Warren elected to NIC Board

Press release from the North American Interfraternity Conference

CONTACT: Pete Smithhisler
President & CEO
(317) 872-1112

THE HONORABLE DAVID M. WARREN APPOINTED
TO BOARD OF INTERNATIONAL FRATERNAL ASSOCIATION

INDIANAPOLIS (4/14/2014) – The Honorable David M. “Dink” Warren has been appointed to the Board of Directors of the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC), the international trade association representing 74 national and international men’s fraternities.  As a member of the nine-man board, Judge Warren’s responsibilities will include working with NIC member fraternities, other fraternal trade organizations and the higher education community. Throughout his one-year term, he will provide direction and leadership for the conference, including oversight of the CEO and guidance related to products, impacts, benefits, and outcomes of the organization.

Warren_Dink Photo.jpg

Judge Warren was initiated into Kappa Alpha Order at Wake Forest University in 1978. He began volunteering for the Fraternity immediately after graduating, serving as a local and regional volunteer, founding three alumni chapters of KA and serving as president of two. Judge Warren was elected to the Board of Directors for Kappa Alpha Order in 1995. He served as Vice President (Senior Councilor) from 1997 to 2001 when he was then elected as President (Knight Commander) of Kappa Alpha Order, from 2001 to 2003. He has also served as president of KA’s Fraternal Housing Corporation.  He currently serves as a director of the Kappa Alpha Order Education Foundation and as chair of the Scholarship Committee.

He is the current chairman of the Board of Directors of FRMT, Ltd., a Vermont captive reinsurance company with 32 member fraternities. Prior to his appointment to the NIC Board, Judge Warren served seven years on the Membership Committee of the Conference, including six years as Chair.

“I look forward to working with Dink in the coming year,” said NIC President and CEO Peter D. Smithhisler. “Given his significant volunteer service to fraternity in many arenas, Dink has deep expertise and passion for fraternity.”

Judge Warren, a graduate of Wake Forest University and the Wake Forest University School of Law, is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Eastern District of North Carolina.  Prior to his appointment in October, 2013, Judge Warren was a partner in the Raleigh and Rocky Mount, NC offices of Poyner Spruill LLP where he specialized in business and consumer bankruptcy law primarily representing creditors.  He served as a Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee for 24 years. He is a certified specialist in business and consumer bankruptcy law by the North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization and the American Board of Certification.

Warren lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Keena, who is a business development manager with the law firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP in Raleigh.  Their daughter Ashley, an initiate of Kappa Delta at Wake Forest University, is an account manager with MMI Public Relations in Cary, NC.  Their son McLean is a recent initiate of Kappa Alpha Order at Elon University where he is studying engineering.

Founded in 1909, the NIC, through advocacy, collaboration and education, works to ensure that fraternities can operate in an environment conducive to their success.

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Flag Officers from the Order

Kappa Alpha Order is updating our list of military flag officers. Below is the list as accurate as we know it.

Do you know of any updates? Promotions? Missing names? OR, are any of these incorrect? Please share any additions/corrections and we’ll update our records accordingly.

But hey, his is pretty darn impressive don’t you think?

The following inclues, RANK, Full Name, Branch of Service, status, and initiation chapter, school, and year… Please update update us if any information is incorrect.

BG Thomas H. Alexander USA (Ret.) (Beta Pi – Presbyterian 1954)

BG Granville R. Amos (Beta Commission – VMI 1965)

BG Phillip R. Anderson (Beta Commission – VMI ’70)

LTG Robert Jacob Baer (Alpha Eta – Westminster ’43)

BG Caleb T. Bailey (Beta Kappa – Maryland ’19)

MG James W. Ball (Beta Tau – Mississippi State ’59)

MG George S. Beatty, Jr., USA (Ret.) (Beta Pi – Presbyterian ’36)

LTG Sidney B. Berry Jr. (Alpha Upsilon – Mississippi ’43)

BG Michael L. Bozeman (Beta Commission – VMI ’03)

LTG George H. Brett (Beta Commission – VMI 1908)

BG Albert E. Brewster, Jr. (Beta Phi – New Mexico ’49)

GEN William O. Brice (Theta Commission – Citadel ’21)

LTG Colby Marshall Broadwater, USA (Ret.) ’72, (Theta Commission – Citadel ‘XX)

BG Charles F. Brower, USA (Beta Commission – VMI ’07)

MG Robert F. Bunker, USA (Ret.) (Sigma Alpha Commission – USMA ’12)

RADM Richard E. Byrd, Jr. USN (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI 1906)

