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Alumni News

Alumnus Highlight: Paul DePace

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Paul DePace, Rho Iota Kappa 1966, received the Paralympic Order, the highest accolade from the Paralympic Movement, during the 2017 Paralympic Sport and Media Awards in September. He received the Order alongside Denmark’s Karl Vilhelm Nielsen and France’s Gerard Masson. The Orders were presented by Sir Philip Craven, then the President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC).

Brother DePace, the President of the International Wheelchair and Amputee Sports Federation (IWAS) received the Order in recognition for the nearly 50 years of work he has put into the Paralympic Movement. During this time, he has been an athlete, coach, United States’ Chef de Mission, and Board Director for the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games Organizing Committee. His roles have also included Vice-President of the International Stoke Mandeville Wheelchair Sports Federation (ISMWSF) and IPC Executive Committee. As IWAS President since 2001, he did much to promote Paralympic sport internationally from the grassroots to high-performance levels.

See this article in the Spring 2018 Chakett News

Photo courtesy of The University of Rhode Island, Nora Lewis.

Article adapted from original by Daniel Etchells, Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.




  • Phi Lambda Theta Alumnus Elected Chair of Bucknell’s Board of Trustees

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    The Bucknell University Board of Trustees unanimously voted to elect trustee Chris O’Brien , Phi Lambda Theta 1980, as its next chair, Bucknell University President President John Bravman announced May 3.

    “Since joining the board in 2012, Chris has displayed a special combination of leadership, dedication and enthusiasm from which Bucknell has already greatly benefited,” said Bravman. “His insight and guidance have been invaluable, and I am excited to work with him in this new capacity as we continue to build upon Bucknell’s institutional strengths and distinctiveness.”

    Brother O’Brien brings to the position a broad perspective on the University. A 1976 graduate of the Christian Brothers Academy in Lincroft, New Jersey, he enrolled at Bucknell to major in business administration. He was member of the cross country and track & field teams and served as Alpha of the Phi Lambda Theta Chapter. He has since held a number of volunteer roles at the University, including for Reunion, the Career Development Center, and the Alumni Board. More recently, he served as a co-chair for WE DO, The Campaign for Bucknell, contributing to the successful conclusion of the half-billion-dollar campaign in July 2017. In 2013, he and his wife, Liz, established the Christopher & Elizabeth O’Brien Family Scholarship.

    Currently a member of the Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee, Brother O’Brien previously held the position of chair of the Development & External Relations committee and has also served as a member of the Academic Affairs, Campus Life, Finance, Investments, and Nominating & Governance committees.

    “I am truly honored to have the confidence and trust of my fellow board members at what is an incredibly exciting moment in Bucknell’s history,” he said. “Having served as a trustee for the past six years, and being the parent of two current students, I have developed a great appreciation for the exceptional work of our talented faculty and staff, and I look forward to supporting their efforts and continuing our collective work of strengthening the institution in this new capacity.” He will assume the role of chair effective July 1.

    O’Brien is the founder and a partner at Endurance Capital Partners and the founder, president, and CEO of O’Brien Capital Advisors. He has previously held a number of leadership positions at various investment firms, including as president of the United States & Europe for Investcorp International, Inc., a publicly traded alternative asset firm, overseeing $15 billion in assets in offices in Bahrain, London, and New York.

    Chris O’Brien, Phi Lambda Theta 1980. Photo by Gordon Wenzel.

    Original article by Andy Hirsch, Bucknell University. Read it here.




  • Alumnus Highlight: Alexander Olesen

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    Alpha Alumnus Wins Grant to Grow Startup Company

    Brother Olesen (inset) created the Babylon Micro-Farm, which, among other things, allows customers to grow their own produce well into winter

    Alexander Olesen, Alpha 2017, began formulating his plan for an environmentally friendly and efficient “micro farm” during his Social Entrepreneurship class at UVA back in 2015. Now a fully formed company, his startup – Babylon Micro-Farms – has just been awarded a $10,000 grant from Dominion Energy.

    His hydroponic systems scale down the usually industrial-sized farms to a 5×4 foot table – small enough, Alex remarked, that “we used the house to test some of the prototypes in the early days.” Unlike normal plant growth, hydroponic systems rely on nutrient-rich water instead of soil.

