As outgoing president, I am obligated and proud to relay the successes of the Pi Kappa Alpha brothers to all of you. This year, at Cornell University's Greek Awards, Pike was honored to win "Cornell's Most Improved Chapter". I must thank and congratulate the entire executive board and brotherhood this year for their outstanding hard work and support. With about 70 active brothers, Pike was able to revive its image and presence in Cornell's Greek community. The addition of 17 new members, over 500 hours of community service, having a top 5 chapter GPA both semesters, active participation in intramural sports and IFC events has allowed the Beta Theta Chapter to excel to an outstanding chapter on campus.
The values and brotherhood taught during the new member education process for the past few years has produced a wide array of strong and successful leaders in our house. This year has been very active for the brothers of Pike in numerous organizations. Some of which are:
Every one of the brothers continues to uphold the ideals of the fraternity and represent them to the community in an extremely positive manner. The chapter has kept out of trouble for a while now, the financial situation is rapidly improving and spirits are high that Pike will continue its excellence for years to come. It has been over three years since any pledging infraction occurred and we are off of all restrictions and university sanctions. We hope that our revamped pledge process will never result in negative consequences for the fraternity and its members. Every brother understands what it takes to be a great fraternity and will strive to reach the ultimate goal of receiving a Smythe.
I envision next year being another very successful year for the Beta Theta Chapter. I am fortunate enough to have another year to support and help the newly inducted executive board in achieving this prosperity. The landscape of Cornell's Greek System is changing in the years to come to combat the West Campus initiative, and so it is extremely important that we stay on top in order to remain among the healthiest and strongest of the fraternities.
As you will read in other articles in this issue, this was an extremely strong year for our brotherhood. The work of our chapter's leaders culminated in our receiving Cornell's Most Improved Chapter Award. Our outgoing SMC, Brian Rosenberg '06, laid the tracks for this award to find its way to Pike this year, and his efforts did not go unnoticed. Brian received the award for Most Outstanding Chapter Leader at Cornell, and his reign as SMC marks a turning point in our recent past toward achievement and preeminence. I worked closely with Brian all year and am looking forward to continuing the work he has begun. Additionally, I would be remiss if I did not extend gratitude on behalf of our chapter to outgoing Internal VP/Steward Mitchell Reiman '07 and outgoing Treasurer Adam Feintisch '06, for their admirable dedication this year.
We begin next year with one main goal in mind: the Robert Adger Smythe Award. We have begun planning new philanthropy events (including a golf tournament in the fall), taken a leading role in the IFC, and are reworking chapter finances, all with the anticipation of making Beta Theta the best Pike chapter in the nation. However, there are two specific areas that concern me the most: our judicial process and alumni relations.
On May 1, the brotherhood successfully voted on a proposal I composed to revamp our entire judicial process, creating an anonymous (and therefore unbiased) judicial board that will adjudicate an expansive range of matters. I expect the brotherhood to mold to the precedents set forth by this new process, which will be guided by incoming Sergeant-at-Arms Matthew Brush '06.
This year the undergraduate brotherhood will be working diligently to bolster its relationship with alumni. One of our new members, Evan Fried '08, is passionately taking over the reigns as Alumni Relations Chair because of his rich history of Beta Theta lineage (his uncle is Howard Trepp '89). Evan will be organizing alumni events during Homecoming weekend and Pike International Work Day, and is looking to establish a networking ring for jobs and internships for Beta Thetas.
As our brotherhood is now stronger than ever, so too should be your pride in the Beta Theta chapter.
The Beta Theta New Member Education Program was a complete success this past semester. This year we were able to further hone our reformed program into a creative and successful 10-week endeavor. Proudly, all seventeen of the men who signed their bids during rush week this year were initiated into our chapter.
The program this year was a success on many levels. The new members were taught the traditions of our fraternity and its history as well as the ideals of leadership that are paramount to the operation of our house. The new members participated in community service and house improvement projects during the semester. Overall, the new members have learned what it means to be a Pike, and I am sure that they will work and strive to continue improving our chapter and its reputation. Finally, the brotherhood was extremely helpful throughout the semester and their input and creativity were invaluable.
