1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s | 2010s

50-51 | 51-52 | 52-53 | 53-54 | 54-55 | 55-56 | 56-57 | 57-58 | 58-59 | 59-60

1956 - 1957

The Beta Sigma Chapter of

Pi Kappa Alpha

Carnegie Mellon University

5010 Morewood Place

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Chapter History Report

Filed by Don Woodward on May 25, 1957

The 1956-57 year was one filled with many unusual events and achievements for Beta Sigma Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. Here is the story of that year.


Those guiding the chapter at the beginning of the year were: SMC Dave Baldwin, IMCBob Russell, ThC Paul Hauser, SC Jack Walker, House Manager Dave Kratovil, StewardDick Herbst, Alumni Secretary Lou Marquet, and Historian Ed Rogers.

On November 19, the newly elected were: SMC Bob Russell, IMC Howard Hupe, ThCPaul Hauser, SC Fred Heider, House Manager Don Woodward, Steward Dick Herbst, Alumni Secretary Denny Henneman, and Historian John Begovich.

The elections of April 17 provided the present officers who are: SMC Howard Hupe, IMCPaul Hauser, ThC Bob Harrington, SC Fred Smith, House Manager Fred Heider, StewardDick Herbst, Alumni Secretary Lou Pondy, and Historian Don Woodward.

Major Calendar Events

Rush Week - The campus was invaded by incoming freshman during the week of September 12-19 following the usual Work Week during which time the Brotherhood painted and scrubbed the house so as to present it in its normal neat condition for the new year. Following a week of stag and date parties, entranced frosh, and hectic bid meetings, 12 men became pledges, followed by 5 more the next week. The pledge class immediately began its training under the capable leadership of Lou Marquet with the able assistance of pledge class president, Don Beaman.

Homecoming -Tech's homecoming celebration on October 12 and 13 finally arrived after a week of late work sessions and shattered nerves. A large wrecking crane featuring a 20 foot swinging boom and tumbled walls drew the attention of many to the PiKA front lawn.

Special Initiation -Initiated into the bonds on September 30 were last semester's pledges, John Hallgren and Fred Heider; Fred being last years top freshman on campus.

Pledge Training and Help Week - This year found the pledges working under merit system established last year in an attempt to improve the general interest of the pledges in campus activities and to strengthen brother-pledge relationship. The major impedance to the full success of this program was in the brothers lack of interest. The pledges, however, left little to be desired and finished up their training period by completely repainting the front hall, further enhanced by a full wall mural of fraternity life done by our most gifted Don Beaman. Between semesters, on January 30, the pledges began their three day Help Week which consisted of day and night work sessions repairing, painting, cleaning, and polishing the house from bottom to top. This period was followed by the annual pledge trips to our neighboring chapters within a two-state radius. Upon their return from these trips, the pledges enjoyed a couple of days rest before the start of the new semester of school.

Initiation - On the 23rd of February, 8 men were received into the brotherhood. Of the original 17 pledges, four men depledged early in their training period, two men were awarded a second semester of pledging due to failure to meet brotherhood's approval of their pledge work, and three men were held for initiation pending their attainment of the approved scholastic factor.

New Pledges -Within a month after the start of the new semester three men were pledged, forming a new class of five men. They were immediately started on their training under the guiding hand of pledge-master Don Davis.

Greek Sing and Swing -Although the sing team put forth its best efforts in rendering "Many a New Day" and "Halls of Ivy" on the night of March 1 in the annual fraternity and sorority competition at Carnegie Music Hall, they lacked the depth necessary to carry away the honors. The weekend was far from a loss though, as Beta Sig became the proud possessor of the campus scholarship trophy awarded the next night at the Greek Swing held in the Syria Mosque.

Founders' Day -Again held at the Gateway Plaza in the Golden Triangle on March 9, Founders' Day proved once more a great success. The chapter showed up in force for the second year, a fact that commends the policy of budgeting the funds for this event in the chapter's treasury, thus relieving the brothers of the individual costs.

Dream Girl Formal - It seems that the chapter found a home in the Mountain View Hotel, located just outside of Greensburg, for this lovely place was once again the scene of the Dream Girl Formal on April 13. Elected by an overwhelming majority was the Dream Girl of 1957, Becky Hughes, a senior Kappa Kappa Gamma.

Spring Carnival - Beta Sig attained its fastest speed yet in the buggy races this year at Spring Carnival on May 9-10-11, but still had to be satisfied with second place for the second year. This is believed to be the 20 consecutive year in which PiKA has placed in the top three! The carnival booth, based on the theme "Around the World in Eighty Days" and featuring an eight foot golden "Oscar" took second place in booth design along with the praises of many who thought it was a sure first. After holding trophies for two years in plank jousting, a sport consisting of two men, two pillows, a four inch plank and a mud hole beneath the whole works, the boys finally got deplanked as both of the teams entered the semi-finals but got no further. Perhaps the most important thing over this weekend was the return of 38 alumni, a number that indicates a revival in alumni interest.


In intramural sports this year, there seemed to be a greater show of interest than has been evident of late. Bridge again was the sport in which the chapter excelled, having three out of four entered teams in a six team playoff and having the first team lose only to a team of grad students in the final round. A new interest was stirred up this semester when the soccer team won their league title but were beaten in the final campus play-offs. The same fate was shared by the call pool team last semester. In co-recreational volleyball, our men teamed up with a group of independent girls to take second place in the tournament. Other sports participated in during the year included touch football, track, ping-pong, chess, basketball, and regular volleyball. Play-off births were barely missed in several of these.

