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Pi Kappa Alpha Sesquicentennial Celebration - Founders Day 2018On March 1, 1868, at the University of Virginia, fellow students Robertson Howard, Julian Edward Wood, James Benjamin Sclater Jr., Frederick Southgate Taylor, Littleton Weller Tazewell Bradford, and William Alexander, gathered on campus to form a fraternity - Pi Kappa Alpha. One hundred fifty years later, Pi Kappa Alpha, with some 225 chapters and colonies, has approximately 16,000 undergraduate and 280,000 lifetime members.   Besides a history of startling growth and influence in the fraternity world, PiKA has undergone many changes through the years.

At first, PiKA was a sectional fraternity, forming chapters only in the South. In 1889 PiKA became a national organization. Eventually a chapter was formed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A local fraternity, Alpha Phi Delta, became the Beta Pi Chapter at the University of Pennsylvania, the 64th chapter of PiKA. Beta Pi maintained a chapter house at 3900 Locust Street until 1968 when the property was taken by eminent domain. The school year 1968-69 saw the opening of a new chapter house at 3916 Spruce Street, the home of Beta Pi Chapter to this very day. This house has witnessed many changes through the years.

One of the most significant changes in Pi Kappa Alpha has been the increasing diversity of its membership. When founded in 1868 and for approximately 90 years thereafter, membership in PiKA was restricted to “white gentile males”. Pi Kappa Alpha now welcomes new members of all races, religions, and nationalities.  Beta Pi is proud to have led the way in the integration of all races, religions, and nationalities in its membership. By the late 1960s, Beta Pi was one of only two chapters within PiKA, and the only fraternity on Penn’s campus, to have significant diversity in its membership. Beta Pi continues to lead the way in diversification as can be seen in its latest new member class.

Another significant change in Pi Kappa Alpha has been to change the primary focus of the fraternity away from the social calendar by setting new standards for the integrity, intellect, and achievements of its members.  Bruce Wolfson, Beta Pi ’71, formulated a vision and a plan, the “Return to Values Initiative”. It was adopted by the National fraternity and remains the core of Pi Kappa Alpha’s vision for the future. It stresses scholarship, personal integrity, achievement in sports and in career, and commitment to Penn and the community.

Pi Kappa Alpha seeks to redirect its members, away from questionable social activities and toward scholastics, leadership, and charity. To assist in this effort, PiKA has established Pike University. Pike University events include the International Convention, the Academy, the Chapter Executives Conference, and regional Leadership Summits. The Pi Kappa Alpha Memorial Foundation grants annual scholarships in excess of $350,000 for educational purposes.

The Beta Pi Alumni Association wants all Pikes to remember and recognize the benefits that they derived from Pi Kappa Alpha and to share in our celebration of Pi Kappa Alpha’s Sesquicentennial celebration at our Founders Day dinner 2018 on March 24, 2018