Pi Kappa Alpha Crest
Fall 2008 Volume 57 Number 1

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

Joshua Tauber '10, SMC 

Once again, the Beta Theta chapter has been experiencing wonderful success. We have been advancing our athletic program, overcoming several financial obstacles, and having fun all at once!

This past spring, Pi Kappa Alpha hosted the first ever Cayuga Cup - a philanthropy hockey tournament to benefit Meals on Wheels, which is an Ithaca based charity. Besides raising $1,536 during the event, Pike beat out DU, Psi U, and TEP to win the Cup! We look forward to continuing this event for years to come.

2007 flag football champions Our athletic program has been excelling in the competitive arena as well. Some of our accomplishments of the past 2007-2008 year include:
  • Flag Football champions
  • Volleyball champions
  • Bowling finalists
  • Golf finalists
  • Soccer semifinalists
  • Basketball semifinalists
Thanks to Athletic Chairmen Jamie Hanfling '11 and Jacob Chase '10!

Homecoming weekend was phenomenally successful. Alumni turnout was the best in recent history, and Homecoming Chairman Steve Turell '11 did a fantastic job coordinating the weekend's events. Many alumni were impressed with the condition of the house and the character of the undergraduates, and everyone enjoyed seeing old friends. We were also honored by Jeff "Zulu" Rosenberg's presence. I know I speak for the entire brotherhood in wishing him God's blessings and a speedy recovery. We're saving a seat for you next year ZuLu!

Our activity on campus has not ceased. We've had several brothers initiated into the Order of Omega, myself included. Additionally, we have several brothers currently running for IFC executive board positions.

We have been having some financial trouble as the economy has turned down over the past year, but we are continuing to float along nicely. Excellent leadership from Treasurer Noah Gaynor '10, Internal VP Steve Turell '11, and brothers Andrew Mlotok '11, Andrew Weksler '11, and Jordan Bloom '11, have helped us continue to operate at a normal level, fund a rousing social semester, and not plummet into debt. The Beta Theta chapter has demonstrated true resiliency in this area.

Rush this year looks like it will be a great success, with many young freshmen already expressing interest in joining the house. Our rush this year, efforts are being led by Rush Chairmen Matthew Bernstein '09 and Christopher Nickel '09 - more on this in the spring!

The house is in the best shape it has been in years thanks to alumni contributions and key improvements. We have turned our attention to the kitchen, which we hope to renovate for everyone's favorite chef Scottie (and the brotherhood of course)! Pi Kappa Alpha is enjoying an action-packed year, and we hope that anyone who comes to visit Ithaca stops by the house to say hello and join in the fun.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please do not hesitate to call or email. The undergraduate brothers look forward to continuing to work with the alumni to improve the Beta Theta Chapter.

Alpha Theta President’s Message

Ed (Chow) Catto '85 

Nov 1, 2008


It’s so nice to deliver good news. And after the incredible Homecoming that the Actives hosted, I can truly say we’ve got some good news. 

There’s good news with the active brotherhood. The Active Pikes really know how to make alumni and their families feel welcome and included.  We had over 80 alumni at the house this past weekend and we were each impressed by the Actives’ sense of brotherhood and history.    This Homecoming was a great time for many brothers to catch up with each other, but also an unexpected gift as it was a time to meet and forge friendships with Actives too.

There’s good news about the Pika Lodge.  We’re not 'there yet', but everything is going in the right direction.  Alumni were pleased to see renovation projects such as the Hugh S. Gibbs Memorial Library, the Chapter Room woodwork, the dining room, the foyer, the new furniture and the exterior work currently underway.  The list goes on and on - and doesn’t even include the less sexy items, like as the new sprinkler system upgraded throughout the house.

There’s good news about the Alumni.  It’s so encouraging to see the resurgence in alumni involvement.  Four years ago, there was only one Alumni at the homecoming dinner. This year, the house was busting at the seams with over 60 alumni at dinner!  It was a time to catch up with the Pikes, with Cornell and with each other.  The Pikes rocked the tailgate. The Pikes rocked the Chapter House.  The Pikes showed Cornell what it’s all about.  We’re all working hard to insure that this becomes the standard.  Let’s be frank - it was just too much fun to make it a once–in-decade thing.

It was true for Dickens and it is true for us.  “It was the best of times and it was the worst of times...”  Of course, you’ve undoubtedly read about brother Jeff Rosenberg’s battles with liver cancer.   We all wish him the very best, but beyond that , all of us at reunion were grateful to spend such a special time with him.  Beyond his zany jokes and upbeat jocularity, we were all impressed by the Zulu’s courage and will power in the face of the tough times.  Zu - you are awe-inspiring.

