Opportunity & Obligation Inspire $200,000 Bequest

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Writing in the April 1988 Chakett, Richard S. “Dick” Gilbert, Rho 1962 reminded Chi Phi that “opportunity and obligation mark a pledge’s entry into the brotherhood of Chi Phi.”  Opportunity and obligation have characterized Gilbert’s relationship with Chi Phi since he first initiated at Rho Chapter on February 7, 1959, and this relationship inspired him to leave a lasting legacy through a $200,000 bequest to the Chi Phi Educational Trust.

This former chapter Delta has a love of engineering and appreciation for students who choose to work in this field.  This passion motivated him to create the Richard S. Gilbert, Rho 1962 Mechanical Engineering Scholarship Fund to provide academic scholarships for junior or senior Chi Phi Brothers whose major degree program is mechanical engineering.  Three-quarters of his bequest will provide opportunities in perpetuity for mechanical engineering students to pursue their undergraduate degree.

The remaining $50,000 from his bequest will further another of Gilbert’s passions – Chi Phi, Greek Life and their history by supporting the under-development Chi Phi Greek History Museum to be located within the William M. Byrd Chi Phi National Headquarters Building.

This aspect of the gift is fitting because Gilbert has made his mark on Chi Phi history ever since he was thrust into the national affairs of the Fraternity when Carl J. Gladfelter, Alpha-Tau 1933, Zeta Delta 1956, Iota Delta 1958, Psi Delta 1978, Eta Delta 1975 appointed him to the Look Forward Committee in 1968.  This committee was charged to conduct a complete study of Chi Phi’s present status and future role.  Gilbert was eventually elected Chairman of this august group.

Over the next thirty years he served as Grand Alpha, Grand Gamma, Grand Epsilon, Grand Zeta, a Trustee of the Chi Phi Educational Trust and as Executive Director of the Trust.

In addition to his national work, Gilbert has been an active supporter of the Rho Alumni Association and Rho Chapter at Lafayette College.  He helped organize Rho’s Centennial Celebration on October 18, 1974, and served for nine years as president of the Rho Alumni Association.  He is a retiree of AT&T and the U.S. Army where he achieved the grade of Colonel.

When he submitted the final report of the Look Forward Committee in 1969, Gilbert wrote, “Our Fraternity recognizes the on-going need for self improvement. Attempts to gain improvement are frustrating at times, but in the long run and after careful consideration, our efforts for improvement can be realized.”

Thanks to his leadership gift, the lives and efforts of Chi Phi students will be forever changed and improved. Chi Phi is and will continue to be a much stronger institution thanks to Dick Gilbert.




  • IRA Giving Extended Through 2011

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    When it comes to charitable giving, individuals can continue to make direct contributions from their IRA to qualified charities (like the Chi Phi Educational Trust) of up to $100,000 and exclude the IRA distributions from their income.  This special program is only in effect until the end of 2011.  Contact the Chi Phi Campaign Office or your IRA administrator to learn more.




  • Gamma Chapter: Recruiting, Recolnizing and Raising Money

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    Gone from Emory University since 2009, preparations are underway for Chi Phi to recharter Gamma Chapter in 2012.

    Alumni have spent countless hours planning and preparing to ensure a successful return to campus and to the Gamma Chapter house, Connolly Hall.  They’ve spent much time working with University administrators and staff from the National Office to forge a successful partnership that will result in a healthy new Chapter.

    In addition to the recolonization planning, Gamma has launched an exciting campaign to build the Gamma Chapter Excellence Fund (CEF) at the Chi Phi Educational Trust.  Working with Director of Development Elizabeth Knott, Kappa Delta Sorority, the Emory Chi Phis plan to raise at least $50,000 to recruit the best men on campus and to provide the leadership and educational development necessary to guide the Chapter in perpetuity.

    The $50,000 fundraising effort, combined with nearly $100,000 that is already in their existing CEF will provide nearly $7,500 in scholarships and educational grants each year.