I'm still learning my way around, but I've already learned a lot since I took over as Chapter Advisor for the Beta Theta chapter of PiKA last fall. Believe me; the alumni have been well served in the last few years by the diligent efforts of the active brothers, the leadership of the officers, and the guidance of Mike Hayes, former Chapter Advisor. Their grades are among the best in the Cornell Greek system; they are repairing and improving the common areas of the house one room at a time; and they have attracted, pledged, and initiated a new class of worthy PiKA brothers. I'm sure you'll read in the SMC report that they just received the "Most Improved Chapter" award from their peers in the Cornell Greek system. This is serious progress, and it's for real.
I'm looking carefully at their operation, trying to anticipate where the next big challenge lies, and here's what I see. To thrive, PiKA needs to pay its bills, and to do this, it needs robust membership and a house full of rent-paying, responsible brothers.
The housing and lifestyle environment at Cornell University is more competitive than ever; students have many more alternatives to choose among than I had when I went to college 30 years ago. Witness the following. The dilapidated shacks along College Avenue and Dryden Road in Collegetown have been replaced with modern high-rise apartment buildings. There is a new courtyard-style apartment building on Lake Street, across for the old Ithaca Gun factory. The Town of Ithaca has just completed a $4M clean-up of lead buckshot and deer slugs from the Fall Creek gorge next to the Ithaca Gun factory, clearing the way for construction of another deluxe apartment building. Cornell has upped the ante, too. Freshmen now live in spacious, air-conditioned suites on North Campus and eat better food that many of us married guys get at home (really!). A $200M project that will replace the antiquated West Campus dorms with a Harvard-style Residential College system for upperclassmen is underway, and the local courts just gave Cornell the go-ahead to mow down Redbud Woods (behind the Cayuga Lodge and 660 Stewart Avenue co-ops) to make a parking lot for student residents. With options like these, why would anyone live in a broken-down fraternity house?
I suspect the fraternities that do well going forward will be the ones that have attractive property and take good care of it, have parking for residents' and guests' cars, and offer a live-in lifestyle with decent food and some personal privacy. Some houses have intrinsic advantages. For example, Delpha Phi has Llenroc, a majestic stone mansion; Sigma Pi has a beautiful, brand-new house; and Alpha Sigma Phi has Rockledge with its spectacular gorge-rim location. The PiKA house is a beauty, but it has none of these unusual advantages. All the members of the Cornell Beta Theta Chapter of PiKA - active brothers and alumni - will need to work diligently to improve the condition of the house and to maintain it continuously in top shape. I believe the fraternities with filthy, dilapidated houses will have great difficulty recruiting new talent in Cornell's competitive market.
During this year of Pi Kappa Alpha's athletics, the fraternity had both its ups and downs. Regardless, the Pike name continues to stand bold as a fraternity powerhouse.
Unfortunately, hockey and softball did not see many games in the wins columns. However, blow outs were scarce and every effort was left on the field or rink. Flag football was a great success, reaching all the way to the semis of the fraternity league. Despite our boldest efforts, we were defeated by the eventual champions. Both basketball and soccer had memorable contests. Each game illustrated intensity, competitiveness, and, most importantly, the highest level of sportsmanship.
Perhaps our greatest achievement this year was winning the 3 on 3 basketball tournament held during the fall semester. Nearly all the reputable athletic fraternities were represented by their finest players in a battle for supremacy. Nevertheless, the Pike team was victorious. We look forward to next year's athletic events, as our teams look prosperous and future championships are undeniable.
Here are the plans for some of our current seniors after graduation:
Recently, we have promoted the proxy designation for each brother, in order to allow absentee voting privileges. To date, 28 proxies have been received, with 5 of them being disqualified as they are from brothers who are not current with their dues. Please remember that, to have your proxy be effective, it must be a dues-paying brother, by §III.5 of the by-laws. This proxy information will be incorporated into alumni records, and remain in effect for eleven (11) months from the date of its execution in accordance with §III.6.
You may indicate your proxy by updating your contact information online , or with the update tearoff voucher when you pay your Alpha Theta dues.
Go to Updated Alumni Notes
Josh Bernstein '93 serves as host on The History Channelís new series entitled "Digging For The Truth" . The program airs on The History Channel every Monday at 9:00 EST. Josh is an expert on survival and survival training and is the president and CEO of BOSS, the Boulder Outdoor Survival School.
