1935 - 1936
The Beta Sigma Chapter of
Pi Kappa Alpha
Carnegie Mellon University
1445 Wightman Street
The following cover letter accompanied the apparently late submission of the Chapter History Report by Brother Clifton Boutelle. This report by far exceeds, by a factor of ten, the quality of any other from our Chartering up and through the end of the 1960s. The cover letter and the history report are presented in their entirety.
Cumberland Mills, Maine
August 26, 1936
Dr. Freeman Hart, historian
Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity
Hampton Sidney College
Dear Brother Hart:
Accompanying this letter is the chapter history of Beta Sigma at Carnegie Tech for the year 1935-1936.
I have only just now finished these sheets and I am sincerely sorry to have caused you any delay. I can assure you that it was unintentional.
I alone am responsible for the delay. Following graduation I spent most a month seeking work. The search was successful I am glad to say and so I immediately got busy on the history.
In looking over the histories of previous years I became convinced that they were not highly satisfactory. In these sheets I have tried to get a little more of the chapter spirit and there are numerous incidents of little value historically but nevertheless indicative of our chapter life. This is more of a story of Beta Sigma rather than a chronological record but I hope it will contain enough facts to be acceptable.
Other copies of this history have been sent to the national office and to the chapter officers.
Again I apologize for the tardiness and must merely repeat that I have worked steadily and regularly and with no hint of negligence. Most of the writing was done at night after working hours.
I wish you enjoyment in reading these sheets and also a pleasurable meeting at the national convention in New Orleans.
[signed Clifton P. Boutelle]
Chapter History Report
Filed by Clifton P. Boutelle on August 26, 1936
It was rather a dark outlook which faced the brothers of Beta Sigma Chapter when we returned for the school year in September. We opened our house with a chapter of twenty-three (23) actives. Eleven lived in the chapter house. There were four holdover pledges. Financially the chapter was in straits. Because of a disastrous rushing season in the previous term we had lost prestige and group strength on the campus, and individually we were somewhat dubious about the existence of our fraternity life.
But, every cloud has a silver lining, and ours was no exception. Perhaps it was the almost hopeless air which we inhaled the first few days which made us realize that it was a case of do or die. So do we did. From somewhere, I believe it was the inspired leadership of our SMC, came a growing sense of loyalty to Pi Kappa Alpha and a grim determination to build constructively.
We considered our chapter house an obstacle in our path to recovery. It was badly in need of attention. One of our graduates in Architecture, Brother Maurice John, helped us draw plans and indicated alterations. These were made and the house itself reflected Beta Sigma's "New Deal". We were really proud of the building and we began to hold out hopes for the pending rushing season.
Thus from a beginning of hopeless pessimism Beta Sigma gradually emerged within a few months to become an association of brothers, inspired with chapter loyalty and a willingness to cooperate for the whole good and a sincere desire to make Beta Sigma of Pi Kappa Alpha the best of the thirteen campus fraternities. This spirit of determination was enhanced by the knowledge that a poor rushing season would mean almost certain dissolution of a once strong fraternity.
CHAPTER HOUSE IMPROVEMENTS
Our chapter house is by no means one of the better houses on the campus. For several years we have seriously worked on plans which would move us from our present location. But our chapter is not wealthy and this year we resolved that our one hope was to put our efforts into remodeling and improving our chapter house at 1445 Wightman Street. The work was headed by House Manager John Duffy.
The sleeping porch with its thirteen double-deckers was repapered and the woodwork and floors painted. The beds too, were given a coat of aluminum paint. Eight new mattresses replaced worn ones. There is little doubt that the hard work of the brothers made this sleeping room the finest on the campus. Many favorable comments were heard from visitors during the rushing season.
On the third floor Brother Haviland plastered, stippled, and painted his study. BrothersMiller and Landua cleaned their wallpaper and transformed their room into a fine collegiate study. Brothers Thomas and Lord experienced considerable difficulty building a wood-burning fireplace in their room and were ultimately forced to use a gas log, but their room was very comfortably arranged. The third floor bathroom was repaired and painted and as much as possible was done to make it look clean and sanitary.
Down on the second floor bathroom fixtures were repaired or replaced, a shower curtain hung, and the bathroom thoroughly cleaned, Two rooms were rewired and the wallpaper on the same rooms was removed by pledges during Hell Week and a short time later new paper was put on. Floors and woodwork was cleaned or painted in all rooms.
On the first floor Brother Haviland, who is a crackerjack interior decorator made window curtains and secured furniture coverings. The mothers club presented the house with a fine new rug for the music room. All woodwork was washed and the radio room floor was sanded, varnished, and waxed. On the hall stairs Brothers Duffy and Boutelleinstalled some tubular lights which added much to the homeliness of the hallway.
We decided, ironically enough in the light of a later event, that the house looked so well that it would pay to have a photographer make pictures of the various rooms.
In the basement we made the major series of changes. Our house was badly in need of a playroom. The basement offered the only solution, so we tore out dividing walls, bricked up openings, plastered, and removed washtubs and plumbing and gas fixtures. We paneled the ceiling, whitewashed or painted walls and partitioned off the portion of the cellar used for the furnace, fuel, and storage.
