Longterm Donor and Volunteer Fred Fether Enters Chapter Eternal

Fred Fether.jpeg

2 October 2019 - Oxford, Ohio: loyal donor and longtime volunteer Fred Fether, Bowling Green ’51, entered the chapter eternal on September 20th, 2019. 

Fred was born on December 17th, 1931, in Archbold Ohio. He attended Bowling Green State University where he would later become the Director of Purchasing. Along with Phi Tau, he was an active member of the Masons where he served as the Worshipful Master and the District Education Officer. He was also a member of the Rocicrucians, Shriners, and the Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite of the Valley of Toledo, where he received the highest honor. He was hard working, loved to travel, and helped run a B&B in Put-in-Bay during his retirement. 

For Phi Kappa Tau, Fred was a Foundation Trustee, Distinguished Trustee, and member of the Heritage Society. His chapter brother Tim Smith, Bowling Green ’52, had to say about Fred: 

Fred was always a mainstay in the Beta Tau Chapter. He was a friendly and congenial brother who stayed in Bowling Green after graduation. That gave him the opportunity to maintain an interest in the active chapter. As an alum his home was always open to other graduate brothers, and he and Eleanor enjoyed hosting the Beta Tau alumni party at homecoming each year.

Fellow chapter brother Bill Jenkins, Bowling Green ’57, contributed to this sentiment by saying: 

If I could sum up that man’s contributions to life, I’d use the word “dependable.” He was a special guy in many ways. I’m so glad I knew him man-to-man. 

Fred is survived by his wife Eleanor, whom he married in 1955, and his children Susan, and P.J. as well as five grandchildren and a great-grandchild.

His full obituary can be read here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/toledoblade/obituary.aspx?n=fredrick-f-fether&pid=193974663&fhid=40683

Hall of Fame Member Farris Laverne “Mac” McKinley Enters Chapter Eternal

27 September 2019 - Oxford, Ohio: On the 21st of September, Farris Laverne “Mac” McKinley, Oklahoma State ’51, entered chapter eternal. 


Mac was inducted into the Phi Tau Hall of Fame in 2006 at the Centennial celebration. He was also a recipient of the Phi Award in 1964 and the Palm Award in 2013. He served as a Domain Director, National Councilor, National Vice President, and National President in the 60s-70s. As a Distinguished Trustee and Chairman on the Foundation, he was active within the Fraternity into his 80s. 

Director of Philanthropy Charlie Ball, Miami ’82, shares about Mac: 

At Oklahoma State, in addition to Phi Kappa Tau, he was a member of the ROTC Cadet Officers Club, Sigma Tau engineering honorary and the American Institute of Architects and the Beaux-Arts Society architectural organizations.

Mac served as national president from 1977-1979. He had been vice president to Ted Marye from 1975-1977. He served in the leadership of the fraternity during some of our most challenging economic times when the popularity of fraternities was at a low point. Mac’s leadership was instrumental in helping the Fraternity establish prosperity as the 1980’s emerged. 

Mac was an architectural engineer. He worked first for Skelly Oil Company in Tulsa and later for Coston, Frankfurt, Short, & McKinley Architectural Firm on Oklahoma City, for which he was a partner.

According to his obituary, Mac was a modest Christian who enjoyed music, literature, the arts, and sports. Above all the roles he served – he was most happy to be known as a mentor and a friend to his Brothers

His full obituary can be read here: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/203240920/farris-laverne-mckinley

Success at Phi Tau Alumni Events

Two Phi Kappa Tau chapters have recently celebrated successful alumni events.

The first is the Omicron chapter at Penn State University. Omicron was re-colonized last fall and now boasts 45 colony members. The alumni gathering was organized by Ed Boger, Penn State ’62, a local BOG member. 

Penn State Alumni

Penn State Alumni

The other event was hosted by Sasha Kanevsky, Rutgers ’05, and Phil Frandina, RIT ’08, the two new Domain Directors for the Capital and New England regions, respectively, to celebrate the new structure of the Domain Director role. The event was held at Conolly’s in Manhattan. 

New England and Capital-area alumni

New England and Capital-area alumni

If your chapter has recently hosted a successful alumni event you can email communications@phikappatau.org to be featured. 

5th Biennial Conclave

Undergraduates visiting the Alpha house

Undergraduates visiting the Alpha house

Phi Kappa Tau’s fifth biennial Conclave kicked off this past weekend at Miami University’s Oxford, OH, campus. As the birthplace of Phi Kappa Tau, the return to Miami University represents Phi Tau’s homecoming - an opportunity for undergraduates and alumni to return to Oxford, where it all started. 

Conclave began Friday afternoon with presentations for the Roland Maxwell Award - the trophy given annually to the highest preforming chapter. The “Founders Four” chapters competed in Shideler Hall - named for Founder William H. Shideler, Miami ’06. This year, Upsilon at the University of Nebraska Wesleyan, Gamma at The Ohio State University, Beta Beta at the University of Louisville, and Delta Tau at California Polytechnic University-Pomona competed for the honor of becoming Phi Tau’s best undergraduate chapter. They were given the prompt, “How does your chapter go far?” Each chapter gave their own explanation as to what makes them best, including community service, philanthropy, academics, alumni engagement, and diversity. 

