philanthropy

Brothers and Chapter Active on Campus and Off - Spring 2017

Theta Chi Bothers have been busy on campus and in town this semester.

Brother Ryan Gattoni and Stephen Sandford were part of an effort to create "Little Lion's Pantries".  Using the Theta Chi basement, Gattoni, Sandford and other students worked to create small food pantries that will be placed around town. They have both been very involved in working with "The Lion's Pantry" which establishes a way for impoverished students to get free food with no questions asked.  Read the article on WeAreCentralPA.com .

Also outside the chapter house brother Ryan Gattoni was once again elected to the IFC Executive Board and VP of Programming.  In addition, he was also selected to be on the Executive Board of Fresh Start.  

Brother John Broderick

Brother John Broderick is the Lead Program Coordinator for the Sexual Violence Awareness club on campus, Men Against Violence.  He has given multiple speeches this year and was recently selected to speak at the University sponsored Sexual Violence Prevention Gala.  

Brothers Broderick and Gattoni were in charge of "Walk a Mile in her Shoes", an event where male members of the community (mainly Greeks) wear heels and walk down campus in a showing of solidarity to those who have been sexually assaulted.

Brothers John Broderick and Ryan Gattoni leading the "Walk a Mile in her Shoes" event with many Theta Chi brothers behind them.

Brother Kevin Diguiseppe was selected to be a Greek Week Programming Captain. Brother Neel Parikh was recently chosen to be the Lead Analyst of Exotic Commodities for the Penn State Asset Management Group. Also, Bryant Narvaez was elected to be the Treasurer for the ALPFA (Association of Latino Professionals for America).

And finally, the GI Theta Chi event was very successful and built on last year's event.  The chapter raised approximately $1000 for the USO through the event.  We will have more info and photos from GI Theta Chi soon.

2016 GI Theta Chi Benefiting the USO

Omega Chapter is proud to present our second annual philanthropy event, GI Theta Chi which will  take place on April 3, 2016. 

What is GI Theta Chi?

GI Theta Chi is a National Philanthropy event that is held by every single Theta Chi Chapter in the Nation benefiting the United Service Organizations (USO)

Who is USO and what do they do?

United Service Organizations is an organization which has a long history of extending an assisting hand to men and women of the armed forces and to their families.

Where does the money go to?

All the money that is raised through GI Theta Chi will proceed directly to USO and it will help provide our troops and their families with articles such as care packages, wounded warrior comfort items, mobile entertainment systems, and even an opportunity for the troops deployed overseas to read a bedtime story to their children

What is Theta Chi Fraternity - Omega Chapter (Penn State) doing during this week? 

We are having a 5 on 5 water balloon fight. Organizations on campus will donate $50 per team to participate in a water balloon skirmish. The team will experience a field full of obstacles to take cover behind and dodge the other teams attack.  The winning team will continue to move on to the next round until they are the next GI Theta Chi Champions. 

So, What are you waiting for?  Let's help and join the campaign made by the Theta Chi Fraternity - Penn State (Omega Chapter) to raise money for the American troops who have given more than we can ever imagine. By donating, you have a chance to give back to the American troops, who keep our nation free and ensures the safety of of millions of Americans.

Every dollar you donate will help these troops and their families needs, so come and join us!!!

THON 2016 Preparation and Participation

The chapter recently held their our annual THON pasta dinner and raised $330 for THON. The chapter will have two brothers dancing with their partner Tapestry. They don't yet know who will be dancing, as points can still be earned to be a dancer.

In addition to dancing their are several brothers on THON committees. Those brothers and committees are...

  • Sam Shively - Merchandise Committee - Capitan
  • Joe Saylor - Dancer Relations - Weekend Warrior
  • Ryan Campbell - Rules and Regulation - Security Leader
  • John Lin - Hospitality - Event Planner
  • Derek Miller - Rules and Regulation - Hell No
  • Stephen Sandford - OPP - Team Builder
  • Ryan Gattoni - Rules and Regulation - Security Leader
  • Tom Strnad - Finance - Icebreaker Chair
  • Milton Rahman - OPP
  • Frank Donato - Public Relations (Promotions) - Street Team Liaison
  • John Broderick - Rules and Regulation

August 2012 Omegaphone

Below are excepts from the August 2012 Omegaphone, to read the entire issue, please download the pdf to the right
Click to Download August 2012 Omegaphone

Click to Download August 2012 Omegaphone

Theta Chi Named Top Greek Chapter at Penn State

Theta Chi Omega has had one of the best years in recent chapter history! Not only did we win Homecoming (again), but we were the recipient of multiple Penn State Greek awards, including:

Presidents’ Cup, which is awarded each year to the top Greek letter organization. We were selected from a pool of four
finalists representing each council: IFC, the Panhellenic Conference, the National Panhellenic Council and the Multicultural Greek Council, representing more than 80 total fraternities and sororities. This is Omega Chapter’s first President’s Cup win.