Under alumnus Brother John's direction one room was painted to represent the game deck of an ocean liner. Everything was there, birds, funnels, waves, railings, and life-preservers. In this room we set up our pool table. Mothers, rushees, brothers, old grads, everyone expressed approval of our new cellar.
In another corner of the basement we made a chapter lounge room and had visions of a future chapter room with fireplace and historical pictures and records.
The entire cost of improving the chapter house did not exceed $200 and was financed by a summer assessment of $10 per brother. This repair cost is less than that of previous years and never had so much been accomplished.
We were exceedingly proud of our remodeled home and our opinions were justified by the comments of rushees during the rushing season.
NOTE: The (#) before a man's name indicates he was initiated in this year.
The following men began the school year as holdover pledges.
NOTE: It will be later observed that two of these men were later initiated.
Very wisely Beta Sigma began preparations for this rushing season in the closing weeks of the school year 1934-35. At that time we chose Brothers Jack McKee and Richard Hammond to work jointly as rushing captains. Brother Hammond excused himself because of outside interests and left the entire task to Brother McKee. There was no actual home contacting of incoming freshmen but Brother McKee was active in precontacting and prerushing. He had some contacting assignments ready for the returning members. The freshman class from the outset showed signs of being fraternity minded and although outside the letter of the law because of a deferred rushing system at Carnegie we felt that the name Pi Kappa Alpha was becoming known due to our contacting. We enjoyed a slight advantage in the contacting because the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha are engaged in almost every activity and organization on the campus and could keep an eye peeled for likely looking rushees.
The proper manner in which to use girls to the best advantage of the fraternity during the rushing days came up for discussion and the result was a RUSHING TEA, held several days before the start of the men's rushing season. It was the girls who enjoyed the rushing then during the Tea and we did our best to sell each young lady on the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and to have both the girls and the brothers mix and become friendly before the rushing week. To our Rushing Tea we invited the Dean of Women, Mary Watson Green. The dean was shown about the house and entertained and dined. When she left the radio was turned on and we had one rollicking good time at an informal dance. To say that the lift our spirits got from this tea was inspirational would be putting it mildly.
During the first three days of the rushing period freshmen visited the houses by appointments drawn up by the Interfraternity council. Brother Lehne as SMC represented us on the council. These periods of scheduled visits were largely taken up by showing the men about the house, trying to make them fraternity minded and in trying to develop a friendly attitude with each man.
In turning in the names of the men we wished to rush we named 160 rushees. During the scheduled contacting period we dropped this number to 100. Nightly meetings were held after which the house was put in order. The meetings were noticeable for their harmony and for the seriousness in which they were conducted. Pep talks were numerous.
It is noticeable that when Beta Sigma goes into rushing season there are few alumni there to help. In this connection there were two encouraging incidents. First, the nightly attendance of alumni Brothers Carley, Schryver, and John, and secondly a letter from a brother in Sweden, Bror Zachrisson, who highly recommended a Swedish freshman printing student. But on the whole it was purely an undergraduate rushing season.
Printed rushing programs and dance favors were designed by Brother Adamson one of our printers, and there was a nightly entertainment at the house for the rushees. A Hard Tines Party, Bowery Night, Tea Dance, Football and Mushball, a Smoker, and radio and orchestra dances helped make evenings enjoyable.
Transportation of the rushees was adequately taken care of by those brothers who drove their own cars. During the rushing season all expenses of transportation are taken care of by the house. This expense amounted to $40.00 this season.
Bidding was done by five seniors. For the first time in many years written bids were given to those who were invited to membership. In view of the results this is apparently a favorable item.
As I gave previously mentioned we all feel that it was the very hard and sincere work of Captain McKee which made our rushing season successful. The fine appearance presented by the chapter house was also a contributing factor.
As rushing season ended we pledged 19 men.
At other times during the year we placed pledge buttons on--
During the school term 1935-36 Beta Sigma pledged 26 new men to Pi Kappa Alpha.
Total rushing expenses which were paid out of the Th.C. funds reached slightly over $230.00. This is a per capita cost of $8.85 for each pledge. This shows a remarkable improvement over the rushing costs of the previous year when the per capita cost of pledging a man was $50.00.
ACTIVITIES OF BETA SIGMA MEN
In an early issue of the Carnegie Puppet it was mentioned humorously that the only requisite for a freshman to receive a PiKA bid was to be a big activities man in high school or preparatory school. Although this was in a humorous vein there is a grain of truth in the idea that the PiKA's are the activities men of the Carnegie campus. The reasons are numerous but outstanding are the facts that we do usually succeed in pledging a group of men who have shown that they are interested in extra-curricular activities. Then too we keep after each pledge in an endeavor to see that before the year is too far spent he has become in interested in one of the campus organizations. We find that this push makes prominent men out of some fellows who might have merely "attended Carnegie".
Here is a listing of activities and athletics and the men of Beta Sigma who were active participants.
