stephanie Kevin Brouder
Brent Wunderlich & Isabel Duque
Scott Bunosky & Abby Stroup
Brent Wunderlich & Isabel Duque
Troy Wright & Sarah Dudley
Erika & Kevin Vargo
Ben Ross & Amber Armstrong
Omega celebrates initiate No. 2,000 Undergraduates, alumni and parents celebrated something only three Pi Kappa Phi chapters have done – initiate their 2,000th member. After 93 years at Purdue, the chapter celebrated that milestone during a banquet attended by more than 130 people on Oct. 24, 2015, in the Memorial Union. Austin “2K” Schroeder, a sophomore from Carmel, IN, was the focal initiate. Omega became the third Pi Kappa Phi chapter out of nearly 200 nationwide to have achieved that milestone number of initiates – only Florida and Alabama Pi Kapps had done such previously. “It is truly an honor to be the 2,000th initiate into the Pi Kappa Phi Omega chapter; however, it could have easily been another brother standing in front of you tonight,” Schroeder said at the banquet. “What I am trying to say is: Tonight is not about me – it is about us. Tonight is about our brotherhood!” He said that 10 months earlier, he stood in the chapter house and accepted his bid. “Little did I know, I would be embarking on one of the greatest experiences of my life,” Schroeder said. “One that includes life-long friendships, academic success, and positive contributions to our community. As I stand before you this evening, I can honestly say that becoming a member of Pi Kappa Phi has made me a better man!” Fall archon Tyler Ochs told the assembled crowd about the many achievements of the chapter. “Going forward, the chapter’s potential has never been higher,” Ochs said. “We have established an identity, ‘The Pi Kapp Way’ as (assistant dean of students) Brandon Cutler said recently. We don’t get in trouble, we consistently produce Top 3 in philanthropy dollars raised, service hours, and are above a 3.0 in GPA. We take care of ourselves by
running our own philanthropy and doing what we know is best in a very humble way.” More than 30 alumni attended the event commemorating the historic event, too. The oldest initiate was insurance agency owner Kim Tubergen (Omega No. 852) of Angola, IN. “I did learn about brotherhood (when in the chapter), which is what the fraternity is all about,” he said. “It was brotherhood in 1968 and it’s brotherhood in 2015.” He quoted the Jaycee Creed as emblematic of Pi Kappa Phi – “The brotherhood of man transcends the sovereignty of nations.” “I know that most of you don’t know me and I do not know you, but one thing – you are my brothers and I couldn’t be happier and I love you all,” he said. Another featured speaker was Larry Morton, president of the Hal Leonard Corp., the world’s largest music print publisher. He was an alumnus initiate that day. “Oh, my goodness, I am so honored to be here tonight,” Morton said. “It was just a beautiful surprise when I got the invitation to be part of this. Sitting here this evening I have been overwhelmed with the quality of the folks gathered under this chapter. It’s truly remarkable and I am deeply honored to be part of it.” Morton was not Greek as an undergraduate at Eastern Illinois in the early 1980s. “As I came to learn more about the Greek system, I really regretted that I didn’t have that opportunity,” he said. “It wasn’t until my daughter came to Purdue three years ago and joined a sorority and began her own journey that it opened my eyes to the power of what you all are doing and how it shapes and elevates your lives.” Pi Kappa Phi national CEO Mark Timmes came from Charlotte, NC, to be part of history and lauded the chapter’s successes.
CEO Mark Timmes presents Austin Schroeder his initiation certificate on Oct. 24, 2015. “We have created a sustainability here – a culture of excellence that has made Omega one of the great chapters in Pi Kappa Phi,” Timmes said. “Across the United States on 183 campuses, Omega is a leading chapter of Pi Kappa Phi. You’ve heard about all the awards the chapter has won at the university and national levels and with your great volunteers, so Omega has been a very impactful part of Pi Kappa Phi.” It took the chapter established in 1922, a total of 54 years to get to the 1,000th initiate in 1976. Then it took 39 more to get to No. 2,000 in 2015. Omega initiate No. 1,000, Ken Buchanan, was unable to attend the banquet but was there for the historic initiation afterwards. Buchanan, who works in Purdue Athletics, did prepare some comments that were shared at the banquet. “One of the best decisions I’ve made in my life was to rush Pi Kappa Phi and was honored to accept a bid from Omega,” his note read. “The ‘life lessons’ I learned from the other brothers still help me every day on my journey through life. Being pin number 1,000 was a great honor not just for me but, should be shared equally by all of those that preceded me in initiation with all of their hard work and dedication to the organization.”