GEN William P. Campbell (Alpha Omicron – Arkansas ’15)

GEN George H. Cary Jr (Beta Zeta – Florida ’47)

BG E. Erle Cocke, Jr. (Gamma – Georgia ’39)

BG William M. Connor, Jr. (Lambda – Virginia ’29)

MG Marcus F. Cooper USAF (Ret.) (Alpha Sigma – Georgia Tech ’28)

RADM Frank W. Corley Jr. (Eta – Richmond ’43)

MG Scott S. Custer (Beta Commission – VMI ’76)

MG Joseph N. Dalton (Beta Commission – VMI ’12)

GEN James W. Duckett (Gamma – Georgia ’34)

BG C. Ernest Edgar III (Beta Commission – VMI ’58)

GEN Michael P. Fleming (Delta Phi – Jacksonville State ’80)

LTG Robert B. Flowers (Beta Commission – VMI ’69)

RADM Arthur W. Fort, USN (Ret.) (Nu – Auburn ’57)

BG Thomas Fuller (Beta Zeta – Florida ’25)

MG Donald R. Gardner, USMC (Ret.) (Gamma Gamma – Memphis ’59)

BG Ernest A. Garlington (Gamma – Georgia 1870)

BG John H. Gary III (Beta Commission – VMI ’79)

MG John P. Gifford, USAF (Ret.) (Epsilon – Emory ’36)

BG Louis H. Ginn, Jr. (AT – Hampden – Sydney ’20)

BG Allen M. Goodson (Beta Zeta – Florida ’47)

MG Robert L. Gordon (Gamma Beta – Missouri State ’54)

GEN Mark A. Graham (Delta Nu – Murray State ’73)

BG Joseph G. Gray (Gamma Psi – Northwestern State ’63)

MG Joseph W. Griffin (Gamma – Georgia ’50)

MG John S. Grinalds (Delta Theta – Georgia Southern ’02)

LTG Leo D. Hermle (Alpha Xi – California 1911)

RADM Richmond P. Hobson (Phi – Birmingham – Southern 1884)

MG James L. Hobson Jr. (Gamma Gamma – Memphis ’61)

BG Jesse S. Hocker, Jr. (Theta – Kentucky ’51)

BG Stanislaus J. Hoey (Gamma Zeta – Southern Mississippi ’52)

MG James W. Humphreys, Jr. (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’35)

Major General Richard L. Irby (Beta Commission – VMI ’39)

MG Charles M. Kiefner (Alpha Eta – Westminster ’49)

LTG John W. Knapp, USA (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’54)

BG Lloyd L. Leech Jr. USA (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’42)

BG John S. Letcher (Beta Commission – VMI ’24)

BG Maurice Marrs (Beta Eta – Oklahoma ’20)

GOA George C. Marshall (Beta Commission – VMI 1901)

General Richard J. Marshall (Beta Commission – VMI ’16)

MG James H. Marshall (Beta Commission – VMI ’51)

RADM Charles F. Martin, USN (Beta Gamma – Charleston 1909)

MG Ned D. McDonald Jr. (Beta Commission – VMI ’49)

LTG John M. McDuffie (Delta Theta – Georgia Southern ’68)

BG John A. McEwan (Beta Commission – VMI ’31)

GEN Jack N. Merritt (Beta Eta – Oklahoma ’49)

GEN Edmund W. Montgomery II (Alpha Upsilon – Mississippi ’38)

MG Orlando C. Mood (Theta Commission – Citadel ’21)

MG James M. Morgan Jr. (Beta Commission – VMI ’58)

MG Gordon C. Nash (Alpha Tau – Hampden – Sydney ’68)

MG Robert B. Newman Jr. (Beta Commission – VMI ’73)

ADM Robert J. Nicholson III (Pi – Tennessee ’89)

GEN Randolph M. Pate (Beta Commission – VMI ’21)

GEN George S. Patton, Jr. (Beta Commission – VMI 1904)

GEN James H. B. Peay III (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’62)

MG Roger Clifton Poole (Ret.) (Theta Commission – Citadel ‘XX)

MG John P. Prillaman (Beta Commission – VMI ’78)

LTG William W. Quinn (Beta Mu – St. John’s ’28)

MG Jack W. Ramsaur II (Gamma Alpha – Louisiana Tech ’71)

BG John W. Richardson (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’31)

BG Thomas F. Riley (Beta Commission – VMI ’35)

MG Nathaniel Heyward Robb, Jr., NCNG (Ret.) (Theta Commission – Citadel ‘XX)

BG Charles D. Roberts Jr. (Alpha Kappa – Missouri ’48)