TARTAN (Weekly Newspaper) - Boutelle (editor-in-chief); Adamson (managing editor); junior editors - Byrne, Thomas, Shear (all three elected senior editors, Thomas as editor-in-chief for 1936-37); reporters - Lewis, Andraso, Ryshanek, Armour, and Patterson.
GLEE CLUB - Johnston, Patton J., and Andraso.
R.O.T.C. - McKee (colonel); officers - Dennison, Lehne, Miller A.R., Jones, Closs, Jonic,Tobler, Ryshanek, and Zeigler; privates - Haller, Johnston, Landua, Cook, Armour,West, Rahall, Patton J., Long, Logan, Hulslander, Bean, Atwell, Drenning, Herrod, and Loughney.
CLASS OFFICERS -
Shomo -- senior class representative student council.
Shear -- president of the senate in the College of Fine Arts.
Haller -- president of the sophomore class College of Engineering.
Boutelle -- vice president senior class in engineering.
CLASS HONORARIES -
SCHOLASTIC HONORARIES -
Theta Tau - Unger.
Scarab - Thomas.
Eta Kappa Nu - Jones.
Alpha Rho Chi - Thomas.
Freshman coach - Ewalt.
Managers - Miller A.R.
Cross Country - Miller, M.
This list of activities will show that 57 men are engaged in 163 extra-curricular interests. This leads to the conclusion that Pi Kappa Alpha was the leading activity group on the Carnegie campus for the school year 1935-36.
Consistently near the top in the scholastic ratings of the Carnegie fraternities is the record of Pi Kappa Alpha. This year for the first time we received recognition of our good standing when the deans office at one of the assemblies awarded Pi Kappa Alpha a lithographed painting of an oil portrait of our founder Andrew Carnegie.
To receive this award Beta Sigma had an average which placed us fourth among the fraternities. Beta Sigma Rho, the Jewish fraternity and Sigma Phi Epsilon and Kappa Delta Rho two of the smaller organizations stood above us in ranking. Of the major fraternities we headed the scholastic parade.
Already listed are the names of the eleven men in the chapter who attained the honor roll during the year. Twenty percent of the active chapter received honors.
Beta Sigma has always boasted of its' "scholarship system". For a number of years we had organized in the house a tutoring system in which brothers who were outstanding in the academic subjects devoted time to tutoring the less fortunate. This system always works best when there are a number of honor roll men living in the house. Only one honors man was a house man and the tutoring system has almost disappeared. Fraternity files of examinations were saved from the fire and after being put into order by Brother Skewiswere of great value.
Although our house rules state that there shall be a definite quiet hour for the encouragement of study there was little effort to enforce or obey this ruling. This rule is important and the laxity of the past term should give way to strict obedience in the future.
Early in the year we had some discussion concerning the value of House Rules. The existing rules were read at the time. We all realized their value and voted to continue them. However we have been very liberal in our interpretation. With the exception of the study rule there has been little trouble.
Practically every brother regards the enforcement of house rules as none of his personal concern and this makes the task of the SMC difficult and unpleasant. The committees appointed to look after the enforcement problem have been woefully ineffective. This paragraph is not intended to carry the idea that Beta Sigma is going to the dogs spiritually or morally. Quite the contrary is true and in the eyes of the school authorities the chapter is highly rated. The point remains however that in spite of our successes and current good name there is a weakness in the spirit and enforcement and perhaps in the composition of the house rules.
CHAPTER OFFICERS -- FIRST SEMESTER
CHAPTER OFFICERS -- SECOND SEMESTER
House management and upkeep of Beta Sigma will always be a difficult problem. Prime reason for this is the great amount of time required for scholastic work.
We began the year under what we are pleased to call our new system. It was in effect the latter part of the preceding year but this was the first year we started the ball rolling under the "system". Briefly here was our plan.
House Steward Walter Adamson had the care and distribution of all income of the house with the exception of that under the control of the Th. C. He was in charge of the kitchen and the dining room. He too, kept all house account books etc. He received and paid, if possible, all bills.
Actual maintenance of the house such as repairs, fuel, light, heating, etc. came under the responsibilities of the house manager John Duffy. Under his supervision too, was the housekeeper Mrs. Menzies.
In the house on 1445 Wightman Street we found that the plan seemed to work very well. The chief trouble occurred in the management of the outside help and in the overlapping of responsibilities and jurisdiction. This never was straightened out.
After the fire when we were living in the rented Sigma Nu house the house management was pathetic. We merely existed in that house. Difficulties with the leasers caused the house manager to neglect maintenance and finally except for the necessary household tasks no attempt was made to keep the chapter house in A-1 condition.
Proper conduct in handling the help was a thorn in the flesh of the brothers.
Records were lost of mislaid for long periods due to the confusion of moving and the management of accounts was made very difficult. Management of the fraternity slipped slowly and certainly in the final months of the year.
However in spite of difficulties the efforts to keep the books in good shape and the house in sound financial condition were successful. The credit goes to Brother Adamson who took over the Steward's duties in a time of internal dissention in the fraternity and, although faced with a lot of red ink and numerous bill collectors, he left the accounts in excellent shape.
