Campus fraternity celebrates 70-year anniversary

Reporter and Reporter

Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, which marked the beginning of a large and successful Greek community on campus, said Steve Daley of the University Class of 1988 and member of the Pikes since 1986.

“Pi Kappa was the first national fraternity on campus when it was founded here in 1942,” Daley said. “We still have a very strong presence on campus and we still have a big presence.”

The first part of the celebration took place on March 1 when the fraternity invited alumni to return to the campus for the weekend.

“We had over 60 alumni return for the event,” said Taylor Kleman, president of Pi Kappa Alpha. “We had several things planned, including a brunch at the Oaks, where [University] President Mazey came to speak.”

Other events the house held that weekend for the visitors included visiting some of the alumni’s favorite pizza shops, seeing a basketball game in the new Stroh Center and watching the final hockey home game of the season, Kleman said.

“One of our brothers who came was Frank Miesie. He was a member of the founding group from 1942,” he said.

The history of the Pi Kappa Alpha and Greek Life at the University in fact goes back further than 1942, Daley said.

“Before Pi Kappa, there was a local fraternity here that called themselves the Commoners,” he said. “They existed during the 1920s to the 1940s, and they grew and got very big. Eventually they became Pi Kappa Alpha.”

While it was the first national fraternity on campus, the whole Greek community that has followed has impacted the University, said Christopher Bullins, Associate Dean of Students.

“I think that founding certainly set into motion what is now the Greek Life Community we have here today,” he said. “The hallmarks of that community are students getting involved outside of the classroom and making connections with others that we can see last a lifetime.”

The impact on students from all the Greek houses on campus is the lasting legacy of what the founders of Pi Kappa Alpha did in 1942, Kleman said.

“Greek Life in general has changed the landscape of Bowling Green,” he said. “It’s given me purpose. It had definitely benefited me and has given me a drive. Greek Life has been developing the leaders of tomorrow since 1942.”

The celebration of the 70 years of Pi Kappa Alpha will continue during the summer, when the actual date of the founding of the fraternity arrives on June 25. The brothers invited more alumni to return for a golf outing.

With all this remembering of history, one small piece of it was revealed to the fraternity during its March event.

“One of our alumni found an old paddle from the days of the Commoners,” Kleman said. “We unveiled it at the event for everyone to see. It’s been here through our whole history. We have a lot we want to do in the future and recruit more, and this will be here for that as well.”