Social Activity

The social schedule followed last years schedule fairly close as more and more events began to take on an annual look. Rush week, with its many parties, was again followed by a hayride. Shortly after, a square dance was attempted and, much to everyone's surprise, was a huge success. The "costume party of the year", the Monster Rally, whose basic idea was stolen from the book of the same name by Charles Adamm, turned out to be one of the most talked about parties on campus. A splash party was again held and a wet time was had by all. One of the most impressive parties of the year is the annual Christmas Party, held just before the holidays. Because they are always great, it would be hard to say that this years was better than any held to date, but it certainly was as enjoyable as any the chapter's ever had. Another party which has become an institution is the spaghetti and wine party which turned out to be much more Bohemian than Italian, a fact not hard to understand when its known that Burgundy wine was served with the food. The pledge party of Roaring Twenty vintage was received quite well as was the party featuring a hypnotist. To end the year in a new way and to honor the history of the chapter house which dates back before the turn of the century and is now due to be terminated, a formal Garden Party was held and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Interspersed were many regular Saturday night date parties and sorority "teas" in addition to the major events. All of this activity added up to a very satisfactory social life in the chapter.

School Activities

With 23 honorary society members in the chapter this year, Beta Sig is enjoying more than its share of the spotlight. The top man in this group is still Bob Russell who belongs to six honoraries and has just finished a year as Executive Editor of the school newspaper. He now resides as the President of the Student Council. A name first heard about last year when he was named the top freshman in the school and the top R.O.T.C. Cadet in the freshman class, Fred Heider has done it again, Top sophomore in the school and top sophomore R.O.T.C. Cadet. In addition, Fred has been initiated into the junior men's honorary and is vice-president of this group. Lou Marquet, a junior with membership in four honoraries has just been elected vice-president of Student Congress. In the sophomores men's honorary, two brothers are being initiated, while three are retiring. In the junior men's honorary, three men are initiated, one is vice-president and one is treasurer. Into the senior men's honorary is going just one brother with one retiring.

The chapter still excels in the school publications field. There are four brothers serving on the school newspaper, one as Editor, and one as Sports Editor. The school engineering and science quarterly, the Technical, is served by seven men, one the Managing Editor, one an Associate Editor, the Business Manager, The Advertising Manager, and even the Chief Draftsman.

Two men play in the Kiltie Band, two men play varsity football, one varsity track, one golf, and two are on the swimming team.

The most promising freshman this year is Don Beaman, a design major in the Drama Department who was second in his department this past semester and is a member of the sophomore men's honorary. This brother has unlimited artistic talent which is becoming quite evident around the house.

Chapter Growth

In September there were 40 brothers and 19 pledges at Beta Sigma. After two initiations and one returnee, the total house population is 50 brothers and 7 pledges.


One of the most encouraging advances in alumni relations has been made this year and a new alumni chapter has been formed with Don Leatherbury, EE52 as president. Other officers are vice-president Tom Landau, '38, Secretary Don Krey, '35, Treasurer Bill Anderson, '49, Assistant Treasurer John Watts, '48.

New Housing

This has been a year of new things, but none so new as the idea of changing the chapter lodging. The school, however, in its move to modernize the campus has expressed their desires that this chapter move into one of the new duplex-type houses which will be built on the land now occupied by the present house. The chapter has voted for the move and so will be in temporary housing next year during the construction of the new house. As the history of the present house is well worth remembering, the chapter is taking into the new house many objects of art being now removed. The entire chapter is behind the move and the alumni appear to be ready to give full support.


After three semesters of being the second highest fraternity on campus in scholarship, the Beta Sigs have finally won first place. Since this semester's grades are not in yet, the outcome of the standings cannot be determined, but there is a better than even chance that the chapter will again have the trophy since the margin of winning in the first semester was one of the largest ever on this campus.


Results: 2nd Place

Course Record: ATO 2:25.0 (tied their own record set last year)


Roll No. 541

Mr. John M. Hallgren

Initiated: September 30, 1956

Roll No. 542

Mr. O. Frederick Heider (Fred)

Initiated: September 30, 1956

Positions/Offices: SC, House Manager, ThC

Honoraries: Tau Beta Pi, Omicron Delta Kappa

Roll No. 543

Mr. Joseph A. Bach

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Roll No. 544

Mr. Donald G. Beaman (Don)

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Positions/Offices: Pledge Class President, Social Chairman, IMC, SMC

Honoraries: Delta Skull, Omicron Delta Kappa

Roll No. 545

Dr. Briant Hamor Lee

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Roll No. 546

Dr. David K. McMaster

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Positions/Offices: SC

Roll No. 547

Dr. Gerald H. Ryder (Gerry)

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Positions/Offices: SMC

Roll No. 548

Dr. Fred W. Smith

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Positions/Offices: SC

Roll No. 549

Mr. Richard S. Werner Jr.

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Roll No. 550 Mr. Paul James Willard (Jim)

Initiated: February 23, 1957

Positions/Offices: SC, Greek Sing Chairman

Roll No. 551

Mr. Alvin J. Albright (Al)

Initiated: April 28, 1957

Big Brother: Bill Yeakel

Little Brother: Bob Burns

Roll No. 552 Mr. Frank James Frazier III (Jimmy)

Initiated: May 30, 1957

Positions/Offices: Co-Social Chairman

Big Brother: Bryan Werner

Little Brother: Walt Page

Roll No. 553

Mr. Edward D. Russell

Initiated: May 30, 1957