Happy Birthday Phi Sigma Kappa!

On March 15, 1873, Phi Sigma Kappa was founded... so we'd like to wish our fraternity a Happy Birthday today! Read below for a quick reminder of how our frat was founded.

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Massachusetts Agricultural College in Amherst-now the University of Massachusetts-is the setting for our founding. Among its other students in the early 1870s it had attracted six men of varied backgrounds, ages, abilities and goals in life, who saw the need for a new and different kind of society on campus that was receptive to experimentation. These, our Founders, banded together in their sophomore year (1873) to form a "society to promote morality, learning and social culture."

Jabez William Clay, from whose fertile mind came the original suggestion for a new fraternity, was a giant both physically and mentally, and came from a hardy Green Mountain family.

Clay was joined by another Green Mountain boy, Frederick George Campbell, a practical youth who possessed the dynamic ability to put into operation the ideals that flowed from Clay's creative mind. Their contemporaries described them as natural partners.

Joseph Francis Barrett was the youngest of the six, likely the most brilliant, and destined to take an active part for more than 45 years in the affairs of the group he helped to found. He was always "Big Chief" to his friends, constantly amazing them with his feats of memory and mental acuity (he entered college at 16), and served as Grand President for a total of 10 years.

Xenos Young Clark was a Bostonian, a practical joker, an excellent writer and the founders' "local contact;" his father was on the faculty.

William Penn Brooks was a scientist, had a fine mathematical mind, and was responsible for most of the details of our symbolism.

Henry Hague was the oldest of the group, the most mature and sedate, with short careers as a factory hand, carpenter and apprentice seaman already behind him at 24.

The six were typically active college students, members of literary and academic societies and athletic groups, editors of campus publications. Hague and Brooks even ran the college store. On March 15, 1873, they met in secret. Brooks had already prepared a constitution and symbolism, and Hague had designed a ritual. The first meeting seemed destined to succeed, for the individuals all had done their work well. The ritual has been changed only six times since, and never drastically. The symbolism and esoteric structure have never been altered. Clay was elected president of the group-which for its first five years had no name. Its cryptic characters could not be pronounced, either, though Brooks recalled that outsiders referred to them as "T, double T, T upside-down."

PSKRD Alumni Survey

The PSKRD Alumni Board recently sent out a survey to all alumni members to better understand where our chapter members stand in regards to communication and engagement with PSKRD. Take a look at the results here. 

 

12 Days of Phi Sig Christmas

For the days leading up to Christmas, we'll be doing a version of the 12 Days of Christmas for PSK. Take a look below at the 12 Days of Phi Sig Countdown each day to see how it comes together!

On the 1st day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese! 

On the 2nd day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, a Shared Common History and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 3rd day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 4th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 5th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 6th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn , awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 7th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn , awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 8th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, DG’s Don’t Do Dishes, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 9th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, a Place to Come Back To, DG’s Don’t Do Dishes, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 10th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, DOCTOR JOHNNY SCHWARTZ, DG’s Don’t Do Dishes, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 11th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me,  Bands in the Basement, DOCTOR JOHNNY SCHWARTZ, DG’s Don’t Do Dishes, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

On the 12th day of Christmas the Old House gave to me, THE AWESOMEST PORCH HANG,  Bands in the Basement, DOCTOR JOHNNY SCHWARTZ, DG’s Don’t Do Dishes, Life Lessons Learned, Unique Pledge Paddles, 5 FLOORS OF FUNnnnn, awesome Themed Parties, Friendships for a Lifetime, a Shared Common History, and a Kitchen Stocked with Industrial Cheese!

 

Veteran's Day Profile: Larry Emlet

On this Veteran's Day, we'd like to honor one of our outstanding Phi Sig alums and thank him for his service for so many years. AFROTC commission Larry at graduation. He went on active duty immediately afterwards and was trained as a pilot. After active duty, he spent a career with Merck and Co. in management in the pharmaceutical division. Larry has six grandchildren and one great grandchild. Here is a little bit more about Larry Emlet Class of '56, a Cold War Veteran, and a proud brother of our Rho Deuteron Chapter. 

 

Larry Emlet - Class of 1956

North American B-25 bomber.

