Page 1


Omegalite AUGUST 2009


The 2009 Kroeg Award, signifying the top Pi Kappa Phi chapter in its class, graces 330 N. Grant St.

Pi Kappa Phi bestows highest honor upon Omega In what might be considered the golden age of modern Pi Kapp Phi history, the Omega chapter has been recognized as the top fraternity in its league nationally. At the July 25 Pi Kapp College chapter awards ceremony in Charleston, SC, the Purdue chapter was rewarded a Founders Award – the Kroeg – the highest fraternity honor for a chapter. In his comments revealing the winner, Mark Timmes, national CEO, lauded the chapter. “This chapter’s devotion to a collective excellence garnered it the Chapter of the Year Award on its campus,” Timmes said. “And, for their many successes, we are pleased to announce the Omega

chapter at Purdue University as our 2009 Kroeg Award recipient.” Omega was cited for its No. 2 grade ranking out of 41 Purdue fraternities with a 3.05 average GPA from 98 men. Also noted was its seven (of nine possible) different chapter-related awards in various Purdue IFC categories. Furthermore, in the last two academic years, the chapter received individual awards for Purdue Greek Man of the Year (Steve Holsclaw), Greek Scholar of the Year (Joe Schaefer) and Chapter Advisor of the Year (Pat Kuhnle). Omega received recognition for being Level III, the highest rating, in each of Pi Kappa Phi’s Seven Objectives of Chapter Excellence,

which led to one of 29 Champion Master Chapter Awards at Pi Kapp College. Omega also won the Push Innovator’s Award for innovative programming with the Pi Kapp 100Mom’s Day event. An Omega undergraduate, Jim Vasil (Omega 1677), won the 2009 Push Chairman of the Year Award. The chapter was recognized as the top chapter of 146 nationally in Sound Chapter Operations. The Kroeg Award is given to the top chapter with 18+ fraternities on its campus. There are 46 Pi Kappa Phi chapters in this league. There are two other Founders Awards – the Mixon and Fogerty – given to 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. 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 The Omegalite is published at least twice 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.

AUGUST 2009 Continued from Page 1 chapters in other leagues (one in the eight or less fraternities on their campus and the other for 9 to 17). Pi Kappa Phi has 132 chartered chapters nationwide and 14 associate chapters, making it the 10th largest national fraternity. The Kroeg recognition has been applauded by many. Dan Cronin (Omega 1702), Fall 2009 archon, has received several emails from alumni offering their thanks. “My sincere and utmost congratulations to the entire Omega chapter on your receipt of the many annual Pi Kapp awards this year,” Jack Berlien (Omega 722 wrote). “The entire active chapter should be very proud of your successes.” Jim Thompson, (Omega 1404) who A complete list of 2009 Pi Kappa Phi national awards includes: • KROEG AWARD, signifying the best chapter nationally in its class. • CHAMPION MASTER CHAPTER, recognizes chapters that achieve a composite Level 3 on the Seven Objectives of Chapter Excellence. A total of 29 of Pi Kappa Phi's of 146 chapters nationally won this award. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 1, Recruitment Success. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 2, Superior Associate Member Education. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 3, Academic Achievement. The chapter ranked No. 2 of Purdue 41 fraternities with a 3.05 GPA in the most recent reporting period. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 5, Living the Ritual. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 6, Commitment to Service from Push America. • MASTER CHAPTER AWARD, OBJECTIVE 7, Effective Chapter Alumni Relations. • CHAPTER MANAGEMENT AWARD, top chapter nationally for Objective 4, Sound Chapter Operations. • INNOVATOR’S AWARD, most innovative Push America Event: Pi Kapp 100-Mom's Day event. • VOLUNTEER RELATIONSHIP AWARD, top chapter with most outstanding philanthropic efforts independent of Push America, by volunteering more than 100 hours with a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. • CORE VALUES AWARD, recognized as a top chapter with best overall understanding of Push America's four core values – “Abilities, Teamwork, Empathy and Integrity.” • GOLDEN STAR AWARD, for raising $75 per man toward Push America fund raising. • THOMAS SAYRE AWARD, Jim Vasil, outstanding Push America chairman.

PURDUE UNIVERSITY lives in Charleston, was able to attend the awards ceremony. “Great job and many thanks to the brothers for their hard work and focus on being true leaders,” Thompson wrote. “I was fortunate to be there at a great moment in the chapter’s history. Fifteen years later, the lessons I learned from the chapter are far beyond what I ever learned in the classroom. Continue to push the guys to focus on making every hour count.”

CEO Mark Timmes poses with undergraduates Dan Cronin, Jim Vasil, TJ Tomasik and alumnus Jim Thompson in front of the banner carrying Omega’s name as the 2009 Kroeg Award winner.

