Pi Kappa Alpha Crest
Beta Theta DATA
Spring 2011 Volume 59 Number 2

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

Homecoming 2011
Alpha Theta Meeting Sat 1pm (change from regular 10am)
full schedule here, with sign-up

Alpha Theta President’s Message

Ed (Chow) Catto '85 

There's no doubt these are difficult times on college campuses for fraternities. Colleges are concerned about underage drinking, and as bad news makes headlines, everyone is saddened, worried and cautious. At Cornell, we're in the thick of our off-campus phase and working hard to get back on. There's a lot of time, effort and energy to put into it before the return becomes a reality. It's kind of like swimming across a lake - we're really far from one shore and we still have a ways to go to get to the other.

But there's hope. We're lucky to have folks like Andy Glasner, Chuck Whitehead, Bill Page, Nate Rutgers and Bob Forness, among others, who are working hard as our Alumni Advisory Group. Guys like Jim Joseph are stepping up to add their professional skill set to the mix too. And we're encouraged by the relationships they are building with Cornell and Pike national, not to mention the strong understanding of the process they are developing.

As appropriate for this season of spring, there more promising signs too. The house itself is looking better than ever. A couple of years of gentle living, courtesy of the graduate students renters, is probably just what 17 South Avenue needed. And at Cornell, Alpha Phi Delta, the fraternity for Italian Americans, is returning to the hill after a 30+ year absence.

These might be the strangest few years in Beta Theta chapter's history, but it's all moving in the right direction. We're excited and hope you are too. Stay tuned - the best is yet to come.

Re-branding the Fraternity Experience

Jim Joseph '85 

I'm a marketer and I tend to look at things through the eyes of a marketer. Can't help myself. So when I returned to The Hill last summer for my 25th Cornell Reunion and we all went to The Pike House for Happy Hour, I couldn't help but think about how much The House needed some marketing. Well it also needed a coat of paint, but we've got bigger fish to fry first.

So here we are in the midst of trying to reestablish Pi Kappa Alpha at Cornell and we have some major convincing to do. First we have to convince our brothers to stand behind the house, that's probably not too hard although we truly will have to work with National as well. We'll eventually have to convince a new class to join - well if we play it right, that shouldn't be too hard either. But we also have to convince The University to let us back. Not so easy.

Fraternities have long stood for drinking games and panty raids and freshman hazing so why on Earth would The University let The House back on campus when we have already had more than our fair share of issues. We have to approach this differently. We have to tackle this as if it's a marketing challenge, because that's exactly what it is.

We need to re-brand the fraternity experience. Turn it on its side and give it new meaning. Real meaning. The meaning that our group of brothers have gotten out of being Pikes on the Hill. The real reason we joined The House and are still so fiercely loyal to it and to each other to this day.

You see for me it's not about the drinking and the parties, although, trust me, I was at every single one back in the day. Gloria! For me its the life long relationships and bonds that we formed over those four years that counts. It is the friendships that have lasted through grad school and marriage and job changes and babies and even divorce (plus a few other things!) that make up the fraternity experience. It's the relationships that immediately ignite, either in person or on facebook the moment one of us get sick and eventually passes away (Zulu Strong). It's the friendships of a lifetime that make the fraternity, not the keg sitting in a trash can.

So as we look to rebuild on The Hill, let's package ourselves up and sell our brand to National, to Cornell, and to the next class of pledges. Those young men will become stronger and more productive adults as a result. I know that I did.

That's my brand - that's our brand - that's our Pi Kappa Alpha at Cornell.

Advisor's Corner

Andy 'Roscoe' Glasner ‘86 

Brothers, I hope you are all enjoying the Spring weather. This time of re-birth in the world is a good time for this update on the colonization efforts for Beta Theta, as we have been making steady progress. However, before I go much further, I must tell anyone who was not aware of two sad events in Ithaca last fall; two undergrads died in incidents related to underage drinking. One was an Ithaca College student, and one a fraternity member at Cornell. I will not get into details here, but you can go to the web sites for the Ithaca Journal or the Cornell Daily Sun for background information. The whole community was impacted and is still recovering; we all feel the loss and feel for the families and friends. Naturally, these events have impacted or accelerated policy changes at Cornell that change the way fraternities recruit (rush) and educate (pledge) new members. As both a Cornell alum and parent, I feel these actions are intended to make student life safer and deserve our support. The goal of our Alumni Advisory Group (AAG) has been to not just comply with these changes, but to embrace them and prepare the new colony for a strong start under the new policy. With contributions and teamwork from all the alumni members, we developed a proposal on how the new colony will handle risk management, with a specific focus on reducing the risk of underage drinking. We used materials from National, included ideas from Cornell’s upcoming policy changes, and ideas from Alumni Inter-Fraternity Council (AIFC), and of course, some creativity from Beta Theta Alumni. I meet monthly to review progress with Travis Apgar, assistant Dean of Students, and together, we are working to schedule a formal review with Cornell administrators and with the IFC. Once approved, we can begin recruiting in the Spring of 2012 with the help of a team from National.