IFC Chapter of the Year. The winner is  chosen based on an application reviewed by a committee of the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Penn State’s IFC is composed of more than 45 member organizations.

Chapter of Excellence. To qualify, a chapter must earn a minimum of 285 out of a possible 300 points.

Chapter Advisor of the Year. Rich Bartnik ’08

On behalf of the active brothers, we would like to thank our alumni for their continued support of the undergraduate chapter. We are looking forward to another great year with hopes for con- tinued success! Hope to see you you this fall. 

Windows before and after. 

Capital Improvements have Begun at the Theta Chi House 

Improvements have started at the Omega house! The windows have been replaced, capped and now the front of the house has new shutters, as the old ones were falling apart. The alumni corporation would like to thank Richard Bartnik ’08 and Jeff Damcott ’91 for all their time and effort on this much needed and long requested project.

Over the summer the kitchen had some small renovations. After many years of non operation (aka it’s been broken) the dishwasher was removed, the wall was repaired and a new kitchen sink was installed. The side door was stripped and repainted and regular yard work was done this summer as well.

Immediately after our summer work is completed, planning for next year’s projects will begin. The major piece of work in 2013 will be repair of the side porch which is close to condemnation by the State College Borough. Planned work includes repair of the porch flooring, the bar area, and the glass block windows; and restoration of the French doors leading to both the porch and the bar. 

Capital Campaign Decade Challenge: Step Up and represent Your Decade! 

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” - Henry Ford

The Theta Chi for Life capital campaign is off to a tremendous start. The new windows have been installed and we have already raised more than $75,000 from just 26 alumni donors.

As we move forward, we are kicking off the DECADE CHALLENGE! Each decade is being challenged to raise at least $100,000 from graduates of that era. If you divide this up among classes, each year is responsible for $10,000 – for most classes that will be less than $1,000 per person.

We know that if we all give a little, we will be far more successful than if a few people give significantly more. 

Pledges can be paid over 3 years (or 5 if it will increase your pledge) and can be paid annually, bi-annually or quarterly. You can also set up monthly payments through your bank. 

If you can give $50.00 a month for the next 36 months – you can make a $1,800 pledge. If you can give $50 a month for the next 60 months you can make a $3,000 pledge.

Please consider what you can give and make a pledge. We need every alum to get involved, at whatever level is possible for them, to make this campaign a success. 

Annual Fund vs. Theta Chi for Life Capital Campaign...What’s the Difference? 

In recent months you’ve been asked two support two separate, yet equally vital, Omega fundraising efforts:

Our annual fund serves as our yearly operating budget for the alumni corporation, which enables us to distribute frequent communications (including Omegaphone), host events and fund other expenses needed to maintain our alumni program that connects nearly 900 chapter alumni. We rely on your support of the annual fund year after year to enable us to continue these initiatives on an annual basis. 

You can donate to the annual fund:

  • Via PayPal at www.thetachiomega.com/donate
  • By calling 800-975-6699
  • By mailing a check payable to “Theta Chi of Penn State” to the return address on this newsletter. Note: do not send annual fund contributions in the envelope attached to this newsletter.

The theta chi for life capital campaign is a one-time major fundraising effort to reno- vate the chapter house at 523 South Allen Street. Our campaign goal is to raise $500,000 through your tax-deductible pledge commitments that can be paid over the next three to five years. Campaign funds will also be used to create an endowment fund to enable Omega Chapter of Theta Chi to remain a viable and leading force at Penn State.

You can make your commitment to the capital campaign by returning the attached pledge form in the enclosed envelope. Note: do not send annual fund contributions in this envelope, as it is designated for campaign commitments only.

Both of these funds are supported solely by our alumni brothers. We thank you for your continued contributions to both fundraising drives. 

(L to R): Greg Smith, Ian Maxwell, Liam Benjamin Fennecken, Alex Tessmer and Nathaniel Wysocki at the end of the spring semester. 

