Pi Kappa Alpha Crest
Fall 2009 Volume 58 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

Steven Turell '11, SMC 

With the end of my term as SMC looming in the near future, I am incredibly proud to look back upon the past semester at 17 South Ave and for the Beta Theta Chapter as a whole. We have continued to strengthen the fundamentals of our house, while continuing the positive upswing that has taken hold of Pike over the past few years.

A message from Homecoming Chairmen Marc Rosenberg ’12 follows later in this newsletter, but I would like to personally thank all of the alumni who came up for Homecoming this year, especially Steve Amador, Ed Catto, and Tom Sporney, not only for their work this weekend, but also for the enormous amount of time and effort they continue to devote to Beta Theta. It is always great to share stories, and realize the experiences and bonds at 17 South last much longer than the four years we all spend as undergrads.

This past summer, the house underwent major renovations to the second and third floor living quarters, only adding to the recent capital improvement projects undertaken at the house like the new front façade and Hugh S. Gibbs Library. Rooms 8 and 9 now have skylights in the inner room, and rooms 4 and 10 are now split into two separate bedrooms each. The house looks great!

I would like to offer congratulations to junior Steven Shterenberg ’11 for being inducted into the Order of Omega Greek Honor Society. His induction is only one example of the many instances where Beta Theta Pikes are making their mark on the Cornell campus – the actives currently include a Varsity football player, numerous club athletes, and many members in professional business fraternities. We also continue to be a force in the fraternity intramural placing in the top 3 in most of the events we enter. Currently, two of the four teams in the flag football semi-finals are Pike as we look to extend our championship streak to three years running.

Rush formally starts when we return to school in January, but we are doing our best to gather a strong base of recruits for the coming pledge class. We are aiming high this year, hoping to obtain a class of at least 20.

If you have any questions or concerns, or simply would like to reconnect with the brotherhood, please do not hesitate to email me .

I hope everyone has a great holiday season!

Alpha Theta President’s Message

Ed (Chow) Catto '85 

'It's getting better all the time'
Both actives and alumni have been rolling up their sleeves, sometimes separately and sometimes together, to bring the Beta Theta Pi Kappa Alpha brotherhood and fraternity lodge up a notch. We saw it again at Homecoming, and we've seen it in spades for the past few year: so many committed brothers have worked hard to upgrade the house, improve alumni-active relations and assist the brotherhood in achieving its true potential.

'Then you can start to make it better'
17 South AvenueWhat a fantastic lodge we have. The exterior is downright majestic. From the vantage point of that little sliver of a park on the other side of South Avenue, the house presents an awe-inspiring image. The grounds are well-groomed and the new sign just plain rocks! Inside, the whole first floor seems to have a new life and energy, from the Gibber Memorial Library to the Chapter Room. And the first phase of the kitchen renovations cleared out so much clutter. We'll be focusing on the continuing the efforts there next.

'With a little help from my friends'
Active-alumni Relationships continue to grow and thrive. It seems to start with the actives' new tradition of wearing ties and jackets to the Alpha Theta meeting. Check that; it seems to start with the excellent hosts the actives are to all alumni. And I mean beyond Homecoming. Recently, I received a note from alumnus who was so impressed with how the actives treated him on his brief visit to campus in September.

It's encouraging that more and more graduating seniors are networking with alumni. Be it with old-fashioned phone calls or new networking tools like Linked In, brothers are working together to help one another with their job search or quest for graduate school.

From a personal perspective, I once again found the actives to be gracious hosts this October, despite so many alumni invading the Pike House, singing the same old songs and repeated the same old stories. (What kind of role models have we become?)

Thanks for all the efforts on behalf both of the actives and alumni. There's a lot of money invested by everyone involved, but it goes beyond that. There's so much time and heart put into this grand adventure that we should all be proud. It's so much more than just keeping up a 100-year old house - it's about building people, building friendships and building a brotherhood.

Ed (the fifth Beatle) Catto ‘85

P.S. 'Will you still feed me?'
Ok, enough preaching. Onto Reunion next June! Typically, the 5's and the 10's reunion classes have very strong Pike attendance, and this year won't be any different. We're getting ready and it should be an outstanding memory-filled and memory making time! See you June 10-13, 2010!

Homecoming Report

Marc Rosenberg '12, Homecoming Chairman 

Saturday dinnerThis year’s homecoming was an extremely good time. We welcomed back almost the entire pledge class that graduated last year as well as about fifteen other alumni from past years and decades. Friday night, all the actives gathered at the house to greet the alumni and enjoy a fun wine and cheese while hearing numerous stories and re-living past experiences together. Even after it ended, a few alumni stayed in the house and got to know the live-ins better.

Saturday morning was made up of the Alpha Theta meeting, which was immediately followed by a tailgate for the Big Red football game with plenty of food and drinks. Throughout the day, a couple of alumni stopped by to share their fraternity stories with the live-ins. Saturday night was our yearly formal, which was great as always with a very entertaining band as well as a group picture we took, trying to re-start the tradition of decades past. Overall, the weekend went extremely well and it was great to meet everyone who came back and we hope to see all of you again next year.

The Life and Times of Beta Theta

Dick Carrington, Beta Theta '66, Cornell '69 

The prehistory of any social group in which the turn-over occurs in short cycles is generally a vague or even non-existent account. What went before is the subject of tales passed on until lost in time. For Beta Theta most of those stories are gone now. What happened to spur the Founders to get together and buy a second-hand fraternity house, the events of the 20s, 30s, the war years of the 1940s, even the 50s – largely gone.