    Recruitment is a key part of why the alumni felt this campaign was important.  Awarding scholarships will help Gamma recruit quality young men, recognize chapter officers, encourage chapter and campus involvement and much more.

    Alumnus Preston Herren, Gamma 1964, explained, “Scholarships are a selling point to potential members.  The kind of men that we want to join will be excited about a scholarship.  It is important for Gamma to fund the maximum number of scholarships that we can.”

    Gamma alumni imagine offering the entire 2012 new member class a scholarship, or being able to send all new chapter officers to the Chi Phi College of Excellence.  There are dreams of offering each brother with a 3.5 or higher grade point average a $1,000 scholarship to reward his hard work.

    The second driving force behind the campaign is to provide leadership development opportunities for their members.  Gamma alumni know how important strong leadership is to the long term success of the Chapter.  By funding the CEF, alumni provide a resource for members to attend vital leadership development programs such as the Chi Phi Regional Leadership Alliance, College of Excellence, the Undergraduate Interfraternity Institute and more.

    “Strong leaders will help guide the Chapter and ensure a successful return,” said Herren.  “They’ll also stop problems from happening in the future.”

    Arming themselves with these recruiting and training tools will help return Gamma to its rightful place at Emory.  Installed a mere 33 years after Emory was founded, Chi Phi has a long and distinguished history at the University.  Enhancing the resources available to the Chapter will help continue that positive tradition.  Scholarships and awards will give Gamma a recruiting edge and lay a foundation for future growth and sustainability.

    Bucky Dykes, Gamma 1972, summarized the feelings of many donors to the Gamma CEF when he stated, “I decided to support the campaign for Gamma Chapter because of the long legacy of Chi Phi at Emory.  There are buildings on campus bearing the names of Chi Phi men.  Emory has had many Trustees and Presidents that were Chi Phi men.  I couldn’t let that legacy end.”

    Recruiting a quality class of new members and raising the funds to bolster the Gamma CEF are the keys to the successful return and ongoing viability of Chi Phi at Emory.




  • A Force Behind Eta Chapter: Jim Wimberly

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    The best fraternities have long-time, dedicated alumni advisors who are not afraid to go to bat for the Chapter against the university, and who are not afraid to show up at a recruitment event and help rush prospective new members.

    For Chi Phi at the University of Georgia, that man is James W. “Jim” Wimberly Jr., Eta 1965.

    “I first got started working for Chi Phi my sophomore year wen I was asked to be Rush Chairman,” explained Wimberly, “and I’ve been rushing boys into this Fraternity ever since.  Peter Amann, Eta 1968, got me started again in the late 1970’s in an alumni role.

    When he’s not advising national trade associations or representing employers in a labor management dispute, Wimberly, an attorney, is often at a Chi Phi recruitment event or spending time with the actives at the chapter house in Athens, Georgia.  He can quickly cite the statistics and the status of blue-chip recruits for both the University of Georgia Bulldog football program and Eta.  On more than one occasion, he’s been known to push back against the University administration when he felt they might be violating a contract or mistreating Eta.

    “Jim is a force.  I don’t know how he does it all,” commented John McElderry, Eta 1994. “There’s no question that Jim Wimbery is a legend among our Chapter and one of the reasons we have remained successful over so many years.”

    Wimberly’s passion for Chi Phi is contagious.  It is fueling Eta Chapter’s efforts to build a new chapter house.  To support this project, he’s made a $500,000 pledge and already contributed nearly $250,000 to start it.

    Explaining why he’s remained so active over the years, Wimberly commented, “My parents taught me to enjoy my college experience, and Chi Phi gave me the opportunity to learn certain leadership qualities that have benefited my career enormously.  Working with the boys in the Chapter has always been a great pleasure to me, and I particularly get excited when we pledge legacies from someone I knew in the Chapter.  In short, my role at Chi Phi has benefited me personally and professionally.

