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Alumni Event PiKA Celebrates Sesquicentennial in New York City

On May 1, 2018, Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity hosted a cocktail party, celebrating the founding of Pi Kappa Alpha 150 years ago at the University of Virginia, at the Supernova NYC bar at the Novotel Hotel in New York City. Approximately 100 Pikes from all over the country attended the event that featured free drinks for everyone and a buffet table replete with cheeseburger sliders, skewers of chicken and beef, and other delectable goodies. In addition, commemorative coins and lapel pins were presented to each person in attendance in recognition of the fraternity’s founding.

Representing Beta Pi at the event were Beta Pi Alumni Association Officers, Ross Weiner ‘80 (President), Bruce Wolfson ’72 (Vice President), and Morty Cohen ’65. Also attending were Jerry Herman ’73, Mike Selikoff ‘75, and Alex Barquero ‘11.

There was a free flow of attendees who took advantage of the facility to move about the room and partake in lively conversation, networking, and serious discussion centering on PiKA, now and in the future.

Special guests were the executive Vice President and CEO of PiKA, Justin Buck, Epsilon Iota ’96, and the present International President of PiKA, Shad Williams, Gamma Chi ’90.

Justin Buck spoke to the gathering re the current state of Pi Kappa Alpha. In the last year, PiKA now has approximately 14,000 undergraduate members, there are approximately 7500 new members, and approximately $3,600,000 has been raised by all the chapters and colonies for charity.

Beta Alpha Chapter at Penn State was commended for collecting over $95,000 in the school’s THON campaign benefiting childhood cancer research as well as the Alpha Alpha Chapter at Duke University for raising more than $100,000 for the benefit of a local hospital. He took particular pride that not all charity is related to the collection of money. Pi Kappa Alpha members also donate their time and efforts for various charities. As an example, the Colony at the University of Maryland sent holiday cards to a child with terminal cancer. The receipt of so many cards brought special joy to this child.

Pi Kappa Alpha now ranks in the top five of all fraternities in every measurable statistic. Brother Buck’s mention that Pi Kappa Alpha was first in average Chapter size in membership was of particular importance as this is an indication of the health and stability of a chapter.

Shad Williams took this opportunity to advise that the present leadership of PiKA is “steering the ship in the right direction”. The fraternity has taken a strong stand against addiction, substance abuse, and hazing. He was proud to announce that for the last few years there have been no notable hazing problems or other “moral” problems that PiKA has had to address. Considering the present size of Pi Kappa Alpha, this is a significant achievement.

He added that one of the purposes of holding this Sesquicentennial celebration in New York City was to resurrect the NYC Alumni Association. Leading the effort is Mike D’Annunzio, Alpha Upsilon Chapter at New York University, who was active in the former NYC Alumni Association that drew many of its members from alumni of NYU, Columbia, and Hofstra. All brothers interested in investigating and possibly joining the new NYC Alumni Association when it gets restarted can send their name and email address to Morty Cohen at [email protected]   

Also present was Tom Clark, Epsilon Chapter at Virginia Tech, a successor to our own Bruce Wolfson, as President of the Pike Foundation. Although the celebration was scheduled to end at 7:30pm, the celebration was still going strong at 8:30pm. This was a successful event. The brothers of Beta Pi should try to attend these events. It was a delightful evening and allowed us to meet the leaders of our fraternity in a cordial setting without having to travel to PiKA Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee.