Exactly 107 years after Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity was founded, the Beta Omicron Chapter at NSU marked the anniversary with a semi-formal banquet centered around the spirit of friendship. On December 10th, alumni, active and associate members and their guests gathered in historic Varnado Hall to commemorate the friendships forged by the seven founders of Pi Kappa Phi.
On a quiet December evening in 1904 in Charleston, S.C., three friends — Andrew Kroeg, Simon Fogarty and Harry Mixson—made a choice to lead. Those three men chose to start their own fraternity. The three grew to seven; seven grew to eight; eight grew to 11. Over the course of a century, a fraternity with humble beginnings has grown into a brotherhood of more than 100,000 strong — all because three men made a choice to lead. In 1956 that spirit took root at Northwestern State University, when members of local fraternity Phi Kappa Nu decided to affiliate with Pi Kappa Phi and establish the Beta Omicron Chapter.
The annual Founders Day Banquet was moved to the ballroom of Varnado hall to accommodate a larger number of attendees, and in the process revisit an old chapter tradition. The room was the location for annual chapter group pictures in the 1950 and 1960s.
Chapter Advisor Doug Ireland welcomed the guests to the evening and chapter president Ryan Jeffords introduced the slate of newly-elected officers. Chaplain Cody Cloud called on his father to give the invocation before presenting the Founders’ Memorial Service. Outgoing President Scott Mayeaux and Alumni Association President Lane Luckie introduced alumni initiates Chris Reich and Keith Kays. Psi class associate members presented their big brothers and Warden Aaron Finimore with personalized paddles as a token of gratitude for a semester of mentorship. After the dinner, members serenaded women in the room with a rendition of “The Rose of Pi Kappa Phi.” Alumnus Randy Smith then shared a personal story of the influence of brotherhood. His son Jacob had recently undergone a cranial reconstructive surgery to correct craniosynostosis, a condition where the plates of the skull fuse too early. Smith and his wife Rachael were touched by the outpouring of support from Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity and their many friendships created since their college days. Ritual Advisor Shayne Creppel closed the evening by sharing the “Precepts of Brotherhood.” By candlelight, he reminded members of their obligations of membership among a band of brothers devoted to leadership.
Earlier in the day, Chris Reich and Keith Kays were initiated into the membership of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
Reich, a 2007 and 2009 graduate NSU, is the Marketing Director for American Screening Corporation in Shreveport. He was introduced to Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity in 2006 at the time of Beta Omicron’s 50th anniversary. A journalism major, Reich was asked to provide his photography services and subsequently found himself attending countless events in the years that followed. In the Fall of 2011 came the invitation to become a member as an alumnus. “To me, this is unexpected, and I am truly grateful because I had always wished I made the time to pledge,” said Reich. “I got to know the guys and they broke all the stereotypes I had already about fraternities.” He said he immediately recognized there was something different about this fraternity. “Watching the guys sing to the rose queen and court, seeing them stand behind and help their brothers during the Push America events and the Push America pageant were all different sides I didn’t expect to see. Most of all, it was the maturity level and campus respect that did it for me. I knew I wished I had pledged [as a student].”
Keith Kays is the father of outgoing chaplain Kolt Kays. He attended college in Illinois for petroleum engineering and is an entrepreneur in the marine construction industry. Kays and wife Michelle reside in Zwolle. The Kays’ have been regulars at Pi Kappa Phi tailgating since Kolt initiated in December, 2010. Keith said, “Kolt and I have always had a close relationship, but I’m looking forward to Pi Kapp creating another bond to strengthen our father/son friendship.”
To view pictures from this event, visit https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151039184140416.770632.91568675415&type=1