What is it that has kept us going when other surrounding fraternities have died off. No more Theta Chi (haaaah, haaaah), KA (again, haaaah), Alpha Phi Delta (the Italian frat between Theta Chi and the old Delta Tau Delta house on Stewart), Triangle, Binagel Tungal Ika (across from Lambda Chi Alpha). How is it that when the original occupants 1 of some of the buildings had decided early in the life of the buildings to move across campus to fancier digs and yet we thrive.

So here are we few, we happy few, we band of brothers ...... What was life like in the House when you were here at Cornell? Parties, studies, jocks?, thumb suckers?

I’ll start with my account of the late ‘60s...

Read on at... The life and times of Beta Theta, Chapter 14 .pdf

Alumni Notes

Go to - Updated Alumni Notes -

Mark Podgainy '88 and Rick Lipsey guided a disabled athlete (a German athlete with MS) in the NYC Marathon on November 1st and finished in just under 13 hours - the day's final arrivals.  We have been guiding disabled athletes in the marathon for 14 years.

Mark recently went on a run with Al Eisler in Las Vegas when we were both in town for the same conference.  "Also, I recently saw Al Tantleff at a Cornell Hotel Society event and now understand that Mike Schiff is slated to be President of the Northeast Region of the Cornell Hotel Society.  I am looking forward to seeing Rick Lipsey, Dave Trachtenberg and others at the Cornell vs. BU hockey game in New York in a few weeks."

Big-Bob Mateus '78 reports that there was a Dave 'Thrasher' Carlson (BetaTheta '77, ChemE '80-theoretically) sighting in St Pete, Florida over the summer. "Dave came down to meet me while I was visiting my cousins. Thrasher is alive & well...designing bio-fuel recovery systems for industrial applications...many adult beverages were consumed while we jammed with my cousins."

"Rich 'Sass' Sasson (ChemE '76), Chuck Swensen (CivE '76), Kurt 'Hound dog' Schau (Hotel '76) & I got together in San Francisco for dinner a few months back...Sass comes to SF on biz regularly. It was great reliving our rather lubricated years in the frat lodge during the late 70's....snarfing brother's dates at Wed night dinners, weekly mummies at the C-house, passing out on the roof above the pool room, neck-ties on the door knob signaling someone is trying to get laid...ah, those were the days....I guess we did some studying as we got our degrees & are living happily ever after."

"I will see Mark 'Chink' (Hotel '75) Hu  & his wife Lin the middle of November in Shanghai where they have lived for about 20 years - I travel to Asia on business. Last fall I spent a few days with Mark & Lin in Shanghai where we basically drank heavily, dined about town & enjoyed daily massages..gotta love China!"

"I speak with Doug 'Le Maggot' Wright (Hotel '78) regularly...he is still living on a large pond outside Phoenix...peddling real estate...raising his kids Christopher & Jennifer. He is doing well. Also spoke with Jim 'Sack' Kopp (Hotel '78) who is living up in Santa Rosa California - Jim works with Jess Jackson founder of Kendall-Jackson wines & has been known to wax up a surf board every now & then."


Paul 'Konrad' Linskey '84 made it back to Ithaca for Reunion Weekend.  "It was nice seeing the House in good shape and catching up with a bunch of folks including Paul Barresi, Ed Barlow and Ken Hull.  Fortunately, we are all improving with age.  I'm looking forward to making it back for reunion weekends more frequently over the next quarter century.  In addition to spending time with friends at 17 South Ave., the official events are fun too; the University does a nice job planning these things."


On June 6th, Neil Best '82 attended a high school graduation party for Abby Wessel '13, daughter to Paul Wessel '83.

"In attendance were many Cornell alums, including Mike McCoy '84, father of my niece, Jill '09, who was also in attendance, two weeks after graduating. Another guest was the former Sue Cooper '81, who was a Tri-Delt and had many stories to tell about assorted members of the Classes of '79, '80, & '81, including Al Wooden, Bill Webster, Johnny O., Marty Putenis, and others."


Lowell Taub '96 reports that, on March 14th, a great group of Pikes got together in NYC to catch up on old times.  Brothers included:  

"The night got a little hazy (I told my wife of 9 years I wanted out of the relationship if she didn't find me some chinese food), so I hope all the people above were there, I know I am getting some of the classes wrong, and there were 15-20 more of us as well."

"Great night. Sloan sang/screamed 'I put my hand upon her toe' in a crowded NYC bar with his girlfriend who was both the tallest and youngest person in the room. I hear Becker at the end of the night was both shirtless and booting (on stall)."

"Bathroom doors were broken down, songs were sung, nobody brought their wife except me... People who hadn't seen each other in years were truly really happy to see one another. We should try to make it a once-a-year thing."

"Went out with Nate Schreiber & Jason Cavaliere on last night (April 28th). Plan on seeing Sunny Feniger, Andy Finkelstein, Andrei McQuillan, Nate Schreiber, Steve Graciano, Jason Rivera second week of May for a night out in LA."

"Son Jakob is 5, daughter Hannah is 2. Hope everyone doing well out there."


Chapter Eternal

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

Richard L. Aitkin '52
April 6, 2009

Richard H. Baldwin '34
December 25, 2002

Helmut L. Karbiner '62
May, 2009

Albert J. Mackie '55
December 22, 2008


term Alpha Theta Director office
2010 Ed Catto '85  President
2011 Mitchell Reiman '07 
2012 Evan Fried '07  Vice President
2013 Steve Amador '84  Treasurer
2014 Josh Tauber '10  Alumni Relations
David Miles '66  Secretary
Fall '09 Undergraduate Exec Board
President Steven Turell '11 
Internal VP Julien Wormser '12
External VP Steven Shterenberg '11
Treasurer Andrew Mlotok '11
Secretary Dan Kaplan '12
MC Zach Cohen '10
Live-out Representative Joshua Tauber '10

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