Born on this day Ð Thomas Wolfe, Pi Kappa Phi

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill wasn’t Thomas Wolfe’s first college choice. He had hoped to go to Princeton. His father had a different idea, so in the fall of 1916, Wolfe entered UNC at the age of 15. In addition to writing, and later editing, the student newspaper, he was a member of the Dialectic Society, wrote for and acted in the Carolina Playmakers productions, and was elected to the Golden Fleece honor society. He also became a member of the Kappa Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, which was chartered in 1914.

The March 1919 Star & Lamp of Pi Kappa Phi contained this report from chapter historian Thomas Wolfe.

With the demobilization of the S.A.T.C. and the reestablishment of college activity on a pre-war basis, Kappa returned seven members at the opening of the new quarter after the holidays.

These men were: Bros. Charles Hazlehurst, a senior this year and an instructor in freshman mathematics; Jeff Bynum, Plattsburgh lieutenant, retired, geology instructor and active in college affairs; Gilliam Wilson, an M.D. aspirant, now in his senior year at the medical school; “Shorty” Spruill, a rising young aviator at a Texas field, now engaged in the mad pursuit of the elusive Phi Beta Kappa key; Nat Mobley, another aspirant of the key, assistant in the Physics Department and active in a great many things around the campus; Tom Wolfe, active in literary work, and Fred Moore, who assists in the management of the college paper.

Kappa started active operation immediately, and moved into its new location, a house conveniently situated on the campus in the fraternity row, between the Sigma Alpha Epsilon and the Sigma Nu houses. The house as occupied Wednesday, January 8. That night three new men were initiated, Bros W.P. Andrews of Charlotte, N.C., a senior; Ralph H. Wilson of Wilsons Mills, N.C., a junior; and Howard E. Fulton of Winston-Salem, N.C., a sophomore. After the initiations and ‘feed’ the members retired to their respective quarters. At two o’clock in the morning a fire broke out in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon house next door and before it could be checked had destroyed the large Sigma Alpha Epsilon house, our house, and the Sigma Nu house. The quick action of the student body saved practically all our furnishings as well as those of the other houses, a prevented a wider spread of the flames.

Kappa was not daunted by this. The next day we moved back into the house we occupied last year, where we have been comfortably located since.

Since moving back we have initiated Bro. Donnell Van Noppen of Greensboro, North Carolina, a sophomore, making a total of four men initiated since the opening. All these me are leaders in campus life and student organizations.

Most important work has been done this quarter. Feeling keenly our increased prestige on the Hill and need of better accommodations here, we have pledged $1,100 in the active chapter, an average of $100 a man, which will form the nucleus of a building fund.

On Saturday night, April 5, Kappa is going to be the host to all Kappa alumni at a banquet and get-together meeting to be held in the Yarborough Hotel, Raleigh, North Carolina. At this banquet definite plans will be formed for the building of a new chapter-house which e hope to begin next fall. In our next letter we will inform you more definitely of our campaign’s progress.

We are awaiting with almost breathless expectation the arrival of THE STAR AND LAMP, and consequent news of the fraternity’s progress. We extend to all of the chapters and alumni fraternal greetings.

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