Jack Cook Leaves $136,334 to Alpha Chapter

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From humble beginnings in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Jack P. Cook, Alpha 1948, served his country in World War II, built a family-business empire in the snack food and packaging industries, and throughout his life he supported the institutions that contributed to his personal and professional development.

Cook entered Chapter Eternal on May 17, 2009, after battling declining health for several years.

Upon his passing, he left a sizeable bequest to the Alpha Chapter Excellence Fund at the Chi Phi Educational Trust.  The gift of $136,334.88 will provide ongoing scholarships and educational training to Chi Phi members at the University of Virginia.

Cook spent many years supporting causes and institutions that influenced his life.

Although he started high school at Catonsville High in Catonsville, Maryland in 1938, he left (or was asked to leave) a year later.  He enrolled at the Massanutten Military Academy where he flourished and eventually became captain of the Riding Team.  There, he met his future wife, Betsy Hess, and life-long friend and fraternity brother Bill Kitchin, Alpha 1949.

Years later, Cook and Kitchin would lead an effort at Massanutten to create the “Cook & Kitchin Dining Hall” at the Massanutten Military Academy.  He served on the Board of Trustees for the Academy for many years.

After graduating from the Military Academy, he matriculated at the University of Virginia at the tender age of 17 in 1943.  When he turned 18, he enrolled in the U.S. Army.  Soon, he was off to the Pacific in support of a planned invasion of Japan.  By the most reliable account, Cook made it as far as Midway turning around when Japan surrendered in August of 1945.

He then returned to Charlottesville to finish his studies at UVA.  After graduating, he enrolled at the University of Baltimore School of Law.  There, he reunited with his old high school friend, Betsy Barker Hess.  They married in 1950 and raised two children, Nancy and Jay (Jack P. Cook, Jr.).  Nancy and Jay gave their parents five grandchildren and by last count, two great grand-children.

When he finished law school, Cook settled in York, Pennsylvania, where he joined his father in the family business called Bon Ton Foods.  In 1958, Cook took the reins from his father and built a successful business empire in the York area.  He founded C-P Flexible Packaging, and he co-founded Shultz Foods.  Cook retired in 1986 when he sold Bon Ton Foods to an investment arm of Merrill Lynch.  C-P Flexible Packaging continues to be a successful packaging company today.

“We could always count on Jack to come through for UVA and Chi Phi,” said Alpha Alumni Association President Owen Parry, Alpha 1965.  “Whether it was a chapter house renovation or a scholarship campaign, Jack was always there for us.  His bequest will leave a lasting legacy, and it will provide support for Chi Phi men at UVA for generations to come.  I think it’s a fitting tribute and an extraordinary gift from a man who felt so strongly about Chi Phi.”

  • Students, Chapters & Chi Phi Benefit Thanks to a $100,000 Estate Gift from Richard Lane

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    In the Winter 2006 edition of the Chakett, newly elected Grand Alpha Richard Lane, Kappa Zeta 1993, wrote, “Chi Phi stands on the cusp of great achievement . . . I am ready to help our fraternity capitalize on unprecedented opportunities.”

    Opportunities are precisely what Lane is going to provide to generations of Chi Phi members long after he is gone.

    Thanks to a provision in their family trust, Richard and Molly Lane will contribute a portion of their final estate to four groups within Chi Phi:

    • One-half will provide unrestricted support to the Chi Phi Educational Trust.
    • The remaining one-half will be divided equally to support the scholarship and educational initiatives of three Chi Phi Chapters:  Lane’s home chapter, Kappa Zeta at Purdue University, Xi Delta at the Florida Institute of Technology in his hometown of Melbourne, Florida and Mu Zeta at the University of Denver.

    The former Grand Alpha was prompted to include Chi Phi in his family estate plan after Lane and his wife, Molly, were blessed with the birth of their son, Henry, in February 2009.  Between midnight feedings, changing diapers and raising their first child, Gretchen, they decided it was time to review their estate plan.

    “I’m a big believer that everyone should take the time to examine how their assets will transition to their heirs,” said Lane.  “I also believe you should give as much of your money to family and important causes after you die before you give any of it to the government.”

    While making updates to provide for their new son, the Lanes decided it was also time to provide for an institution that has profoundly impacted Richard’s life as a Chi Phi.

    “Chi Phi was the place where I formed friendships that have transcended the years,” said Lane.  “The men who stood by my side on my wedding day were Chi Phi’s.  The values of Chi Phi have and will continue to guide me through the rest of my life, and I want those values to guide others long after I’m gone.”

    Capitalizing on unprecedented opportunities was what Lane hoped to accomplish when he began his term as Grand Alpha.  Because of his generosity, he is going to create unprecedented opportunities for three particular chapters and the entire fraternity and leave a legacy that will outlast his own mortality.

  • Ron Frank Pledges $50,000 to Expand Chi Phi’s Leadership Offerings

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    Former Grand Alpha Ron Frank, Nu Delta 1983, Iota Zeta 1989, Delta Zeta 2000, is one of Chi Phi’s shining stars.  He’s held almost every position an alumnus can hold at the national, regional and local level.

    “I have a unique perspective,” explained Frank.  “I’ve worked on the front lines with several different Chapters, and I’ve seen the value and benefit of having strong leaders running those Chapters.  Students don’t get this intense leadership training anywhere else on campus like they do while in a fraternity.”

    “I also have a national view,” he continued.  “Strong leaders will not only make strong Chapters, but strong Chapters make for a strong Fraternity.  Leadership education and training is critical for both our undergraduate and alumni members, and I’m happy to support the bold initiative Chi Phi is now developing.”

    Since his initiation by the Nu Delta Chapter at the Florida State University in 1981, Frank held several offices as an undergraduate, has worked to colonize and charter a chapter at George Mason University, and served as the Alumni Association President for Nu Delta.  He also served the entire State of Florida as President of the Florida Alumni Club for several years.

    A pillar in the Chi Phi community, many alumni regard Frank as the man who saved Chi Phi when it experienced some of its most difficult times in the early 2000s.  During that tumultuous period, Frank served an unprecedented five years as Grand Alpha from 2000 to 2005.

    Throughout his involvement and many roles, Frank has remained committed to developing and enhancing the leadership programs available to Chi Phi undergraduates.  The former Dean of the Chi Phi College of Excellence has spent his volunteer career focusing on character-building activities within the Fraternity.

    At the 2009 Chi Phi Congress in Denver, Colorado, Frank officially returned to a national leadership position when Grand Alpha Soderquist named him Grand Beta of the Fraternity.

    In recognition of Frank’s long-term commitment to Chi Phi and his desire to see the Fraternity succeed and prosper in the twenty-first century, Frank has agreed to make a $50,000 cash gift to the Chi Phi Educational Trust. One-half of this gift ($25,000) will fund the Ronald P. Frank, Nu Delta 1983 Quality Enhancement Fund, a non-endowed fund to be used by the Chi Phi Educational Trust where the Trustees believe the need is greatest.  The other half will provide start-up and operational support to develop a comprehensive values-based leadership education continuum and multi-year membership development program for the Fraternity.