In the election of Brother Skewis as next years Steward we feel that his experience as a waiter during the past term may be of considerable help in the proper management of next years dining room. After the close of the school year Skewis took over control of the books and has been doing some excellent work preparing the accounts for the opening of the house in the fall.
Brother Alan Bell was elected house manager. Even in the leased Sigma Nu house he showed that he was out to make the chapter home a better place to live in.
Alumni Homecoming dance -- October 5 -- Chapter house.
The annual homecoming dance was held on the night of the Notre Dame football game. A number of alumni visited the house and the undergrads staged a radio dance.
Radio dance -- October 19 -- Chapter house.
Informal radio dances were held in the chapter house once a month. Our new radio with the phonograph attachment brought us many a grand orchestra. Informal and inexpensive, these dances created good fellowship.
Hayride -- October 26 --
Brothers Mullet and Tobler secured a barn and a hay wagon. Cider, donuts, radio music, good floor in the barn, horses, a swell ride --- a great evening.
Treasure Hunt -- November 8 -- Chapter house.
Brothers Tobler and Duffy laid the trail and cleverly written notes provided the clues. The party of Brothers Lehne and Boutelle won the treasure.
Tea Dance -- November 23 -- Chapter house.
Dean Green visited the house and poured. We talked rushing to the girls. When the Dean left we rolled out the radio and had a grand dance plus some barber shop harmony.
Rushing dance -- December 11
Rushing dance -- December 13
Rushing dance -- December 14
This ws the final dance of the rushing season and we had a real orchestra to furnish the tunes. For the first time in at least a year we had freshmen tell us they would be up to pledge on Sunday. Boy, that was great news.
Radio dance -- January 11 -- Chapter house.
This was our first dance since the fire and it was held in our temporary chapter house once the home of Sigma Nu.
Pledge dance -- February 7 -- Chapter house.
Our pledges gave the Brothers a radio dance.
Radio dance -- February 22 -- Chapter house.
No classes this day so we celebrated Mr. Washington's birthday with a combination radio and victrola dance. The loss of our new radio is keenly felt at these dances.
founder's day -- March 8 -- Hotel Schenly
FOUNDERS DAY CELEBRATION
More that a hundred brothers, pledges, and alumni were on hand at our banquet at the Hotel Schenly to celebrate the founding of Pi Kappa Alpha in 1868. This is the third year in which Beta Sigma has joined with our neighboring chapter Gamma Sigma from Pitt for the Founders Banquet.
Toastmaster for the occasion was Brother John Walker, Beta Theta, of Cornell. Brother John McCann of N.Y.U. was the principal speaker of the evening. Short talks were also given by Tiny Packer, District President, the president of the Pitt chapter and Henry Lehne, SMC of Beta Sigma.
The man behind the Founders Day celebration was Brother Bart Carley, one-time SMC of Beta Sigma and active chapter advisor. Carley had some fine programs printed, got writers cramp urging alumni to return to the old stamping grounds and was rewarded by a satisfactory turnout.
Kid Party -- March 14 -- Chapter house.
The great moment of the social year arrived. It didn't seem quite as carefree as the brawls in the old house but we toddled about in our kiddies apparel with lollypops and squirt guns. The orchestra was terrible which added to the fun. For decorations the wall drawings were fewer than in the past for after all we don't own the old building, but balloons, crepe paper streamers, and colored light were used in abundance.
Radio dance -- April 4 -- Chapter house.
Our last radio dance of the year. Spring Carnival and a full college social calendar will keep us all pretty busy.
Spring Formal -- May 29 -- St. Claire Country Club
Beta Sigma's last and best dance. It was strictly formal and we were well pleased with the club. For some of us it was our last meeting with everyone in the fraternity. The favors were great. Mother of pearl wrist chains. And was that steak and mushroom dinner good. Brother Lehne announced Brother Boutelle's engagement. Brother Thomas the social chairman for the second semester and now SMC was in charge of the arrangements. Football coach Howard Harpster was the sponsoring chaperone. It's too bad PiKA doesn't have more orchestrated songs for its chapter dances.
So endeth the social season.
BETA SIGMA LOSES ITS CHAPTER HOUSE
On the afternoon of December 26, Beta Sigma of Pi Kappa Alpha at 1445 Wightman Street was razed by fire. All the occupants of the house were home for the Christmas vacation and no one was present at the time the blaze broke out. The flames had made considerable headway before being discovered by Miss Betty Ralston, a passerby. Four fire companies working from 3:00 until 8:30 succeeded in extinguishing the flames only after the whole interior of the house had been greatly damaged.
An overheated furnace was blamed for the fire. The belief is that a thermostat which controlled the furnace failed and turned on a forced draft. The resulting high temperature of the flue set fire to the surrounding woodwork.
The fire got between the walls and spread throughout the rooms and to the roof before being detected. Every room of the house was reached by the flames and practically all of the furniture was ruined by fire or water. The floors, walls, and stairways although hopelessly damaged are still standing. The brick exterior walls of the building were undamaged.
