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THE • PI • KAPPA • PHI • FRATERNITY

Omegalite OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Alumni respond to higher calling Serving others is a calling each of us should have, but a call to doing so as clergy is much, much rarer. In fact, according to alumni records, there have been only three Omega alumni out of more than 1,600 who have responded to that calling. For 90-year-old Louis “Wendell” Adams (Omega 383), that calling was more of a push than anything else. While a teacher and administrator more than 50 years ago he took the pulpit almost on a dare from a friend at Linebarger Chapel near the small town of Montezuma, IN – some 15 miles from the Illinois state line. “I was asked to preach one Sunday by the district superintendent of the Methodist church in Terre Haute,” Adams said recently. “ He said, ‘we had no one to serve, would you take the pulpit this Sunday.’ ” It was the church he was married in some seven years before the friend’s prodding and eight years removed from a degree in animal sci-

Pastor Wendell Adams, and his wife, Madonna, are recognized at his last Sunday of preaching before retiring at Salem United Methodist Church.

ences from Purdue. He really wanted to be a farmer, a teacher or a school administrator. His path to the clergy, Purdue and Pi Kappa Phi was somewhat by happenstance. The day after the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor that brought the United States into World War II, the Michigan native went to Detroit and enlisted in the Marines. He served in the South Pacific Theatre. Specifically, he was involved in securing the Samoan Islands. He was one of the many G.I.s who came to Purdue a bit older than the traditional student. Having been converted to Christianity at the age of 15, he sought to continue that tradition through the military and at Purdue. While being active with the Wesley Foundation on campus, he met a Pi Kapp who shared his zeal for faith. “I went to Pi Kappa Phi in 1944 after being asked by (the late) George Jordan (Omega 364),” Adams said. “He said, ‘we need you as a recruit at the fraternity.’ ” Because he was an older veteran, Adams was unsure of how it would work out. “I was pleasantly surprised by the faith life there,” he said. “I made such firm, endearing relationships with those guys. Most were A-1 guys. I had been to war and back, but they totally accepted me and I did likewise. “I felt at home with (the brothers). George and I became closer as Christian friends at Pi Kappa Phi.” Following graduation in 1947, Adams got a teaching job in western Indiana and started graduate school at Indiana State Teacher’s College – now Indiana State University – in school administration. “I really didn’t want the adminisContinued on Page 3

Ryan Nugent, Eric Allen, Ryan Kilboy and Dan Cronin accept the 2010 Kroeg Award during the Surpeme Banquet at Supreme Chapter in Orlando, FL.

Repeat Omega chapter wins Kroeg Award 2nd time in a row Omega was the most recognized of all student chapters nationwide at the 2010 Supreme Chapter meeting in Orlando. With more than 700 in attendance at the capstone event at the conference, Omega was named the Kroeg Award winner, signifying it as the top Pi Kapp chapter nationally in its class (chapters with 17 or more fraternities on their campus). It was the second consecutive such award for the Purdue delegation. The second Kroeg award comes on the heels of Omega being named the R.B. Stewart Award winner at Purdue in May. It was the third consecutive time the chapter has won the award – the first time ever any Purdue fraternity has won three in a row. “In more than 40 years of involvement in the local and national Pi Kappa Phi organizations, I have seen very few chapters – in any fraternity – achieve this high level of recogniContinued 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 jay@shf-law.net

BRANDT HERSHMAN VICE PRESIDENT 6142 Maderia Lane Lafayette, IN 47905 574/581-2000, cell b.hershman@comcast.net

STEVE BOHNER TREASURER 194 Twin Springs Ct. Carmel, IN 46234 317/846-3008, home 317/844-2250, work 317/844-2296, fax steve@langdonand company.com 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 exponent.org 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.

