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Omegalite SEPTEMBER 2008 Omega of Pi Kappa Phi, Inc. Housing Corporation P.O. Box 2700 West Lafayette, IN 47996-2700 Chapter Web address: http://www. Corporation Officers JAY SEEGER PRESIDENT 3817 Old Farm Road Lafayette, IN 47905 765/742-4529, work 765/474-1986, home

BRANDT HERSHMAN VICE PRESIDENT 6142 Maderia Lane Lafayette, IN 47905 574/581-2000, cell

STEVE BOHNER TREASURER 194 Twin Springs Ct. Carmel, IN 46234 317/846-3008, home 317/844-2250, work 317/844-2296, fax steve@langdonand PAT KUHNLE SECRETARY 720 Chelsea Road W. Lafayette, IN 47906 765/743-1111 ext. 205, work 765/743-6087, fax 765/743-1256, cell pkuhnle@purdue


Chapter member wins Student of the Year When it was time for the national Pi Kappa Phi Student of the Year award to be given this July in Denver, there was no suspense. Steve Holtsclaw (Omega 1666) was invited onto the podium to stand alongside the presenter, Phil Summers, after whom the award is named. Unlike other individual or chapter awards, whereby the presenter gives justification for the winner, Summers looked to his side and explained the two had met four months earlier hundreds of miles away. In April in Washington D.C., Holtsclaw was one of four students nationwide to win an Award of Distinction from the National Interfraternity Council. He stood alongside Summers, president-emeritus of Vincennes University and a long-time supporter of his chapter at Alpha Psi

Photo courtesy Tim Rebar

O m e g a ’s Steve Holtsclaw poses with Phil Summers upon receiving the Student of the Year award at Supreme Chapter in Denver in July. (Indiana University), as he received more than just his was recognized with an degree from the School of Alumni Award of Management,” a Purdue Distinction. IFC alumni newsletter Holtsclaw’s Pi Kapp noted. “He is taking with Student of the Year Award him the legacy of being the was his fifth award. most honored and awarded “When Steve Holtsclaw Continued on Page 2 graduated on May 3, he

Fraternity prepares for Oct. 25 homecoming Alumni are encouraged to attend the Oct. 25 homecoming celebration and reconnect with fellow alumni. The Boilermakers will take the field at noon that day against Minnesota and the chapter will welcome alumni prior to the game. Alumni who wish to order tickets through the housing corporation may do so by Oct. 10. Tickets will be held at the house and will be available from 9 a.m. to the noon gametime. Tickets are $46 each. Send your checks payable to “Omega of Pi Kappa Phi” and mail them in the return

envelope provided in this Omegalite mailing (the address is also located on the front page of this newsletter). The schedule to be followed on Oct. 25 includes: • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., lunch provided at the chapter house. • 11:30 a.m., leave the house for the Purdue-Minnesota football game. • Noon, gametime. • 6 p.m. to ?, post-game reception for those brave enough to venture into the campus bar scene. Pick your poison and location.

OMEGALITE Continued from Page 1 fraternity or sorority undergraduate in Purdue history.” For emphasis sake, note he was the most honored Greek in Purdue history, which dates back to the 1890s. As noted in the Purdue alumni publication, he “is without a doubt the epitome of an individual living true fraternal values.” What brought Holtsclaw to prominence was his service as the 2007 IFC president. During his term, fraternity membership climbed. He was able to coalesce the four Purdue Greek entities for the first time ever. He worked the U.S. Department of Education to reduce risk issues for incoming freshmen nationwide. He supported a Greek effort to build a local house for Habitat for Humanity. “He not only made the fraternity and sorority community better during his tenure, he made everyone he worked with a better leader, student, administrator and community member,” assistant dean of students

HOLTSCLAW HONORS • Pi Kappa Phi Student of the Year Recognizes the overall most outstanding student member of Pi Kappa Phi out of 6,000+ undergraduates nationwide. • Purdue Greek Man of the Year Recognizes outstanding achievement among Purdue fraternity men. • Wayne Colvin Award The highest leadership recognition given to an undergraduate fraternity or sorority member by Mid American Greek Council Association from 160+ campuses nationwide. • NIC Award of Distinction One of four students nationwide receiving recognition “as those men committed to brightening the future of fraternity and ensuring that fraternities are living by the espoused missions and values” by National Interfraternity Council. • Charles McGauhey Leadership Award One of seven Purdue students honored for “leadership abilities and appreciation for basic American values.”