That evening Phi Tau hosted a SeriousFun-A-Thon in one of Oxford’s community parks. A common fundraiser, this SeriousFun-a-Thon brought out dozens of children in the Oxford area for carnival games to raise money for the SeriousFun Children’s Network. In total, the event and fundraising raised $7,600 dollars, enough to send three children and their families to camp. 


Friday night, members of the Boles Society were invited to a donor-dinner, where alumnus Sam Medley, Transylvania ‘94, and owner of Medley Bros Bourbon sponsored a tasting for all those attending. Sam gave insight on the recipe, the aging process, and the Bourbon industry with experience from his 80-year old family-owned company. 

Saturday morning began with educational seminars hosted by National Recruitment Advisor Barry Mask, Auburn ’78. Undergraduates whose chapters have shown outstanding recruitment ability also presented their best-practice tips, including Jay Johnson, Alabama ’18, Caleb Baum, Florida ’18, Jacob Grow, Mount Union ’17, and Stephen Listinsen, Ohio State ’18

After seminars and breakout sessions had concluded for the morning, attendees gathered in Shriver Hall for the Awards Luncheon. Individuals and chapters alike were presented with awards on their outstanding work in the past calendar year. Some of the award highlights include: 

The Frederick R. Fletemeyer Prize for the most outstanding colony, presented to Chi at North Carolina State University

The George V. Voinovich Award for the highest number of community service hours per man, presented to Lambda at Purdue University

The Paul Newman Award for the most funds raised for SeriousFun Children’s Network, presented to Beta Beta at the University of Louisville

The Outstanding Colony Advisor Award for an advisor who has presented exceptional contributions to a colony, presented to Rick Rice, Southern California ’74, at the University of Southern California

The Jack L. Anson Award for outstanding inter-fraternal service to the community, presented to Luke Williams, Lynchburg ‘17

Phi Award for an alumnus who has made outstanding contributions to his home chapter, presented to Guillermo Flores, Southern Illinois ‘08

A full list of award and scholarship winners to follow 

After awards were distributed the crowd broke up into groups where they began Pride Tours lead by Executive Office staff members. Guests were able to see Shideler Hall, the Phi Tau circle on Miami’s campus, Alpha house, as well as the Executive Offices’ Centennial Garden & Heritage Room. 

The final major event of the weekend was the Brotherhood Banquet, a tradition at all Conclaves and Conventions. Hosted by Charlie Ball, Miami’ 82, Director of Philanthropy, the major award winners were announced amongst a celebration of brotherhood and fraternity. 

Drake Berlin, Bethany ‘16, received the Dwight I. Douglass Presidents Award for excellence in leadership. Drake, the newest member of the Executive Offices staff, was a two-time Phi chapter President and called “the face of Greek life on campus” by his Director of Student Affairs. Under his leadership the chapter maintained the highest all-mens GPA on campus for 5 semesters in a row and received nominations for Order of the Star Awards and the Maxwell Award two years in a row. 

The Shideler Award was presented next. Given annually to Phi Tau’s most outstanding graduating senior, Evan Marshall, Nebraska Wesleyan ’15, served his chapter as President, Treasurer, and Community Service Chair. He helped the chapter earn the 2018 SeriousFun Network’s Appreciation Award and increased the chapter service hours to 25 per man. He was a part of 2018’s Maxwell Award winning group at National Convention in Cleveland, as well as the 2017 presenting group at Conclave.

The only chapter award presented during the Brotherhood Banquet was the Harold E. Angelo Award for most improved chapter. The winners, Beta Xi at the University of Georgia, completely overhauled their recruitment method and new member process after a suspension in 2017. With the “Recruitment 365” method they managed to recruit 35 new members in 2018 with a focus on accountability, core values, and education. They threw themselves into their philanthropic work as well, raising over $6,000 alone in a single evening for their “Summer Nights” event. 

2019 Maxwell Award winners - Gamma chapter at Ohio State University

2019 Maxwell Award winners - Gamma chapter at Ohio State University

The penultimate undergraduate award - the Roland Maxwell Award for Most Outstanding Chapter - was awarded to Gamma at The Ohio State University. Gamma was honored with the distinction based on their service, GPA, and campus leadership. By creating a “culture of leadership,” 66% of Gamma men hold positions of leadership not just within their own chapter, but across campus at large. Their commitment to service is undeniable - every day of the week throughout the school year they send multiple members to the Columbus Boys & Girls club and their annual pumpkin sale raised $11,482 in 2018. By utilizing a “standards based” recruitment process Gamma is able to recruit like-minded men who push one another to be men of distinction. 

Two additional awards were presented before the night ended. Dick Michael, Michigan Tech ‘70, was recognized for his service to the Foundation after stepping down as Chairman. Wes Fugate, Centre ’99, the current Chairman, thanked Dick Michael for his dedication to the Foundation. 