    Outside of the Chi Phi house, his creation is now in use at several restaurants on Charlottesville and even on UVA’s campus. “There were several brothers involved and we still have brothers regularly interning for us,” according to Brother Olesen, who has kept the project close to home. Now with his additional funding secured, he hopes to expand and make his Micro-Farms available to a wider audience.




  • Delta Theta Colony to Gain Charter on April 21

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    We are happy to announce that the Delta Theta Colony at Clemson University gained approval to Charter during the Grand Council meeting on March 17, 2018!

    Delta Theta is set to conduct its Chartering Ceremony in Clemson on Saturday, April 21. While a finalized schedule of events is still in the works, the Chartering Banquet itself will be 6 – 10p.m. at the Madren Conference Center adjacent to the University. Invites will be sent via email to selected recipients, but the Colony has welcomed all Alumni to attend.

    You may email Colony Advisor Jonathan “CD” Rawls, Rho Delta 1985, Delta Theta 2017, for more information, or check Delta Theta’s Facebook page and website.

    Alpha Hunter Bond, Advisor Jonathan “CD” Rawls, and Beta CJ Connelly.




  • Philadelphia Chi Phi Club to Host Inaugural Meeting April 11

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    Join Chi Phi Brothers from the Philadelphia area for the Inaugural Philadelphia Chi Phi Club meeting. The Club will meet at Yards Brewing Co. at 500 Spring Garden Street on April 11 from 6-9 p.m. Brothers from all Chapters are welcome to attend and partake in good times and Brotherhood. You can RSVP on their Facebook event page here.

    Chi Phi Clubs were commonplace in the mid 1900’s, and could be found sprinkled across the country. The purpose of these clubs is to provide an opportunity for fellowship, networking, and socializing among Chi Phi Brothers in a specific region.

    Philadelphia once had the oldest operating Club, originally chartered in 1916, which was known as the “Chi Phi Circle of Philadelphia.” Join us in helping re-establish this longstanding Philadelphia tradition!

    You can email the Club directly with any questions at phillychiphiclub@gmail.com. Keep updated on their events and Philadelphia area news by liking them on Facebook.




  • Alumnus Highlight: William B. Fackler

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    Dr. William B. Fackler, Gamma 1942, and his wife Marjorie were the 2017 Honorees at the 21st Annual Ely Callaway Golf Event, an event that benefits the West Georgia Hospice. A retired cardiologist, Brother Fackler was the type of doctor who provided hospice care before “hospice” was even a formal concept.

    35 years ago, the Facklers opened their home to 50 volunteers who worked for the only eight hospice facilities in Georgia. That day began a new mission for the trailblazing couple: provide the type of support they knew families needed, something especially relevant to the Facklers after losing their 21-year-old daughter Laura in 1979. Mrs. Fackler thus became one of West Georgia Hospice’s first volunteers and was instrumental in sharing a young student’s design for a theoretical hospice facility with Ely Callaway Jr. – a design which he then fully funded.

    Brother Fackler and his sons have played in the Golf Event every year since 1996 and even have the distinctions of being back-to-back champions. This year, he was joined at the event by several Chi Phi Brothers from the Gamma and Mu Delta Chapters.

    Thank you to Brother Gordon Smith Sr. for submitting this story!

    Chi Phis in attendance at the Ely Callaway Golf Event. Left to Right: Gordon M. Smith Sr., Gamma 1957; Gordon M. Smith Jr., Mu Delta 1986; William B. Fackler, Gamma 1942; and Sykes Smith, Mu Delta 1989.




  • Civil Rights Reporter, Cronkite Award Recipient Jim Purks Enters Chapter Eternal

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    James H. Purks III, Alpha-Alpha 1959, Delta Pi 2002, entered Chapter Eternal on February 20 at the age of 81.

    Brother Purks was Initiated into the Alpha-Alpha Chapter at UNC in 1956 as a legacy, his father being a member of the Gamma Chapter at Emory University. He entered the journalism field after his graduation in 1959. He worked for several newspapers and the Associated Press, traveling the south and following the Civil Rights Movement. Several times, Brother Purks interviewed Civil Rights leaders including Martin Luther King Jr. He was perhaps most well known for his first-hand coverage of the September 15, 1963, bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, which killed four young girls.