Reese Air Force Base  Lubbock, TX  1957

 

A few other stories from Larry directly:

 

"I flew the B-25 bomber. My commanding officer was Travis Hoover, the pilot of the second aircraft off the Hornet following Jimmy Doolittle on the raid on Tokyo. One of the B-25s that I flew at Reese AFB at Lubbock Texas has been restored and is flying out of Reading, PA at the Mid Atlantic Air Museum. I have been there to visit that old friend. They would not let me fly it again. I flew a lot of aircraft after the B-25. After leaving the Air Force, I flew with the PA National Guard for 9 years, where I added helicopters to my repertoire. Flying has always been a joy for me, wish I could still do it!

The B-25 was used as a multi engine training plane through the 50s. There was nothing heroic about flying it, although it took physical strength, no power assist to the controls, the heroics had been done earlier. In flight school, I had the choice of training in bombers or jet single engines. I chose bombers because of their complexity and size. Fortunately after being harassed by my tiger buddies for choosing propeller over jet, my next assignment provided only single engine jets in which I checked out in 10 flying hours of instruction. My next assignment where my harassing jet buddies joined me, provided only multi engine props, so guess who became their instructor? Me! Took them 50 hours to check out. Revenge was very sweet! I never flew in combat, and was no hero. I did have two older brothers who both flew combat over Germany in WW 2 and were heroic in my eyes and the reason that I went the route that I did.

If you have not seen the movie 30 Seconds over Tokyo, it is a romantic but fairly accurate story of the Raid. Try to find it. I was fortunate to hear the accurate story from Travis Hoover (now deceased) who experienced it. As a few months ago I heard that there only three Tokyo Raid participants still living, so there will be no more reunions. There is a lot of info about the raid online. I have been to the Air Force museum in Dayton. It's worth a visit. Actually Travis Hoover's flight jacket is on display there.

General Stan Musser '58 was a cadet in my ROTC flight at Gburg, which l commanded my senior year. Later as a pilot with the Air Force Thunderbirds he returned to Gburg when they did a flyover. Not able to land at Gburg, I as a National Guard pilot got to fly him and the other pilots to Gburg airport from Olmsted AFB in Harrisburg and back. It was good to think that one of " my cadets" later became a major general in the USAF."

Late Summer Update & Homecoming Weekend (message from president dave thorpe)

Hi guys –

Hope you are all enjoying the nice hot summer weather. This is when I truly appreciate the temperate weather in Seattle . . . ;-)

Despite the summer hiatus and scattered vacations we continue to make good progress with the house and I thought I would share a quick update on a few things:

 

House Rental

While you have been vacationing we have continued to work on the house in preparation for the incoming tenants (10 lacrosse players) who are scheduled to move in THIS Friday. Lots of work has been done with various alums over a series of weekends this summer. Yes, the house is HOT in July and August!! To give you an idea of what has been accomplished here are a few highlights:

  •  Dining Room / Living Room doors have been boarded up to restrict access per the rental agreement;
  • ALL PSKRD historical artifacts & chapter property that was located in the front basement, library & living room have been secured and locked in a room upstairs. Tony B took the ceremonial robes home and had them cleaned. Not sure when that was last done ;-)
  • Drop ceiling tiles repaired/replaced in the 2nd floor hallway;
  • Sinks and toilets in 2nd floor bathrooms stabilized;
  • 2nd floor wing bathroom showers repaired, front showers have been capped (plumber);
  • Back up sump pump in the rear basement has been repaired and the electrical conduits that were leaking have been capped;
  • Living room wall repairs completed and walls painted;
  • Dryer Vent repaired;
  • All exterior doors have been re-keyed with a new master key and new locks installed on selected interior doors to restrict access to the areas of the house that are not open to the renters;
  • WiFi/Internet/Security system has been relocated to a more secure location and the house has been wired (professionally) to provide 3 wireless access points downstairs and on the 2nd floor so that tenants (and future actives) can access high speed internet wirelessly. This will be controlled by an onsite firewall that can be managed remotely (a BIG thanks to Dave Shaffer ’81 and his brother in-law John who had a crew onsite for an entire day pulling cable).

The house is now ready for the rental (just in time I might add). We have received the first installment of the rent ($37k) so financially we are on track. We have also hired a local Property Manager (David Monsour) to keep an eye on the house and to act as the first point of contact for any issues should they arise. Tony, Lee and David will be meeting the students on Saturday to provide a “walk-thru” and to review our expectations for the house. For those that may be concerned about possible damage, we have significantly increased the security deposit and we will be reviewing the property condition frequently. Any issues will be addressed as they occur and to the extent that it was caused by the tenants the security deposit will be used and replenished accordingly.