OCTOBER 2010 Continued from Page 1 tion by the university and national fraternity at the same time,” former national president and Omega alumnus David Lane (Omega 835) said. “The current Omega brothers clearly ‘get’ what Pi Kappa Phi and the chapter are all about. Their undergraduate experiences will serve them well following graduation.” Dan Cronin (Omega 1702), Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 archon, was proud of Omega’s recognition. “We really are turning our old goals into new expectations,” he said. “We now have the challenge of topping ourselves. That is a good problem to have.” Immediately prior to the announcement of the Kroeg Award winner, Cronin was named the Phillip M. Summers Student of the Year. That award is selected out of 7,200+ undergraduate Pi Kapp students nationally. It was the second Student of the Year Award for Omega in the last three years. Steve Holtsclaw (Omega 1666) won the award in 2008. His successor as archon thought the recognition of was well deserved. “He is one of the best leaders I have been able to work with during my time at Purdue and he definitely sets a higher expectation for those who follow him as archon,” Mike Lolkus (Omega 1736), said. In April, Cronin also named the Steven C. Beering Outstanding Fraternity president at Purdue. Alumnus Phil Sharon (Omega 1652), chapter president when Cronin entered Pi Kappa Phi, also is very proud of his suburban Chicago hometown protégée. “As someone who was around when Dan joined Pi Kappa Phi, I can say he struck us right away as a natural leader and someone we knew would strengthen our fraternity immediately,” Sharon said upon learning of the award. “He leads by example, has an excellent work ethic and is someone we knew would continue to steer the chapter in the right direction.” James Loy (Omega 1673), now an engineering PhD student at Purdue, mentored Cronin as his pledge pop. “I have a tremendous sense of pride,” Loy said. “Dan is a person who never gives up, regardless of obstacles in his way.” Eric Allen (Omega 1724), a May chemical engineering graduate, won the Vice Archon of the Year Award, for his efforts in recruitment. In 2009-10 under Allen’s leadership, the chapter brought in 53 new members. The Omega

PURDUE UNIVERSITY “Omega alumni couldn’t be happier with the chapter’s outstanding performance over the last few years. The multiple awards on campus and within the fraternity are all we could hope for. The recognition reflects what can be accomplished with superb leadership and dedication to high standards.” – David Lane, former national president chapter was also honored as the Outstanding Recruitment Program in the nation. The chapter produced recruitment fliers, had rush banners, developed a marketing theme of Purdue’s Best, Nation’s Best, Men of CLASS and distributed weekly rush newsletters just to name a few award-winning efforts. When announcing the award winner at a Supreme Chapter luncheon, CEO Mark Timmes said, “We were so impressed with Eric’s efforts that we hired him as a leadership consultant.” In all, Omega received nine major awards at Supreme Chapter. PI KAPPA PHI CHAPTER AWARDS FROM 2009-10 2010 PI KAPPA PHI AWARDS: • Kroeg Award, top chapter in it’s league (campuses with 17 or more fraternities) • Student of the Year, Dan Cronin (out of 7,200+ undergraduates) • Vice Archon of the Year, Eric Allen (out of 155 chapters) • Champion Master Chapter (one of 20 who averaged a Level III in the 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence) • Outstanding Recruitment Program, best chapter in overall recruitment efforts • Alumni Newsletter of the Year, the Omegalite • Legacy Recruitment Award, recognizing chapters that have initiated legacies • Push Core Values Award, chapter that best embodies the core values of Push America – Abilities, Teamwork, Empathy, Integrity (one of four chapters nationwide to win this) • Push Gold Star, for $10,000+ annual fund raising • Master Chapter, Recruitment Success, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence • Master Chapter, Academic Achievement, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence • Master Chapter, Sound Chapter Operations, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence • Master Chapter, Living the Ritual, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence • Master Chapter, Commitment to Service and Push America, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence • Master Chapter, Effective Alumni Relations, Level III 7 Objectives of Chapter Excellence 2009-10 PURDUE IFC AWARDS • RB Stewart Award winner, top fraternity at Purdue (out of 41). Pi Kappa Phi won the award in 2008, 2009 and 2010. • Finalist in 5 of 8 subcategories used to judge overall RB Stewart Award winner, including: Recruitment, leadership, philanthropy, brotherhood and chapter pride. • Steven C. Beering IFC President of the Year, Dan Cronin • Philip Bowers Advisor of the Year, Pat Kuhnle (also won in 1992, 1994, 2002, 2009 and 2010).