Protection afforded by closets and cupboards prevented the loss of much of the clothing. The greatest amount of damage to personal property was done by smoke and water. Some of those living in the house suffered only slight losses.
Below freezing temperature hampered the work of the firemen and ice covered equipment added to their difficulty in extinguishing the blaze. Sic of the firemen were injured and had to be taken to the hospital.
Sufficient insurance was carried by the chapter to cover damage to personal property and partly cover damage to furniture and the house. Tentative plans call for the rebuilding of the house with a redesigned and completely new interior.
Immediately after the fire officers of Pi Kappa Alpha signed a lease for the former Sigma Nu house at 4921 Forbes St. and upon returning to school the members moved into the new location.
This story of Beta Sigma's fire was taken from the columns of the January 14 issue of the Carnegie Tartan and was written by Richard Byrne a Junior editor of the paper and Brother of Pi Kappa Alpha.
THE SEQUEL TO THE FIRE
Because of the expensive woodwork and interior furnishings of the house weich were almost totally destroyed and difficult to replace contractors placed the damage to the property at $20,000.
INSURANCE AND COVERAGE
All insurance was in the name of the Beta Sigma Building Corporation this is the alumni group which owned and has financial care of the house. Hartford Fire Insurance Company of Hartford Connecticut was the insurer.
Personal property damage was paid dollar for dollar. The balance of this property and furniture policy was set aside for the purchase of new furnishings.
Coverage on the house totaled $14,600.
When the last ember of 1445 Wightman Street had ceased to smolder Brothers Henry Lehne and Jack McKee undertook the task of relocating the fraternity. Their efforts were hindered of helped by the absence of most of the brothers.
It had always been the wish of the brothers that the chapter be located nearer to the college. Bearing this in mind the new house committee secured a house which is one of the nearest fraternity dwellings to the campus. They secured the building of the inactive Sigma Nu Fraternity.
As each brother and pledge returned after the vacation he joined in attempting to salvage the old house.
Ice and cold weather made this task difficult. The Sigma Nu house was rented furnished. When school opened Pi Kappa Alpha was comfortable settled.
ACTIVE ALUMNI COMMITTEE
At the second regular meeting of the year the chapter was addressed by Brother John Packer, District President. Brother Packer pointed out the very apparent weaknesses of Beta Sigma as the chapter began its school year. This poor start has already been commented upon. Brother Packer urged that the chapter accept a committee composed of interested alumni who were interested in getting the chapter back upon a higher scale.
The duties of the committee were to direct financial and governmental policies of the chapter. The committee ws to have ultimate and complete power but this was to be seldom used and the committee was to be chiefly concerned with financial guidance.
On the committee were Brothers Harold James, Bartly Carley, and Maurice John. Later Brother Haviland because of his responsibilities as chef of the chapter was asked to sit in on the committee meetings.
When the brothers of the chapter accepted Packer's proposal they took a step which will probably mean the salvation of the chapter in years to come. Our experience was showing us that it was almost impossible for a group of undergraduates to properly manage and finance the business of a fraternity. There is little doubt but that the handwriting is on the wall for those groups which do not benefit from the guidance of an older group with a background of business experience and an enthusiasm for their fraternity.
All through the first semester we knew that the alumni committee was checking up on us anf at times the brake was applied. We felt more confident of our financial position. Then too Brother's Carley, John and James made it a point to attend almost every regular meeting. Their advice was found valuable.
But after the fire the alumni committee really showed its value. The members took care of the insurance and all matters pertaining to the old house and at the same time they were counselors concerning the new temporary chapter house.
Brother Wissinger as treasurer of the Beta Sigma Building Corporation was a member of the committee ex-officio.
One day shortly after the close of rushing season Brother Carley was leading a bull session in the old house. He remarked upon the need for new kitchen equipment which had made itself apparent during the hectic rushing period. He suggested a raffle to obtain some cash for kitchen equipment. The brothers approved the suggestion. Carley had the books of tickets printed and the brothers took them home over Christmas. The fire didn't do more than delay the raffle.
To the winner was offered a Hostess Tray. When the drawings were made it was Brother Mark Miller's mother who won the tray. The profits were earmarked for new equipment for the remodeled house.
PLEDGE TRAINING AND CONDUCT
When the school year began we had seven pledges who had not gone through any of the pledging exercises. At the time Brother Duffy was acting as pledgemaster. He attempted to conduct classes and in other ways teach the new men the history and mores of Pi Kappa Alpha. Unfortunately Duffy got little help from the other brothers and the pledges got little from the sessions. The pledge training was woefully weak. Perhaps this may be traced to the fact that pledge training for new men in Beta Sigma has reached a low and very unsatisfactory level. Even Brother Duffy confessed he had never been properly trained.
The pledge period for this early group ended, as is the custom, with a Hell Week lasting three days. On the Hell Week committee were Brothers Boutelle, Duffy, and Tobler. They set about to make life miserable for the pledges. Then the unexpected happened.
The last night of Hell Week is the most severe and the most talked of. Came the "supreme moment" and not a dozen brothers were on hand. Brother Boutelle and several others were working on the late issue of the Tartan and expected to see the fun later.