 

Insurance

Thanks to Todd’s hard work we have secured a much improved liability/homeowner’s policy for the house. We now have replacement cost coverage (which we did not have before) amongst other policy improvements. The policy was secured through an insurance advisory firm that is run by a PSKRD alum (Zac Cregar ’03). Zac was able to secure this improved coverage at a significant savings over the previous policy. Zac is also working to assist us in securing an improved umbrella policy as well as we currently do not have anything in place which is another gap we need to address. Thanks Zac for all your help!!!

 

Homecoming BBQ and Alumni Meeting – HOLD the Date

This year’s Homecoming is Saturday, October 1st. It’s a great weekend to visit the house to see all the progress that has been made and to visit with fellow alums. We will be hosting an alumni BBQ and meeting with beverages on Saturday afternoon. Details to follow.

Now that the house is occupied we will be turning our attention to the larger capital projects that need to be completed over the next 2-3 years including:

  1.  Completion of the window replacement project (est. $15k);
  2. Exterior painting (est. $20k);
  3. Minor brick repairs (est. $5k);
  4. Bathroom renovations (est. $30k);
  5. Front porch replacement (est. $20k);
  6. 2nd Floor subfloor repair (est. $30k);

These projects will require additional funds from, yes, YOU!!!

 

So... how can you help?

To bring the house back up to par we need to raise $50,000 in annual sustaining donations. It’s simple math. If we had 150 alums pitching in $25/month ($300/year); we could accomplish the above projects in the next 2 years. Some of these are in dire need of being addressed or we will face larger issues in the not too distant future.

 Visit Fundly here and sign up for a sustaining donation of $10, $25 or $50 per month. Last year we had over 100 alums participate with an average one-time cash contribution of $300 to our sustaining fund. With over 600 living alumni we’d like to get that participation up to 150 alums on a sustaining (recurring) annual basis.

Talk to your other fellow alums – encourage them to pitch in and participate. Grab 5 or 10 guys and raise $$ for one of our capital projects.

 

So, what are you waiting for? Take 10 minutes and visit the site and jump in. You’ll feel so much better . . .

 

Ok, that’s it for now. Stay tuned for additional information on Homecoming in the next few weeks . . .

 

Damn Proud!!

 

Dave Thorpe ‘82

Alumni Reunion Weekend Update from President Dave Thorpe

Greetings Phi Sig alums –

Hope you are all enjoying the kick-off to your summer season. Here is a quick update on a couple of things. Little longer this time so bear with me . . .

Gettysburg Alumni Reunion Weekend

On Saturday we hosted an open house and BBQ for returning alums. It’s always hard to say how many folks are actually going to stop by as many don’t register with the college but we had a nice turnout with approximately 15 alums stopping by throughout the day with their spouses/families. It was great to see everyone, especially some of the older alums from the 60’s and 70’s – and as always there were more great pictures and stories shared. Take a look at some of the pictures in the Alumni Reunion Photo Gallery.

Capital Project Alumni Contributions

While we have had very good success to date with raising funds to cover our “gap” expenses during our suspension we are a LONG way away from raising the cash that is needed to address the numerous capital projects that require serious attention. Hard to believe but we have an 11,000 square foot house that is 100 years old (and historic) and there are a number of items that have been neglected over the past 15 years that need to be addressed that we cannot fix with alumni labor and shoe polish. A few or the more pressing items worth mentioning are:

  • Replacement of all remaining single pane windows (this will reduce the exterior paint cost as well as reduce our heating bill). Estimated cost $15,000.
  • Exterior painting. Estimated cost $15,000.
  • Replacement of front porch floor and repair/painting of all wood columns, railings and trim. Estimated cost $20,000.
  • Sub-floor and tile replacement on hallway floors 2 and 3. Estimated cost $50,000.
  • Bathroom renovations (they all need various degrees of work). Estimated cost $75,000.
  • Roof repairs. Estimated cost $20,000.

We will be communicating our plans for these and other projects in greater detail in the coming year as we look to address each of these areas. Obviously we are looking at a very significant capital expense. Given our current situation this can’t be solved overnight and the more pressing items will need to be prioritized. Funding these projects will need to come from alumni contributions, rental income and perhaps a construction loan if we can make those numbers work.