    A senior principal in the law firm network of Wimberly & Lawson with offices in Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, Wimberly received his B.B.A. cum laude in 1965 and his J.D. in 1968 from The University of Georgia.  In 1969, he earned his LL.M. from Harvard University.

    “From the first moment I met Jim, it was obvious that he possessed strong leadership qualities,” commented Brown Wilder, Eta 1964. “He was serious about his Chi Phi membership responsibilities. He was a leader of his pledge class and supported his Chi Phi colleagues throughout his undergrad career.”




  • Former Executive Director Announces $500,000 Gift

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    In a Christmas Eve e-mail message to Grand Alpha Jim Soderquist, Alpha 1967, former Executive Director and long-time volunteer Randolph M. “Randy” Loos, Theta Delta 1977 decided to share some news he had kept to himself for some time.

    Inspired by the recent progress of the Fraternity and attempts by Soderquist to steer Chi Phi in the right direction, Loos quietly told Soderquist about a provision in his estate plan to provide $500,000 to the Chi Phi Educational Trust after his death and the death of his wife.

    It was a Christmas surprise no one expected.

    “I couldn’t believe it,” said Soderquist.  “I’ve known Randy for years.  He’s always been a great Brother and dedicated Chi Phi.  He’s worked with the Fraternity and Trust in a variety of capacities, but he never hinted about the possibility that he might do something so extraordinary for Chi Phi.”

    A financial advisor and volunteer for many nonprofits, the $500,000 planned gift will support two important programs in equal parts.  Half of his gift will provide unrestricted support to the Theta Delta Chapter Excellence Fund to support the scholarship and educational programs of the Theta Delta Chapter at the University of Florida.  The other half will provide unrestricted support to the Educational Trust.

    “I’m not interested in putting conditions or restrictions on my gift,” explained Loos, “especially from beyond the grave.”

    Although he established the provision in his estate plan many years ago, Loos decided the time was right to make his support known.  He originally only wanted the leadership of the Fraternity and Trust to know about his gift.  Modest in many ways, he did not plan on a public announcement.  However Soderquist and Director of Development Fred Maglione convinced him that Chi Phi needed to announce such a generous gift publicly.

    “The fraternity wants to say thank you,” said Soderquist.  “We also hope to demonstrate to other Alumni that Chi Phi is indeed worthy of such a significant investment.”

    In the history of Chi Phi, only three other individuals have made gifts in excess of $500,000.  Loos joins a small inner circle of true believers who want to see Chi Phi advance.

    “I really believe in the work Jim Soderquist is doing,” explained Loos.  “He’s not settling for mediocrity, and he’s trying to push our Fraternity into the 21st century and an era of unprecedented success. It’s not an easy task.  I wanted Jim to know about my gift, and if it might inspire others to do something similar, all the better.”

    The avid Florida Gator football fan has been involved with Chi Phi since he arrived on the University of Florida campus and walked through the Chi Phi House in 1971.  As an undergraduate, Loos served as Alpha, Beta and Delta for the Chapter which was Chi Phi’s largest at the time.  In 1977, he received the Carl J. Gladfelter Leadership Award as Chi Phi’s National Active of the Year.

    At the University of Florida, Loos was named the Outstanding 1977 graduate after serving as president of Omicron Delta Kappa leadership honorary and vice president of Florida Blue Key, a prestigious leadership group on campus.

    After graduation with a degree in finance, he went to work at rival Florida State University as a research consultant in the Comptroller’s Office.  While living in Tallahassee, he served as the Grand Council’s representative from the National Fraternity working with the Nu Delta Chapter.

    A year later, the Grand Council named him Chi Phi’s new Executive at a meeting held December 3, 1978, in Atlanta.  Loos succeeded National Director Raymond J. Donohue, Omega 1961.  Loos held the position for a year and a half until he decided to leave the post to begin a career as a financial advisor.




  • 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.