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FOUNDERS DAY 2015 A ROUSING SUCCESS

The Beta Pi Founders Day celebration was held on March 28, 2015 and was an overwhelming success. More than 50 Alumni joined nearly 70 of their undergraduate brothers to mark one of the largest Founders Day celebrations since the Founding of the Beta Pi Alumni Association in 2003. Attendees packed the corridors at the Inn at Penn for a meet and greet cocktail party prior to the dinner.           

At the dinner, opening remarks were made by the Alumni Association Treasurer, Joel Catania ’71. Following a moment of silence in memory of recently deceased Alumni Association President, Gregg Ormond Sr., Joel introduced Gregg’s son, Gregg Ormond Jr., who, in a special ceremony earlier that day, had been initiated into Pi Kappa Alpha in honor of his father.      

Ross Weiner ’80 and Bruce Wolfson ’71 were announced as the new Alumni Association President and Vice President, respectively.  Joel Catania ’71 and Morty Cohen ’65 will continue in their current positions as Treasurer and Secretary.

Charles Heinz, the current Chapter President (SMC), gave a state of the chapter report.  He spoke of the various charitable endeavors the active brothers participated in this past year, including the Scott Mackler 5K Walk/Run to fight ALS, an effort in support of breast cancer research, and a Relay for Life event, the official International Pike charity. Heinz proudly announced that the Beta Pi Chapter had the third highest GPA this past year amongst the 220 total Pi Kappa Alpha chapters and colonies.       

Bruce Wolfson ’71 followed with an International Fraternity update. He announced that all chapters are being retrained in chapter behavior in light of the many unfavorable fraternity incidents occurring on college campuses around the nation. Despite this alarming trend, PKA has an excellent record in the area of risk management. Also, as past chairman of the Pi Kappa Alpha Educational Endowment Fund, he was pleased to announce that his committee raised over $10,000,000 toward the fund this past year.

After a dinner break, chapter New Member Educators, Jonah MG and Sean Budhrani, introduced thirteen members of the Psi pledge class. As each new member stepped forward, Jonah and Sean provided brief descriptions of their interests and activities on campus.

Presentation of awards and scholarships followed.  The annual SLAG awards were presented by Eric Wamakima and Zach Rosen.  The winners were Luke Saputelli (Scholar), Guillermo Avila (Leader), Joshua Erban (Athlete), and Jason Lee (Gentleman).  Chapter Alumni Relations representative, Jared Sobel, then presented Alumni Appreciation Awards to Rich Epstein for his work in maintaining the Chapter House and Rich Myers for taking the lead in legal affairs.  Jerry Herman explained the origin of the Dave Herman Award and then announced this year’s recipient was Dan Gillis, who was chosen for his character, leadership, and scholarship. Harvey Mackler ’72 then spoke of his recently deceased brother, Scott Mackler ‘77, and announced that the first recipient of the Scott Mackler True Grit Award was Jesse Debes.                         

Loyalty awards were then presented to all Alumni in attendance celebrating five-year anniversaries. John DeCosta ‘05 was the youngest recipient, celebrating his tenth anniversary.  A large group from the 1980 class came together to celebrate their 35th anniversary together.  And David Jones ‘60 topped the segment when he was presented with a certificate for his 55 years as a Pike.

Morty Cohen ’65, who earlier had received a chapter certificate for his 50 years as a Pike, was then presented with a Gold Chapter certificate from the National Fraternity. He then said a few words in honor of a fellow ’65 member, John Kollias, who passed away in late 2014.  Then, expressing sincere appreciation of all Pi Kappa Alpha has done for him, Morty presented a $3,000 check to Bruce Wolfson for the benefit of the Beta Pi Alumni Association.