BG John P. Russell (Alpha Rho – West Virginia ’48)

RADM Kenneth P. Sears (Ret.) (Beta Eta – Oklahoma ’42)

BG George R.E. Shell (Beta Commission – VMI ’61)

GEN Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’17)

LTG James E. Sherrard III (Alpha Upsilon – Mississippi ’62)

LTG Ellie G. Shuler, Jr., USAF (Ret.) (Theta Commission – Citadel ‘XX)

MG Henry I. Siegling, USA (Delta Epsilon – Newberry ’69)

BG John F. Sievertson (Alpha Rho – West Virginia ’55)

LTG Jeffrey G. Smith (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’43)

BG Leo E. Soucek (Beta Commission – VMI ’49)

MG Joseph L. Stern (Alpha – Washington & Lee – 1867)

MG Thomas H. Tait (Ret.) (Beta Commission – VMI ’99)

MG Will H. Tankersley (Nu – Auburn ’76)

BG Hugh B. Tant III USA (Ret.) (Theta Commission – Citadel ’08)

BG Joe G. Taylor Jr. (Delta Xi – McNeese State ’71)

MG M. Bo Temple (Beta Commission – VMI ’75)

LTG Richard F. Timmons (Beta Commission – VMI ’65)

BG W. Troy Tolbert (Ret.) (Beta Tau – Mississippi State ’52)

GEN Sam S. Walker (Beta Commission – VMI ’82)

BG Gregory N. Walters, SCANG (Ret.) (Theta Commission – Citadel ‘XX)

 

 

 

Remaining Conviviums!

If you’ve held a Convivium, and want to share pictures or a recap…. OR if you want to be added to this list of remaining and upcoming Conviviums,  please click here.

Nashville, TN
February 6

Epsilon Chapter Convivium
February 15
Emory University
KA House
Number I Quinton Burks

Charlottesville, VA
February 21
Jefferson Room of Farmington Country Club
1625 Country Club Circle
Cocktails and Hors D’oeuvres – 6:00pm
Dinner, Speech, and Lee Toast – 7:00pm
Cocktail Attire/Cash bar
Alumni Brothers:  $75 per person
Active Brothers:  $30 per person
Contact Matt Hollomon, President

Bowling Green, OH
April 5
Samb’s Restaurant
163 South Main Street
www.facebook.com/kaobga

Welcome to the “new” KAPPAALPHAORDER.org

by: Jesse S. Lyons, Director of Communications

The sixth (only the sixth) iteration of our national website is now live. Explore our new engaging design, test the mobile responsiveness, be inspired by the bold values statements, and utilize the new, streamlined navigation. We hope you like it! If you see issues, something missing, or heaven forbid *gasp!* a broken link, please email us your feedback at jlyons@ka-order.org. Thanks and enjoy the site!

(oh and please share www.KAPPAALPHAORDER.org via Tweet, Like, etc. so we get the word out! – if you do so, hashtag #elevatedandrefined, #moralcompass, or any other new witty slogan and and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an Official KA Flag at the end of February. Thanks!)Website Explanation Graphic

 

A Season for Thanks

By Barry B. Donnell, Chairman and President
Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation

During this special season, it is traditional to think about those who have made our lives better and, when possible, to express our appreciation. At Kappa Alpha Order, we are grateful to our many friends and alumni who are active in the life of KA, whether they participate in local alumni chapters, serve on active chapter alumni advisory committees or house corporations, help identify young men for membership, serve as national volunteers, or provide financial support. For all the ways you make KA better, THANK YOU!

Perhaps at this time you are thinking about expressing tangibly your appreciation for what Kappa Alpha Order has meant to you, and at the same time helping give today’s brothers the opportunity to receive a great KA experience.  A check made payable to the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation (KAOEF) or a donation made through our online form, in an amount that is right for you, is a wonderful way to convey these wishes.  However, for some there are other strategies that may offer a better result.  Following are some that may be right for you.

A Gift From Your Individual Retirement Account

If you are 70 1/2 or older, you can use the funds in your IRA to make your contribution without having to recognize the amount of the distribution, which would normally be included in your taxable income.  Simply notify your IRA administrator to make a “qualified charitable distribution” to KAOEF in the amount you choose, up to a maximum of $100,000.  To receive this benefit, you should make sure that the administrator sends the payment directly to KAOEF, rather than to you personally. An added benefit is that qualified charitable distributions count toward your annual required minimum distribution.  If you are not yet 70 1/2, you may wish to consider naming KAOEF as a survivor beneficiary of all or a portion of your IRA.  Simply contact your administrator and request a beneficiary designation form.