    Brother Purks interviewing Civil Rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

    Most of Brother Purks’s notes and memorabilia from his time as a reporter now reside in various Civil Rights museums. His donations came with the hope to draw the spotlight to those who work to unite people, not divide them.

    Following his career as a field reporter, Brother Purks began working in government as press secretary for the Secretary of State of Florida and US Senator Richard Stone. He served as an Assistant Press Secretary for President Jimmy Carter during his administration. Brother Purks went on to work in corporate America, which, according to his associates, he absolutely hated. He desired to serve people in need, and soon found his way into a position at United Way.

    It was this desire to help those in need that led Brother Purks to his next career – as the Reverend Deacon Jim Purks of the Episcopal Church. Brother Purks was a member of the Order of Saint Luke, an Anglican healing order, and was active in their work with HIV/AIDS patients and survivors support groups, as well as serving as a Hospice chaplain. In addition, Brother Purks was involved with Habitat for Humanity in Americus, Georgia, even collaborating with the organization’s founder, Millard Fuller on two books.

    It was his proximity to Americus and Georgia Southwestern State University which led him to keeping even busier, this time in his role as an advisor to the GSW Colony of Chi Phi, helping them on their way to becoming the Delta Pi Chapter in 1999. The Brothers of Delta Pi elected him an honorary member of the Chapter in 2002.

    Brother Purks accepting his Cronkite Award at the 150th Congress from Executive Director Michael Azarian

    Brother Purks and his life’s work were formally celebrated by the Fraternity during the 150th Congress in San Francisco in the summer of 2015, when he received the Walter L. Cronkite, Jr. Congressional Award. The Cronkite Award, named for another famed Chi Phi journalist, is the highest honor the Fraternity can bestow upon an Alumnus. Since its establishment in 1990, only 18 Chi Phi Brothers have received this honor. During the presentation, Executive Director Michael Azarian said he looked at Brother Purks as “an example of life long commitment to the Badge, to humanitarian service, and to spiritual development. He exemplifies the purpose of [the award].”

    Our condolences go out to Brother Purks’s family and friends, the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia, and the members of the Alpha-Alpha and Delta Pi Chapters.




  • Colonel W. D. Gardiner Enters Chapter Eternal at Age of 101

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    We are saddened to learn that William Douglas Gardiner, Lambda 1939, has entered Chapter Eternal at the age of 101. Brother Gardiner was a distinguished Cal Alumnus, supporter of the Lambda Chapter, and veteran of the US Army.

    Brother Gardiner served 31 years in the US Army, retiring in 1973 as a Colonel

    Brother Gardiner was born July 12, 1916, to Murray Starr and Belle Marsh Gardiner in Idaville, Indiana. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1939 and began working for an electric utility company. After Pearl Harbor, he enlisted in the Army and his brother Murray joined the Marines. He married Christine Johnson earlier that same year.

    He graduated from Officer Candidate School and served in the US Army for 31 years. Brother Gardiner went on to obtain a master’s degree in business from Columbia University during his time in the Army. He was a veteran of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, including 13 years of overseas duty. In 1973, he retired at the rank of Colonel as Inspector General at the Army Supply Depot, Oakland, California.

    Brother Gardiner was as busy as ever in retirement, where he did everything from mentoring students at a local high school to writing Three Wars and Rusty Muskets, a biographical piece reflecting on his 31 years of service. He even continued playing golf until the age of 95 – making five holes in one during his many years. He also made trips from his home in Medford, Oregon, to visit his alma mater and Lambda Brothers. He reflected fondly on one such trip, saying “I’ll always remember the fun time at the 2013 Homecoming, when I was a mere 97 years young, and [Lambda] arranged for me to lead the Cal Band in the front room. If I may say so, the Band sounded as good in 2013 as it did when I attended the 1938 Rose Bowl.”

    He is survived by his son and daughter, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and his many Brothers of Chi Phi.

    Brother Gardiner (center) with Lambda Chapter Brothers who surprised him in Medford, Oregon, for his 100th birthday in 2016

    Download a PDF of this text here.