Our pledges however were just about fed up with the whole affair. There being no brothers around to start the initiation, the pledges all banded together and left the house. They went to school and dragged Boutelle from his office, took him for a ride, and left him bound in an outlying suburb.
They did not return to the chapter house.
The Brothers were furious and had a warm reception prepared for the culprits. As noon approached and still no pledges, the ire of the actives cooled and they decided to ignore the outbreak.
Finally came the pledges and with them they brought the giant brass bell off a locomotive. This caused so much merriment among the Brothers that the crime was forgotten and all was well. The whole affaire is indicative of the poor training system of Beta Sigma.
The work done by the later pledge class was of a somewhat higher caliber. Brother Miller, a Sophomore, was made pledgemaster. Under his tutelage the pledge class learned quite well the history of Pi Kappa Alpha. But again there was something lacking. Brother Miller's training was inadequate to go further.
The pledge organization except when goaded on by the actives was weak. This poor pledge training was the subject of much discussion among the Brothers. It was resolved to bear down.
More frequent meetings were held with the pledges; More Brothers interested themselves in the doings of the new men; And finally, the system for Hell Week was revised. To prevent feelings between those pledges who had and who had not gone through the ropes only those men who were to be initiated were allowed to go through Hell Week. Others had to move from the house. We tried to make Hell Week a little more beneficial both to the pledges and the house. Considerable work was accomplished. On the committee were Brothers Lehne, Macalka, Boutelle, Shomo, and Tobler.
Those pledges who were not allowed through Hell Week continued to hold meetings and training periods under Brothers McKee and Shomo.
Next year it is hoped that the wrinkles in the training system can be ironed out to the benefit of the individuals and the fraternity.
HOUSE GETS PLAQUE
During Hell Week early in the year the pledge group was asked to construct a wooden shield bearing the crest of Pi Kappa Alpha. Hell week ended and the plaque was not finished so pledge Ross Strohecker continued the task alone.
When the house committee was wondering what to put in the dining room in the way of wall furnishings to cover the place once occupied by "the White Star of Sigma Nu" Strohecker came forward with the PiKA crest. It was a fine piece of craftsmanship and just filled the ticket.
ACTIVITIES OF THE PLEDGE CLASS
Every member of this last pledge class has become engaged in some campus activity. The strength in the group is shown in their election results.
At he suggestion of the Brothers the pledge class ran pledge brother Ted Haller for the presidency of the Sophomore class. The pledges were coached by the brothers and the political machine they built up easily won the election for Haller. This will give Pi Kappa Alpha's freshman class a reputation for solidity and strength. Other fraternities will give them due respect.
The work done by the pledges around the house during the Saturday morning duty periods was not satisfactory. Some blame may be placed upon the fact that we had decided not to do much of a constructive nature around the rented Sigma Nu house but the chief cause for the indisposition of the pledges was poor pledge leadership and direction on the part of the brothers in charge of the work sessions. The work done by the pledges living in the house was far superior to that done by their town pledge bothers.
A problem concerning the pledges which cropped out frequently at the Brother's meetings and which was never settled satisfactorily was what to do with those pledges who failed to be initiated at the first opportunity following their pledging. We had trouble classifying those sophomores, juniors, and occasional seniors who after a year or more of association with Pi Kappa Alpha are still content to wear a pledge pin.
A PLEDGE IS DROPPED
By action of the Brothers at the seventeenth meeting of the year on May 18 a pledge, Robert Russell, was dropped from fraternity affiliation. The Brothers felt that lack of interest shown by the pledge might continue when he entered the bonds and would make him an unsatisfactory brother.
In the fall Pi Kappa Alpha will hold its national convention in the city of New Orleans. As official representative to this convention we chose Brother Joseph Thomas.
There are three other Brother of Beta Sigma who are planning to attend the convention. They are Brother Lehne, past SMC, Brother Leslie Shomo, and Brother Thomas Patterson.
CHAPTER GETS A NEW RADIO
As the year opened and the social season got under way it became increasingly apparent that the chapter needed a new radio. Brother Robert Fitzwilson undertook the task of making the selection. First he installed a Zenith radio but this was soon replaced by an R.C.A. "Magic Eye" instrument. In addition a record playing attachment was purchased for use during dances. The Brothers started a system of record donations and a fairly good and up to date collection was built up.
The fire destroyed radio, attachment, and records.
There were two periods of initiation into the bonds of brotherhood during the school year. The first was on November 17. At that time we initiated three men, George A.S. Jonic, Mark M. Miller, and William J. Skewis.
Eleven men were initiated during the year while Brother Lehne was SMC.
The chapter was honored by visitors from prominent PiKA's. In the early part of the semester we were visited by Dean Massey of Tennessee. In January Brother Joseph Sheehan, Grand Alumnus Secretary, spoke to the chapter upon chapter decorum and alumni organization.
Brother Heller, District President for the West Coast was touring PiKA campuses and joined us for an evening meeting. He gave us the lowdown and his observed rating of fraternities. He classified the societies and PiKA was a leader in the third grouping.
