Dearest Alpha Rho Brother,
15 AUG 2019 marks the 41st anniversary of Brother Patrick Edward Farley becoming the 67th initiate into Alpha Rho Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity. 15 AUG 2019 also marks the 4th anniversary of the restructuring of the Alpha Rho Alumni Chapter. As is customary, I present you today with a “State of the Chapter Review” highlighting some of the accomplishments of the past year and to also look forward to what this year has to offer.
Personally, 2019 will help me celebrate my 30th year of Brotherhood, and I honestly cannot remember a more perfect year for our great fraternity. The planning and hard work started before our April 2015 Alumni Chapter restructuring event. The National Fraternity was engaged to work in partnership with our Alumni Chapter and with the University, culminating in April 2019 with a four-day weekend Rechartering of our Student Chapter, and the return of our two previous Charters; one for 1930 and 1978.
It is amazing what the Alumni Chapter accomplished (in conjunction with our newly recruited students, the Council of Advisors) in four short years! Each year built on the prior year where more and more alumni participated in our events, volunteered to help in the work we did and gave financially.
Immediately after The Alpha Rho Rechartering Celebration weekend, I had a chance to spend an extra day in Morgantown. I reflected on what had just happened and pondered on these thoughts:
How were we able to do all that we did these past few years? We honestly had no reason to be successful. The operations of the Alumni Chapter were not good, we had no money and the loss of the Student Chapter was devastating for morale. So, I couldn’t seem to come up with the definitive reason why.
In the middle of trying to figure this out, I got a call from one of my best friends, now and from my undergraduate days, Brother Jon Patterson, AP296.
Jon wanted to hear all about the weekend as he was not able to join us. As I was reviewing all the incredible experiences from the past few days, he said something that helped put things in perspective and answer my questions. He said that for years, it was impossible to define what made Alpha Rho special. We didn’t have a ton of money, we didn’t have the best house, we didn’t have the smartest guys on campus, we weren’t always the best-looking guys. But we always had an attitude that we didn’t care about any of that.
We cared about each other; we could find fun in even the worst of situations; and we believed in the ideals of our National Fraternity Founders…which made the Fraternity worth the fight. Jon was right. And for me, that is what makes us successful. We like each other, we enjoy doing things together, and we all recognize the one truth that binds us together is Pi Kappa Phi and, more specifically, our Alpha Rho Chapter.
Losing our Charter in 1939 was inevitable with the social and economic factors of the day. Losing our Charter in 2015 was avoidable, and we failed. But the short-term loss was worth it when you consider what has happened to Alpha Rho in the past 4 years. Without a doubt we are much stronger than we have ever been. We have an engaged and passionate Alumni base. We have students that once again believe in the ideals of our Founders and who are willing to do anything to keep the student lamp lit. In many ways, we are the envy of other Chapters within Pi Kappa Phi, and other men’s fraternities on the WVU campus. Not because we have the nicest house, the largest donors to the Foundation, or the best events. We’re envied because we called upon each other in our darkest hour, took control of our destiny as a Chapter and achieved way more than what anyone thought we could.
I could continue giving you the status of each of the Five Areas in which the Chapter is thriving. But the fact that we were recognized as the first ever Master Champion Alumni Chapter and the two-time winner of the Alumni Chapter of the Year Award should give you a sense of what we’ve accomplished. As a Board of Directors, we are all extremely proud of this recognition. We share this success with all of you and know that without our members, nothing we do would matter. I am also proud of the work the other Branches of Alpha Rho Chapter has accomplished. The Alpha Rho Alumni Chapter is happy to support the Alpha Rho Housing Corporation, the Alpha Rho Council of Advisors, and the Alpha Rho Student Chapter as we continue to strive to become the Ideal Chapter.
Moving forward, the role of the Alumni Chapter is changing slightly. Where our main purpose these past four years was to assist the undergraduates to recharter the Alpha Rho Student Chapter; we now shift into creating an enduring Alumni Support organization. I was challenged by our National Vice President, William Sigmon (Alpha Sigma Chapter – University of Tennessee) to begin working on a succession plan for the Board. This past May, I announced that this transition will begin now and be completed by 2022. We need new voices and new leaders to guide us towards Alpha Rho’s 100th Anniversary in 2030 and beyond.
This coming academic year, we will have our two regular Alumni Chapter events in Morgantown beginning with Homecoming October 4-5, 2019. We will also have Spring Alumni Weekend on April 17-19, 2020. We encourage you to join us for both events if you can. If you haven’t been back to Morgantown in the past few years, I can tell you with confidence that we know how to put on an event. You will not be disappointed if you join us.
Finally, it really is my pleasure to serve as President/CEO of the Alpha Rho Alumni Chapter. If there is ever anything I can do for you, don’t hesitate to ask.
Yours in Pi Kappa Phi,
Thomas J. Begley, AP284
Alpha Rho Alumni Chapter