  • Psi Delta Alumnus Appointed to UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees

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    This month the North Carolina General Assembly appointed two new members of the UNC Charlotte Board of Trustees; Teross Young and Dennis N. Bunker III, Psi Delta 1981. According to Chancellor Philip Dubois, both men “have been actively engaged with UNC Charlotte since they were students and have always looked for ways to give back to their alma mater. I am excited to work with them in their new roles as Trustees.”

    Brother Bunker’s current involvement with the University includes a position on the Executive Committee of EXPONENTIAL:  The Campaign for UNC Charlotte. He has previously served on the UNC Charlotte Foundation Board, was President of the Alumni Association Board, and served as an Advisor to our Psi Delta Chapter. After graduating in 1981, Brother Bunker went on to earn a Master of Science degree in Real Estate Development from Columbia University and currently engaged in commercial real estate development.

    His four-year term on the thirteen-member Board of Trustees began on July 1. Congratulations, Brother Bunker!

    bunker-at-unc-charlotte

    Chancellor of UNC Charlotte Philip Dubois (left) with Kathy and Dennis Bunker III, Psi Delta 1981. Photo courtesy of UNC Charlotte.




  • 2017 Award Winners Recognized at 152nd Congress

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    During an afternoon reprieve from the fast-paced and productive 152nd Congress this Saturday, Chi Phi was able to recognize individuals and Chapters which have helped make the Fraternity what it is today. Congressional Delegates and their guests were treated to a luncheon during the awards ceremony which recognized twenty-five individuals and organizations within Chi Phi who have excelled this past year.

    In addition, during the Congressional Banquet in the evening, Chi Phi was able to recognize seven Alumni members with the Distinguished Service Award for outstanding dedication and service to the Fraternity.

    Please join us in congratulating the following Brothers on their awards!

    Athletic Excellence Award:

    Braxton Baird, Delta Theta Colony 2019

    William D. Parr Chapter Zeta Award:

    CJ Connelly, Delta Theta Colony 2019

    Highest GPA Award:

    Beta Chapter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Outstanding Communications:

    Delta Theta Colony, Clemson University

    Most Improved Chapter Recruitment Award:

    Upsilon Chapter, Hobart and William Smith Colleges

    Outstanding Recruitment Practice Award:

    Towson Colony, Towson University

    Outstanding Philanthropic Service Award:

    Theta Chapter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Outstanding Philanthropic Achievement Award:

    Delta Pi Chapter, Georgia Southwestern State University

    Eta Theta Chapter, University of Maryland

    Bates Block for Campus Involvement Award:

    Phi Lambda Theta Chapter, Bucknell University

    Outstanding Alumni Newsletter Award:

    Pi Theta Chapter, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

    Outstanding Alumni Event Award:

    Xi Delta Chapter, Florida Institute of Technology

    Theta Chapter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Beta Chapter, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

    Alumni Association of the Year Award:

    Eta Delta Alumni Association, University of Southern California

    Delta Xi Alumni Association, West Virginia Wesleyan

    Chi Phi Club of the Year Award:

    Boston Chi Phi Club, Boston, Massachusetts

    Chapter Advisor of the Year Award:

    Charles Allen, Theta Delta 1982

    William M. Byrd Alumnus of the Year Award:

    Gary Simons, Theta Delta 1964

    Faculty Advisor of the Year Award:

    Dr. Warner R. Windborne, Epsilon 1988, Hampden-Sydney College

    Campus Administrator of the Year Award:

    Liz Shayler, Chi Omega Fraternity, Lehigh University

    Thomas A. Gehring Award:

    Eta Theta, University of Maryland

    Phi Lambda Theta, Bucknell University

    Theta Chapter, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

    Thomas A. Gehring Award: Most Improved:

    Delta Pi Chapter, Georgia Southwestern State University

    Distinguished Service Award:

    Jonathan Rawls, Rho Delta 1985

    Henry “Rocco” Carnevale, Mu 1980

    Matt Van Duinen, Beta 2010

    Matt Apesos, Mu 2005, Pi Delta 2003

    Mario Lento, Xi Delta 2012

    Dave Davis, Theta Delta 1973

    Frank Kovacs, Iota 1973