SEPTEMBER 2008 Kyle Pendleton wrote in a reference letter. At the chapter level, he served as historian, vice archon, treasurer and archon. Among other accomplishments, he led the chapter in developing a strategic plan. “I knew early on in Steve’s life as a Pi Kappa Phi that great things were expected of him,” Zach Isbell, his chapter pledge pop wrote in a reference letter. “It was easy to see from his determination, work ethic and leadership in his associate member class that he was going to be very successful in both what college could offer him and in his life after graduation.” A measure of his impact on the chapter is no more evident than in the recognition it received at the national convention in Denver this summer. The chapter won 13 major awards, including being named the best chapter in the nation with operations. “To be able to represent Purdue University and the Omega chapter for the Summers Award was a huge honor and responsibility,” Holtsclaw said. “I was incredibly proud of the success we had at the chapter level at Supreme Chapter. To come away with 12 other awards, be a Champion Master Chapter and a Master Chapter in five of the seven categories means more to me than anything.” Holtsclaw, who joined the chapter in the spring of 2005, credited his mother’s experience at Vanderbilt for leading him to consider becoming Greek, but he had his doubts coming out of high school. “I wouldn’t have even joined a fraternity if not for my mom’s continued involvement in Kappa Kappa Gamma because, initially, all I saw were the stereotypes of alcohol and hazing,” Holtsclaw said. “I was fortunate to have a great pledge pop, Zach Isbell (Omega 1634), who showed me how to get involved in the chapter and on campus.” Leadership – one the basic tenets of Pi Kappa Phi in its second century – is something that Holtsclaw


Holtsclaw poses with Pi Kappa Phi CEO Mark Timmes, center, and Phil Summers after Holtsclaw and Summers received NIC awards.

Holtsclaw poses with his dad, left, and pledge pop Zach Isbell, right, after receiving the NIC Award of Distinction in Washington, D.C., in April.

exudes. “He is a most deserving young man who is destined to continue being a leader among leaders,” Tony Hawkins, Purdue dean of students, wrote in a reference letter. “He has an outstanding academic record, is a master at managing his time and setting priorities, and his actions, as well as his words, continues to demonstrate his devotion and pride in his Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.” Holtsclaw is now a financial analyst for Eli Lilly, Co., in Indianapolis. It is the first time since 1989 (Jake Olesen), that a chapter member won the national Student of the Year Award. And it has been since 1994 (Doug Te a n y) that a chapter member has won the Purdue Greek Man of the Year award.




Omega wins 13 national awards at Supreme Chapter The Omega chapter won 13 major awards at Supreme Chapter in Denver in July. That supplements two Purdue individual awards in won in April (chapter-level awards for 2007-08 are given in the fall). PURDUE INDIVIDUAL AWARDS • Greek Man of the Year, Steve Holtsclaw • Outstanding Greek Scholar, Joe Schaefer SUPREME CHAPTER AWARDS • Phillip M. Summers Student of the Year, Steve Holtsclaw • Red Rose Club Award, Push America for exceeding fundraising goal • Bronze Star Award, Push America for $10,000+ fundraising • Centennial Society, Push America for raising $100 per member for Push • Legacy Recruitment Award, for initiating at least one legacy • Alumni Newsletter of the Year for Omegalite There are seven objectives that the national organization evaluates each chapter. There are three levels of success. The third level, which is most prestigious, is recognized as a Master Chapter Award level. Furthermore, one chapter is recognized as the top within that category. There are seven awards given out – one of each of the seven objectives Then the chapters that collectively achieve the best in those areas is considered for a Champion Master Chapter Award. There were 28 of 161