I will continue to provide updates via the Beta Theta Data. In the meantime, I want to thank the members of the AAG for their participation and support. There is still time to join the team if you are interested. In particular, we need some to coordinate with National for the details next Spring’s recruitment activities. If you cannot join the team, but want to help in other ways, the Hugh Gibbs Capital Improvement Fund can always use your support!

It is true that the way the Pike house functions will change to match the current expectations of the University, the community, and National. But it has always evolved. What won’t change is the brotherhood and lasting bonds that are created at 17 South Avenue.

Capital Campaign

Despite the notice in the previous Beta Theta Data, our capital fundraising campaign will have to be postponed. Because such a program is highly dependent upon participation from alumni across the range of class years, and no response was received from the announcement in the fall'10 Beta Theta Data, it would be difficult to proceed. So, at least for now, we'll have to postpone any Capital Program.

On a positive note, we've been successful at renting and maintaining the property at 17 South Avenue during this period, and there have been no significant funding needs. We will be hosting a Reunion Reception at the Pike House from 4p-6p on Saturday, June 11th. It will be a great time to reconnect with old friends; be sure to stop by.

Initial repairs to the house that included carpeting and furniture (beds, desks, dressers) for the upstairs rooms required to make the building rentable were about $40,000. 17 South Avenue is fully rented, and, at market rates, the total rental income from individual tenants is similar to what Alpha Theta charged the active chapter. Thus, the corporation is able to fully cover its usual expenses plus the added expense of utilities (gas, electric, cable), trash collection, snow removal, etc. which would normally have been paid by Beta Theta.

Alumni Notes

Go to - Updated Alumni Notes -

Bill Page (Beta Theta '82) relates that son Rob Page recently completed his first season with the UCLA Men's volleyball program. Rob was one of two freshman to make the 14-man travel squad. He had 103 kills, 15 serving aces, 22 blocks and finished 6th in overall team points. In 2010 he was selected as the No.1 recruit in his class by ESPN. He has recently been selected to play on the Junior National Training Team (top 19 under 21 y.o.). The top 12 will represent the USA in the World Championships in Brazil in early August. "Oh yeah! Should also mention he is also a honor roll student majoring in Biology."

Big-Bob Mateus (Beta Theta ’75, Arts ’79) reports

…the five of us convened for tequila tasting and some laughs in SF several months back... it was... interesting.

Mark 'Chink' Hu (Hotel ’75, MBA ’82) is in Shanghai establishing private colleges in China..'educating future pillars of Chinese business' according to Mark. "I see him regularly in my travels to Shanghai, where my company SanDisk has a captive IC packaging factory."

Doug 'Le Maggot' Wright (Hotel ’80) still lives on a large pond outside Phoenix & is trading real estate.

and by the way… the San Francisco Giants are WORLD CHAMPIONS!

Alan Becker (Beta Theta '65, Cornell '67) continues to work as Managing Partner of Litchfield Cavo LLP. "We opened our tenth office (Houston) this year and now have 140 lawyers."

"My son, Michael, was appointed last fall to be the assistant to the American judge at the International Court of Justice so he and his wife, Sinead, are now living in The Hague. Susan and I are looking forward to a trip to the Netherlands in September to meet our first grandchild, who is expected to arrive this summer. My daughter, Marie, will be entering a Masters program at the University of Chicago this fall."

Chris Barbieri '62 now heads the Vermont Chamber of Commerce initiatives in Shanghai, China, and is doing similar work under contract for the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

Tom Sporney '75 was honored by Towson University with an Outstanding Advisor Award for his contributions to the Pike stronghold there.

After 18 months of colonization, the Lambda Omega Chapter was chartered in mid-April with 69 founding brothers, and recently added 9 additional in its Alpha class. PiKA is a recognized leader of fraternities on campus, winning Greek Week, Tigerthon, Homecoming Week, Yell-Like-Hell, and Battle of the Greeks in 2010-11.

Chapter Eternal

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

Edward V. Howell '55
October 14, 2010

Leonard V. Lobello '56
October 14, 2010

Geoffrey A. Paine '57
November 3. 2010


term Alpha Theta Director office
2011 Bob Forness '87  Vice President
2012 Evan Fried '07 
2013 Steve Amador '84  Treasurer
2014 Josh Tauber '10  Alumni Relations
2015 Ed Catto '85  President
David Miles '66  Secretary

visitors since 7 May 96