Gamma Theta Chapter Celebrates 50 Years

In November of 2018, the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi’s UNC-Wilmington Gamma Theta Chapter were honored to host an event that not all chapters will ever experience – a 50th anniversary for their entire brotherhood. Chartered in 1968, the Gamma Theta Chapter has endured through five decades, and initiated over 600 brothers in that time, with many members of all ages keeping in routine touch with both their peers, younger and older alumni, and the active Chapter. In order to celebrate their storied legacy as UNC-Wilmington’s first Greek organization, a grand reunion was proposed by several alumni over a year prior to the event, with the intention to host as many brothers as possible for a weekend of festivities in the Chapter’s hometown.

Joining these initial alumni, over 20 additional former Gamma Theta Raiders and “Little Sisters” volunteered to form a committee, representing several decades of brotherhood in their quest to bring their peers together. Despite the arduous task of tracking down the hundreds of brothers who were to be invited, the committee painstakingly engaged in e-mail, social media, physical mail, and phone call outreach campaigns, attempting to track down and invite every alumni member possible- all while planning a prestigious event, worthy of the notable occasion. In the end, over 150 Brothers (230+ attendees) were able to attend the event, in addition to a heavy presence from the active chapter. Most notably, not only did this include a large and diverse representation of the 5 decades of brotherhood, but also, numerous Chapter “Little Sisters” and 12 Founding Members of the Chapter.

Once at the reunion event, hosted at the Hotel Ballast Wilmington, the attendees enjoyed a variety of fellowship opportunities and took part in a host of activities planned for their enjoyment. On Friday, a kick-off reception at a near-by local venue saw many reintroductions between brothers who had not seen each other in the lapsed decades since college, as well as a host of introductions between classes of initiates whose time on campus was separated by decades. For Saturday’s entertainment, the entire attending party competed in a friendly session of bowling, with both the best (and worst) members receiving trophies for their efforts (or lack thereof). 

Finally, to conclude the event a Gala was held in the Grand Ballroom of the Hotel Ballast, where in addition to dinner and dancing, the Chapter was treated to updates from the active members of Gamma Theta, to notable keynote speakers, to a silent auction (featuring Chapter memorabilia) benefitting the Chapter’s philanthropic activities, and to an awards ceremony recognizing the dedication and contributions of past members. Honored during the ceremony were the Founding Member’s in attendance, the alumni who had passed to the Chapter Eternal, and finally an award recognizing the alumni attendee most exemplary of Pi Kappa Phi’s values of integrity and good citizenship: the “Mr. Gamma Theta” Award. Mr. Mark Timmes, CEO of Pi Kappa Phi Fraternity, was in attendance as the keynote speaker of honor and congratulated the Chapter on their enduring success. Following the conclusion of Mr. Timmes’ address, the Mr. Gamma Theta Award was presented to Chris Snowden, who was recognized for having steadfastly acted as Gamma Theta Chapter Advisor since the early 1990s, providing compassionate mentorship to the Chapter and strong leadership to its members, while typifying the fraternity’s ideals. After Mr. Snowden’s Award had been presented, the Chapter surprised a second alumnus, Les Brown, by also recognizing him with the Mr. Gamma Theta Award, in light of his extraordinary contributions in planning and executing the reunion event. As stated by his fellow board members, Mr. Brown’s efforts far surpassed any expectation associated with committee membership, and the character demonstrated by him throughout the planning process (and during his years as an alumni) was deserving of the award’s high honor. 

At the weekend’s conclusion, Gamma Theta Brothers of all ages reflected with exceptional enthusiasm on an event that will not be soon forgotten. Memories which were lost were regained, friendships were rekindled, and new memories, accompanied by lasting connections between newly discovered brothers, were forged. From all of the Gamma Theta Raiders, here’s to another 50 years!