In this regard I want to express our sincere appreciation for 2 distinguished alumni who have generously contributed to the cause this past weekend:

  • Bill Reid ’66 has joined our alumni loan program with a generous pledge of $10,000 towards our capital project plan.
  • Cris Hoffman ’64 has donated $1,000 towards the sustaining annual campaign and has pledged to maintain this level of contribution throughout our suspension. Cris is already a member of the alumni loan program so this is an additional generous contribution from Cris.

We are very grateful for Bill and Cris’s generosity and hope that this will encourage others to more actively support the good work that is being done.

On that note, I’d also like to give a SHOUT OUT to YOUR Alumni Board:

We received many positive comments on our progress with the house from all who visited this past weekend which was very rewarding after so much work has been done by the Board and numerous alumni volunteers. This is especially notable as many who stopped by remember the condition of the house just a few short years ago and who thought they would never see it improve.

I received many personal “thanks” but I honestly have to say that the progress would not have been possible without the collective energy and efforts of the entireAlumni Board. We have a terrific group of alums who have been working energetically on a whole host of initiatives on your behalf:

Ted Gibbon – VP/Treasurer - Financial wizard extraordinaire – has spent hundreds of hours handling everything from filing multiple years of back-tax returns to creating an extremely detailed budget and modeling out our 7 year plan. We would not be where we are without his time and expertise. Ted is quite handy with a spackle blade and now possesses an advanced degree in drop-ceiling renovation and repair.

Todd Klacik – VP – chief ambassador and steward of our sustaining alumni fund program. Purveyor of good beer and will drive to/from Northern NJ (in a single day) to pitch in and mop floors and commandeer the BBQ.

Lee Merwin – House Manager – handles everything from clogged toilets to flooding basements. Manages all tradesmen and now has an advanced degree in emergency sump pump operations and stainless steel restoration. Will drive a 1,000 miles and through the night with a dog in his van to attend and direct alumni work efforts.

Tony “saws all” Barbera – Chief Event Director and all around handyman. There is NO job that Tony won’t tackle. Award for longest days worked (7:30am to 7:30pm). Just make sure there is no live electrical in that wall before he starts cutting . . .

Alex Shipper – Secretary and Chief Social Media guru – builder of new websites and always there with new ideas on how we can improve our alumni communications.

Over the past year these guys have given a ton of their time with 1 (and sometimes 2) Board calls per month lasting 90 minutes or longer and multiple visits to Gettysburg to invest hundreds of hours in repairing, painting and cleaning up as well as organizing and hosting events for the alums. We are very fortunate to have a great group of energetic alums who have volunteered to serve on your behalf and all the great progress that we have made would not be possible without their dedicated efforts.

How can you help??

  • Visit our Fundly page and sign up for a sustaining donation of $10, $25 or $40 per month. Last year we had over 100 alums participate with an average one-time cash contribution of $300 to our sustaining fund and we’d like to get that to 150 alums on a sustaining (recurring) annual basis.
  • Talk to your other fellow alums – encourage them to pitch in and participate. Grab 5 or 10 guys and raise $$ for one of our capital projects.
  • Join us for one of our alumni work weekends. Next work weekend will be later this month. Stay tuned for an update on this.

Final Thoughts

Thanks as always for your feedback and positive comments and for taking the time to read our frequent updates. Over the past 9 months and 3 alumni events (Homecoming, Fore Dougie and the Alumni Reunion) it has become evident that we do have a good many alumni who still enjoy coming back to Gettysburg on occasion to visit and get together with old classmates and alumni. Having the house open and available with a welcoming cold beer and something hot off the grill (or griddle now) provides a great opportunity to re-connect with other alums and meet new alums from other classes, share stories and simply enjoy the view from the front porch at 343 Carlisle.

Here's looking to keeping that old tradition alive . . .

 

Damn Proud!

Dave Thorpe ‘82

Annual Alumni Meeting Minutes

PSK Rho Deuteron Annual Alumni Meeting

Date/Time: April 23 @ 10am ET

Present: Dave Thorpe, Ted Gibbons, Alex Shipper, Lee Merwin, Todd Klacik

 

Phi Sigma Kappa Rho Deuteron Chapter had their annual chapter meeting at the chapter house in Gettysburg, PA on April 23, 2016 at approximately 10 AM. Dave Thorpe, President of the Alumni Board, began the meeting with his opening remarks on the state of the house and the significant amount of work that has been done in the past year. Dave reiterates the importance of building long standing alumni relations for sustainability of the house. The need for a significant value proposition to join the fraternity as a new student is key since the college, in the past few years, has really offered a lot of programs that only fraternities once offered. Parents, with these new college programs being offered, see no reason to support their children to become a member of the fraternity or any form of Greek Life for that matter.