When Brother Haller had left us and his talk had been bulled over for hours we all were of the opinion that what our fraternity needs is more aggressive leaders and a better national organization.
Beta Sigma men furnished stiff competition in the intramural sports of Basketball, Swimming, Rifle, and Mushball.
By ruling of the interfraternity council men who had won letters in major sports were ineligible to compete in the intramurals. This did not affect us severely in Basketball, but it certainly ruined our mushball team. We had counted heavily on our basketball players to win the mushball cup.
An inexperienced team that practiced sporadically but was possessed with the will to win carried us into the finals of the basketball tourney. Our league finished in a three-way tie. In playoffs we lost to Beta Theta Pi and they lost to Alpha Tau Omega.
Bob Fitzwilson, Bill Skewis, Joe Thomas, Dick Byrne, Bob Platt, John Drenning, and Wayne Atwell were the mainstays of the team. Several Brothers and pledges were on the bench.
In swimming we made a poor showing and our hopes were washed out in the first meet.
With a number of managers and squadmen from the rifle team we had hopes of winning this new field of competition. The Kappa Sigs hit more bulls eyes and we came in second.
Our Pi Kap shooters were McKee, Closs, Ryshanek, Jonic, and Loughney.
We were forced because of an accident to cancel our debating schedule.
When the time came for mushball we had only a few veterans from previous years. But we practiced hard and played two preliminary games with the boys from the Pitt chapter. We hit the .500 marl winning our first and last games of a four game schedule. We swamped D U and Beta and trailed K D R and A T O. On the team roster were Lehne, Adamson, Platt, Boutelle, Thomas, Fitzwilson, Herrod, Logan, Haller, West, Ives, Hammond, and Coss.
Brother Bob Fitzwilson was athletic chairman for the year.
Early in January Brother McKee our leading man with musical talent rounded up a dozen tenors, baritones, and bases and for weeks we made life miserable with our tunes. At the Greek Sing and Swing in March we entered our team and after McKee had led us through "How's You Like To Be A Pi K A", "Honeymoon", and "You Can Bet Your Boots That He's A Pi Kap" the judges gave us third prize. But our friends said we should have won the cup.
It has already been recorded that there was confusion and delay in salvaging and rewriting the chapter books after the fire. In the chapter minutes we fond the interesting entries --
JAN. 5 -- The house stewards books are being brought up to date. The Th. C. books have not been recovered yet.
JAN. 19 -- The Th. C. books have been recovered from the fire.
It was noticeable that there was considerable delay in removing damaged equipment from the burned house. Three months after the fire the mattresses and bedding were removed. Little else was salvaged.
Mothers of Brothers and pledges of Beta Sigma have been active in their interest during the past year. During the period of house improvement they gave us a rug and a monogrammed set of dishes. They purchased furniture covers and gave a tea for the members of the college faculty at the chapter house. A bridge and tea was held in a downtown department store to raise money. The club met frequently during the winter months at the chapter house. On the Sunday following Mother's Day the chapter held a Mother's Day Tea. Brother Jonic was in charge.
Brothers Tobler and Duffy and pledge Loughney worked hard to get our pushmobile in shape for the interfraternity sweepstakes and we had fond dreams of a victory but for the third successive year the buggy wouldn't roll well down the hill and we finished a poor fourth. Duffy did the driving and Lehne, Atwell, Closs and Ewalt pushed.
At the Costume Ball during the carnival some of the Pi K A's wore the golden shirts with garnet sashes which have distinguished our group for several years. Unless the supply of shirts is replenished there will be none left in a few years.
On June 8th at the Commencement Exercises in the Syria Mosque twelve Pi K As were presented with diplomas. Two of the graduates were printers and the remainder engineers. All are now employed. The senior graduates were:
Brother Ewalt was married in July.
Not every good man on the Carnegie campus accepted a pledge pin during the regular rushing season. For this reason we kept right on rushing though to a much milder degree. Regular captain McKee voluntarily assumed command of these informal rushing activities.
As the year approached its close the Brothers began thinking about next years rushing captain. It was decided to name two spring rushing captains thus giving them experience and perhaps solving next years problem of leadership.
Brother William Closs and pledge William McQuire were appointed. These men seemed devoid of ideas of or interest and were worthless as rushing captains. It was unquestionably a mistake to give a responsible position to a pledge. Because these two men failed the fraternity there was no official spring rushing campaign. The success we had ni getting two new pledges in the closing month of school is due to the voluntary efforts of Brother McKee who wouldn't give up the ship. As always he was the leading spirit of rushing.
NO ALUMNI SECRETARY - NO RECORDS
Beta Sigma had no alumni secretary this year. The reason for this is known only to the SMC and to the few whom he asked to take over the position and who refused. Our only graduate contact was through Brother Carley who assumed responsibility for the Founder's Day celebration.
The chapter records of alumni are in dire need of remodernization.
Another type of chapter record failed to appear. The yearly "Scotch News". This was a little chapter newspaper printed or mimeographed or printed and sent to alumni and Brothers at the close of the school year. It was a resume of chapter interest and activity. Although talked about several times no paper was ever published. Material was plentiful but inertia was lacking.