OMEGALITE

OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Three Omega alumni serve as clergy members trative duties after all, so I dropped out and continued as a teacher and counselor,” he said. He married in 1948 at the church he would later preach at for the first time. In 1950, he bought a farm and four years later received his invitation to speak about scripture that fateful Sunday morning. “It felt natural, it felt normal, and I can’t explain exactly why it did and I have been preaching somewhere ever since then.” During his span of 55 years as a pastor, he served at more than a dozen parishes. His longest tenure in one location was 12 years at Salem United Methodist Church, northeast of Terre Haute. Since retiring in 1998, he still preaches on occasion as he nears his 91st birthday in November. He recalls his Pi Kappa Phi days quite fondly. “Those were warm, appreciative years,” he said. “Now, I have great memories to cherish.” The path to being a pastor was somewhat different for Craig Grove (Omega 1068). His father was a pastor, so his role modeling came early in life. As a youngster, he lived briefly in Morocco, IN, some 50 miles northwest of the Purdue campus. “I was dealing with the illusion of college from a second grader’s point of view,” he said. That illusion later persuaded him majoring in restaurant,

hotel and tourism management at Purdue. Grove found himself drawn to Pi Kappa Phi in much the same way he was drawn to ministry. “I liked the mixture of guys and very much appreciated the sense of community Pi Kappa Phi offered,” he said. “Church work is also working to forever build community and to enhance that feeling as it grows and matures in your life.” After attending Purdue for two years from 1979-81, Grove felt called to a smaller community near his parents’ new hometown of Wheeling, WV. “It is there that the fruition of a sense of calling to ministry more fully developed,” he said. That development led him to attend Bethany College, a much smaller school located in the foothills of the Alleghany Mountains, close to his parents. After graduating from the liberal arts college in 1984, Grove moved to Claremont School of Theology, being ordained as a Disciples of Christ minister in 1987. Since earning a Masters in Divinity in 1988, Grove has been ministering in seven states. Most recently he has been a pastor at the Red Oak Christian Church in Greenville, NC. The desire to serve also has driven Tom Harzula (Omega 1619) to start seminary in August 2010. After graduating in 2007 in political science, he served Pi Kappa Phi for two years as a traveling consultant

Rev. Craig Grove poses in one of his Disciples of Christ parish assignments. He has been a minister for more than 20 years in a variety of states.

Tom Harzula, who works at three small rural parishes in southern Indiana while attending a seminary, poses at Pisgah United Methodist Church in Deputy, IN.

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working with 65 chapters in 22 states. After completing his two years on the road for Pi Kappa Phi, he almost went to the seminary. Instead, he assisted Indiana statewide campaigns for Republicans with Web development and social media strategy. “I have developed a tremendous heart for service during the last five or six years,” Harzula said. “I have always had a desire to have a career within something I am passionate about – which is why I worked for Pi Kappa Phi and in politics. After becoming a follower of Christ, I suppose this was the next logical step.” The service component of the fraternity itself – through Push America alongside the various campus philanthropies had an impact on his thinking. “My life as an Omega undergraduate taught me many things through experience – passion, servant leadership and engagement,” he said. “I had grown up with the knowledge that everything isn’t about me, but it was through my various Pi Kapp experiences that I began to understand what that notion truly meant.” While studying at Asbury Theological Seminary in Kentucky, Harzula has accepted a position as a weekend pastor at three small Methodist churches in Southern Indiana. He will continue with his responsibilities as a Pi Kappa Phi regional governor with authority over the three chapters in Indiana – at Purdue, Indiana and Indiana State universities. Tom is seeking ordination within the United Methodist Church and, following graduation, hopes to one day work as either a military chaplain or a local pastor in Indiana. “All around us, from across the street to across the ocean, there is a world in desperate need to know Christ and to experience God’s love for them,” Harzula said. “I hope to accomplish those things He places before me and pray that my life in ministry can be a light unto others through prayer and servant leadership.”