Chad Coltrane, executive director of Push America, presents Jim Vasil the 2009 Innovator’s Award for Omega’s Pi Kapp 100-Mom’s Day event.

Pi Kapp volunteer Frank Wrenn poses with undergraduates Jim Vasil, TJ Tomasik and Dan Cronin after Omega was named the nation’s best in Chapter Operations.


Postive reactions regarding chapter receiving Kroeg “I'm an alumnus and past archon from the Omega Chapter. I just got word that the Chapter has won the Kroeg Award – that's fantastic! I'm glad to hear that the leadership has been going strong and I love hearing all the good news coming out of there!” Stephen Hilker, Omega 1585 “Having spent two years working for the national fraternity and having traveled to dozens of Pi Kapp chapters across the country, I take great pride in the accomplishments of the Omega Chapter. Shortly after Omega was presented with the Kroeg Award I received many phone calls and text messages from national staff members, past consultants, and undergraduates from many different chapters sharing their congratulations to the men from Purdue. This award not only confirms Omega as an example of a superior chapter within Pi Kappa Phi – it affirms the Omega Chapter as the standard to which others will seek to follow.” Tom Harzula, Omega 1619 “Receiving the award only a few months after taking office and before beginning my term while at Purdue is a great honor and provides a challenge. We are now faced with the opportunity to raise the bar even higher and continue to provide a great structure for the future leaders of the fraternity as those before us have. It is definitely a good day to be an Omega Pi Kapp.” Dan Cronin, Fall archon Omega 1702 “As an alumnus, I had a great sense of pride in the chapter to get the news. When you graduate, you hope you've left the chapter better than you found it. From there, you can only hope the chapter uses that as a solid foundation to continue the momentum and build on the success.

AUGUST 2009 When you look back you never want to leave the chapter at the high point because a valley follows a peak, but I'm pretty confident we have a solid group that wants future generations to have even better opportunities. “As a past archon, it was almost a sense of relief because the award helped accomplish one of our major objectives of the Spring 2008 Strategic Plan. We wanted to be recognized as the top chapter at Purdue and within Pi Kappa Phi not for the hardware, but because we could use being in contention for a Kroeg as a measuring stick that we were providing the best opportunities for our members. It's amazing to see the growth in the last few years but having members riding in Journey of Hope, serving as leaders on campus, achieving in the classroom, and remaining at the top of intramurals really show the balance in the chapter and make all of this possible. Personally, I had a memorable senior year but the RB Stewart and Kroeg Award easily meant more to me than any recognition I received last year.” Steve Holtsclaw, Omega 1666 “Congratulations to all. You make us old guys proud.” Bob Sills, Omega 723 “This is a ridiculously good list of awards. Sounds like Omega stole the show this year.” Phil Leslie, Omega 1506 “That is fantastic. I am very glad to hear this.” Travis Conley, Omega 1497 “Omega did not become Chapter of the Year on 7/25/09, it became Chapter of the Year the very moment it decided to do things right and make continuous strides in the direction of success.” Phil Sharon, Omega 1652 “Tell the guys we're all very proud of their hard work. It makes the Pi Kapp journey all the more worthwhile.” Matt Stuve, Omega 1168


Kitchen receives overdue makeover The chapter kitchen received a much-needed partial makeover during the summer. As part of its ongoing maintenance, the Omega of Pi Kappa Phi Housing Corp. replaced the cooking equipment during 2009. Three ovens – one with burner tops, another with a grill top and the third a combination convection/standard oven – along with the deep fryer were all replaced. Most of the equipment, believed to be circa 1960s, had ongoing problems such as uneven heating and thermostats that couldn’t maintain a constant temperature. All the old equipment was underwater for more than three days after the 1987 fire. Some electrical rewiring was done at that time, but for the most part it was the same as what was submerged more than 20 years ago. The new equipment, which is stainless steel, cost $19,182. More than 10 percent of that amount was paid by alumni donations through the last Omegalite ($2,170 to date). The equipment includes two convection ovens, one standard oven, with the top surface being a charbroiler, grill and four burners. The deep fryer was also replaced. The chapter funded a new refrigerator replacing one believed to be 40 years old. The bottom of the refrigerator had deteriorated to the point that there were holes in it. When the compressor gave out in March, it was replaced. The remaining kitchen equipment that predates the ’87 fire includes the dishwasher and freezer. Ongoing maintenance is done of both machines nearly every year. The housing corporation hopes to fund a custom-made walk-in freezer in the pantry area behind the stoves next summer. Alumni donors who helped make the project possible deserve a big thank you from the housing corporation.


