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Pi Kappa Alpha Crest
Fall 2001 Volume 50 Number 1

News & information by the alumni association of the Beta Theta Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity at Cornell University

SMC Report

Michael Swartzon '02

Both Pike National and Cornell consider Beta Theta one of their strongest chapters in leadership, brotherhood, scholarship and athletes. Currently, the brotherhood has two members on the board of the IFC: Richard Goldman is Vice-president of Communications and Michael Swartzon is Vice-president of Recruitment. We are now better than ever and looking forward to sending more brothers to represent us and the Greek system on the Interfraternity Council.

The active chapter took major steps toward repairing and improving our 100-year-old house. Junior Jeffery Mihalakis and sophomore Brad Sundick almost singlehandedly rebuilt the bar room in the basement. The upgrades include wooden benches along the east side of the house and a shelf on the north side. We have redone and extended the dropped ceiling behind the bar. The new bar space is twice as large as the previous one. We now use the basement for brotherhood bar tabs and recruitment activities. We proudly display two American flags: one in the bar room and one outside the house.

17 South Avenue has a new cook. Laurie Brown is doing an outstanding job - far exceeding expectations. The food tastes better and the condition of the kitchen is excellent. Additionally, Laurie cooks ten meals a week from scratch thereby reducing the budget for the fraternity. She also brought a new style to the kitchen and dining room. Instead of cigar smoke and disorderliness, the kitchen now has curtains and the dining room has plants. We are extremely pleased with Laurie and hope she continues the improvements.

The weekend of November 9-10 was Pikathlon 2001. We held our annual recruitment dinner Thursday, November 8 in the basement. This was the most successful recruitment event this year. Despite all freshmen moving to north campus, Rush Chairman Steven Niditch is leading Beta Theta to have an outstanding pledge class of 2002. Friday, November 9, we had our annual brotherhood event at the house followed by an after hours party at our annex 204 College avenue. One of our brothers, Josh Okon organized his band to play Pikathlon.

Pike is competing exceptionally well in intramural sports this fall. Jeff Greyber directs our intramural squads for the 2001-2002 year. So far we have made the playoffs for all four major fall sports including football, soccer, volleyball and tennis. Jeff and Scot Hirschfield won the tennis finals after an undefeated season. The football team lost a heartbreaker in the semifinals against Sigma Chi. Ben Anderson is still captaining the volleyball team through the playoffs. Currently, we are third in all-sports points in the fraternity league.

The next event is our Fall Crush party which will be December 7. Rush week starts on January 14th and we look forward to having a great group to continue the traditions of Pi Kappa Alpha at Cornell. Please keep in touch with the active chapter. We welcome your suggestions and support.

Homecoming Wrapup

Zach Resnick '03 and Jordan Karlik '04

I think anyone who was in Ithaca over Homecoming this year would agree that the weekend was a tremendous success. We had more alumni return to the house than we have had in the past few years, and everyone who came had a great time! The active chapter would like to thank all brothers who were able to make it, and encourage those of you who didn't to start making your plans for next fall! The energy expressed by everyone throughout the whole weekend really illustrated the spirit of phi phi k a, and hopefully will continue for years to come.

Chapter Advisor Memo

Reid Orth

As I enter my 4th year as a Biomedical Engineering Ph.D. student (funded through the U.S. Air Force) and my 4th year as the Beta Theta Pike Advisor, I can easily say things are going the best I've seen at 17 South Avenue. The Brothers are currently ranked 3rd (out of 44 fraternities) in All-Sports. Homecoming weekend was a tremendous success. Numerous alumni came and shared their wisdom, and personalities! The highlight of the dinner, as usual, was the collection of alumni singing their favorite songs of old. The brothers were excited, and their dates stunned! More statistics: in Fall 2000 the brothers ranked 6th (out of 44 fraternities) in academic GPA, and 7th in Spring 2001.

The house is looking the best I've ever seen it. The active members are doing a great job taking care of the house maintenance. As of November 8, the bar room is renovated!!! Expenses were kept low with significant brotherhood involvement in the construction. Special thanks to Jeff Mihalakis and Brad Sundick for their consistent effort, planning and oversight. This was no small undertaking. It was completely redesigned and now will serve as the center for a majority of Pike pledging and social activities. Now that this is completed, the next two major tasks the brothers are undertaking are the kitchen and the dining room. One other note on renovations is that a new boiler had to be installed so that adequate heating will be available for the winter months. This was an unforeseen, serious financial expenditure that is currently being financed with a loan until future financial arrangements can take care of this expense.

