This was an unusual Homecoming.†
As alumni, itís not unusual to feel a little out of sort at Homecoming. How can you not?† Youíre surrounded by younger versions of yourself, and they all have little or no interest in your tired old stories and wistful memories.
On the other hand, there was a lot of hope, anticipation and excitement in the air. The alumni who came this year were there because they not only wanted to wax nostalgic, but also because they had a mission. They were they because they were anxious to rebuild the house. They have a vision and they have a dream. And they all are confident that with a little hard work, the Pike House will return to Cornell.
Clearly thereís a lot to do. †The road ahead will be filled with compromises, course corrections, and a lot of marching into the unknown.
But you know, thatís going to be the fun of it. When the Pike House returns, it will be different from before,probably a little different than any one of us envisions.† Iím encouraged by the many smart, dedicated brothers who are working to ensure that the new house will be a source of pride.
I hope youíre planning on joining us for this adventure.† At Homecoming, we were all reminded thatís itís going to be difficult, fun and never dull.† Iím really looking forward to this next phase.
And in a couple of years, Homecoming will be back to normal.
A trip to Cornellís Homecoming has always been exciting. But this year, the excitement came in a new flavor. †Sure, I was going to be able to see old friends again and regale in stories (lies) about old times. And yes, I would again walk into the Crescent to watch the Big Red Football team battle a noble foe until victory was achieved (usually by the other teamÖ)
No, this year the excitement was about new beginnings.† It was about rebuilding something that meant so much to me that I still look back on it as the best times of my life (after my wedding and my kids of course Ė you never know if my wife will read this article). †Although our Pike chapter will be closed for 2 years (until spring 2012), do not despair, the efforts are already underway to return as a strong, healthy chapter we will all be proud of. †During homecoming 2010, Alpha Theta chartered the Alumni Advisory Group (AAG) with two clear tasks: 1) to re-establish the chapter and 2) commit an ongoing AAG to keep the chapter healthy.† We gathered a team of 14 volunteers to achieve these goals in partnership with Cornell and Pike National.† Our first step has been to learn the rules associated with re-establishing our fraternity and gaining acceptance from both Cornell and National. This will be complete by the end of 2010. Then, we will document the details of our plan and by the end of Spring semester, we will share this plan with Cornellís Vice President of student and academic services. With her approval, we will bring a team of recruiters from National to the campus in the first half of 2012 to recolonize the Beta Theta chapter. †Moreover, our intent is to do this in compliance with the new guidelines being established by the University. †The laws have changed and the University is trying to adapt. As an organization, we will also adapt to those rules, and this fresh start gives us an opportunity to do so. Sure, the house will be different than we remember, but it has never stopped changing and will continue to evolve.
Which brings me back to my excitement. †For homecoming 2010 made me realize a few things. †Coming home to 17 South Ave was never really about the tube room, room 9, the nest, the bar, or any other aspect of the building. †It was about the people Ė all you loud, smelly, obnoxious, scumbags that I still call my friends. †Facebook and Twitter will never replace the bonds we all felt after spending 4 years together (12 for you Dik?). So I am excited that I get to help bring that experience to another group of louder more obnoxious and hopefully even smarter group of brothers that can call the Pike house home. If you feel the same way, then get ready to lend a hand in whatever way you feel is most appropriate.
We have a lot of work to do between now and then, but I look forward to seeing all of you again for Homecoming 2011 Ė a PiKA bash that you won't forget - and then in 2012, when a Pike colony will be back on the hill!
With this issue, I'd like to restart a feature that is intended to include chapter advisor topics, reports, and ramblings. Hopefully, as the Beta Theta AAB gets established and working, Andy Glasner '86 and his crew will use this piece to report & discuss goings-on & interaction with the future colony & chapter. As some of you know, I serve as chapter advisor to the PiKA Colony at Towson; the colony started in October 2009, and is looking to get chartered in early 2010. The Towson Pikes, partnering with Alpha Xi Delta in Towson's Yell Like Hell, have just won their Homecoming competition with nine other fraternities on campus, and are very much looking forward to their chartering.
Alumni brothers have inquired as to how the recruitment occurs for colonization. National sends in two consultants for 5 weeks. During that time, the consultants speak with university officials, faculty, and athletic coaches to identify those unaffiliated individuals who best fit the fraternity's standard for Scholars, Leaders, Athletes & Gentlemen. These men are recruited & pledged during the 5-week period, and the colony is established thereafter. So, if there are any referrals that local alums wish to pass along, it would be best to direct them to National.
Ralph Olivier '76 and I recently attended Pike University at Philadelphia (actually Mt. Laurel NJ this year) Friday & Saturday 5-6 November. 375 Pikes attended, including 30+ chapter volunteers/advisors. A professional presentation covered many aspects of Pike, including a new track for alumni advisors; several times during the weekend National recognized the alumni volunteers attending, and that they were donating their own personal and family time for the benefit of the fraternity. It was a full work weekend, from Friday evening through all day Saturday. Both Ralph and I believe that we should send at least 2 representatives from the AAB to the 2011 Philadelphia summit, because there's a lot of advisor education and discussion that occurs that is worthwhile to participate in. Philadelphia is closest permanent meeting site to Ithaca, and the meeting registration & meals are free for alumni volunteers.
It was good to make contact with National officers again, and have face-to-face conversation, as well as consultant staff & brothers from other chapters. Ralph and I reiterated to National that we are ready to start recolonization in 2012. PiKA Executive VP Justin Buck will likely be involved.