Almanac DIED: 809 Joseph J. Wojdula Feb. 4, 2007

Photo courtesy Tim Ribar Chapter members Kevin Vargo, David Stinnette and Jim Vasil receive the top chapter operations award at Supreme Chapter.

chapters that achieved this level. The seven objectives of chapter excellence categories are: 1. Recruitment Success 2. Superior Member Education 3. Academic Achievement 4. South Chapter Operations 5. Living the Ritual 6. Commitment to Service (Push America, etc.) 7. Effective Alumni Relations MASTER CHAPTER AWARDS IN: • Recruitment Success • Academic Achievement

• Sound Chapter Operations • Living the Ritual • Effective Alumni Relations This means that the chapter achieved level three recognition in five of the seven objectives. • Outstanding Chapter Operations Award, meaning it was the top chapter in the nation in this category. • Champion Master Chapter overall meaning it was one of 28 chapters achieving at this level.

Hazel Grace Smith, son of Lora and Chuck Smith (Omega 1241) May 1, 2008

Charles James Maczka, son of Meredith and Matt Maczka (Omega 1543) July 26, 2008 Porter Eustis Stephens, son of Jennifer and Sheldon Stephens (Omega 1464). June 10, 2008

250 Laurence L. Lyles Aug. 18, 2007 BIRTHS: Liam Patrick Ohaver, son of Kristen and Kevin Ohaver (Omega 1438) April 7, 2008

MARRIAGE: Adrienne Ernst and Dan Reed (Omega 1527), May 31, 2008, Jasper, IN

Lora, Hazel and Chuck Smith




John McDonald named Outstanding Alumnus An Omega alumnus was among 11 honored by Purdue’s College of Technology in April. John McDonald (Omega 740), a 1968 graduate in organizational leadership and supervision, was named a distinguished alumnus from the college. “The selection was a surprise, to be sure,” McDonald said recently. “After not a lot of focus in my early college days I really had to double up in the work world. I guess my pleasure is in getting an outside affirmation that it isn’t how you start, but more how you finish.” McDonald, along with 10 others, were honored “for their professional and personal success across the spectrum of technology fields,” according to a Purdue press release. “Each of these 11 men and women have made significant contributions to a wide variety of fields

and industries,” Dennis Depew, dean of technology, said. After his undergraduate years, McDonald started a 35-year banking career with Lafayette National Bank. Through a series John McDonald of bank mergers and acquisitions, he retired in 2003 from Banc One Capital Markets, Inc., in Chicago. At Banc One, he was managing director of the large corporate real estate group.. Prior to his move to Chicago, the father of two daughters and grandfather of one, served as secretarytreasurer of the Omega of Pi Kappa Phi Housing Corporation from 1968 to 1991. “I think the (chapter’s) biggest

influence (on me) was that the fraternity gave me a lot of support in times when I needed it and that lesson helped me to work with staff who might not have gotten it ‘right’ the first time but turned out great.” In retirement, he’s traveled and volunteered extensively. He recently traveled to Russia and China. He’s been involved in church events at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago, which also assists a parish in Waveland, Miss., for its post-hurricane Katrina efforts. He also is on the board of Friends of Downtown Chicago. He recognizes being named an outstanding alumnus is a surprise to his fraternity brothers, too. “I never thought I would qualify for anything close (to this), as many of my brothers would also testify.”