OMEGALITE

OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

State senator finishes 2nd in 13-man primary for U.S. Congress

Freshly shaved Omega chapter members pose with David Feltner (front, center in black shirt and glasses) in February shortly after a spontaneous head shaving.

Cancer sidelines chapter member Undergraduate David Feltner (Omega 1738) had one request after dropping the bombshell news at a late February chapter meeting that he was faced with fighting cancer for the third time in four years – that his fraternity brothers shave his head. The brothers took a moment to regain their composure after learning Feltner had a tumor behind his right eye, but they honored his request. While doing so, a consensus began to build to stand in solidarity with Feltner, an organizational leadership and supervision student. In the minutes following the chapter meeting more than 40 brothers joined the fray. They, too, shaved their heads. As others who did not attend the meeting learned of Feltner’s fate, the shaving continued to the point where nearly half the 115-man chapter followed suit. The timing was particularly interesting since later that week individual photo shoots were scheduled for the annual fraternity composite. “It is something truly special to see the amount of people who wanted to do something as simple as shaving their heads to show that they were thinking of him,” said Jim Vasil (Omega 1677), lifelong friend from Carmel, IN, and a fraternity brother. At the age of 17, Feltner was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a fast-growing soft-tissue cancer most often seen in children. The cancerous

tumor located in the skull on the base of his eye – the same place it was found again in February – was originally treated with multiple rounds of chemotherapy and radiation rather than surgery with the hope of saving his right eye. By the age of 20, cancer was found along his spine – again in a location where surgery seemed too risky of an option. Nearly a year of chemo and radiation ensued, giving him a “clean bill” of health in July 2009 and again this January. Now at 21, and the cancer growing back in the same spot it had been four years earlier, radiation was no longer an option and chemotherapy obviously had not worked. A high-risk surgery was successful on March 22 in Indianapolis. Most of the tumor was removed at that time, but not all of it given the location. Feltner returned to classes and the fraternity in August. He continues to receive interveneous chemotherapy three out of every four weeks and an oral drug daily. The treatment regiment is expected to last through the first half of 2011. “The chapter members’ reaction and support that I have received since I have been back is far more than I could have asked for,” Feltner said. “Both the fraternity and Purdue have gone out of their ways to make it possible for me to continue school while still in treatment.”

An Omega alumnus and housing corporation member finished second in a 13-man May primary for the Republican nomination for U.S. Congress. Brandt Hershman (Omega 1196), a Hershman two-term State Senator from Wheatfield, IN, finished second to outgoing Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rotika to fill the Fourth Congressional District being vacated by a retiring nine-term incumbent. “Running for Congress was a daunting challenge,” Hershman said. “In 45 days, we raised more than $350,000 and traveled more than 15,000 miles meeting people across the sprawling Fourth District. “Finishing second out of 13 candidates was both a rewarding and disappointing experience, but (wife) Lisa and I value the strong support we received from so many people – especially from Pi Kapp alumni from across Indiana and the country.” The Fourth Congressional District runs from north of Bloomington to north of Lafayette. It runs as far west as Illinois and east to the outskirts of Indianapolis. His State Senate seat covers some of the same area, mostly north and south of Lafayette, including the city of Lafayette but not West Lafayette. He is in the middle of his second, four-year term as senator, which is a part-time job during the spring. He remains the State Senate Majority Whip. His full-time job is serving as the district operations manager for Rep. Steve Buyer, who is retiring in December. Given that his current full-time job will end in December, Hershman started law school in Indianapolis this fall. “I’ve truly enjoyed the opportunity to represent the Lafayette area and serve as a member of the leadership of the Indiana Senate,” he said.