In case you might think that National has removed Beta Theta from its website... they haven't. You just need to know where to look.
This past spring, several trustees of the Hugh S. Gibbs Capital Improvement Fund met in Ithaca to begin development of a Capital Improvement Plan. The intent of this plan is to identify repairs that must be made to the building, and to identify recurring major capital expenditures, so that we can begin planning and allocating funds in anticipation of these expenditures.
The trustees examined our facility from top to bottom, and came up with an extensive list of repairs that we anticipate will eventually have to be performed. Examples of recurring expenses include the roof, which was last replaced in 1987, and only has a few more years of life, and the boiler, which was installed in 2001, and has a 15 year life expectancy.
Items that were identified that would not be recurring costs include repairs to the front steps, new windows for the entire house, and new doors for the individual rooms. In addition, numerous small repairs were identified that would need to be performed to get our building back into excellent condition.
The Hugh S. Gibbs Capital Improvement Fund welcomes any other suggestions for improvements that might be made to our facility. We want to include all the needed repairs, to prioritize them, and develop a spending plan to get these repairs accomplished.
Alpha Theta has decided to pursue a Capital Campaign for 2011. Our vision is to make the recolonized Pike House a model fraternity at Cornell, one that will attract the most outstanding young men from every academic discipline, every region of the country and every background at Cornell. We have a unique opportunity to not just recolonize the Beta Theta Chapter, but to reimagine what a great fraternity can be on the Cornell campus in 2011 and make that vision a reality. The purpose of the Capital Campaign is to raise the funds needed to achieve this vision.
As a first step in this process, we are developing a strategic plan for the new Beta Theta Chapter and assessing our financial needs. We expect some of these needs to be building renovations; others may be programmatic in nature. The next step will be to inform our approximately 1000 living alumni about our vision and our needs and ask alumni to participate as volunteers and contributors. We plan to sponsor a fun, festive fundraiser on the Cornell campus in the fall of 2011. Our goal is to make this event the greatest PiKA party of all time!
In order to make the Capital Campaign a success we will need a team of alumni to plan and manage the Campaign. In addition, we will need a group of class representatives from each pledge class with living alumni from 1930 to the present. Elliot Dee '84, who has extensive professional experience in fundraising, has agreed to serve as Chair of the Capital Campaign Committee. Please contact Elliot if you would like to serve on the Committee, help with marketing, plan the Fall 2011 fundraiser or serve as a class representative for your pledge class. With your involvement, we can make the new Beta Theta chapter better than ever!
The usual suspects converged on Stag Lake on July 3rd for the annual Independence Day & Boat Race Extravaganza.
Arndorfs, Fitenis, Marcuses, Oliviers, Sporneys & Surine were guests of Butz & Suzi vonLengerke. Joe Fiteni's boat won the 5th Lager Cup on a still lake that took almost an hour to complete.
Matt Elias '97 got married to his beautiful wife, Lauren Koeneke, on June 26, 2010, at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster NJ. Pikes in attendance were Kevin LaPierre, Eric Lazar and John Christodoro.
"Moving to SF with my wife in July. Looking forward to mixing it up on the West Coast for at least a few years."
Chip Baines '78 is happy to report that he is a grandpa!
"Our daughter Katie gave birth in Ithaca the day before graduating from Cornell's Johnson School of Management in May. Linda and I are the proud grandparents of Madeline Ashcroft Drossos, and, given her fine Cornell pedigree, hope and expect that she will continue the Baines tradition of Cornell in her future - class of 2032? I've already whispered in her ear to stay away from 17 South Avenue!"
While in† D.C. for a conference in January, Paul Barresi '84 ran into Dik ‘The Baked Grapefruit’ Saalfeld '80 and his wife Kelley at the 3rd Annual 75th Annual Ambrose Peaney Memorial Nostalgiafest at their home in Georgetown.
Dik gave the keynote speech again this year, but only because he's been pining for a chance to relive his glory days as a backup singer for Wham!† The speech turned out to be a dramatic reading of the lyrics to Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go, which seems to have become something of a personal anthem for him.† Todd ("This Tape Will Self-Destruct in 5 Seconds") Hines '86 and Tom ("Ambassador Blutarski") Yadzgerdi '85 also were in attendance.† Todd came in from the cold some years ago, and now spends most of his time being carded in liquor stores and R-rated movie theaters.† Yaz just wrapped up a 3-year posting in the Balkans, and was in town for a few months to learn a new language before taking up a new job as head of the Lower Slobovian desk at our embassy in Upper Slobovia (a big step up from his previous post as head of the Upper Slobovian desk at our embassy in Lower Slobovia).
Dik pointed out that as the 3rd Annual 75th Annual Nostalgiafest, it was the 225th time I'd seen him in the past three years, and that he was sick of me dropping by just to stick up for Earl Butz and admire the rusty bolt in the potpourri dish in his bathroom.† Todd and Yaz quickly corrected Dik's math, but before they could question his fitness to manage $130 billion of taxpayer funds in his job at the Department of Agriculture, Kelley distracted him by jingling her car keys, thus deftly preventing another embarrassing outburst.
Walter Barth '56
February 7, 2010
David J. Colburn '65
May 30, 2008
Peter J. LaRose '72
April 18, 2010
Russell E. Lodico '53
Vincent I. Maddi '53
November 14, 2007
Robert J. Matilainen '66
June 14, 2007
James Francis McKevitt III '67
March 9, 2010
James Mitchell Meeker '50
August 10, 2010
Jeffrey S. Rosenberg '86
September 17, 2010
Bruce Tabor Wilkins '52