Pair commit to 2009 Journey of Hope cycling trip A pair of chapter members will become the 11th and 12th Omega riders in the Journey of Hope. Archon Kevin Vargo (Omega 1674) and vice archon David Stinnette (Omega 1689) will participate in the 4,000-mile trek from the west to the east coast during the summer of 2009. Brian Carlson (Omega 1282) was the first chapter member to ride in the Journey of Hope. The crosscountry ride became a Push America staple in 1983. Carlson made the trip in 1991. Journey of Hope team members raise money and awareness for Push. During the bike ride, they make visits to facilities that help people with handicaps. The inspiration for riders to participate can come in various ways. “I chose to do this because I was inspired by a fellow chapter member, Young Yang,” said Vargo, a

senior in chemical engineering from Carmel. “I saw how much his trip in 2007 changed him as a person and positively influenced those with disabilities.” Stinnette, meanwhile, has been heavily involved in service at the chapter level with Push projects. His efforts include being part of ProjectAccessability, a program in which local chapters assist someone in their neighborhood. The Omega chapter has built two wheelchair ramps for people who have previously been homebound. “I want to do this to bond with my brothers and serve people with

all types of disabilities,” said Stinette, a senior in management from Indianapolis. Both riders must raise $7,500 to participate on the team and they are just starting their fund raising. Alumni may help those efforts. Alumni may make donations through the Push America Web page ( by clicking “donate” and scrolling down to “Browse the team member rosters” and clicking Journey of Hope. Then a page of all 2009 riders will appear. You can find Vargo and Stinnette’s donation opportunities there. They may also be reached at:, 317.694.5573., 317.965.1654.




Alumnus, undergrad appear on national broadcasts Who knew that the plight of an Omega legacy would touch so many people? Drew Perschon, whose father, Rob (Omega 1463), was one of the featured cases in national media coverage on Sept. 5 as part of a live fund-raising program called “Stand Up To Cancer Show.” The show was broadcast simultaneously on ABC, NBC and CBS. The younger Peschon was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma, a rare aggressive cancer, after his parents noticed a black eye that wouldn’t go away in October 2007. The cancer, which is now believed in remission, started in his abdomen and was the size of a softball and a second, golf-ball sized tumor was in his brain. It was the second tumor that was visible as a black eye. “It is absolutely, completely indescribable when you find your child has cancer,” Drew’s mother, Kate, was quoted in a report produced by a Chicago TV station and broadcast nationally. “You think – and this sounds cliché – but you really think it happens to other people.” The cancer is one that attacks the nervous system and whose victims are typically young children. Drew, an active 2-1/2 year old, has endured five rounds of chemotherapy, ongoing radiation treatments, surgery and a three stem cell transplant in the last year. He is being treated with continued radiation to beat Drew Perschon the 50 percent survival rate. His case has been featured in multiple media reports and his family has been the beneficiary of fundraisers, including one held on Aug. 1 in Schererville, Ind., that had more than 500 attend. A brief mention in the last

Omegalite brought together two Omega initiates who didn’t know one another. Scott Jewson (Omega 1318) was attracted to Drew’s case because a couple he knew lost their child’s battle with the same cancer in 2004. As a result of that loss, Jewson and his wife, Kristin, founded a foundation to raise money for cancer research ( The Jewsons, who coordinate an annual celebrity fund-raising golf tournament in the Chicago area, reached out to the Perschons. “My dad and I were able to attend the Allie and Friends golf outing,” Rob said. “It was a great time and really nice to network with other parents who are currently going through/have gone through what we are doing.” According to Scott Jewson this year’s golf outing raised $175,000, which will be used for research and education about the disease. “This foundation funds various research projects around the country, including projects being research at Children’s Hospital in Chicago where Drew is receiving treatment,” Scott said. “It is our hope that with this research, we can help facilitate new and better treatments to combat neuroblastoma for Drew and all the other kids that have been stricken by this horrible disease.” You can follow Drew’s progress on a Web site set up for friends and family. Though mid-September, the site had nearly 50,000 visits ( The Perschon’s story was not the only Omega-related national media story on Sept. 5. As part of its promotion of that evening’s program on cancer, undergraduate Grady Murphy (Omega 1708) was flown to New York and was interviewed on the set of NBC’s Today Show. Murphy was asked about his con-

Photo courtesy Scott Jewson Omega alumnus Rob Perschon appears in a neuroblastoma golf fundraiser near Chicago.

tributions to a new book, “Love Sick,” which explains the pains of losing a parent to cancer. His mother died of cancer when he was 9. It wasn’t Murphy’s original intent to contribute his writings for a book, rather it was his way of expressing his feelings about growing up without a mother. “It was originally for us and all of a sudden we had these really proContinued on other side

Book cover of “Love Sick: Teens Reflect on Growing Up With A Parent Who Has Cancer” © Harald Harman, Recipe For Success, Inc.

