As we approach Founders' Day, I can't help but reflect upon what was one of the most important times of my life. . . my initiation into Phi Sigma Kappa. Originally, I was a member of my local chapter of Sigma Kappa Phi, at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. I was inducted into Phi Sigma Kappa on March 27, 1965, as the Theta Pentaton Chapter joined the fold of the Phi Sigma Kappa National Fraternity. The induction team from Penn State (Kappa) Chapter inducted 31 men and I was installed as the first sentinel, Ritual #5 and a founding father of the Theta Pentaton Chapter of Phi Sigma Kappa National Fraternity. Brother John Silinish (Lehigh ‘57), Vice President of Region II conducted the installation ceremony following the Ritual of Initiation.
At the banquet that evening, with after-dinner speeches and greetings from Brother John Silinish, I remember a telegram of congratulations being read from Grand President Al Rudisill (Gettysburg ‘50). The main speaker for the evening was Chancellor of the Court of Honor Bob Abbe (Worcester ’38). Also present at the head table were: Executive Director Herbert L. "Bert" Brown (Swarthmore ‘16), Chapter Adviser Walter Shea (Indiana/PA ’65), Dean of Men Elwood Sheeder and Tom Briggum (Kappa ‘65) representing the induction team. The brothers in attendance hailed from Drexel Institute, Waynesburg College, Penn State University, Youngstown University, as well as Clarion.
What an exciting time it was for all of us at Theta Pentaton Chapter. We were the start of many years of success at IUP, which unfortunately ended in 1995. However, it is with swelling pride that I announce that we will begin the recolonization effort of Theta Pentaton this March! The expansion team from the International Headquarters will return to the campus to recruit a new group of young men who hold our ideals near and dear to their hearts, and I look forward to meeting every single one of them. Until then, my "shingle" hangs proudly on my wall in my home and my memories are still strong of the founding of my chapter so many years ago.
I can only imagine the excitement that was felt by the six founders of Phi Sigma Kappa on March 15, 1873 as they began their "great experiment." I believe that they would indeed be proud today of their Triple T Fraternity, as would the seven who began Phi Sigma Epsilon on a similar path. Their dream, their vision, is being fulfilled today by brothers in Phi Sig chapters at colleges and universities throughout the land. Commitment to meeting the challenges of following the ideals of our Cardinal Principles will lead the way to a future of fraternal greatness.
The words of Founder Henry Hague come to mind as he spoke on the night of March 15, 1873:
So now my brothers, you know what Founders' Day means to me as I approach the eve of the 50th anniversary of my initiation into Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity and why I am Damn Proud to be a brother of Phi Sigma Kappa!
Grand President William D. Neugebauer (Indiana/PA '67)
Today we release the Digital Signet Archive, which includes digital PDF versions of our archived collection. We encourage you to share this archive and information with our brotherhood because,
Directions of use are as follows: The Signet Archive
To Develop Character: Honor is the basis of fraternal relationships. We resolve to instill in each member a devotion to those values which will guide him to ends that are noble and right, so that in all that he represents and in all that he does, he shall be known as a man of honor who inspires others by his example and thus wins admiration and respect for himself and for Phi Sigma Kappa.
Phi Sigma Kappa International Headquarters and the Grand Chapter seek to instill this Cardinal Principle within our members. Every brother should strive to develop his character throughout his lifetime so that…
“…be known as a man of honor who inspires others by his example and thus wins admiration and respect for himself and for Phi Sigma Kappa.”
This Cardinal Principle is the very core of our Fraternity and is what defines it to the world.
Today, on our Founders’ Day, we are launching a new program to recognize those brothers that seek to define this Principle by the actions they take in their lives. The Grand Council’s new “Man of Character” program will recognize up to four undergraduate brothers a year that they see as defining “To Develop Character” and what it means to our Fraternity.
This Founders’ Day they would like to recognize Brother Alexander Biniaz-Harris (Southern Cal ’15) with this honor. Alex has displayed leadership through his time at the University of Southern California in multiple ways. He was a founding father during the Omega Deuteron recolonization, has held positions within the chapter and is heavily involved in organizations outside of the chapter, in particular, the USC Shoah Foundation, which he has been involved with since his freshman year. Below you can read more about Alex and his work with the Shoah Foundation and his once in a lifetime trip to Kraków, Poland to perform his co-composed piano piece, Auschwitz Suite, for the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp this past January.
Look for more on Alex in this upcoming Spring Signet issue in June.
More information and criteria on this new initiative will be released this week. Nominees must be undergraduate brothers in good standing with the Fraternity and can be nominated by anyone.