“A Helping Hand” - Theta Chi Brothers Consistently give Back to the State College Community 

“A Helping Hand” is a motto that all Theta Chi brothers have come to know and feel deeply, both in our professional and personal lives. For those outside of the Fraternity, they may not always understand or see exactly what this motto means. Omega is working very hard to make sure that “A Helping Hand” is seen within the greater State College area and that those in need of assistance get said help.

This past semester, in addition to winning the President’s Cup and several other accolades, Omega undergraduate brothers completed well over 2,000 service hours. 

Currently, this puts them well ahead of the overwhelming majority of other Greek organizations at Penn State and has them poised to go well beyond all of their previous service records since the refounding. Moreover, this creates a large amount of buzz in the State College community and how the well-known brothers of Omega are helping out.

Many of these community service hours come from traditionally expected events, such as THON or Kicks & Flicks, but they are also coming from numerous other sources as well. In a close second to the number of 

THON hours Omega completed, brothers contributed hundreds of hours in dedication to the largest service event at Penn State— The Fresh START Day of Service. The chapter boasts not only eight team leaders and one captain, but also several overall directors. This year, three directors hail from Theta Chi: Peter Blasco as the Director of Logistics, Matt Randazzo as the Director of Service Sites, and Tyler Doppelheuer as the Executive Director. More Fresh START directors have come from Theta Chi than any other organization affiliated with the program. 

The involvement of the brothers of Omega has contributed not only to the success of the organizations that they participate in, but also the recognition and good name of Theta Chi Fraternity. One thing can be certain, as both Penn State and the State College communities look for leadership in philanthropy and service—the “Helping Hand” of Omega can always be seen. 

Emanuel 'Giffy' Gifford - 1963

Emanuel 'Giffy' Gifford - 1963

Giffy’s House Becomes a Historical Landmark in State College 

What a great tribute to Theta Chi’s former house cook, Giffy! Lincoln Hall, the boarding house operated by the Gifford family for black students in the 1930s until the 1950s, received a historical dedication marker in April to recognize the building’s contributions to the Penn State African-American community.

Lincoln Hallon day of ceremony

At the ceremony, State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham was one of several speakers to address the crowd. Among her remarks, she said

“The people who lived here and provided housing to the students deserve our recognition,” she said. “They led the way when Penn State was a different place to live.”

Omega alum Dick Jones ’60 also served as a guest speaker at the event. 

Red Jacket Winner Bob Mausser Shoots record Score at 2012 Theta Chi Open

The 31st annual Theta Chi Open, was held once again on Friday, May 4th in Avalon, NJ. This year’s event was played at Avalon Country Club. Twenty brothers played golf and 28 attended the banquet. Brother Bob Mausser ’75 once again won the prestigious Red Jacket, shooting a Theta Chi Open record 75. 

L to R: Rod Dare, Dave Matthews, Alan Vladimir, Bob Mausser at the 2012 Theta Chi Open. 


Thank you to all those brothers that shared their news.

Checkout past issues of the Omegaphone by clicking here.

Download the August 2012 Omegaphone

October 2009 Omegaphone

Below are excepts from the October 2009 Omegaphone, to read the entire issue, please download the pdf to the right
Click to Download Oct. 2009 Omegaphone

Click to Download Oct. 2009 Omegaphone

Alumni Report - What Theta Chi is Really About 

I logged onto on my computer, opened my email, and looked at my inbox. There, among the usual spam advertising cheap pharmaceuticals to cure ailments I don’t even have – well at least not yet – was a message from Rich Maltz ’90. From the subject line I could tell it wasn’t the usual email I would expect from Rich. It wasn’t about the upcoming football game, the plans for the tailgate or a request for extra tickets. It wasn’t an update to his blog or an offer of some tsatske from my daughters’ favorite movie of the day. It simply said, “A little help please.”

I have been involved with Theta Chi fraternity since 1985. From the first time I visited as a freshman, there was no other fraternity I wanted to pledge. However, by the time I made my way out to the house that fall semester, rush was over. All the bids had been extended, and the pledge class had already been sworn in. The timing was fortunate, because it gave me a chance to pledge the following spring and be in the same class with some outstanding people.

I opened the email not knowing what to expect. What could Rich need help with?
I knew he was completely remodeling his apartment. New floors were not a problem.
On one of Theta Chi’s alumni work weekends, Richard Bartnik ’08, Chris Bartnik ’91 and I put in a laminate floor in a room on the second floor. If he needed help with painting, I was his guy. After all, our pledge class had repainted the fire tower.