OMEGALITE Continued from other side

found writings that could affect a lot of other people,” Murphy said during Today Show interview. “It’s really a neglected population. No one in the medical profession, no one in research ever pays any attention to what the families themselves are going through and especially when someone’s parent is taken away from them because of a disease.” Murphy was accompanied on the set by another teenager who lost a parent and by a social worker. Both were among the 22 people who contributed to the 100-page book, which is published by Harald Hermann. It is composed of essays, journals and art. The idea for the book came from Kids Connected, a non-profit organization to support teens who have parents with cancer or have died from cancer. The group runs a camp to provide counseling and support for those teens. The book was started at a youth group training session six years ago when the teens were asked to put

SEPTEMBER 2008 their thoughts onto paper. “It was amazing to see how many people that cancer has actually affected,” Murphy said after his TV appearance. “And the fact that this interview happened showed that there is a need for a book like this. To let them know they are not alone and there are networks out there to support them.” His trip to New York affected him in other ways as well.

“It was quite an experience,” Murphy said. “It was interesting meeting famous people. It was a really cool once-in-a-lifetime experience.” He’s also received feedback about his TV appearance from others. “Friends and family have said it was a very touching interview and the message was conveyed clearly and received very well,” he said.

Undergraduate Grady Murphy is interviewed on the set of NBC’s Today Show in New York on Sept. 5. (Screenshot by permission of NBC)

Alumni help accomplish record Push year More than two thirds of the chapter’s Push America record-setting fundraising once again included alumni donations and riders. Three alumni – Mark Higgins (Omega 1031), Jerry Budd (Omega 1509) and Adam Poor (Omega 1624) – joined 35 chapter riders and crew in raising more than $8,500 for Push. Higgins joined his undergraduate nephew Donovan (Omega 1692) for the third consecutive year as a rider. The Pi Kapp 100 is a 100-kilometer bike ride from Zionsville to West Lafayette. It is patterned after the national Journey of Hope in that riders and crew commit to soliciting sponsorships. The Boys an Girls Club of Zionsville hosts riders and crew on a Friday night in April and they return to campus on the Saturday of Mom’s Weekend.


Other than alumni riders who had to raise $250 to participate, others who supported Push through donations included Rick Bonar, Manish Gandhi, Brian Heiwig, Jim Taller, Kevin Johnson, Phil Leslie, Pat Kuhnle, Craig Bohbrink, Joe Williams, Don Porth and James Briggs. That group gave $2,004 toward the chapter’s giving record. Leslie (Omega 1506) – a 2002 Journey of Hope alumnus – was the featured speaker Pi Kapp 100Mom’s Day. He spoke to a crowd of about 140 family members and guests about his Push America experiences. The $8,000+ fund raising was part of record $12,166 the chapter raised for the national Pi Kappa Phi philanthropy. Other chapter fund-raising activities include the Pi Kapp-Alpha

Phi golf outing in the fall (six sororities and 23 fraternities participated) and the War of the Roses in the spring (nine sororities participated with 60+ participants and 80 chapter members as coaches). War of the Roses is a Greekwide, weeklong philanthropy and empathy week. Participants participate in an obstacle course and talent show mimicking various disabilities. For the sixth academic year in a row, the chapter raised at least $5,000 for Push America. In each of those years, it was the top fraternity philanthropy fund raiser at Purdue. In three of the last four years, Omega raised $10,000 or more. On a campuswide level, the chapter participated in 15 Greek philanthropies. It also contributed 248 volunteer hours in addition campus philanthropies – an average of 2.5 hours per member – for the spring semester.