OMEGALITE

OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Pi Kappa Phi names Cronin national Student of Year The recent successes of the Omega chapter can easily to be traced to two characteristics – the quality of the overall membership and strong leadership. The leadership was keenly recognized in 2010, as Dan Cronin (Omega 1702) was named the outstanding fraternity president (out of 41 chapters) at Purdue and the top student in all Pi Kappa Phi (out of 7,200+ undergraduates). In presenting the award named in his honor, former national president Phil Summers lauded Cronin for building on an already exceptional chapter. Summers said Cronin was elected archon to a chapter that had already won two consecutive best chapter awards at Purdue and was a Kroeg Award winner. “Merely sustaining this level of excellence would be a challenge for any archon,” Summers told 700+ in attendance at the Supreme Banquet in Orlando. “But Dan set out to be even greater. Under his guidance, the chapter achieved new heights.” Those included: • 53 new members in 2009-10, including six legacies and an overall membership of 115 men. • A $300,000+ budget with an $8,000 surplus. • $10,000 of chapter-generated improvements to the basement dining area. • Three on the 2010 Journey of Hope, 11 in a Give-A-Push Weekend and

Dan Cronin poses with the Steven C. Beering Chapter President of the Year Award.

nearly one-third of the chapter volunteering hours at Lafayette Jefferson High School special needs classes. • A 3.74 GPA in civil engineering. • Being named the Steven C. Beering Outstanding Fraternity President at Purdue in April 2010. • Unprecedented third consecutive R.B. Stewart Award, signifying it as Purdue’s top fraternity. To top it off, just moments after leaving the stage in Orlando, Cronin and other Omega contingents were called back up to receive their second consecutive Kroeg Award as the top Pi Kappa Phi chapter nationwide in its class. “I was surprised at first but after the initial shock, I have so much pride being selected Student of the Year out of so many outstanding members,” Cronin said. Others were not so humble. “What a great, well-deserved honor, Dan,” chapter academic advisor Rita Baker, wrote to him. “Congratulations on being selected Student of the Year! I know you are a hard worker who strives to do your best all the time. It is great to see your hard work and dedication acknowledged.” Alumni were impressed as well. “The scale of your achievement is truly amazing when you think of the caliber of Pi Kappa Phi men across the country,” alumnus Kevin Ohaver (Omega 1438) wrote in a congratulatory note. “It is obvious that you are a disciplined, goal-oriented and focused man.” As significant of an award as the Student of the Year Award is, what is truly incredible is that the Omega chapter has won two of the last three national Student of the Year awards. Steve Holtsclaw (Omega 1666) won the same award at the 2008 Supreme Chapter in Denver. The Pi Kapp national award came on the heels of Cronin being named the campus fraternity president of the year in April. In the nomination form, then vice archon, now fall archon, Mike Lolkus (Omega 1736) lauded Cronin for holding five different executive council offices during his fraternity career.

Former national president Phil Summers presents his namesake 2010 Student of the Year Award to Omega’s Dan Cronin.

Those included – warden, chaplain, secretary and archon (twice). “He has been a mentor to nearly 20 men as officers in the chapter and more than 100 active members on campus,” Lolkus wrote. “Dan has done an exceptional job of leading by example in his daily involvement in the chapter and on campus.” Cronin has been a consistent mentor for younger guys and has encouraged other officers to achieve high standards. James Loy (Omega 1673), now a Ph.D. student in engineering, was his pledge pop. “I have a tremendous sense of pride,” Loy said. “Dan is a person who never gives up regardless of obstacles in his way. “It’s amazing to see the change in an individual as he grows within the chapter. Dan has really taken advantage of the leadership opportunities available in the house and used them to better himself and the chapter.” For his part, Cronin is humbled with the recognition. “I was blessed with an extremely effective executive council that helped move the chapter in a positive direction,” Cronin said. “The award has reinforced my approach to leadership and am extremely grateful for the opportunities we’ve been presented as a chapter.”