Bruce Wolfson then took the floor to speak of his trusted and dear friend and little brother, Gregg Ormond Sr., and the Memorial Fund created in his name. Bruce noted that foremost in Gregg’s platform, as Alumni Association President, was to ensure that all future Pikes would be able to attend Pike University without finances being a concern. Gregg’s goal was to build the Beta Pi endowment fund up to $250,000, which would make it self-sustaining and thus pay in perpetuity for future chapter leaders to attend educational conferences. Bruce presented an honorary check for over $22,000 to Gregg Ormond Jr. and Mark Ormond, Gregg Sr.’s brother.  This was indicative of the amount of funds that had been collected for the endowment fund in Gregg Sr.’s memory since his passing. Including all the donations submitted to the Gregg J. Ormond Memorial Education Fund prior to Founders Day and several more received right up to and including the dinner, the fund now has over $204,000, which is very close to Gregg’s dream. This ranks the Beta Pi Endowment Fund as the second largest within all Pike chapters!! All alumni were urged to make Gregg’s dream come to fruition by making a tax deductible contribution.

Following Bruce’s presentation, Gianpaolo Carpinito ‘11 reminisced to all about why he joined PKA and his experiences as an undergraduate. His memories were a refreshing change from the usual speeches given on Founders Day.

After the Psi class led everyone in singing “He Rambled” , “How’d You Like to be a PiKA”, and “Down in Old Virginny”, Charles Heinz concluded the dinner by inviting everyone to the Chapter House for fun and games.

Founders Day 2015 was undoubtedly one of the finest celebrations in memory. Alumni with initiation years ranging from 1947 to 2005 came from places as far away as Switzerland, California, Florida, and Canada to pay their respects to Gregg Ormond Sr. and Scott Mackler, and to meet with their long time brothers.  The sense of our brotherhood was everywhere in the air. The Beta Pi Alumni Association thanks all those who were able to attend and looks forward to an even better Founders Day 2016.  If you wish to see pictures from Founder’s Day, please click here and you will be directed to the album. 

BETA PI ALUMNI ASSOCIATION MEETS

Prior to the Founders Day celebration, a Beta Pi Alumni Association meeting was held at the Inn at Penn on March 28, 2015. In the largest attendance ever for such a meeting, twenty-nine alumni attended. Joel Catania ‘71 and Bruce Wolfson ’71 co-chaired the meeting.

First order of business was the election of a new President for the Alumni Association. Bruce expressed the importance of the association’s work and the direction it must take to remain relevant and strong, as well as the necessity to involve younger generations of alumni to be leaders of the association.

After a discussion regarding the various candidates, Ross Weiner ’80 was elected the new President. Bruce Wolfson assumed the office of Vice President. Joel Catania and Morty Cohen ‘65, remain as treasurer and secretary, respectively.

A proposal was made to appoint “Captains” for each new member class, whose purpose was to keep track of where members of the class are living and their e-mail addresses. These captains would be charged with galvanizing support for the fraternity and encouraging participation in the Alumni Association activities.

Rich Myers ’69 presented several housing issues involving the chapter and the University.  These issues were then put up for discussion and were tabled until certain fact finding and legal research can be completed.

Thank you to the alumni who took the time and effort to attend this meeting. Your opinions were extremely valuable. Your participation was greatly appreciated and necessary to fully understand and address the issues under discussion. Thank you to Rich Sussman ‘69, Dan Darkes ‘68, Fred Bailey ‘70, J. Conrad Bosley ‘61,  Mitch Karig ‘76, Paul Reszutek ‘76, Don Schreiber ‘57, Joseph Livezey ‘56, Mark Perna ‘68, Gregg Ormond Jr. ‘15, Gary Sachs ‘74, Richard Myers ‘69, Ross Weiner ‘80, David Edman ‘73, Bruce Wolfson ‘71, Morty Cohen ‘65, Joel Catania ’71, Jeff Kaufman ‘80, Paul Zaentz ‘69, Joel Levine ‘70, Steve Leventhal ‘67, David Jones ‘60, Rick Heaslip ’74, Chawner Hurd ‘80, Michael Selikoff ‘75, Jerry Herman ‘72, Todd Wieseneck ‘72, Marc Anderson ‘80, and Fred Rubin ‘80.

A NOTE OF GRATEFULNESS

We wish to take this time to extend our highest gratitude and appreciation to Jeff Kaufman ’80 for providing baseball caps to those who contributed to the Gregg Ormond Memorial Education Fund.  We sincerely appreciate your generous gift.  It is great seeing our members step up to meet challenges and support our efforts. Your contribution helped in making Founder’s Day 2015 a great success!