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Virtual Beta Pi Founders Day 2021 Held Despite Pandemic“Welcome to the inaugural and hopefully last virtual Founders Day”, said Jacob Keller ’20. After foregoing Founders Day 2020 due to the corona virus pandemic, Pi Kappa Alpha’s Beta Pi chapter did celebrate Founders Day this year on Saturday, April 24, by Zoom. This year’s celebration was initiated, conceived, planned, and brought to fruition solely due to the efforts of Beta Pi’s undergraduate members. 

After the invitation was created by the undergraduates, notice was sent out on the Beta Pi Alumni Association (AA) list serve by AA Treasurer Joel Catania ’71, and by Jeff Kaufman ’80 to the annual New York City dinner participation list. Even on short notice, there was significant participation by the undergraduates and alumni. 

At first, participants were divided and sent to different small group “rooms”. This substituted for a cocktail hour but allowed personal conversations among those in the “room”. Then the individual rooms were closed and everyone was brought into a view of the chapter room at 3916 Spruce Street. In the chapter room was a collection of undergraduate members. Unfortunately, only those Beta Pis who are currently living in the chapter house were allowed to be there as per Penn’s Covid-19 protocols. Among those in the room was Obed Antoine ’19, current President of Beta Pi chapter. 

Brother Antoine did a superb job as emcee for the occasion. He introduced all the speakers and followed the agenda making it easy for all of us at home or elsewhere to always know what was happening. The first speaker was AA President Ross Weiner ’80. He thanked everyone for participating in a most unusual Founders Day. He placed particular emphasis on the role played by the undergraduates who made it happen. He opined that Founders Day is an integral part of Pi Kappa Alpha’s mission to keep the alumni in touch and capable of helping our student members at Penn. The circumstances of the pandemic have caused the Penn administration, in order to protect the health and safety of all students, to place restrictions on the fraternity system. These restrictions, including but not limited to the usage of the chapter house and the gathering of groups, threaten Pi Kappa Alpha’s ability to exist and function on campus. 

AA Vice President Bruce Wolfson ’71 brought everyone up to date with news on the Pi Kappa Alpha Inter/National front. After mentioning the remarkable efforts of our student members to persevere through the Covid-19 protocols, he applauded them for their ability to maintain such a high level of communication between themselves. He also spoke of the Bowling Green University incident (described in the Beta Pi AA April eletter): The PiKA Int’l fraternity is addressing the issue as best they can. All chapters are being contacted to ensure that PiKA’s zero tolerance hazing rules are faithfully followed. He closed by mentioning the recent PiKA Int’l initiative, Reimagine Fraternity, designed to completely reinvent PiKA as a modern, socially acceptable, relevant entity in today’s world. 

Kaden Stenger ’19, Internal Vice President of the undergraduate chapter, welcomed and introduced the 18 New Members of the Alpha Epsilon class. He described the difficulties of rushing during a pandemic and the technological methods that were used to attract one of the larger New Member classes on Penn’s campus. He attributed the success of this year’s Rush to Rush Chairmen Jonah Charlton ’20, Adam Salahdine ’20, and James Champion ’20. 

The SLAG awards were presented to scholar Jack Manthorp ’18, leader Connor McQuillan ’18, athlete Alex Schoeny ’18, and gentleman Gabe Muro ’18. 

Alumni Relations Chairman Jacob Keller ’20 described the initial success of an alumnus/undergraduate mentoring program. 

Jerry Herman ’72 announced that Connor McQuillan ’18 was the recipient of the Dave Herman Memorial Scholarship. Connor received $500 in memory of Jerry Herman’s father who was the oldest initiate into Beta Pi. 

In honor of his biological and fraternity brother, who fought a valiant battle for many years against the debilitating disease ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, Harvey Mackler ’72 presented the Scott Mackler True Grit Award, in the amount of $750, to Tyler Moorehead ’20. 

Less than an hour after the Founders Day celebration began, brother Antoine thanked everyone for coming and provided the closing remarks. Unfortunately, a return to the chapter house was not permitted. Hopefully, next year we will meet in person.