OMEGALITE

Almanac DEATHS: 130 Edwin “Pete” Sherwood 9/8/10 723 Robert D. “Porky” Sills 2/28/10 489 Charles S. McConnell 11/9/09

OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Dan Rusnak (Omega 1499) and Kelli Cronkite, Brookfield, IL 8/29/09

Lydia Louise Petkovich, daughter of Matt (Omega 1489) and Kate Petkovich. Born 4/8/10.

BIRTHS: Phoebe Elizabeth Ward, daughter of Gene (Omega 1412) and Katie Ward. Born 3/19/10.

Lucy Lee Barclay, daughter of Jill and Tom Barclay (Omega 1498). Pittsburgh, PA 4/22/10

Kathryn Jane Eckerle, daughter of Brad (Omega 1517) and Michaela Eckerle. Born 4/3/10.

771 Clyde D. Smith 7/23/10 MARRIAGES: Brent Wunderlich (Omega 1488) and Michala Haynie, Lake of the Ozarks, MO 7/24/10

M/M Wunderlich

Kathryn J. Eckerle

Lucy Lee Barclay

Phoebe E. Ward

DGs win 2010 ‘War of Roses’ competition Delta Gamma captured the third annual “War of Roses” competition title on April 8 and Katie Bennett was named the 2010 Rose Queen of Pi Kappa Phi. The April 8 talent competition ended a week-long event at various locations on campus. The events included empathy training where participants emulated various disabilities at formal dinners. There was also a penny wars competition won by Alpha Chi Omega to raise funds for Push America, the Pi Kappa Phi national philanthropy. Pi Kappa Phi provided coaches to the competing teams and sometimes

Rose Queen Katie Bennett with Mike Lolkus.

were even integrated into the competition. Emcees Ryan Nugent (Omega 1717) and TJ Tomasik (Omega 1735) introduced contestants during the formal dress and asked one random question. Each also had to answer what it might mean to them to be named the 2010 Rose Queen. While the judges made their decision on the Thursday night winners and tallied points earned from events earlier in the week, the audience was treated to a slide show of the chapter’s year-long Push America events. The slides included photos that week’s War of Roses practice and empathy training, last year’s Pi Kapp 100 and volunteer work with a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. A quarter of the year-long chapter fund raising will support the special needs classes at the local high school. Eight sororities participated in the Thursday night talent show in Purdue’s Fowler Hall, which saw more than 300 audience members roar in laughter and applause at skits, dancing shows, singing and musical instrument playing. The talent competition won by Delta Gamma included a comedic

opening and a song sung by the winning Rose Queen Bennett that eventually turned to a ballad about her boyfriend, Mike Lolkus – a Pi Kappa Phi chapter member. Zeta Tau Alpha finished second in the talent competition with a mix of classic and modern piano music synched to a video presentation by Molly Estes. Kappa Alpha Theta placed third by performing a skit modeled after Mad TV’s “Can I Get Your Number?” Overall, Delta Gamma finished first, followed by Zelta Tau Alpha and Alpha Chi Omega. “It was great to see all the sororities come together to support the mission of Push America,” said Tyler Lewis (Omega 1740), chapter Push America chairman. “We all had a lot of fun throughout the week and in the meantime gained a greater awareness for what challenges some people face daily” Pi Kappa Phi appreciates all the effort and enthusiasm displayed by the participants, coaches and audience. Pi Kappa Phi and its partners netted more than $1,600 for Push America during the weeklong event.


OMEGALITE

OCTOBER 2010

3-Peat Pi Kappa Phi wins Purdue’s top award again The collective accomplishments of the fraternity were honored once again in an awards ceremony on April 16, 2010. For the third consecutive school year Pi Kappa Phi was named the R.B. Stewart Award winner, signifying it as Purdue’s top fraternity. Contributing to its unprecedented ongoing recognition, the fraternity was a finalist in five of the eight categories used to judge the overall Stewart Award winner. The categories had either three or four finalists each. The ones for which Pi Kappa Phi was a finalist in 2010 included recruitment, leadership, philanthropy, brotherhood and chapter pride. “Winning the award for the third time signifies we’re on track to run excellence into tradition at the Omega chapter,” 2009-10 archon Dan Cronin (Omega 1702) said. “After an unexpected change in the application process went into effect this year, it is truly exciting to be the recipient yet again. I believe all of the brothers are beginning to see the benefits of their hard work and dedication as well what’s next for the chapter.” Cronin, a senior in civil engineering, received the 2010 Steven C. Beering