Dave presents the 7-year plan and touches on the stabilizing of the financials, building alumni engagement, executive re-colonization, and building the aforementioned value proposition for prospective members. In the last 9 months, the Alumni Loan Program has raised nearly $86,000. In 30 years, there was no campaign that raised more than $2,000. This is a very positive sign that indicates that the alumni are very interested in the continued existence of the house and betting on the future of the Rho Deuteron chapter.

Dave outlines the current status of renters for the next few years. There are ten (10) students from the lacrosse team that will be living in the house this upcoming fall and paying the chapter nearly $80,000. The following year, we will have another ten (10) lacrosse students confirmed. The house will look to have more people living in the house if we can get necessary renovations done to increase the rental capacity. The goal would be to get four (4) additional renters s othat we are covered for more than the operating expense of the house. The need for a local property manager is brought up by a member of the alumni and Dave responds indicating that this is a priority so that we can properly handle the needs of the residents when they occupy the house. 

The topic of recolonization is addressed and Dave expresses the importance of aligning with the college in order to be successful in bringing the fraternity back as a recognized part of Greek Life at the school. There needs to be synergy with the college or else we won't get the support we need to make it back on campus. The need for a value proposition is once again brought up and how important it is to focus on showing value with career advice and career planning by utilizing our deep alumni connections throughout various industries of work. 

Dave concludes the meeting by stressing the need for sustainable support from the alumni in the form of donations. The average per capita donation this past year was $300. We raised $19,000 from 100-120 outside of the Alumni Loan Program. While that is a number we can be proud of, we need more to be involved and we need to tap into all of our resources to make sure every alumni class is getting involved. 

 

Dave closes out his portion of the meeting and passes it along to the other officers on the board. 

 

You can find a recap of all the presentations in the links below:

Dave Thorpe's 7-Year Plan

Lee Merwin's House Manager Report

Download Ted Gibbons' Financial Report

House Update from President Dave Thorpe

Gentlemen –

We had a great turn out this past weekend with 12 alums/family members pitching in. We accomplished a LOT – here is a quick re-cap:

Completed Work

Kitchen

In thinking about what is best for the longer term it was decided that we would not pursue the conversion of the laundry room to a kitchenette for the upcoming rental and instead we would focus our energy on restoring the kitchen to full working order.

  • To this end a (very) long closed doorway was re-opened from the living room into the kitchen to allow the commissary area to remain blocked off during the upcoming 2016/207 rental period. This actually had a positive effect on the living room as the new door brings more light into the room.
  • In addition, a very heavy non-functioning soda machine and drinking fountain were removed and the 2 refrigerators were tested (one is working and now functional).
  • The stainless steel counter tops were restored to “like new” condition. 

Upstairs Rooms (2nd Floor)

  • Finished painting the last of the bedrooms including 205, 207, 206 and 203.
  • Installed ceiling tiles in 203.
  • Just about all the second floor doors were painted inside and out, two coats.
  • Prepped and primed upstairs hall from wing bathroom forward.  Two finished coats completed in the middle section from the front stairs to the “triangle”.

First Floor

  • Finished painting rack in 101.
  • Prepped and painted laundry room.
  • Hauled away dryer.

Other Items

  • Ted, Todd, Lee and Tony met with the plumbers and roofer to understand and negotiate the recent plumbing bill and to discuss estimates for future work.
  • We successfully negotiated a $1,000 reduction in the $10k plumbing bill.
  • Collected deposit from 2017/2018 renters.

 

A BIG THANK YOU to the alums and family members who participated:  Ted & MaryEllen Gibbon, Tony Barbera, Todd Klacik, Lee Merwin, Dave and (his daughter) Briana Shaffer,Dave “Cubby” Ciarrocca, Dan Wilson, Joe Carver, Tom “Jaws” Cook, and Mike Mesmer.

 

Upcoming Events

 

We will be sending additional details and Evite’s for these events separately so MARK YOUR CALENDARS!

 

Thanks,

Dave