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