Kappa Chapter’s Alumni Association had a Strong 2016.
During our second full year of operation, the Alumni Association focused on four core priorities:
• Grow membership. (Currently only 1 of 4 alumni are members)
• Provide ongoing financial assistance and guidance to the Active Chapter.
• Manage and fund Pike alumni special events, awards, recognitions and conduct the annual Kappa Chapter Alumni Business Meeting each spring.
• Proactively communicate with our Alumni, Little Sisters, Transylvania’s leadership and Pi Kappa Alpha’s National headquarters.
In 2016 We Launched a New Alumni Website.
Today our alumni can view, download and share several hundred old photos going back over six decades.
Alumni also have access to our current membership roster listing all your classmates who are members of the Association.
A very special section of the website is entitled Chapter Eternal. It allows you to notify us or in turn be alerted when one of your fraternity brothers or little sisters passes away.
In 2016 the alumni association provided a significant amount of financial support to the active chapter. This made it possible for many active members to travel and attend both Pike Regional training sessions and mandatory national meetings and conferences.
In 2016, our Active Chapter was strapped with several large financial obligations. Specifically, large sums due to Pi Kappa Alpha’s National Headquarters and the University.
Currently, 91% of the dues paid by each individual member must be set aside to just pay these fixed, expenses. 2016 was a rebuilding year for Kappa Chapter. The other fraternities currently have more members to spread their fixed expenses across. Your Alumni Association carefully weighed each request for financial assistance made by the Chapter. We provided funds to cover both registration fees and basic travel expenses required for attendance.
Mockup of the John T Gentry Memorial Wall
The John T Gentry Memorial Wall
2016 was our first full year, raising funds for the John T Gentry Memorial Wall. Several Pikes came forward immediately to financially support Teeny’s memorial. The Wall is currently slated to be placed in the new Chapter Room. The wall will prominently display the name of each donor.
We would like to express our profound gratitude to a very special group of Alumni whose generosity for this wall was remarkable in 2016
*Scott Brown - *Heath Hawkins
*Robert Stiskin - *Tom Grumbles
*James Penney & Ann Evans Penney
The 2016 the John T Gentry, Alumni of the Year Award Went to Leon Hirsh '69
Brother Hirsh's dedication to Kappa Chapter for the last 45+ years has had a major impact both on the formation of the Alumni Association and the Active Chapter itself. Leon is seen here with Mac Thompson '89 our 2015 winner.
2016 was a Good Year for the Pikes at Transy!
Kappa Chapter was smaller in 2016 compared to years past. They began the school year with only 9 active members, but the talent level was nothing short of amazing. As a result, the officers and committee chairman fully understood they had to work harder and be more creative to compete. That fact didn’t slow them down one bit.
Over the last two years they have put together back to back successful rushes, stayed committed to their community service projects and managed the Chapter like an aggressive start-up.
For example, many of the Pikes and their alumni advisor invested a significant amount of both personal time and money to attend multiple Pike training events. In fact, during 2016 Kappa Chapter had a record number of members attend the Pike National Convention, regional leadership meetings and the National Chapter Executives Conference.
Obviously, registration fees and travel expenses are tough for a small chapter to cover. That's why the Alumni Association provided significant funds to allow the actives to fully participate.
Many alumni find it hard to comprehend the large financial obligations currently imposed on our Chapter by both the national headquarters and the University. Today, 91% of each member’s dues must be redirected to pay just these large, fixed expenses. Amazingly, as we go to press, Kappa Chapter is the only fraternity on campus to be 100% current with the fees due to the university. Kappa is also the only fraternity with an active Alumni Association.
In true “bootstrap fashion” the active Chapter created a finance committee comprised of both alumni and actives. The goal was to insure they managed their limited income and ensure they would never go into the red.
The actives remarkable success in 2016 was due in part to the guidance and coaching from two exceptional alumni volunteers, Tim Sprague and Derrick Wonsowski, who donated a significant amount of time to help the Chapter overachieve in 2016.
What Ever Happened to the Original Green Lantern?
For over five decades the original Green Lantern served as a beloved gathering place for both Pikes and Little Sisters from Transylvania. The Green Lantern was owned by Virginia Ayers Haycraft, originally from West Virginia. For over a half century you could count on being welcomed by Ma and her husband Virgil while being served the best comfort food and beer on this planet.
Ma passed away at the age of 93. On June 1, 1998, her niece Lorraine Taylor who worked with Ma for over 30 years, sold the “GL” to the Maxwell Street Presbyterian Church for $68,000.00.
For the next 17 years, the GL enjoyed a wonderful second life. In 1999, it was reopened as the East Seventh Street Center. The Center’s objective was to improve the quality of life for all the children and families in the neighborhood. That year the area around the original GL had a high school graduation/GED rate of less than 50%, with an average income of just over $11,000 per year.
The old Green Lantern now housed the Kids Café, which served hot, nutritionally balanced meals to local children who were at-risk for hunger. The Center served thousands of meals over its 15 years located at 667 Elm Tree Lane.
The East Seventh Street Center also housed the Kolpek Computer Lab; a free public computer lab designed to bring the neighborhood cutting edge technology and hands on training. Local residents could take advantage of modern workstations, high speed internet access, office/productivity software, printers and scanners.
The former GL was also the site of a program called Homework Help. Local students had access to trained tutors, helpful adult volunteers, and educational resources in a safe, quiet setting that was close to home.
In March of 2015 the former Green Lantern was sold to a local real estate investor who has returned the building to family housing.
The East Seventh Street Center is now located in Lexington at 530 N Martin Luther King Blvd. Phone: 252-0294 www.e7kidscafe.weebly.com. Please check out their Facebook page entitled E7 Kids Cafe.
Thanks to Susan Palmer McVey and Preston Martin for their help on this story.