A Gift of Appreciated Securities

Due to recent changes in the law, a number of people will be paying higher capital gains tax rates when they sell investments that have grown in value.  And with the recent run up in the stock market, you may be wondering how to best manage the potential taxes generated by these gains.  One way is to use securities you have held for more than one year to make a gift to KAOEF.  By using this strategy, you can take a tax deduction for the current market value of the asset without having to recognize any of the gain in your taxable income.  Such a contribution can easily be made electronically from your brokerage account to the KAOEF account.  You can also receive the same benefits if you use mutual fund shares to make your gift.  However, it sometimes takes a little longer than using individual securities to complete the gift.  So now would be a good time to get the process started.  Simply contact the KAOEF for specific instructions and assistance.

A Gift That Gives Back

Perhaps you would like to make a significant contribution but cannot afford to give up the income generated by the contributed asset.  If so, a charitable gift annuity or charitable remainder trust might be the best method for you.  Both these strategies provide current tax benefits, including a charitable contribution deduction, but allow you (and/or another person of your choosing) to receive income from the gifted asset.  Your personal circumstances will dictate whether a charitable gift annuity or a charitable remainder trust would be the better method for you.  We would be happy to visit with you further about selecting the most advantageous strategy.

If you have questions or need additional information about any of the gift options mentioned here, please contact Ben Satcher, Chief Development Officer for the KAOEF at (540) 460-4148 or bsatcher@ka-order.org.

We send you our warmest wishes for a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest of New Years.

Lift High Your Glasses

Brothers and friends, a happy January 19th to all. Today we celebrate the birth of Robert E. Lee as well as our founding, in lieu of December 21. This is the traditional date for a Convivium Celebration, but those events may also be held throughout the year.

When our Alpha Chapter was forming in the early years of 1865-1870, Lee was in Lexington, Virginia, as President of Washington College (now Washington & Lee). His influence spread to all students. Indeed, his honor code was instituted with one line: “We have but one rule here, and it is that every student must be a gentleman.” Our principles of chivalry forming in our ritual were embodied in person through Lee’s words and actions. As such Lee was a gentleman and a real-life example to our founders. For us, those values remain true, today, as a Moral Compass for the Modern Gentleman.

While never a member, Lee was first dubbed our Spiritual Founder in 1923 by Former Knight Commander John Temple Graves.

A toast to Lee is given with water at a Convivium celebration. This is symbolic and appropriate as Lee did not drink alcohol. (in fact, he is quoted, “I like whiskey. I always did, and that is why I never drink it.”

Our Chief or Principle Founder was James Ward Wood and our Practical Founder was Samuel Zenas Ammen. To these members we also toast today.

Today, each newly chartered or rechartered chapter receives a print of a portrait of Lee in his office at Washington College (Gamma Mu at University of Houston, above). Lee was many things: military officer, leader, gentleman–but perhaps most important was his time as an educator.

We honor our past. We remember Lee’s traits. And we strive to embody our ideals for the future, as it belongs to us. The future could promise us no site so dear as the 150th Sesquicentennial Celebration in 2015.

So, Knights, Gentlemen, Brethren, lift high your glasses here tonight, and, in the liquid spotless as his fame, let us pledge forever KA, the Spiritual Founder of Kappa Alpha Order – Robert Edward Lee of old Virginia!

150th Anniversary Alumni Directory Announced

by: William H. Walker (Beta Tau – Mississippi State ’07) Director of Alumni Engagement

Rest assured, this project is sanctioned by KA, your information will not be sold, and any purchases will benefit the Order.

Kappa Alpha Order is excited to announce the launch of the 2015 Alumni Directory. This is one of many exciting projects for our upcoming 150th Anniversary.  The directory will be published and available beginning in 2015. This will be the 15th edition of the Alumni Directory for the nearly 150 year history of Kappa Alpha Order. Learn more about this Alumni Directory project through a common set of questions and answers.

We have partnered with PCI (also known as Publishing Concepts) to produce our new alumni directory.  PCI is a 30 year-old company located in Dallas, TX, that publishes directories for educational institutions, fraternities, sororities, and military organizations across the nation. This project allows Kappa Alpha Order to receive important updates to our database so we know more about our members and how we can better serve you and our future members.

You may also be asked to give an honorary gift to the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation. This will be an unrestricted gift and will support the Sesquicentennial Celebration.