Almanac DIED: 541 Edwin K. Henry 5/19/08 1320 John R. "Hoss" Foltz 7/12/09

BIRTHS Larson Mitechll Szulc, son of Toni and Tad Szulc (Omega 1239), of Albuquerque, NM Clancy Ellis Fehrman, son of Erica and Jake



Fehrman (Omega 1491) of Lexington, KY

and Kelli Brady, Dyer, IN July 11, 2009

MARRIED Shaun Gilday (Omega 1595) and Ashley Alenciks May 17, 2009

Jacob Rohleder (Omega 1278) and Angie Beland, Chicago, IL July 11, 2009

Todd Weatherwax (Omega 1529) and Jessie Fix, Columbus, IN July 18, 2009 Dan Rusnak (Omega 1499) and Kelli Cronkite, Brookfield, IL Aug. 29, 2009

Alana and Joe Soeka (Omega 1665), Lafayette, IN May 17, 2009 Tom Moretti (Omega 1495) and Erin Staniszewki, South Bend, IN June 6, 2009 Jon Dora (Omega 1623)

Continued from next page other organizations,” he said. “Finally, I have made many great friends through the chapter that I will stay in touch with for life.” Kevin will be pursuing a chemical engineering Master’s degree at the University of Pennsylvania this fall. Craig said the chapter’s influence on him has been multifaceted. “Overall, the fraternity has changed me immensely,” he said. “I can say that I am a better friend, student, brother and son because of the experiences I had had over the last four years in Pi Kappa Phi.” The influence these two identical twins have had on their chapter has been significant. “Both brought a disciplined approach to academics, a ‘can-do’ attitude and a work ethic that very much epitomizes where the chapter is today,” chapter advisor Pat Kuhnle said. “Certainly, the unequaled recognition Omega received recently is beyond any two guys’ impact, but these two reflect the true meaning of being a Pi Kappa Phi as much as any others I’ve been associated with over the years.” The achievements of the Vargo

Brothers sing “The Rose” at Jon Dora wedding in July.

brothers has also been felt by their peers in the chapter. “The Vargos are both very motivated individuals,” Jim Vasil, Spring 2009 archon, said. “They’ve taken their strengths and used them to better the chapter in different ways. Kevin has been a leader on the executive council for quite some time and actively participates in Push activies. Craig has acted more of a resource for brothers. He’s helped them prepare for the real

Jake Furhman poses with the family after the birth of his newest son.

world by critiquing resumes, doing mock interviews and finding job opportunities.” The Vargos are not the only set of twins who were members of the chapter this year. Fraternal twins Peter (Omega 1707) and Adam Miklius (Omega 1719), of Quincy, IL, are both undergraduate members. Peter was a Fall 2006 pledge and Adam joined the following semester.

Alumnus Brent Buroker along with some Omega undergraduates pose with Journey of Hope participants David Stinette (center, in a sling due to an accident on the ride) and Kevin Vargo (behind bike) on the IUPUI campus. Craig Vargo (second from left) will follow his twin brother Kevin as a Journey of Hope rider.




Identical twins leave their mark on Omega chapter They share the same exact genes, fraternity, and in many cases, the same successes. Identical twins Kevin (Omega 1674) and Craig Vargo (Omega 1676) have taken slightly different academic paths, yet they have lots in common. The Carmel, IN, natives have both been Purdue honors students – Kevin in chemical engineering and Craig in pharmacy. Kevin’s nature is more serious and Craig is more of a practical joker. Both, however, share of love of Pi Kappa Phi. The Vargos had two older brothers who graduated from Purdue, but neither were Greek. Two other guys who were members of their 20-member Fall 2005 pledge class were also from Carmel. “When I rushed, I was unsure about the Greek community,” Craig said. “I was not sure exactly what I was looking for while rushing, but I knew after going to a couple of places what I was not looking for.” Craig said Pi Kappa

Craig and Kevin Vargo at July Journey of Hope team arrival in Indianapolis.

Phi was more welcoming than other chapters. Kevin, meanwhile, sought a fraternity with a purpose. “I was seeking a fraternity that offered balance,” Kevin said. “Sure, I wanted a social life, but I was looking for an organization that offered leadership and service opportunities as well. Pi Kappa Phi fit my criteria first and foremost with Push America.” Kevin, along with pledge brother David Stinnette (Omega 1689), were members of the Trans-America Journey of Hope team for Push America. The pair became the 12th and 13th Omega chapter members to participate in the nearly 70day, 4,000-mile cycling trip across the county. Craig will be on the 2010 Journey of Hope team. Kevin also participated in the first local volunteer relationship with a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. In fact, Kevin said his most memorable Pi Kapp event came at the close of this school year’s with the special needs group. “My most cherished memory was going to the (Indianapolis) zoo with the partnership class,” he said. “I helped set up the partnership and to see it last for a year with a strong final event at the zoo was very rewarding.” Both Vargos cited leadership opportunities as skills gained while with the chapter. Craig, who will be