Fraternity President of the Year award at the ceremony, too. Pat Kuhnle (Omega 1197) also was recognized as the Philip Bowers Chapter Advisor of the Year. “The RB Stewart Award application acts as a self-evaluation for all aspects of the fraternity,” Cronin said. “Throughout the year we are constantly thinking of ways to push the envelope and surpass outsider’s expectations. The RB Stewart Award is a symbol that the chapter is successful in its efforts and is redefining how others view Pi Kappa Phi.” The chapter’s success is recognized beyond the current undergraduates. Phil Sharon (Omega 1652), who is a Chicago-area financial consultant who graduated in 2008, helped recruit Cronin who was named the top fraternity president this year. He takes great pride in what Pi Kappa Phi has accomplished. “I am extremely proud to call myself an Omega Pi Kapp,” he said. “It is great for the chapter to receive this type of recognition for the hard work of so many, but it is even greater to know that such awards are not the chapter’s sole motivation. It is not a one-and-done chapter. “Pi Kappa Phi has made a habit of striving to be the best and consciously chooses to be a leader on campus. It is no accident that this award has been earned three times in a row. Pi Kappa Phi has changed what has long been ‘hoped for,’ into what’s now ‘expected.’ ” Older alumni are also cognizant of the chapter’s recognition. “It is remarkable to hear the news of such an award again for the chapter,” Brad Eckerle (Omega 1517), chapter archon in 2001. “Hats off to the brothers and officers for sustaining the elite status and In April, chapter members pose behind their maintaining a successful three consecutive R.B. Stewart awards. chapter.”

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Purdue recognizes alumnus in top 40 An Omega member was recognized by Purdue as being one of top 40 alumni under the age of 40. Mike Porter (Omega 1286) was cited for his 14 years at Microsoft including two years in Singapore in charge of sales teams in 13 Asian countries. The 40 Under 40 list was published in the July/August “Purdue Alumnus,” the magazine for members of the Purdue Alumni Association. The list included New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees and NBA veteran Brian Cardinal, among others. “It was an honor and humbling,” Porter said of his inclusion in the exclusive group. “My Purdue experience helped shape me as a person and I've always been so grateful for that.” Within the Purdue Alumnus article, Porter credited his Pi Kappa Phi experience as an integral part of his education. “Trust and teamwork are traits my teams have always been known for and this stems very much from my time at Omega where their importance was engrained into us,” said Porter, after the article was published. “I learned at Omega that there is diversity in the world in terms of race, religion, upbringing, and much more. “Overcoming adversity is something I feel I have a strength in and my time at Omega helped me with this as well. Amongst many successes our chapter also had opportunities to deal with adversity and by overcoming it together we were stronger for it.” In July, Porter left Microsoft for Juniper Networks, where he is vice president for sales for eight Midwestern states. The Californiabased company designs and develops computer network infrastructures for routing and switching products. He graduated in 1992, with a bachelor’s degree in political science with minors in organizational leadership and supervision and management. The South Bend native now lives in a Chicago suburb with his wife, Amy, a Penn State graduate, and their three children.