Jim Stuhltrager ’89 at Homecoming 1987 

Jim Stuhltrager ’89 at Homecoming 1987 

As a pledge, the fire tower seemed like a secret passage between the floors. When the main staircase was blocked on a Saturday night with throngs of partygoers, the fire tower offered an easy passage. If the usual passage to the bar through the dining room was too crowded with couples dancing or listening to the band, there was always a brothers’ keg on tap in the fire tower. But as a pledge, I knew that it had seen better days. The paint was peeling, the floor was slick, and the smell was a cross between a locker room and the floor of an American Legion. So there we were, the eight of us. Dave Latham ’89 was likely dressed in a pair of plaid shorts and striped shirt. Mark Lynch ’88 probably bounced around like a leprechaun on acid. Greg Hottsenpiller ’87 joked about how bad we were at painting. Steve Martin ’88 made sure we actually got the work done. I don’t remember exactly how the weekend went, but I’m sure that is not far off the mark. We recoated the bricks of the walls; we mixed in sand for traction and painted the stairs. By the time of the brothers’ meeting on Sunday evening, the fire tower glistened. Best of all, it smelled like new paint.

But that is not what Rich’s email asked. What he wanted was for me to write an article for the next Omegaphone. As a lawyer, I had done my share of writing. I have given a draft brief to my boss, work that I have poured my heart and soul into, only to have the draft come back covered in red ink; or as my wife Kristin once said, it looked like a mob hit. I had stared at a blank computer in the early morning hours, the deadline approaching like the hangman’s noose, while the mindless banter of sports talk radio droned behind me. Please God, anything but more writing. But that is the help that Rich needed.

I had been through a lot with Rich. I had “pledge bolted” with him down to the University of Maryland. I met the wonderful woman who would become my wife in September 1988 in his room on the corner of the second floor. He offered his apartment to me to stay anytime I was in New York. He gave my daughter an iPod for her sixteenth birthday. 

So in the end, there was no question that I would write an article. The bonds that unite us made that inevitable. The only unknown was what to write about. I considered a number of topics. I considered reminiscing about the 75th anniversary celebration at the Nittany Lion Inn that brothers such as Leo Sugg ’88 worked so hard to host. I thought about sharing the dark days of the fraternity, the days when the house was completely empty and my daughters’ babysitter deflected weekly telephone calls from the mortgage company. I almost wrote about the pride I feel when I read about the accomplishments of the brothers who now live in the house. But in the end I decided to describe how ties of brotherhood last long after the diplomas are earned and State College is but a weekend destination. After all, that is what Theta Chi is really all about. 

Jim Stuhltrager ’89

Theta Chi Finishes #1 Overall in Academics 

Omega Chapter finished first in academics out of 48 Fraternity chapters on the Penn State campus for the 2009 spring semester. With 42 brothers they had a cumulative academic average of 3.36. The spring semester pledge class finished as the #1 pledge class in academics for the spring semester as well, with a 3.34 GPA for the nine new members. 

Chapter News

A new year brings new goals, new challenges and new faces. It also allows a brief time for reflection on how far we have come. Record highs in recruitment, IM sports standings, participation in philanthropies and service, and money raised for THON have our brothers excited to start this semester. A third consecutive volleyball championship, a repeat Homecoming victory and our Chapter of Excellence award have us poised to bring in a recruitment class the likes of which we haven’t seen in quite some time.

However, our challenges are seen with an aging brotherhood that is leaving us on the verge of having to replace some of our most knowledgeable and experienced brothers. Younger members must begin to rise to the challenge and lead Omega to ever increasing standards.

A continuation of our newly created spring philanthropy FLICKS, a return to the pinnacle of academic standing, and the Chapter of the Year award are amongst those lofty, but achievable, goals. Along with what we have achieved, the challenges we face and the goals we have for ourselves this semester seems to be a turning point for Omega Chapter. We can either rise to the very top or continue along being a good chapter with decent membership.

We have every bit of faith that our brotherhood can raise the bar and our chapter even higher than our latest level of success. 

