Share this post
FaceBook  Twitter  

Started with a few brothers on an email chain a decade ago, the Beta Pi Alumni Association of PiKA celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013. Joel Catania '71 tells us how he was involved in the startup (and still is today!), how the group went on to initiate the largest chartering group in PKA history with 109 charter members and win the award for Best New Alumni Association at national convention, and why you should get involved to help ensure our group exists for another 10 years - and beyond.

Tell us a little bit about the background of the alumni association.
Gregg Ormond '74 and a few other brothers started an email chain list of sorts. I was included on the list at some point and suggested that we start a Yahoo group for Beta Pi alums. A suggestion to form a formal alumni association was brought up and I volunteered to start the list serve and build the group. The fact that I was between careers at that point provided me with the time to spend on building the group. We eventually announced that we were officially forming an alumni association and went on to initiate the largest chartering group in PKA history with 109 charter members and win the award for Best New Alumni Association at our national convention.

What have been some of the biggest highlights for the alumni association over the past 10 years?
Our Founders' Day events have been our primary focus for alumni meetings. We held a salute to the "Old Guard" recognizing alums from the 40's that helped build the new chapter house when it was forced to move from its original location due to university expansion. We had a large group come back for a salute to our chef emeritus, Julia Wellons, to celebrate the anniversary of her retirement. Another memorable celebration was the 40th anniversary of the new chapter house.

What have been some of the biggest challenges?
Raising money to fund our alumni relations program, and finding volunteers to help drive the alumni association.

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering for Beta Pi Chapter?
I enjoy mobilizing our forces to come together for Founders' Day events where old acquaintances can be renewed.

What is a fond memory you have from your volunteer experience?
I guess I'm still building memories since I'm still involved! I think just getting back in touch with many of the brothers from my college years is my fondest memory.

In what ways can alumni get involved in their adult years?
Supporting the alumni association with time and/or money. Mentoring and guiding the current chapter members.

Why would you encourage brothers to engage with the alumni association in their alumni years?
It's a great way to stay in touch with the friends one made during the active chapter years and also to keep abreast of how the current chapter brotherhood is doing.

How does it feel to be celebrating 10 years of the alumni association?
It's gone way too fast. And I'm still the first and only President of the association.

What would you like to see happen in the next 10 years?
I would love to see a few more alums take an active leadership role in the association and develop a more extensive program of alumni events, perhaps on regional levels.

What would you like to see from your alumni association in the next 10 years? Email your thoughts, questions and concerns to Joel Catania at Please also indicate your interest in volunteering or becoming more involved with our alumni association this year.