A small piece of Northwestern State University’s history is now on permanent display at Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity National Headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina. One of the only known surviving membership badges of Phi Kappa Nu Fraternity, the predecessor of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, was recently added to the collection at the Eldred J. Harman Museum.
The jeweled badge is prominently displayed along with other local fraternities that were absorbed by Pi Kappa Phi National Fraternity. Visitors to the museum can explore artifacts in a visual history of the Fraternity, dating back to its founding in 1904.
Phi Kappa Nu was organized at Louisiana State Normal College (now Northwestern State University) on October 17, 1929 and grew to become one of the school’s largest and most-involved organizations. Its members later decided to seek the benefits of joining a national fraternity and on September 21, 1956 the Beta Omicron Chapter was installed as the 63rd chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
The badge belonged to the late John Levy Frederick, a member of Phi Kappa Nu in the early 1950s and later one of the early members of the Beta Omicron Chapter. Placing the pin in the Harman Museum was the work of Beta Omicron Chapter Alumni Association board member Shayne Creppel. Frederick’s widow, Jan, gave the badge to Creppel after having a conversation about the Fraternity’s history. It was first presented to the chapter at the 2011 Founders’ Day banquet and was placed in the care of Pi Kappa Phi Headquarters later in 2012.
John Frederick died in June 2001, at the age of 67. After graduating from Northwestern State College, he entered the Army and served in the Korean War. Until his death, he was the owner of Kaffie-Frederick General Mercantile, the oldest continuously operated business in Natchitoches. In Frederick’s obituary, he was remembered for sharing his abilities and talents with all he met.” For his 67 years he lived life to the fullest with unconditional love for his family, commitment to his business, and his passion for all that is just and decent in the world.”
Fittingly, his badge will now be forever preserved in the same room as the membership badges of the founders of Pi Kappa Phi National Fraternity.