FLICKS

FLICKS

Chapter Sets 2009-10 Philanthropic Goals 

THON - Last year’s total of over $16,000 was a great step in the right direction for Omega Chapter, but we want to increase that total. A goal of at least $25,000 is what we are striving for. This can be accomplished by an increased letter writing campaign, more alumni support and substantially increasing participation by the brotherhood on canning trips. Show your support for our chapter’s THON efforts! Go to www.thon.org to make a donation and defer your contribution to Theta Chi.

K.I.C.K.S.- On September 20th, twelve teams met to battle for the Theta Chi and Alpha Xi Delta K.I.C.K.S. 2009 Championship. This year the annual philanthropy, which benefits the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Pennsylvania, raised over $1,000 to help make a child’s dream come true. The event took several weeks of planning, but the day could not have been more perfect.

Brothers were referees, line judges, and event staffers. We had 100% brother turnout, and the sisters of Alpha Xi Delta also extended the helping hand. Overall, the day was a huge success and we all realized we were doing something to help others. We are looking forward to next year!

FLICKS - The newest addition to our philanthropic effort, FLICKS, was a great success in its first year. Primarily run by our new member class, this year’s event will be a joint effort from the entire fraternity- ensuring a higher attended event. Chairmen will be chosen at the end of the fall allowing for planning to be run during our winter break. 

“My Father is My Brother” - The Tale of Two Active Theta Chi Legacies 

Any Theta alumnus knows of the bonds you create within the brotherhood. Many times, these bonds are shared within families, and the passion for the group is extended to the next generation of brothers. That is exactly the case with two current undergraduate members of Omega Chapter. Despite chapter affiliation, two fathers showed the overall dedication to the fraternity that attracted their sons to follow suit.

Bobby Ettorre ’11 with his father, Bob, a Theta Chi alum from Drexel. 

Bryan Powell ’12 (son of Dan Powell, Omega ’81) and Bobby Ettorre ’11 (son of Bob Ettorre, Beta Theta ’65) are two legacies currently active in the Omega Chapter. Each credits his father’s membership in Theta Chi as what initially sparked his interest in the fraternity.

“I had heard a little about my Dad’s college days as a brother at Theta Chi Omega, so naturally, when I began to attend school here at PSU I couldn’t help but go down and check it out,” Bryan said. “Although it was my father’s time here at Omega that got me through the door, it was the strong and motivated brotherhood that kept me.”

Bobby echoed the same sentiment about how he originally became drawn to Theta Chi, and said that it means a lot to him to be a member of the same fraternity as his father. 

“Being in the same national fraternity gives us a sort of bond few other people have,” Bobby said. “Not many other people’s fathers are also their brothers.”

Bryan Powell ’12 with his family, includ- ing his father Dan (Omega ’81), now deceased. 

Bryan Powell ’12 with his family, includ- ing his father Dan (Omega ’81), now deceased. 

Bryan coins the experience of taking after his dad in fraternity life as “inspiring.”

“I’ve found it to be quite heartening to follow in the footsteps of someone who has had such a significant impact on my life and how I live it,” Bryan said.

Bobby said the most valuable lesson that being a brother in Theta Chi has taught him is to disregard stereotypes surrounding fraternities.

“Hollywood’s portrayal of fraternities couldn’t be further from the truth,” he said. “Too many people are turned off to Greek life because of what they see in the movies, and they are passing up on a great opportunity.”

Bryan attributed Theta Chi with opening his eyes to get more involved and lend a “helping hand.”

“Being a member of OX Omega has provided me with countless opportunities to lend the helping hand on a deeper and more fulfilling level. From canning trips for THON to our philanthropies to any of a great host of charity events we’re involved in; I don’t believe I have ever had such an ability to make a difference in my community,” he said.

Theta Chi is continuing to recruit the best men that Penn State has to offer, and we commend Bryan and Bobby for their commitment to the brotherhood. 


Thank you to all those brothers that shared their news.

Checkout past issues of the Omegaphone by clicking here.

Download Oct. 2009 Omegaphone

June 2009 Omegaphone

Below are excepts from the June 2009 Omegaphone, to read the entire issue, please download the pdf to the right
Click to Download June 2009 Omegaphone

Click to Download June 2009 Omegaphone

Alumni Report - A Major Stepping Stone in Omega’s Future 

As you may know, we are in the early stages of a major capital campaign. While the current alumni corporation takes the lead on this project, we are going to need the support and help of other brothers. We are looking for brothers from every five-year period to act as era captains that will help with communicating information to their classmates, facilitate dialogue between the Alumni Corporation and each era, coordinate events, etc.