Since there have been nearly 160,000 initiates in our history, over 120,000 of those still living, PCI will be contacting alumni in different waves. At some point over the next several months, you should receive an email and/or a postcard from PCI. Both the email and postcard will have a number for you to call and ensure that your information is up to date. You may also receive a phone call. You will be able to purchase a directory while speaking with the PCI representative. Please be assured that PCI is a legitimate company and that your information will be kept secure and confidential.

Should you have any questions, I’d be happy to help as best as I can, and can be reached at wwalker@ka-order.org or 540-463-1865.

 

Apply to Lobby in DC!

Apply now to lobby on behalf of the fraternity/sorority community in Washington, D.C.!

Kappa Alpha Order is committed to sending four KAs if selected. Apply NOW!

The Fraternal Government Relations Coalition (FGRC), comprised of the National Panhellenic Conference, North-American Interfraternity Conference, and the Fraternity and Sorority Political Action Committee, is looking for outstanding campus and chapter leaders to serve as advocates for the fraternity and sorority community in Washington, D.C. This is a great opportunity for any students who are interested in combining their fraternity or sorority experience with their passion for politics. Each year, FGRC sends student leaders to our nation’s capital to advocate for legislation that is important to the success of fraternity and sorority organizations across the country.

The Collegiate Housing and Infrastructure Act (CHIA) is a bill that would help make fraternity and sorority housing safer and more affordable for students. Alumni and students have been working together for several years to gather support for this bill by lobbying on behalf of the fraternity and sorority community. Student participation is a crucial part in gaining support from members of Congress who are eager to hear about students’ current experiences on campus and in fraternity and sorority housing.

WHO ARE WE LOOKING FOR?

This unique opportunity allows participants to experience Washington, D.C. in a new way through direct interaction in the legislative process. Many past participants have also found this to be a great opportunity for networking, gaining a greater perspective on the political process and for some it has been the launch of a career in public service!

The Congressional visits will take place in Washington, D.C on April 27-May 1, 2014. If selected, students will be expected to participate in prep work leading up to training sessions and visits that will include securing letters of support from their university’s president, vice president or chancellor, as well as passing a student government resolution in support of CHIA. It is also important that students are aware that they will miss at least 3-4 days of school that week and should be prepared to plan accordingly with their professors during that time.

To apply, please submit an application via the following link by December 13th.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Amy Davenport (202-457-6528) with Patton Boggs.

Or, contact Michael Wilson (540-319-1464) at the National Administrative Office.

5 Reasons Hazing Cannot be Justified

[This is a guest blog post from Nick Bell, a junior at Washington & Lee University and a 2011 initiate of Alpha Chapter]

Many people see hazing in the chapter as nothing more than silly antics and harmless pranks like those remembered from the 1980s hit comedy Animal House. The realities of hazing are severely unlike the amusing scenes many people relate with the term. Hazing is an abuse of power that can destroy a person and a chapter. The goal of the Order is to create a lifetime experience for all members and to inspire values such as respect, honor, gentlemanly conduct, leadership, and, ultimately, excellence. Hazing does not help any of your members attain any of these principles and your chapter will be altogether worse off if hazing occurs. There is no way to justify hazing. Here’s why:

1. Hazing puts your chapter at risk.

Even if you somehow believe there is nothing morally wrong with hazing, it is still a terrible idea. Every time a member hazes, they are not only putting their self at risk of expulsion from the Order, but they are also putting the chapter at risk of being shut down. How can you justify taking this risk?

2. KA is about building people up, not tearing people down.

Your new members will soon be your brothers. They should be people you care deeply about and would do anything for. Hazing can tear people apart mentally and physically. How can you justify doing this to your own brothers?

3. Hazing presents an unsafe environment.

Hazing can present many dangerous situations where new members are in a vulnerable position of being severely or fatally injured. People have diedbecause of hazing. How can you justify endangering the life of anyone, let alone your soon-to-be brothers? Even more prevalent is the mental toll that even non-physical hazing takes on your new members. You never know everything that is going on with someone–and you don’t want to be the added stressor for someone already in a weakened mental state.

4. Hazing is against the law.

You have spent your whole life working hard to get into college so you can be successful. If you haze, you are putting yourself at risk of being punished by the law. Even if you disagree with all of KA’s values, how can you justify putting your whole future career in jeopardy just to haze?

5. Hazing divides your brotherhood.

You know that hazing is wrong. Your brothers know that hazing is wrong. Those who haze will be divided from those who abhor the practice. Your chapter does not become closer because of hazing, it becomes further apart and this divide can lead to the demise of your chapter. How can you justify taking this risk?