Keith Everett '61 will be retiring in June of this year. His career spans 43 years and includes engineering and project management for four major corporations.
Jonathan Flaks '86 recently moved into a new house in Dobbs Ferry with his wife Ellen, and two sons, 9 and 5. He had launched his own company in 2000 and is an executive coach, keynote speaker, and NYU adjunct professor.
Mike McCoy '84 writes that his daughter, Jill, will be entering Cornell Fall '05 in the College of Arts and Sciences.
"Remember, I know where you all live!"
The oldest daughter of Bill Robinett '69 graduated from the University of Tulsa in May 2004, then got married in November in Kansas City. Bill sees Jim Schatz occasionally, when in the Denver area.
On October 2, 2004, Neil Fidelman Best '82 , Nathan Lee Rudgers '82, and Steven Paul Crump '82 attended the wedding of Richard Paul Eno '82 and the lovely Courtney in Louisville. A good time was had by all.
Nate slept on a rollaway bed in Neil and Steve's room, and snored impressively. He must have learned to do that when he roomed with Marc Arthur Rockford '82 in Room 1 in 1979-90. "We did our best to avoid being spotted by Courtney's proper Southern family when we took our moon shot. We weren't arrested, so I guess we succeeded."
"Gasp! Became a grandfather on April 4, 2004", writes Lowell Martin '67 .
"Middle son Andrew & his wife Amy welcomed Samuel Asher Martin into the world. Now, I am beginning to feel old!"
September 15, 2004 --
Logan M. Cheek '60 and Elizabeth F. W. Kalb were married this evening in the chapel of the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church in Manhattan. Officiating was Associate Pastor Randolph Weber; witnesses were Diana Bezares, a friend of the bride and Ashur B. Kalb '00, son of the bride.
Cheek, who was widowed three years previously, was married for 37 years to Pamela Louise Wilcox (Cornell, Pi Beta Phi '63). Elizabeth, a graduate of Fordham University and keeper of its famous little ram that was the subject of many humorous bar room songs on 17 South Avenue, was divorced.
Cheek's daughter, Christen Ashby resides in Boston, where she is completing her master's degree in early childhood education at Tufts University, and his son, Alexander, who attended Centre College of Kentucky, will complete his bachelor's degree magna cum laude next month in industrial design at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
The newlyweds met nine years ago when Ashur won the Cornell Club of Rochester's Prize Essay Contest for high school juniors. "Ash" subsequently joined PiKA, was business manager of the Cayuga's Waiters, and graduated from Cornell with a triple major in something or other, and the from Columbia Law School, class of '03. The essay contest, which Cheek initiated 15 years ago, was recently endowed in memory of Cheek's late wife.
The groom is the managing director of the Pittsford Group in Pittsford, NY, a venture capital firm he founded 25 years ago, and is senior managing partner of Southwest Venture Capital Partners, a new partnership currently being organized in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Cheek will be investigating opportunities to corner the market and monopolize the trade in "kitty litter" and other attractive high and low technology opportunities, all of which New Mexico is full of.
The bride is director of the New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Florida offices of Sonnenschein, Nath, and Rosenthal, a Chicago-headquartered law practice of about eight hundred attorneys. She is a co-founder and past president of the Association of Legal Administrators. Having made a successful career of herding cats, she'll continue with Sonnenschein, while she figures out how to herd her newest cat.
Ashur is a second year associate practicing corporate law (or characterized by the late Hugh Gibbs as doing "BFDs") with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher and Flom in Manhattan.
Narby Krimschnatz '59 and social editor emeritus of the Cornell Widow, commented "Wow! Talk about compatibility! Kitty Litter and herding cats! More significantly, with the increasingly meritocratic thrust of Cornell University, legacies are becoming increasingly rarer. This one may be a first ever for any Cornellian, or Pike for that matter: the mother of one Pike marries another! A true dog-bites-man event!"
William C. Banta '30
Arthur E. Burford '52
August 1, 2004
Art passed away of a massive brain hemorhage.
Frank L. O'Brien '31
March 10, 2004
Frank founded O'Brien Mobile Power Rental Co. in 1968 and it eventually boasted the world's largest fleet of mobile-power-generating and air-conditioning equipment. Even before his days as an entrepreneur, Frank contributed in many ways to Cornell University and Pi Kappa Alpha.