While I have heard from a few of you about lending a helping hand as an era captain, we are still looking for brothers from every decade. Please take the time to think about lending us a hand.

The capital campaign is going to be the major stepping stone in Omega’s future. It will facilitate buying the house back from National, bringing the second floor up to date with
the third floor, repairing the side porch, and other major projects throughout the house. While many of you donate every year to the corporation, the chapter needs far outweigh what we are raising year in and year out.

Our goal is to provide for the house not only for now, but for the next generation of brothers at Penn State.

If you are interested in acting as an era captain, or if you have any questions or feedback, please feel free to e-mail me. Again, thank you to everyone who has already volunteered. Thank you to those who continue to donate and support Omega Chapter. 

Richard Maltz
Alumni President

Undergraduate Chapter Awards 

Congratulations to the undergraduate chapter for their recent efforts to receive two prestigious Penn State Greek awards. The Omega Chapter was awarded with the following...

The Outstanding New Member Education Program Award

The Outstanding New Member Education Program Award is presented to the chapters that have provided the highest quality of education to new members. The award recognizes chapters that do not subscribe to the antiquated “pledge” programs of old. Instead, the chapter recognizes that new member education is the beginning of lifelong membership and involvement, and provides developmental activities that prepare new members for future leadership in ongoing contribution.

Chapter of Excellence

Through the development of the Greek Pride Initiative: A Return to Glory, the Chapters of Excellence Awards were created to recognize fraternity and sorority chapters that have proven to be the Penn State’s most outstanding chapters. The program is now in its fifth year and has continued to serve as a mechanism to acknowledge the outstanding work some of our organizations are doing annually. Each of the recipients has demonstrated significant progress in the areas of recruitment, educational programming, member education, service, philanthropy, leadership and involvement, alumni relations, advising, and chapter operations. Theta Chi, as one of the 2008 recipients of this award, represents the values that we hope will be embodied by every one of our fraternities and sororities in making Penn State’s fraternity and sorority community the strongest in the country. 

Remembering Howard Alter ’41

by David L. Westol, Beta Zeta/Michigan State ’73 former National Vice-President and Executive Director of Theta Chi 

Howard Alter Jr. ’41 entered Chapter Eternal on Saturday, May 9th, 2009. He will be remembered for many reasons—for his loyalty to the Fraternity and to Omega Chapter, for his dedication, commitment and service, for his quick wit and humor tinged with irony, for his inter-fraternal spirit and the many friend- ships he had with men and women from other Greek letter organizations.

He will be remembered because he is and will be the only man in our Fraternity to have served as National President, President of the National Board of Trustees (now Norwich Housing Corporation), as Executive Director and as President of the Fraternity Executives Association and on the board of directors of the North American Interfraternity Conference.

Howard was a leader within and outside of our Fraternity.

And why would someone be so involved at so many levels? It began, of course, at Omega.

I often told this joke at gatherings at which Howard was present: “I once asked Howard Alter if he said, ‘We should have stopped at Omega’—that our Fraternity should have ceased expansion after installing the chapter at Penn State. And Howard, in his Alteresque manner with right hand outstretched, said, “No, but I wish I had.”

The quote about stopping at Omega is generally attributed to Robert Hoge, an alumnus of Rho/Illinois, who wrote the original History of Theta Chi in 1927. Howard, who rarely had anything good to say about Robert Hoge, would smile when I recounted that story. I would usually add, “And if we had, that would have meant that Beta Zeta (my chapter) would never have been part of the national organization.” That, of course, was a high lob to Howard, who would then reply, “That would have been justification right there,” accompanied by loud laughter from the audience.

And that is how things were with Howard.

It can be said that most of us who became involved in the Fraternity as alumni did so in part because of our experiences as undergraduates in our chapters. For Howard, that was certainly a reason. In addition, he followed in the footsteps of another Omega man—George Chapman—as Executive Director. Between the two of them, an Omega man occupied the CEO position of our Fraternity for over 36 consecutive years.

Howard cared deeply for Omega regardless of how the chapter was doing. His loyalty was unconditional. He always seemed to know what was happening on Allen Street in State College.

In the spring of 2001, Omega celebrated “Howard Alter Day.” We scheduled a meeting of leaders from the three boards to coincide with the celebration. On a Saturday afternoon in March, we were at the chapter house. Two older men slowly made their way up the sidewalk to the chapter house.