Men, we’re going to keep this momentum and are so glad to have you along for the ride. Mark your calendars for Reunion and Homecoming next year, and keep your eyes out for some of the big Pike plans we have for 2009 too!

Ed (Chow) Catto ‘85

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way – "
Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

Homecoming '08 Recap

Steve Turell '11, Homecoming Chair 

Just as construction began on the front of 17 South Ave, alumni descended upon the Pike House the weekend of September 27th for one of the best Homecomings in recent memory. The reunion started Friday night with a Wine and Cheese at the House. The catching up lasted long into the night as the alumni regaled each other (and the astounded actives) of stories from their Cornell Days. I think its safe to say nothing (not even the full keg and 8 cases of wine that everyone polished off) prepared the actives for stories and pictures of alumni driving through campus on the fire truck and riding the house. Dick Carrington even brought his 6 inch metal growth which sparked quite a few memories. ZuLu I also can't begin to describe the emotion flowing through the Chapter Room Friday Night when Zulu spoke to the brotherhood. The actives were really shown what the fraternity means even 20 years after graduation and it was abundantly clear what a great (not to mention hilarious) man Zulu is and how much he means to his friends (not this this wasn't obvious after all of our first conversations with him anyway). Needless to say, we are all thinking of you Zulu and will always stay ZULUSTRONG - your bottle of Jack is already reserved for next year.

The weekend continued the next morning with the Alpha Theta Meeting. Touching upon issues such as fund raising, house improvements, and increased Alumni-Active relations, I think everyone was happy with the outcome of the meeting. That afternoon, was the Homecoming BBQ and football game itself, which Cornell won 17-14 over Yale. Chapter House Festivities began at 7 that night for the Homecoming Formal. After a short cocktail hour, everyone moved upstairs for dinner when Ed Catto, Tim Cole and others took over, treating the attendees to Pike's Greatest Hits. The party then moved downstairs where everyone danced to the live band (and Pike's own Noise Violation) for hours. Upstairs, the bridge game lasted almost till dawn and I think a person or two even made it onto the roof.

Turnout (we even got some Pike little sisters) and the weekend as a whole was unbelievable and I'd like to thank Ed Catto, Steve Amador (you were missed Steve, glad to hear you are feeling better and looking forward to seeing you next year), Tom Sporney, Tim Cole, Doug Surine, Dick Carrington, Jeff Lowe, Zulu and everyone else for making Homecoming as great as it was.

We are looking forward to seeing everyone next year!

The Joe Quade Challenge

Joe Quade '49  has been a Pike for 67 years. Initiated at Rutgers (Alpha Psi) in 1941 and after a World War II stay as a paratrooper, he graduated with an MBA from Cornell in 1949.

"After retiring in 1985, I became Assistant Athletic Director at my local High School, and was inducted in its Hall of Fame last year. Does anyone want to challenge 67 years?"

We would all wish for longevity like Joe's. There may be two or three other elder living alums. If you're out there, we'd be glad to know. Write or email  us!

Bylaws Revisions

The Board of Directors reviewed and revised the Alpha Theta Bylaws in 2007, updating verbiage and changing items to reflect current, more efficient process.

The revised 2007 version is online. Also available are the revision summary Word .doc and the comparison version Word .doc.

Alumni Notes

Go to - Updated Alumni Notes -

While doing research at the Boston University Law Library recently for his sabbatical application, Paul Barresi '84  stopped by the reference desk for some help from the law librarian.  "I expected to find an erudite scholar, steeped in the intricacies of the law, and learned beyond measure in strategies for locating the most obscure of legal sources.  Instead I found Steve 'Huey' Donweber '88.  After enduring big firm life in Philly for as long as was humanly possible, Steve earned a degree in library science, then moved with his wife to Boston, where he is doing the librarian thing and teaching a few classes at BU Law School.  Or at least that's his story.  It's a pretty clever scam, really, although I'm surprised that the bar authorities have let it go on this long.  While helping me at a computer terminal in another room, Steve's female colleague asked me if we were different when we were in the fraternity.  'Not at all, ma'am,' I replied, 'not at all.'" 

Bill Cummings '50  notes that this year marks the 60th anniversary of the founding of Beta Theta Data.  "I coined that phrase at that time and was the first editor, which I continued until graduation in 1950.  It's possible the first issue was in 1947, but I think it was in my ~second~ year living in the house, 1947-1950.  It's been a wonderful link to all alumni and I'm sure is welcome by all."

"Also, in 1950 our house won the All Sports Trophy, the first time in a long time for the house.  We had a lot guys who contributed to that success.  As I remember, I cheered them on and on.  But we were very proud."