 

The KA experience offers its members an unbelievable opportunity to attain long-lasting friendships and brotherhood. The standards and values of KA are lost when hazing occurs. Hazing can ruin your chapter. The risks from hazing can ruin your life and the lives of others.

So ask yourself, how can you justify hazing?

The planning for the Gamma Psi 50th Reunion

Sample Planning Guide & Reunion Planning Review
50-year chapter anniversary
(adapted from Gamma Psi Chapter)

CLICK HERE for the Reunion Planning Review Document

2008 (5 years out)

Initial discussions
Realizing the 50th celebration would be five years ahead, discussions were began about what events should be planned and how. This was an informal discussion to begin the thinking process.

Past and updated archives planning
A closet at the fraternity house had been used for many years as storage for composite photographs, records, newsletters and assorted memorabilia for the 45-year history of the chapter. This was not ideal.

Contact was made with the Archivist at the University Library to see if storage of historic items could be arranged. Since the university collections had little documentation of student organizations except for yearbooks and newspapers, the Campus Library was pleased to accept our offer to donate.

The process of sifting through boxes of files began. Any documents about student life and the members were hauled to the library along with any composite not hanging at the house. Then as a new composite arrives, the one taken down is moved to the university archives.

Discussions began about an exhibit to be organized for the 50th reunion and include its opening as an event for the planned celebration in 2013.

 

2009 (4 years out)

Continued discussions
Continued to think through what events would be most successful in attracting the largest number of “old” and “new” alumni.

The work in 2009 was basic organization to be ready for promotion of the reunion

 

2010 (3 years out)

Venue selection
The only venue largest enough for a dance to be the culminating event of a two-day celebration was the Natchitoches Events Center, and it would only accept reservations three years out. The first week in 2010 we booked the entire building. Being an university-affiliated group, a discount was given which reduced the cost by 10%.

Formal organization of Reunion Steering Committee
Once the facility was reserved the need for an organizational structure to recruit the highest attendance possible became apparent.

The planning was extended to a local Reunion Steering Committee of six alumni with an invitation to the chapter president to attend. These alumni reflected initiates from the 70s through late 1990s but each had a constituency of friends who could be useful in creating a successful reunion.

Two of our committee members were employed at the university (both former Number Is), another was a local KA banker, another from the 1970s was a former Number I and well known in the community, a former Number I, initiated in 1999 who as a salesman came to town weekly with many KA alumni friends in Shreveport from his generation, and finally a retired faculty member who already was producing an alumni newsletter three times a year and involved with the Active Chapter. He also had maintained a database since 1988 of members, which became an important resource in the reunion planning.

University alumni office involvement
Northwestern State University Alumni Office has allowed fraternities and sororities to mail their newsletters without cost (except producing the document) in an envelope with its return address and Address Correction Requested. Any returns or address changes is first processed in its records and then given to the local chapter for changes in its database.

Constituency engagement
The steering committee realized the best the way to get more alumni involved was through friends who had been in the fraternity.

The chapter had two semi-organized alumni groups. One from the 1960s who met each summer for a day of golfing. The second group, mostly of 1970 initiates, had used a fishing tournament over a fall weekend to be its annual meeting event.

The leaders of these groups were notified early since they would be essential in locating and encouraging attendance from the two oldest groups of members.

 

2011 (2 years out)

Utilization of organized age-based alumni groups
When the two organized groups had their annual events, information was given about reunion plans and to “hold the date.”

Newsletters starting in 2011 included the dates of reunion in 2013

 

2012 (1 year out)

Direct planning begins
The direct planning began early in 2012 with three tracks:

1. Planning events that would encourage the largest attendance (Parties by Decade).

Golf tournaments and sporting events were nixed as official activities. They could restrict numbers involved and also have spouses and guests left for our group to entertain or plan activities.

As such, all events were for everyone to attend.

The only exception was the first evening, as “Parties by Decades” became the event. Each group met by the decade they were initiated in a separate location, and each group planned its own activities outside the official schedule.

The 1960s group met in a patio with outside seating as well as a separate cash bar from the restaurant.

The 1970s chose an outdoor dining deck at a popular restaurant overlooking a lake. There was a fixed price buffet and each person paid for their drinks.

The 1980s bunch was downtown with a fixed price buffet of appetizers and cash bar.

The 1990s combined with the past 10 years since the participation of recent initiates would probably be less (which it was). The group had appetizers and a cash bar.

Our small historic town with a busy downtown had lodging and enough restaurants for three of the decade parties to be within a block and a half of each other and many were able to book lodging in a local inn or B&Bs.

Folks staying in this area were able to visit the KA House, the Memorial Service, and the Parties by Decades by walking.

