August 21, 2015

The Endurance of Pi Kappa Phi Brotherhood, 50 Years and going strong

Written by Brother Bob Mason, Beta Alpha #220
The Endurance of Pi Kappa Phi Brotherhood, 50 Years and going strong Bob Mason, Beta Alpha

Brotherhood... Does it last? you bet it does! Our Brotherhood began in the 1960's as we were just starting at NJIT (in those days Newark College of Engineering) working towards a Bachelors degree, all with plans to make our marks in engineering careers.

In the mid 60's we pledged and were initiated into Pi Kappa Phi in Beta Alpha Chapter in Newark N.J. We quickly found ourselves as upper classmen, big brothers, officers with varying titles, meeting and organizing activities. We rented store front space in the city "campus" and eventually bought a chapter house with help from the Pi Kappa Phi national office and Durward Owen. We worked for the good of the fraternity, our community, the college and each other. We had some of the best times during some of the worst times! The 1960's were a tumultuous time and the fraternity definitely helped us get through it.

In 1965 plus or minus a few years, we earned our degrees and set off on the journey of life. Some to war in Vietnam, others pursued graduate studies, some went to work in refineries, chemical companies, foundries, design/construction firms, service providers and manufacturing operations. Over the years we flew, fought, sold, designed, managed, taught, built and engineered a part of the future of the country. With focus on career, we married, had children and grandchildren. We relocated to other states, and we traveled the world. Unfortunately we also lost contact with many of our classmate brothers as we built our lives in many widespread locations. Then eventually we began to retire, we hung up our slide rules, calculators, computers and began to reconnect with important friendships that were still alive and well.

Betaalphabackphoto-08212015

One might think we had drifted apart, but not so. We manage to gather annually; the same brothers of 1965 plus others from surrounding years, of course each a little greyer, balder, heavier and slower. But each year we find that the bonds of brotherhood are robust and enduring. The 1965 Pi Kappa Phi Beta Alpha graduates of Newark College of Engineering were: Boughrum, Bruce, Brusco, Carroll, Christ, DiMassi, Drobinski, Flynn, Golembuski, Juliano, Malarek, Mason, Monachello, Pepe, and Smith.

Our reunions began the summer of 2002 when a few of us gathered in Atlantic City N.J., for a summer picnic. At that time we hadn't seen the majority of our brothers in almost 40 years. The few who gathered set out to find and contact the balance of our brothers. Then in 2003 a formal invitation was sent to come together in Las Vegas. Twelve of us, with wives or significant others met. A good time was had, and the magic happened! The flame of the band of brothers was rekindled at what had become the first 1960's Pi Kappa Phi Beta Alpha NJIT Alumni Reunion.

The spirit of camaraderie is impressive and deep as the group gathers each year for a long weekend. Conversations take up where they left off a year ago. At every gathering the brothers relive the times at Beta Alpha in Newark, N.J. and share stories, good, bad and ugly. These tales include our past careers of becoming corporate leaders, successful businessmen and devoted family members.

Each reunion includes recognition of those who have joined the Chapter Eternal. Spouses are honored with the singing of The Rose of Pi Kappa Phi at our formal dinner. A meeting is conducted by a past archon with only two agenda items; should we do this again next year and who will be the host? The hosts and cities have varied widely but the reason for the gathering is always to spend time with each other once again.

These brothers of the Beta Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi exemplify what the meaning of brotherhood is.

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Last modified on August 24, 2015

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