"During my days in the house we hired Hugh Gibbs, truly a gentleman, brother and good friend.  When I grew up, had a family and returned to Ithaca to show off the campus and the house, Hugh is the one I wanted most to see.  I'll never forget when we drove up South Avenue then down Edgemoor Lane, Hugh was walking up in the middle of the street, saw us and cried out, 'Bill Cummings!'  Can you imagine how that made me feel after all those years.  We kept in touch and in 1987 when he retired, Jim Meeker '50 and I attended his dinner, which was a great tribute to him."

At the Stag Lake 4th , the weather forecast was rain, but attendance was good. With a break in the clouds, the great '08 race was on, but all entries were disqualified. However, in the interest of getting back to eating and drinking... Ralph Olivier '76 was declared the winner, after much whining.

Last winter, Paul Barresi '84  ran into Dik Saalfeld '80 (et seq.) and Jeff Lowe '86 at the 75th Annual Ambrose Peaney Memorial Luncheon in Washington, D.C. The lavish event was funded by a grant from the Selective Service Administration in gratitude for Ambrose's unselfish willingness to serve, and a generous legacy from the estate of the late Jerry Falwell, founder of the Moral Majority, of which Ambrose was one of the earliest and most loyal members.

"As usual, Dik's account of the luncheon in the spring issue of Beta Theta Data left much unsaid, including the fact that he gave the keynote address, but only because his tie became hopelessly entangled with the microphone as he vaulted over the dais to be first in line for the free three-bean salad. The way I remember it, Dik's speech focused almost entirely on his new job as a professional juror in the D.C. and federal court systems. Not only is it 'just like they said it would be in law school', but the $30 a day finally has allowed him to move out of that cardboard box in Georgetown into a place with "real nice army cots" and free delousing on Wednesdays. Someone finally shut Dik up by offering him $5 to eat a stick of butter. The nurse in the cardiac unit said that he'll be just fine."

"As for Lowie, he's really come up in the world since trading the exalted status of partnership in a major D.C. law firm for the even more exalted status of partnership in a firm that recruits candidates for partnership in major D.C. law firms. His backyard weenie roasts have become the toast of the capital social circuit, attracting such luminaries as Chief Justice John Roberts and the guy who sharpens the point at the top of the Washington Monument. He also has been spotted several times in the anteroom of the West Wing leafing through back issues of Modern President magazine. Lowie is looking forward to the 76th Annual Ambrose Peaney Memorial Luncheon in December, when rumor has it that Brett Sylvester '84 might take time out from his efforts to produce offspring on every major federal holiday to make an appearance."

Bob Mateus '78  travels to Shanghai regularly on business & sees Mark 'Chink' Hu '75 and his wife Lin... they are well.

Big Bob spoke with Doug 'Le Maggot' Wright '78 in Phoenix, who had just travelled to Pensacola to visit Dave 'Thrasher' Carlson '80. Doug and his girlfriend Trish are well.

"While in Shanghai with Mark, we spoke with Eric 'Spike' Helland '77 who is now the Mayor of Wisconsin Dells! If his constituents could only have seen Spike in the fall of '75 spinning his brown Pinto wagon in circles up in Cayuga Heights following a lacrosse team party..."

"Jim 'Sack' Kopp '78 was last seen surfing the central California coast around Cayucos where he live with a garage full of fine California wines."

Chip Baines '78  passes along word that his youngest daughter, Emily, is engaged and will be married next May or June (date and coast still to be determined). She graduated from Cornell last year, as did her fiance Greg Heidt, so just like her parents they will be a Cornell couple. Both Emily and Greg were members of the lightweight crew at Cornell - Emily was coxswain and Greg bow man - and were both on the boat that won the Ivy championship in '06 and the national championship in both '06 and '07.

"Meanwhile our other daughter, Katie, is married and will be starting her MBA studies at the Johnson School of Management this fall - so our Cornell conections continue to multiply! Her husband just graduated from law school - Georgetown, but then nobody's perfect."

Chapter Eternal

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

Robert C. Busser '53
July 16, 2007

William A. Coleman '50

Lewis F. Roth '48
March 15, 2008

David E. Van Buren '59
December 18, 2007
    David was 69 years old when he passed away. He was an Honor Guard Chaplain for the Department of Defense All-Military, and Chaplain for Post 259 Debary FL. He was loved by his fellow man and was a great humanitarian.
- Ann W. Van Buren


term Alpha Theta Director office
2009 Brian Rosenberg '06 
2010 Ed Catto '85  President
2011 Mitchell Reiman '07  Vice President
2012 Evan Fried '07  Alumni Relations
2013 Steve Amador '84  Treasurer
David Miles '66  Secretary

visitors since 7 May 96