PLANS FOR A NEW CHAPTER HOUSE
Immediately after the fire the alumni committee of Carley, John, James and D. P. Packer set about paving the way for a new chapter house. First they had to fight to get a decent payment form the insurance company. This accomplished, the construction plans must be drawn up before any attempt at securing a loan could be made. Brothers John and Powell worked on the plans and specifications. Many attempts were made to secure enough to start rebuilding on. When last approached upon the subject Brother Carley stated that a party who seemed receptive to the idea had been approached and only a few legal steps had to be removed before the carpenters tackled 1445.
There were five outstanding men on the senior roster of Beta Sigma who deserve special mention.
Brother Jack McKee lead the chapter through rushing season, was colonel of the R.O.T.C. and captain of Scabbard & Blade. He was manager of the rifle team and lead his class in scholarship. He was chosen the most outstanding engineering student in the college.
Brother Clifton Boutelle was the editor-in-chief of the Tartan and under his management the paper was judged nationally and chosen the best college weekly in the country.
Brother Joseph Macalka captained the Tech Basketball team to its first Eastern Intercollegiate Basketball championship.
Two men were outstanding in fraternity work. Brother Henry Lehne who as SMC provided the finest type of leadership for three terms.
Brother Walter Adamson did outstanding work in reorganizing the chapter book-keeping and finances.
The chapter possesses equity in a lot at 1445 Wightman Street to the extent of approximately $5,000. This property is taxable by the City of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County to the extent of approximately $600.00 yearly.
The chapter possesses a house, now burned, but once having a book value of $17,000 and an actual value of about $12,000. Liabilities on said house total $5,000 in the form of second and later liens owned by Mrs. Voskamp from whom the house was purchased, bondholders of the Beta Sigma Building Corporation, and the National Fraternity.
The chapter ended the year with the following financial record.
Here closes the history of Beta Sigma Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity for the year 1935 - 1936.
Clifton P. Boutelle, Historian
August 21, 1936
Disaster Strikes Beta Sigma
On the day after Christmas in 1935 our chapter house at 1445 Wightman Street was destroyed by fire. This was just after the completion of a successful rushing season. Luckily Sigma Nu, having apparently gone inactive, had just vacated a house that stood at 4921 Forbes Street. Lease arrangements were made to allow the Beta Sigma Chapter to quickly occupy the vacated house. It is a story of a chapter that would not be licked, even against great odds.
During the period when the chapter was living in this make-shift house with no other home in sight, it did not lose ground, it built itself into a stronger organization. Not one of the pledges dropped out after the fire. Each brother and pledge worked just a little harder than he ordinarily would have worked. As a result the chapter enjoyed the most successful year it had experienced in its recent history.
The plans were to rebuild the house at 1445 Wightman Street. When the brothers left for their homes at the end of this school year, they had expected to return in the fall to a new house built upon the site of the old one. But these plans did not work out and the chapter would be returning in the coming fall to the same temporary accommodations.
Former Sigma Nu House
4921 Forbes Street
Roll No. 181
Mr. George A. Jonic
Initiated: November 17, 1935
Honoraries: Scabbard & Blade Captain
Kiltie Band; Officer R.O.T.C.; Rifle
Roll No. 182
Mr. Mark M. Miller
Initiated: November 17, 1935
Positions/Offices: MC, SMC
Honoraries: Dragon, Delta Skull, Scimitar, Pi Delta Epsilon
President - Engineering Senate, Advertising Manager Elect - Puppet, Business Manager - Puppet, Track, Cross Country, Student Council, Interfraternity Council
Roll No. 183 Mr. William H. Skewis
Initiated: November 17, 1935
Roll No. 184Mr. Edson G. Armour
Initiated: April 19, 1936
"Tartan" Reporter; "Puppet" Business Staff; Christian Association; R.O.T.C.
Roll No. 185Mr. Daniel R. Beech
Initiated: April 19, 1936
Honoraries: Honor Roll
Swimming, Christian Association
Roll No. 186
Mr. Richard G. Byrne
Initiated: April 19, 1936
Honoraries: Pi Delta Epsilon
"Tartan" Junior Editor 1935-36; Senior Editor 1936-37; Christian Association; Tennis
Roll No. 187Mr. Gilbert R. Cook
Initiated: April 19, 1936
Honoraries: Pi Tau Pi Sigma
Business Staff - Puppet, R.O.T.C., Swimming
Roll No. 188
Mr. Ralph N. Ives
Initiated: April 19, 1936
"Puppet" Business Staff; Swimming
Roll No. 189Mr. Thomas J. Patterson
Initiated: April 19, 1936
Honoraries: Scimitar, Delta Skull, Dragon
Tartan Reporter, Tartan Editor, Amateur Transmitters Club
Roll No. 190
Mr. Earle E. Unger
Initiated: April 19, 1936
Honoraries: Phi Kappa Phi, Theta Tau, Pi Tau Sigma, Honor Roll
Roll No. 191
Mr. Harry B. West
Initiated: April 19, 1936
University Debate Manager; R.O.T.C.