Another highlight to the house is the new cook, Laurie Brown. She was hired at the beginning of this semester. Everyone loves her and considers her the House Mother. She loves working for the House and works hard to make sure the actives' food requests are met. With her enthusiasm in her job, I believe she is a major source of their high brotherhood morale this term. The kitchen renovation will give her a more comfortable setting in which to work -- modernizing it from its current circa-1920's look.

The alumni are always welcome at the house. If coming to Ithaca, and you do not know any current brothers, you can either e-mail the President (currently Mike Swartzon ) or me. You can look up the current president on the Beta Theta Data webpage. The final activity this term of interest for alumni is the Crush Party on December 7. Next term, alumni are welcome to attend any of the scheduled events. In particular, there is a big push to get as many alumni back for a Founder's Day (March 1) event. The exact date of this event will probably be either Friday, March 1 or Saturday March 2 -- to be determined. Additionally, the away formal, the pledge party and reunion weekend are events that should not be missed! If you have any ideas for alumni events, please contact Alumni Chair Matt Cohen and me.


May 1, 2002 Spring 2002 Beta Theta DATA deadline
June 6-9, 2002 Reunion Weekend Reunion dates thru 2005
November 1, 2002 Fall 2002 Beta Theta DATA deadline

Alumni Notes

Go to - Updated Alumni Notes -

Paul Wheaton '85 writes "Given my 'how shall we say', nontraditional road to success, some might call an uninspired journey that went pretty much from college straight to retirement. Fortunately for me I had contributed sufficiently during my productive years to qualify for retirement benefits. Although previous mishaps have complicated my life with unequaled consequences, I remain ever-hopeful and optimistic in regards to future undertakings...which in straight talk means that I'm permanently disabled, but striving for improvement."

Frank O'Brien '31 returned from Ithaca -- the 70th Reunion of '31 -- again serving as chair, establishing a Cornell record for 70 years!

"Stopped at the house -- the paint's peeling badly. Have a paint-up week!"

Art Witebsky '91 reports that all showed up at the Class of '91 Reunion.

"Mackle flew in from Singapore. Arabia flew in from California as did Jason Belice (married, with a daughter - WOW!) There were several other married fellows, none with kids, but we hear that some are on the way in the next several months. The house looked great even though we tried to mess it up with late night P-ball games and a sad attempt at an impromptu after-hours. Fun was definitely had by all. Thanks to the current brothers for sponsoring the Wine & Cheese."

from Paul Barresi '84

Wonder of wonders, I've finally managed to get a permanent job! After earning my J.D. (George Washington '88), M.A. in Law and Diplomacy (The Fletcher School at Tufts '94), and Ph.D. in Political Science (Boston University '99) (whoever has the most degrees when he dies wins -- that means YOU, Al Jacobs!), I entered the pitiful little world of the gypsy scholar, which seems to be par for the course for most aspiring academics these days. For the past two years, I've been in a temporary full-time position teaching American Politics and Public Law at a small state college in Massachusetts (can you say, "I work in a bunker?"), but in the fall I'll be starting a permanent position as an Assistant Professor of Government at Southern New Hampshire University ("New Hampshire's Only Private University," as they say), where I'll be teaching American Government and International Relations. The only drawback is that the roofs at SNHU look much harder to get to than the roofs on my old campus, but I suppose I'll figure it out.

And no, I haven't forgotten the birds and bunnies since my days as a Natural Resources undergrad at Cornell -- my specialty is environmental politics, public policy, and law. The political science program at SNHU doesn't include any explicit environmental component at the moment, but I'm planning on transforming it into a bastion of raving green fanaticism when everyone else goes to lunch.

In other news, after eight years of renting an apartment just a short stroll from Hahvahd Yahd, rent increases forced me to move my impoverished ass to a condo in a grittier location a few towns away. Fortunately, there's a sports bar on the corner, which makes me feel right at home (just a test -- this is only a test). Feel free to look me up when you're in the Boston area.

Chapter Eternal

The brothers of Beta Theta Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha extend their sympathy to the families and friends of the following brothers:

Adrian L. Shuford '32
December 30, 2000

Norman T. Baehre '42
October 30, 1999

Ralph E. Peters '49
December 20, 2000

Ronald W. Wilcox '51

Paul R. Klotz '55
March 2001

Donald M. Ley '56
June 17, 2001

Lee Morton '79
October 16, 2001
memorial by Frank Koh

John R. Schaub '60
May 21, 2001


term Alpha Theta Director
2002 Rick Eno, Alumni Relations
2003 Steve Amador, Treasurer
2004 Tim Cole, President
2005 Marco Boyce
2006 Ken Hull, Vice President
Fall '01 Undergraduate Exec Board
President Michael Swartzon '02
Internal VP Richard Goldman '03
External VP Phil Dureza '04
Treasurer Danny Lachs '02
Secretary Joe Perrotta '03

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