Alumni Report - After Many Years of Sheltering Omega Chapter, Our House Now Needs Us
Thanks to a group of brothers in the 1920s, our chapter house has stood on the corner of Allen and Prospect since March 1930. 523 South Allen has kept us warm (mostly) and dry (except on a few occasions), has been a part
of all of our initiations, and has hosted many a social event for us (both formal and not so formal). But after 79 years of brotherhood, the house is showing its age. During recent visits to the house, it has been determined that the second floor needs to be redone from the studs. It needs new windows and doors. The side porch needs to be repaired or replaced. In other words, after many years of supporting and sheltering of Omega chapter, our house now needs us.
Since the days when the chapter was between houses in the 1920s, this year, as well as the next two years and the next five years, will be some of the most important years in Omega chapter’s existence.
That’s why we are preparing to launch our biggest and most important capital campaign to ensure the future of Omega chapter. As part of this critical initiative, we are looking for brothers from each decade (“Decade Reps”) to step up and support the capital campaign. Each Decade Rep would help us to:
- Reach out and foster communication with their respective brothers;
- Track down lost members;
- Reestablish communication with long-lost brothers; and
- Spread the word!
My two years as alumni president have been full of excitement as well as struggles. I feel nothing but pride as I watch as the active chapter continues to impress us all with its academic achievements, campus involvement and philanthropic endeavors. I, like many of you, was thrilled to see the third floor redone, along with the installation of a new boiler and house-wide sprinkler system. And I was pleased to see the big turnout we had at our first alumni work weekend.
However, despite our many accomplishments, there is always room for improvement. That’s why we, as alumni, need to greatly improve our communication with our membership, through varied avenues. In launching our new capital campaign and in appointing Decade Reps, it is my sincere hope that we can not only enhance our communications and reach out to some of more underrepresented decades but also give our house the support that it deserves.
How can you help right off the bat? Read our web site for news and updates, checkout the new searchable online directory, or join our new Facebook group - all of which you can reach from our website at www.thetachiomega.com. Above all, I hope you will continue to support Omega Chapter and the house at 523 South Allen.
If you would like to be a Decade Rep or you have any suggestions, concerns, or thoughts, please let me know. My contact information is listed on the left.
Theta Chi Open
If you’ve never been to the Theta Chi Open, this is the year to start. As with past years’ golf outings held in Avalon, NJ, we’ll make a weekend out of it. Always held on the first Friday in May, this year’s event will kick off on Friday, May 1 with the first tee time at noon. Paul Cunningham ’77 is working on renting a house near the beach, and we’ll have
the traditional steak-and-beer dinner after a day of golf. It’s truly a great time to reconnect with Theta Chi and your Omega friends.
While the Open has typically seen a great turnout from brothers of the ’70s and early ’80s, coordinator Mike Perkins ’76 wants this year’s roster to span across more eras of our chapter’s membership. He was inspired to get a recent email from a brother who graduated in ’95, who not only registered for the event but volunteered to rally up other alumni from his era to come as well.
“This is a tradition we hope will continue forever. We all lived in the same house, and while not at the same time, we most likely had the same cook,” said Perkins.
“It doesn’t matter whether you know us or not,” he added. “Just come out and join us. Or better yet, bring a group from your era and make an annual tradition out of it.”
The event has other perks too – especially for the winner – including the prestigious “red jacket” and a trophy engraved with the title of “Theta Chi Open Champion”.
But according to Mike, the biggest perk is maintaining your connection with Theta Chi and the brotherhood as a whole.
This year’s Open will be a special one, as $20 of each golfer’s greens fees will be contributed to the Brother Ken Oeschger ’77 education fund, a fund set up to benefit the college education of the two young sons of Ken Oeschger who recently passed away. See the story below for more information.
Though He was “Terrible” at Golf, This Year’s Theta Chi Open to be Held in Memory of Ken Oeschger ’77
This year’s Theta Chi Open will be a bittersweet one. On one hand, it is the 28th consecutive year that Omega brothers have gathered for a spring weekend of golf and fun. But on the other, it will be the first year that Brother Ken Oeschger ’77 will not be in attendance.
Ken entered Chapter Eternal on December 3, 2008 after losing his battle with leukemia, and will be greatly missed at this year’s golf event. Though he certainly wasn’t known for his great skills on the greens (per the claims of a few brothers), he still showed up with a big spirit each year for the last 28 years (11 of which were spent battling cancer).
“He was my inspiration,” said Dave Matthews ’76 during his eulogy speech at Ken’s funeral. “I was able to play a lot
of golf with Ken over the past couple of years. And Betsey (Ken’s widow), if you’re wondering how he could play golf when he really couldn’t work, well, he couldn’t play golf either. He was terrible. But every once in a while he would hit that great shot and there would be that famous Ken Oeschger smile we all knew, and for that instant he was a winner.”
In fact, his brothers even jokingly nicknamed a pond at Center Square after him for his poor golf talent. “Lake Oeschger” was appropriately named as a result of the fondness his ball had in finding the lake.
“One year he did actually make it over the lake, and he got a standing ovation,” remembers Mike Perkins ’76, who is organizing this year’s Open.
Good handicap or not, Ken always had a great time. So the proceeds from this year’s Open will go toward the college education of Ken’s sons: Jake (16) and Alex (13). Twenty dollars of each golfer’s $100 greens fees will be contributed to the Brother Oeschger education fund.
As for Ken? He’ll surely be watching us from above.
“Ken was my golf cart mate for probably 23 or 24 of the last 27 Theta Chi Opens, and without a doubt if he was there this year and able to play he would say ‘Johnny Love, I’m going to kick your butt,’” said John Loyle ’76.
Take part in this memorial effort by signing up for this year’s Theta Chi Open. See the above article for full details.
Jim Davies ’58 - This is a photo of the class of 1958 taken last June during our 50th reunion. From left to right are: Carol Davies (Dream Girl of Theta Chi 1957) myself, Keith Vansant ’58, Vera Manning, Walt Manning ’58, Barb Jones and Bob Jones ’58. It was a special treat to come back to PSU and to see the house once again.
Paul Faircloth ’82 - I had a great impromptu reunion with Brothers Mooney and Spinazzola at the Indiana game this fall. It was all too short, and I hope to reconnect with my Brothers much better than I have in the past.
Jason P. Ross ’92 - I am an assistant coach for the Seton Hill University football team, currently ranked #18, working with the Special Teams and Defensive Back that made it to the Sweet 16 in the nation in the Division II football playoffs.
Chapter Report - Extending the Helping Hand of Theta Chi within the Community
Service and philanthropy are an integral part of Theta Chi. There is a wealth of opportunity to extend the helping hand within the community. We spend time at the Village at Penn State, playing bingo with the elders, and we participate in the philanthropy events that are held by the different fraternities and sororities on campus. We also continue to run K.I.C.K.S., a soccer tournament to the Make-a-Wish Foundation.
During the fall semester, we hosted a blood drive for the Penn State-Michigan State donor challenge. Going outside the realm of Theta Chi service, we stress the need for involvement and service outside of the fraternity. I am personally involved with Helping Across the Community, a campus group that spends time actively recycling, saving energy and working with children to create a better environment for our community. Theta Chi is also involved with Fresh Start (a day of community service at the beginning of the school year that instantly allows freshmen to get involved), the MLK day of service (a series of events related to the community and breaking down barriers of racism), and upcoming Thon canning trips (where we travel to the homes of brothers to raise money for the Dance Marathon).
By Daniel Cartwright ’11