Twin brothers Kevin and Craig Vargo stand outside the Omega chapter house in May. Kevin, who graduated in the spring in chemical engineering, is attending graduate school in the fall. Craig will start his second year in Purdue’s professional pharmacy program.

starting his fourth of six years in Purdue’s Ph.D. pharmacy program, was the person behind the scene compiling data and documentation for the two major awards the Omega chapter won in the last year. The recognition was the 2007-08 RB Stewart Award winner (as the top Purdue fraternity) and the 2009 Kroeg Award (as the most outstanding Pi Kapp chapter in its class). “I have significantly improved my leadership and communication skills because of being a Pi Kapp,” Craig said. “The

decisions you make as a leader in a chapter affects everyone in the organization and everyone who you live with.” Both brothers agree that the chapter has changed them personally. Kevin, who graduated in May, was archon last fall. His, and his chapter’s success, led him to be a finalist as the IFC President of the Year. “The chapter has allowed me to network with many leaders on campus, which has led me to be involved in many Continued on previous page


Make plans for Oct. 3 homecoming events The chapter will host alumni on Oct. 3 for a traditional homecoming pre-game fare at the Omega chapter house. New coach Danny Hope’s Boilermakers will face Northwestern for the noon kickoff in Ross-Ade Stadium. Alumni can still order tickets and be part of the Omega block, but we need your check by Sept. 20. Tickets are $46 each and you can order them through the hous-

AUGUST 2009 ing corporation. Make checks payable to: Omega of Pi Kappa Phi and mail them to us at PO Box 2700, West Lafayette, IN 47996. You may use the self-addressed envelope provided in this mailing and include your ticket order form slip included in this mailing. If you misplace the envelope and order form, you may simply indicate how many tickets you want and mail it to our Post Office Box. The Oct. 3 homecoming schedule includes: • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., pregame lunch provided at the chapter

PURDUE UNIVERSITY house. • 11:30 a.m., leave the house for the Purdue-Northwestern game. If the weather is frightful and you want to watch the game at the house, there are large screen televisions set up in the Great Hall. • Noon. Gametime. • 6 p.m. to ?, pick your favorite near-campus watering hole and take your alumni brothers along. Of course, the 21-year-olds from the chapter can show you the way and be the beneficiary of your hospitality, too.

Push America recognizes chapter numerous times The Omega chapter continued its commitment to Push America in 2009 and was rewarded for it. During the school year, the chapter participated in three major campus events raising awareness and funds for the disabled for Push. The fall Greek Open, co-sponsored with Alpha Phi sorority, has all-Greek teams competing in golf and tennis. The Fall 2008 pledge class raked leaves in the city to raise money for Push. Four members of the fall class also assisted alumnus Kelley Carr (Omega 448) in moving furniture for his mother-in-law. Carr and his wife Pat, in turn, made a donation to Push America on their behalf. The spring had two high profile events. The first, as reported in the April Omegalite, was the War of Roses event. Nine sororities participated

Jim Vasil receives the Thomas Sayre Award as the top Push America chairman for 2008-09.

in various activities including empathy training, a talent show and an on-stage impromptu question and answer session. Zeta Tau Alpha won that competition. The other spring event – the Pi Kapp 100-Mom’s Day – received acclaim from the national fraternity, as Omega won the Innovator’s Award for it. The Pi Kapp 100 portion is a cycling event from Zionsville to the chapter house (100 kilometers) with undergraduates and alumni alike. Riders and crew gain sponsorships, which raises money for Push. When the team arrives back on campus, they are met by chapter parents as part of Mom’s Day activities that includes a buffet, auction and social. Two chapter members – Kevin Vargo (Omega 1674) and David Stinnette (Omega 1689) – participated in the 2009 Journey of Hope, a cross-country cycling event raising awareness and funds for Push America. The pair became the 12th and 13th Omega men to ride in the event. Two other Omega chapter members have been accepted to be on the 2010 team – alumnus James Loy (Omega 1673) and Craig Vargo (Omega 1676). Jim Vasil (Omega 1677) was named the national Push Chairman of the Year at Pi Kapp College. Under Vasil’s leadership, the chap-

Omega Journey of Hope members David Stinnette and Kevin Vargo pose with alumnus Scott Beatty (Omega 1184) in Denver.

ter established a local volunteer relationship with a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. The chapter raised $7,500 for Push America during 2008-09 under Vasil’s leadership. “Jim was very good with the students and never complained when asked to pitch in and help,” Alyssa Jenkins, special education teacher at Lafayette Jefferson, wrote in her letter nominating Vasil. “He was always willing to help with anything that was needed from the classroom teacher. The students really enjoyed free time with Jim.” The Omega chapter also won the national Push America’s Volunteer Relationship Award. The recognition is for the more than 100 man hours to the Lafayette Jeff High School relationship.