The Reunion Steering Committee allowed each group to plan its Friday night event without any input.

2. Promotion through team leaders by decades to encourage attendance

The identity of our team leaders was announced early in 2012 and each “took over” contact with their group. This allowed for the steering committee to focus on overall reunion planning.

Interestingly one team leader of the 1980s lived in Amsterdam and was able to have as much contact and involvement by email and Skype.

3. Social Media and direct mail for overall group contact.

The retired faculty member on the steering committee established a Facebook page, Gamma Psi 50th, which became the main contact for the general audience of Gamma Psi members.

He used the last 50 years of college yearbooks as a source of photographs and the pictures he had hauled to the archives. For Facebook image resolution or quality was not critical so he was able to shoot many of pictures posted with an iPhone. By tagging the members in the pictures, the increased traffic garnered big interest and chatter among friends.

On Facebook, Gamma Psi 50th is an open site and can still be viewed.

In addition, the chapter mailed three newsletters, the summer edition, the fall edition and the spring edition in early January devoted exclusively to the Reunion with information on lodging options, activities, looking for bad addresses of members, and also trying to determine the deceased members for a memorial service.

The university alumni office assisted by researching its database and also trying to verify who we thought was deceased. Each time we published a list someone on it reported in alive and a couple more deceased were added to the list.

 

2013 (the reunion)

The Events
Several strategies developed in planning activities for the two-day reunion.

We wanted to get the alumni involved with the history of the chapter and the fraternity house and active members early but still not conflict with the planned activities.

Library Exhibition and Registration - Friday afternoon
Having stored historical documents in the library for several years and a cooperative staff, the first event on the agenda was opening of the exhibition, 50 Years of KA at Northwestern. The library was on the street into town from the interstate so registration and pickup of nametags were combined.

A concern among those planning was few folks would stop at the library but proceed to their lodging or the fraternity Open House later in the afternoon.

This concern was not valid since the largest crowd ever to attend an exhibition opening in the archives visited. An electronic counter indicated 351 guests entered between noon and 4pm.

The university library is closed on Friday afternoons so arrangements were made for access to the guests attending the KA function on the third floor. Active Members greeted guests outside and directed them to the elevators. The first two KA contacts for alumni participants were the KA letters in front of the building and chapter members outside the building.

All composites in the chapter history except the ones hanging at the KA House were on display. Another area had the all the small individual composites spread over two tables. Glass exhibit cases held an assortment of memorabilia including the original application for active chapter status and numerous T-shirts since the chapter’s founding.

The items donated were a great source of conversation among guests. A member had sent the hand written invoice for dues from 1971 and his university ID card. The variety of displayed items made the exhibition appealing for spouses and campus guests that also were invited.

Many yearbooks spread over the years were open in glass cases to the KA chapter page.

Open KA House - Friday early evening
The fraternity house is the only Greek lodging in a residential district so in order for neighbors not to complain about traffic and the commotion, invitations to the neighbors for the Open House were hand delivered by Active Chapter members.

The university alumni office hosted the refreshments, and the planning committee purchased a birthday cake to cut as a part of the program.

The university president, the city mayor, and Knight Commander William E. Dreyer attended. These invitations were made months in advance. The University alumni director, a KA, was master of ceremonies and gave opening remarks on the general history of the chapter, the university president talked briefly about Greeks on campus and their role, the mayor recognized the chapter for its 40 years of presence in this location and its contributions to the community, the Knight Commander talked about KA on campus and the connection with the Order as a whole, the chapter presented a tree to the university president to plant on campus as a symbol of future growth. (The chapter had presented a tree to the campus at its 30th birthday.)

The university marketing folks posted a short video on YouTube of the reception, which can be viewed at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jUXbuncflFM&list=UU54lTPrE-UfX0zZaeezg85A

Following the formal part of the program, the first KA Rose in 1963 and the latest Rose from 2012 cut the birthday cake representing continuity in the chapter’s history.

Alumni were invited to tour the house and property. With so many activities planned over two days having the reception first insured everyone had time to come to the house and enjoy reminiscing together.

The excitement generated at the Open KA House was a great start to the weekend activities.

Then each group had an hour or so before the Parties by Decades began around 7pm.

Parties by Decades - Friday evening
Each party had a coordinator or coordinators who did all the planning, coordinating with guys from his era and carrying out the event.

The last decade was combined with the 1990s since we expected (and had few) attendees from the past 10 years.

All four groups opted for a location associated with a restaurant and bar. All had private rooms or area for their groups.

