Gamma Gamma Chapter recently celebrated 50 years of continuous brotherhood

John Butler, one of the founding members, visited the Omicron chapter of Pi Kappa Phi at the University of Alabama, and decided to bring the fraternity and the Greek system to Troy. This would be a revolutionary change on Troy’s campus and would help create a system that emphasized the growth of young boys into young men and provide a social life that was largely missing at Troy in 1964.

Butler ran for the Student Government Association president his sophomore year – the 1963/1964 academic year- and won in a close election. His platforms were to bring more entertainment and social life to the campus and to bring the Greek fraternity system to Troy.

While Butler was unsuccessful in his attempts to bring the Greek system to Troy during his presidency, he continued to fight for the idea to bring fraternities and sororities to the college.

In the fall of 1963, the original founder of Gamma Gamma chapter at Troy State College, Charles Kendrick (Lambda, University of Georgia) met with Butler in the legendary Pine Lounge of the Troy Hotel to talk about forming a chapter of the fraternity. The Troy Hotel’s Pine Lounge (bartended by no less a figure than Ralph Waldo Emerson) was the same venue the future members would clandestinely meet prior to being allowed to organize on campus.

The founding members used the growing social scene of Troy as a way to advertise their efforts to start a fraternity on campus. They attended social events together and began to call themselves a fraternity, even before they were recognized as a group on campus.

Following the death of Troy State College President Dr. Frank Stewart, who refused to allow the Greek system to organize on campus, Kendrick and Butler approached his successor, Col. Ralph Adams, about allowing fraternities and sororities on campus. The men were successful in persuading Col. Adams to allow a vote on the issue. The men won their campaign by a small margin.

After a Pi Kappa Phi ceremonial ritual on Dec. 6, 1964, 24 men were inducted into the Kappa Phi colony of Pi Kappa Phi, Troy State College.

Dr. Doug Hawkins, Chapter Advisor, was instrumental in guiding the original colony and the Greek system through the formative years at Troy State College. Likewise, Faculty Advisors Dr. Brooks Thompson and Dr. Carl Schaumburg were instrumental in guiding the colony and it’s new members to become the Gamma Gamma Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, which was chartered on April 9, 1966.

On September 27, 2014 the fraternity celebrated the 50-year milestone with a banquet where the founding members were able to tell their stories of the organization of the group and their appreciation of the growth and success of the fraternity.

Bo Barrow, the first initiate of [Gamma Gamma], said that the founding members never imagined that the fraternity would become what it is today.

“In 1964, we had more of a bootstrap operation than what they have now, Barrow said. “We had to learn as we went along.”

Butler said that he is proud of the organization and the members of the fraternity today.

“I’m so pleased to see these young men,” Butler said. “They are sharp, they are alert, and they are having a good time. Yet, they are serious about their education. I’m very proud to be back as an alumnus.”

Meeting the founding members of the fraternity was an amazing opportunity for the members of Pi Kappa Phi.

Taylor Gray, a freshman psychology major from Hope Hull, an associate member and legacy to the fraternity, said that meeting the founding brothers was an important moment.

“It’s very important to me to meet the founding members of the fraternity that my dad was a part of and that I want to be a part of,” Gray said. “They show me the foundation of the morals and principles of leadership that I want to pursue as a young man.”

The fraternity has impacted and changed the lives of many of the members throughout the years.

Nick Ledford, a junior nursing major from Slocomb, said that he has been changed in the time as a brother of Pi Kappa Phi.

“The fraternity definitely helped build me as a leader,” Ledford said. “I think that, without it, we wouldn’t be the men we are today.”

Butler said that he feels that the fraternity has a bright future ahead of it and can’t wait to see where it will be in the next 50 years.

“If these men just continue in the direction they’re going, these men will be successful,” Butler said. “Every one of us in the chapter have been successful, and I account a lot of that to being organized as a colony of Pi Kappa Phi.”