Beta Omicron Chapter founders tour new chapter house for first time

The group of alumni that founded the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity in 1956 toured the chapter’s new house for the first time on Thursday.

Members of the Beta Omicron Founders Generation Alumni Group, made up of initiates from 1956-1960, and their wives, including some who are past Rose Queens, held their annual Spring luncheon in Natchitoches for the first time since the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

After a lunch and short program, the group enjoyed a guided tour of the new Beta Omicron Chapter House along NSU’s Chaplin Lake. The $1.1 million, 5,100 sq. ft. facility opened in August. Chapter members, Chapter Advisor Doug Ireland, and Robert Broadwell, the Beta Omicron Alumni Chapter’s Director of Housing, joined the founders on their visit.

The “Founders Group” were among the first major supporters of the financing of the project, donating $10,000 toward educational areas and technology in the house. Moved by the success of the chapter and the quality of the project, alumnus Maxie Almond, the chapter’s 2nd initiate, made an additional $10,000 contribution toward the house.

The common areas of the facility feature historic photos and memorabilia from throughout Beta Omicron Chapter’s 60-plus year history. The Founders Generation Alumni Group have played an integral role in historic preservation over the years, assisting in recording oral history, securing documents and photographs, and curating chapter artifacts, such as members badges from chapter founders and the original charter.

Student chapter members spent the afternoon walking the founders through each of the house’s 12 bedrooms and study lounges, enjoying stories, and even collecting autographs inside copies of the fraternity’s White Diamond associate member book.

Founders told stories about their first meeting space in the basement of Caldwell Hall on Normal Hill. It had been occupied since the early days of the chapter’s predecessor, Phi Kappa Nu Fraternity, of which many Beta Omicron Chapter founders were also members.

The new building on South Jefferson Street is the fourth chapter house occupied by the fraternity since its chartering in 1956. Beta Omicron Chapter moved into its first chapter house in 1958, after securing the former “C Frame” dormitory on Northwestern State’s Campus.

Groundbreaking on its second chapter house was held on NSU’s Greek Hill in October of 1965. The modest lodge played an important role in helping the chapter grow in size and quality, as it provided a comfortable, functional space for meetings and social events.

Only months after re-chartering the student chapter, alumni of the Beta Omicron Chapter purchased a new chapter house in December 2000, adjacent to the NSU campus along University Parkway.

Those interested in learning more about contributing to the newly-opened chapter house may click here for more information: https://pikappnsu.org/house/new-chapter-house/

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