Howard, who rarely displayed emotion, choked up for a moment. “That is the man who was president when I was initiated”, he told me, “and the other man was my Marshal.” And sixty years fell away. The men greeted Howard with handshakes and hugs. There were tears. Someone told three or four undergraduates standing near us that, “Right there, guys—when we talk about brotherhood...there it is”

Ironically, that fall of 2001 brought Omega to a point of collapse—a declining membership, some leadership issues, low morale, struggles with recruitment. I spent one evening in October sitting on my porch in Carmel, Indiana, while speaking via cell phone with several undergraduate members and a staff member. One undergraduate told me, “It’s over—we can’t make this work.”

I spoke with Howard about the situation. He knew most of the story. I told him, “Howard, we are not going to give up on Omega.” He paused and then said, “I’m sorry that I can’t do more to help, David.” That was his signal or his code to proceed at flank speed—that he would assist.

We didn’t give up. Staff members volunteered to help with a virtual recolonization of the chapter. Progress was slow but steady. We found the right men...Omega men. And Howard was always there...a call to a key alumnus here, an encouragement to an undergraduate there, quiet advocacy for improvements to the chapter house. Unconditional loyalty.

I visited the chapter two years later. After a meeting with the undergraduates in the living room of Omega, I called Howard at his home in Plum Borough near Pittsburgh using my cell phone and passed the phone around the room. And you could watch the young faces of our members and know exactly what was happening in the conversation. Each member took the phone with a mixture of awe and uncertainty on his features. There would be an exchange—Howard usually asked for the hometown of the member—and then a smile and laughter. You knew that Howard was dishing out insults along with an encouraging word or two.

Howard often used a quote to conclude meetings or events. The verse appeared on page 11 in the original History of Theta Chi that was published in 1927. 

“A glorious past is ever telling
Of friendship that shall never die,
Within us peace and union dwelling,
While honor crowns the Theta Chi”

For Howard, that meant Omega Chapter.

Thank you for shaping and inspiring Howard and for sharing him with generations of Theta Chi men, Omega

Remembering Howard 

Omega alumni share their best memories of Howard Alter...

“It was always a special occasion when Howard came to the house. He had just graduated when I got there. I remember one Sunday in ’41 or ’42 Howard was there – slim, dark suit with vest, perfectly attired, gold watch chain across his vest. Howard was always Howard – knowledgeable, well spoken, polite. When answering he liked to tuck his right thumb and forefinger into his upper right vest pocket with the ornament end of the gold chain. I’m glad I got to know him. Always glad he was ours.

By the way, that vic could cause real trouble. We had a record, ‘Whee, I’m a Gman’ which started with a Whee that could shake the house. The trick was to get it going full blast during study hour and then try to outwit Bill Brown with his paddle. We had a bona fide mystery one time. Repeatedly someone would get it going; Brownie waited on the stairs paddle in hand; and nothing. No miscreant anywhere. One Saturday we had an afternoon cleanup outside and the problem suddenly was solved. There was Bob Thompson, Thompson Roses, Kennett Square, lean, tall, ungodly strong, climbing the front of the house and into his third floor room. But Bob was doing it at night and when anyone checked, Bob was at his desk studying. Try it sometime. But if someone falls and gets killed, don’t blame Bob (or me).

Those of us in Omega were delighted when Howard returned. I can still hear his voice. We’d gather around him and usually wind up with some kind of a discussion. Howard always made the point (Dale Rauch many times mentioned it) that he was not a joiner. Of course, one could always reply that he had joined Theta Chi. But that wasn’t what Howard meant. Many people join a huge number of organizations; you can see all the attachments on their stationery and they do little; Howard joined and worked. He brought what he was a part of into his life and immersed himself completely. We, our fraternity, and the world too are better off because Howard was here.”

- Dick Crowers ’45 

“One of the last things I did at Theta Chi in 1983 was to give Howard a lift from our house to the State College airport to catch his flight home on a rainy overcast day. I still have the letter he sent me later to thank me. He was a true gentlemen and I will miss him. The world is diminished by his passing.”

- Curtis Whalen ’83

“Howard was a role model for me as a freshman in 1938. Of all the upperclassmen, he seemed to understand the consternation of a green freshman. Howard was one to talk to and one to listen to when I was trying to find my way having never been away from home before and now with the challenge of college ahead of me.

When Howard was the Executive Director in Trenton we met and talked about the future of fraternities. Howard was always positive and looking toward the future.

