History of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity:
Illinois Kappa Phi Chapter
There we were, six young, ambitious freshmen, relaxing in the confines of our new found home wondering what this new life of higher learning will unfold for us. Everything seemed to spill out that night - our feelings, our childhood's, our aspirations, and our views. One view in particular was out consensus of Lewis University's lack of potential to make our college years the most memorable, fulfilling, and rewarding experience of our lives. All of us realized that this is what we desired, but also knew if it was going to happen we needed to take it into our own hands. We pondered: What could we do to make a difference on this campus? What can we do to make this precious and few years the most fulfilling? In an enhance state of mind, ideas flooded out, but only one caught everyone's distinct attention - the idea of starting our own fraternity. Yes, we were aware of a Greek life on campus, but one so dismal it seemed pointless to get involved. But the idea of starting our own brought such a feeling of excitement and euphoria. It was a revelation; an idea that would change our lives, and god, it seemed so perfect.
We knew from day one the fraternity that would fulfill our endeavor and our journey to excellence. When Bill Bruno informed us of his father's involvement with a fraternity that once reigned here on campus, we knew Phi Kappa Theta was it. We conducted the proper research, and what we found about Phi Kappa Theta only fueled our excitement even further. Brotherhood, spirituality, involvement in our community and among ourselves, and person growth; that is what we were looking for and that was what we found. By the middle of April in the year 1997, Bill Bruno, Rob Schmidt, Kyle Greenstein, Raj Kamruddin, Brian Maclean, and myself, Brad Meclean knew we had something to work with. No it was time to take the proper steps. There is one step that needs to be recognized in the full scope of its impact - the pursuance of our first adviser. We knew the necessity and importance of an adviser, and also knew who would be perfectly suited to fit our needs. We found Brother Joseph Desimone; someone who shared the same amount of intensity, desire, and excitement; a man who saw potential in us and purpose in our endeavor; a man who always and completely believed in us; a man we love and would like to thank. Thank you Joe.
After we found Joe, everything seemed to fall into place. By the end of April our proposal to the school and the National Organization of Phi Kappa Theta was completed and ready for approval. Other students began following our footsteps and joining our ranks. With fifteen affiliates, we headed into our summer break with the worthy task of completing our local constitution along with creating a solid foundation of Illinois Kappa Phi Affiliate Group. At this point, we knew what we had to do and realize it was not going to be easy. In fact, we knew this would probably be one of the greatest challenges faced in our young years. Building our own fraternity from the ground up? None of us knew what fraternities were about and how they were fun. But, then we realized that we had already come so far without even thinking twice about it. It was time for a decision. Low and behold, we made the decision; we were up for the challenge. Now I must say, this challenge has been worth the fight and every ounce of frustration. On September 17, 1997, we were officially accepted by Nationals and the University as Illinois Kappa Phi Affiliate Group of Phi Kappa Theta. Next destination - Colonial-ship and making a difference on this campus.
On the road to becoming a Colony we faced many obstacles, witnessed a drastic positive change in Greek and social life on campus, and experienced brotherhood and memories that will stay etched in our hearts for a lifetime. For instance, we began organizing picnics, charity basketball games, social gatherings, and the one tradition that has made every semester worth the hard work - Quo Vadis. All these events, including our 1st annual Talent Show, Sloppy Smitties, Greek Week triumphs, Quo Vadis 1 - "The Beginning", Quo Vadis 2 - "Brotherhood Outdoors", Quo Vadis 3 - "Living the High Life - Right Now", and so forth, will be expanded on in our Status Report. Indeed, it is these events and these experiences that separate us from other fraternities and make us a rich, powerful organization on campus and around the country. On May 9, 1998, twenty-five affiliates, which included the first Alpha Class, were initiated as Colony Members. With twenty-five quality young men we had established a solid base for a thriving organization on campus.
During the fall season of our third semester as an organization came the Beta Class. Consisting of nine associates, this class had shown the desire to carry our torch as well as the desire to light their own flame of tradition and brotherhood. They have done just that. The semester also consisted of our 1st Annual Lewis Talent Show, the infamous Cubs outing, visits to fellow chapters, more paintballing and wall climbing, and our third Quo Vadis.
Presently, our new President by the name of Mark A. Wodka sits at the helm and not only sees our vision but carries his addition - "the creation of the castle". Mark has been laying the mortar to bond each brick together as an impenetrable foundation of Phi Kappa Theta. Each member of Illinois Kappa Phi has become one of those bricks - Thanks Mark for keeping us together as part of your castle. With the "Castle" built, the Gamma Class coming aboard, and a vision to fulfill, we are ready for our Chapter; we are ready to become an official of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity.
Walking a path with many pits and valleys, we have come together and will always stay together.
Thank you for sticking with it.