Our steering committee had little input or coordination, but the alumni coordinating had used the email and mailing lists for contacts. Team leaders worked phones to contact guys from their time period to attend the reunion and the Friday night party.

These parties were all successful with large attendance.

Memorial Service - Saturday morning
With two Methodist ministers in our alumni base, an idea evolved to host a memorial service at the local Methodist church just a block from the KA House.

Since the event was at 10am at the beginning of a long day, the steering committee was not sure how well attended the even would be. Our attendance was close to 150 with alumni, actives and spouses/guest.

Besides the two alumni officiating (Rev. Ray Varnado and Rev. Fred Fraser) and Ben W. Satcher, Jr. (Former Knight Commander and Chief Development Officer for the Kappa Alpha Order Educational Foundation), the local Methodist minister was on the program as well as an alumni leader, along with the Active Chapter I, II, and III.

Parts of the service were adapted from the public KA ceremony, “Chapter of Sorrow.”

Total time was about 45 minutes and certainly an appropriate and emotionally stimulating beginning to the day.

Lawn Party Picnic - Saturday afternoon     
The largest event planned for the reunion weekend was a Lawn Party at Cherokee Plantation where actives, dates, alumni, guests and parents of actives were invited.

The owners of Cherokee live out of town but on-site coordination was done with the full-time staff on the property. The Big House was not used because of lack of host and hostess for the historic property. A camp across the road on the banks of the Cane River Lake with a large garden of live oaks tree was the site of the picnic.

The caterer had access to a kitchen; two bathrooms in the camp were used for women. Porta-johns were rented for men.

The idea for a picnic event allowed for more seating and less restrictions on attendance.

A caterer was hired one year out. Arrangements for table and chair rentals were also booked a year out.

The event started at noon with the intention to eat about 12:50pm.

Then a program would recognize alumni, chapter members, parents and guests. Also several scholarships were presented. Knight Commander William E. Dreyer was the guest speaker. The event was dignified, yet relaxed.

Total length of the program was about 30 minutes.

Following the picnic and program, the whole group walked across the road to take the official photo in front of the Cherokee Plantation home. A video of the photo shoot is at

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=715Wdga4JBI&feature=share&list=UU54lTPrE-UfX0zZaeezg85A

The schedule was kept, and the event ended before 3pm giving everyone rest time before the final event, an Old South Ball that night.

Old South Ball
The only venue large enough for a dance was the local city-owned Events Center. It had been reserved three years out. The services offered include full setup of tables, chairs, stage, and dance floor. A cash bar was contracted to a third party vendor. The rules of the venue require 1 security guard for 100 guests so planning for a maximum attendance of 500; we hired through the local city police five off-duty officers for $100 each.

Hiring a band to appeal to a diverse audience from 70-year-old alumni to current undergraduates was a challenge. An alumni committee in Shreveport watched and searched. The best choice turned out to be a band that specializes in cover music used to appeal to a diverse audience.

Remarkably at midnight when local regulations require the party to end, there were “old folks” as well as undergraduates on the floor for the last dance.

The band proved to be a popular compromise for all.

 

Assessment (post reunion)

How do you assess whether the reunion was successful?
Right at 200 alumni registered, with actives in the chapter and members on alumni status still enrolled in an undergraduate degree program, attendance of KAs totaled close to 230. Since the chapter has initiated just a few over 900 members in 50 years, the total attendance was around 25% of the total.

Our goal going into planning the reunion was 200 in attendance, and we achieved that.

In addition the registration process collected email addresses and a phone number for each alumnus. This is a valuable resource for future chapter alumni activities. A simple online form can be built or the active chapter can assist on their website.

Already alumni realizing such a big reunion is not feasible on a regular basis are planning group reunions in the next several years. This would be an important chapter support tool.

Also some alumni were not able to attend because of work or family obligations want to be included in activities planned in the next several years.

Many photographs from the weekend are still being posted on the Facebook site, Gamma Psi 50th. Even though the event has past, the site will continue to be used for alumni contact since nearly everyone attending was on Facebook or got on it for the information distributed during the planning stage.

How did we do financially?
With a $100 registration fee and a total income of about $20,000, all bills were paid including some for house repairs necessary to get the place ready for the Open House. About $2,000 should be left after some remaining bills are paid, and that will be placed in the Alumni Account to support chapter activities.

Were the results worth the efforts?
YES, our alumni base is much involved and active. The chapter has a greater realization of what being a KA means to men 70 years old. We are already hearing stories about what this old guy did or said about his chapter years, making the concept of KA a life-long experience much more meaningful than just something in a rush presentation or brochure.