Just last Christmas I got a nice note from Howard affirming our long friendship and shared hope for the future.

I will miss Howard and his words of encouragement and wisdom.”

- William Grun ‘47 

Alumni Update

Matthew Keller ‘00 reports “Karen and I now have two sons, Matty and Mikey. I will be completing my dermatology residency in June and will be joining the Jefferson University Hospital practice in August. 

Chapter Report - New Members Establish New Philanthropy to Benefit CASA 

This past semester, we recruited ten new members and eventually initiated ten young gentlemen. During their education process they were taught how to dress, how to talk to women, and all of the history related to Penn State and Theta Chi.

However, one learning experience stands out above the rest. To truly experience
the emphasis we place on service and philanthropy here at Omega Chapter, we believe that you must serve the community with us. These fine young gentlemen did that in the most extraordinary way. For their new member project they created F.L.I.C.K.S., an Ultimate Frisbee tournament philanthropy to benefit the Pennsylvania branch of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). 

PA CASA is an organization made up of trained volunteers who speak for the best interest of abused and neglected children in court and then find them a safe and permanent home. At the service event, more than 20 teams from various areas of campus and State College competed in Ultimate Frisbee play, with the eventual champion being members of Penn State’s own Club Frisbee Program.

With the creation of this new and annual philanthropy, our new member class has lived our motto of The Helping Hand in the fullest way possible. 

Mike Noble '92

Mike Noble '92

Alumni Profile - From Penn State to Good Morning America 

When Mike Noble graduated in 1992, he came face to face with the daunting real world that bears a striking resemblance to today’s. The country was in a recession and in desper- ate need of a makeover. His initial job search took him across the Atlantic to London, England where he managed a youth hostel and traveled throughout Europe.

Upon his return to the States in 1993, he held a number of different jobs before tak- ing a position at CBS Network Radio. His job required him to make copies and answer phones during the graveyard shift. Eventually he earned a spot as a newswriter, copy editor, and assignment editor, which granted him access to many top news topics of the time.

“[I] covered stories like the OJ Simpson trial, Columbine, Princess Diana, all the major stories of our time,” Mike says.

He then joined the CBS Network TV News team as a producer in 1999 and then later landed a producer spot at Good Morning America, where he currently works as a Senior Producer. 

While Mike certainly has an extensive resume, he views his time as an undergrad at Penn State and a brother in Theta Chi as a contribution to his success. He originally pledged the fraternity because of the wide variety of members it possessed.

In part, Mike credits his Theta Chi experience for his earning multiple Emmy awards throughout his career. One particu- lar Emmy earned him a decorative addition to his mantle of success.

“The Emmy is actually a team effort. We won a daytime Emmy for Best Morning Show and because I worked for the show both as a producer AND senior producer, I got to get a statue,” Mike says. “I’ve won two other Emmys: One at CBS for 9/11 coverage and another at Good Morning America, again for Best Morning Show, but this is my first statue. 

I’m proud of it.”

During his career at CBS, he met his wife Angelena, a producer for MSNBC. In April 2005, the two were married in New Orleans.

When asked to describe his Theta Chi experience in one word, Mike says, “Horizonbroadening. Is that one word? It is now!”

His advice for current and future brothers is to make the most of your time as an undergraduate.

“I would say don’t sweat the grades too much. I didn’t, and I turned out all right,” Mike says.

He adds, “Make sure you live life to the fullest and make your mistakes now so you’ll learn from them and not make them when you’re older...they don’t matter now but they will then.” 

Also you can read an extended version of the Mike Noble '92 interview by click here.


Thank you to all those brothers that shared their news.

Checkout past issues of the Omegaphone by clicking here.

Download June 2009 Omegaphone

January 2009 Omegaphone

Below are excepts from the January 2009 Omegaphone, to read the entire issue, please download the pdf to the right
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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! 

523 South Allen St.

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. 

Richard Maltz
Alumni President

At the 2008 Open, including Ken Oeschger who entered Chapter Eternal last month. 

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. 

Alumni Updates

Class of 1958 - L to R: Carol Davies (Dream Girl of Theta Chi 1957), James Davies , Keith Vansant, Vera Manning, Walt Manning, Barb Jones and Bob Jones - photo courtesy of Jim Davies '58

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


Thank you to all those brothers that shared their news.

Checkout past issues of the Omegaphone by clicking here.

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