OMEGALITE

OCTOBER 2010

PURDUE UNIVERSITY

Trio recall Journey of Hope trip at recruitment event For only the second time ever, the Omega chapter had three chapter members participate in the summerlong Journey of Hope cycling ride for Push America. Craig Vargo (Omega 1674), James Loy (1673) and Kyle Pluchar participated in the ride benefiting the disabled in 2010. Riders are required to raise at least $5,000 for Push America, the fraternity's national philanthropic efforts. Crew members must raise at least $2,500. The Purdue contingent raised more than $27,000 collectively for Push America in 2009-10. The trio – alongside Donovan Higgins (Omega 1692), who was scheduled to take part in the 2010 ride but had a serious cycling accident the week before he was to leave for the Journey of Hope – spoke recently to several dozen prospective members at a recruitment event on Sept. 2. They spoke of the friendship visits for which riders and crew visit with a facility catering to the needs of the disabled. They spoke of the camaraderie they developed with their teammates who represented Pi Kappa

Phi chapters nationwide. And they spoke about how the ride changed them. “It was an experience of a lifetime,” Vargo, a pharmacy student, said after the recruitment event. “Not only do you get to help thousands of people across the country, but it is the best way to grow as a person and a brother. “More than anything, the trip has taught me to define individuals by what they can do rather than what they cannot do.” Vargo and Loy rode with 16 other riders on the Trans-America team that started in Seattle and ended in Washington, D.C. Pluchar was a crew member on the same team. There were north and south teams as well. In all, there were 75 riders and 20 crew members. Loy, who completed a Master’s degree in engineering in May, left Washington, D.C., in August a different person than when be began the trip in Seattle in June. “The Journey of Hope was a lifechanging experience for me,” Loy said after the recruitment event. “I overcame obstacles I never thought I could and met people who have overcome obstacles I have never imagined. “Push America is Pi Kappa Phi's greatest asset in the effort to develop leaders through service.” Craig Vargo and other cyclists address rushees at The last time the Sept. 2 recruitment event featuring Omega’s three members participation in Push America programming made a similar trip

was in 1997, when Andrew Parker (Omega 1450), Carson “Woody” Eddy (1403) were riders and Brian Quandt (1446) was on the crew. The annual ride started in 1987 when one fraternity member’s dream came true. That inspiration has led to the event known today as the Journey of Hope. It is perhaps the highest profile national event for Push America. On a local basis, Pi Kappa Phi sponsors a fall all-Greek tennis/golf tournament alongside Alpha Phi sorority. Last spring, 20+ riders and crew participated in a 100-kilometer cycling ride modeled after Gear Up Florida from Zionsville to the Purdue campus. It also sponsors a weeklong spring event – War of Roses – whereby other Greek organizations obtain disability empathy training and participate in a talent show. The process of all these events benefit the chapter's fundraising efforts. Nearly a third of the chapter members volunteered their time on a biweekly basis for a special needs class at Lafayette Jefferson High School. In all, the chapter raised $10,202 for Push America in 2009-10 with a quarter of that fund raising to be donated to the local high school special needs class. Vargo and Loy became the 13th and 14th Omega members on the Journey of Hope cycling alumni. Pluchar, an agriculture undergraduate student, became the second crew member. Higgins hopes to join the 2011 Gear Up Florida riders since he was sidelined in 2010. Kevin Albrecht (Omega 1768) is also gong to be on the team. They would be the second and third Purdue Pi Kappa Phi members to do such.

Schedule set for noon, Oct. 16 homecoming The time for the Minnesota at Purdue homecoming football game on Oct. 16 has been set for noon and the chapter will host welcome alumni that day with an open house and pre-game meal. The Oct. 16 schedule will be as follows: • 9 a.m. to noon, Open house & ticket distribution. Chapter members

will be on the first floor and basement and can offer you a tour of the facilities, which includes a compete overhaul of the second floor bathroom. • 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., pregame lunch provided at the chapter house. • 11:30 a.m., leave the house for the noon Minnesota at Purdue football game at Ross-Ade Stadium. • Noon. Gametime. The game will

be televised and will be shown in the Great Hall. • 4 to 6 p.m., Open house at the chapter for those who did not get a chance to visit before the game. • 6 p.m. to ?, pick your favorite watering hole near campus. Chapter members 21 or older will be glad to accompany alumni and guests and look forward to your hospitality.


Omega - Fall 2010