John Green,  Nebraska Wesleyan ‘60 , accepting the NIC Silver Medal

John Green, Nebraska Wesleyan ‘60, accepting the NIC Silver Medal

The final award of the night was presented by special guest Jud Horras, President & CEO of the NIC, to a man who needs little introduction in Phi Tau circles. John M. Green, Nebraska Wesleyan ‘60, was awarded the NIC Silver Medal which recognizes exemplary service or leadership in a role that has advanced the fraternal movement. A Boles Donor and impassionaied supporter of risk prevention, John Green has served as National President, Executive Director of the Fraternity, and Executive Director of the Foundation. 

The NIC website posted a brief excerpt of Jud’s speech: 

John’s long-time volunteer efforts – including a term as national president – came to a head in the 1980s when he was hired as the fraternity’s executive director. In that role he was instrumental in the founding of the Fraternal Risk Management Trust and Fraternal Information and Programming Group. After serving as the fraternity’s top administrator for a decade, he later agreed to become executive director of the Phi Kappa Tau Foundation, in which he guided a successful $6.5 million campaign before he retired in 2007.

“John always replied in the affirmative when his fraternity and the interfraternity community called. His leadership and passion was needed during a variety of historical moments. I continue to be very impressed with John’s vision, compassion, leadership and dedication as a fraternity man.” 

The evening concluded with a candlelight ceremony by Bill Jenkins, Bowling Green '57, past National President and Executive Director. The following morning brothers who did not have to catch an early flight played the John Green Classic Golf Outing, a tradition following all Conclaves. 

Thank you to all our brothers and guests who made the trip to Oxford! While we will not see you again until 2021, we look forward to even more brothers attending the 64th National Convention in Fort Worth, next July! 


Phi Tau Receives Distinguished SeriousFun Award

Photo by Don Pollard

Photo by Don Pollard

Photo by Don Pollard

Photo by Don Pollard

Phi Kappa Tau was honored two weeks ago by our longtime philanthropic partner, SeriousFun Children’s Network, with the 2019 SeriousFun Excellence in Philanthropy Award. 

Photo by Mike Coppola

Photo by Mike Coppola

The award was presented on May 23rd in New York City to National President Bill Brasch, Louisville ’67, and CEO Tim Hudson, Truman ’97. The SeriousFun Gala is an annual event to celebrate the life-changing work of SeriousFun Children’s Network. This year’s gala was held in New York City with speeches and entertainment from actress Alysia Reiner, Broadway actress Ashley Park, and comedian Trevor Noah. This year, Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity and Foundation were invited as guests to receive the esteemed award. 

Also in attendance were former Foundation Chairman Dick Michael, Michigan Tech ’70, Domain Director Sasha Kanevsky, Rutgers ’05, Foundation Trustee Cliff Unger, Arizona ’98, Foundation Vice Chairman Buzz Green, ‘Ole Miss ’66, Director of Philanthropy Charlie Ball, Miami ’82, former Dean of Building Men of Character Retreats Scott Brown, Tennessee ’88, PJ Best, RIT ’04, Luke McKenzie, Georgia ’14, Bryan Butvick, Delaware ’91, Wyatt Kunzman, Louisville ‘12, and John Sierp, Delaware ’91

This award is an honor and we are excited to receive it. The nearly 25-year partnership between Phi Tau and SeriousFun is one of our greatest sources of pride. We will be covering the evening in more detail in the summer edition of The Laurel, expected to hit mailboxes late August. 

Photo by Mike Coppola

Photo by Mike Coppola

Photo by Don Pollard

Photo by Don Pollard

Marty Schendel becomes Domain Director of Leaders Region 


Marty Schendel, Michigan Tech ’81, has recently become Domain Director of the Leaders Region. 

Marty comes to this position as a long-term volunteer for Phi Tau. As an undergraduate, he held positions as Secretary, Historian, IFC Representative, IFC President, Winter Carnival Skit Chairman, and was a recipient of the Brother of the Year Award. As an alumni, Marty has been lauded for his work in helping to develop Michigan Tech’s thriving Graduate Council, which was featured in the summer 2018 edition of The Laurel as an outstanding example of alumni coordination, collaboration, and leadership. 

Marty founded the Gamma Alpha Alumni Association, or Graduate Council, with 5 others in January of 1988. He’s been on the Board of Trustees ever since and has served as a Trustee, President, and Secretary, his current position. Mary also serves as the Alumni Association Historian and worked as a Chapter Advisor in the late 80s. He attends chapter functions frequently and is an active donor of time, treasure, and talent. 

Professionally Marty is an engineer. He has worked at Metaltec Steel Abrasive Co. since 1985 and is currently Vice President of Quality & Purchasing. 

Welcome Marty to your role as Domain Director! 

We are still looking for a Southeast Domain Director. If you are interested in applying for the position or would like more information, contact our Associate Director of Chapter Services, Brandon Lewis.

Press Release Regarding Syed Arbab

For Immediate Release from the Phi Kappa Tau Executive Offices 

June 5th, 2019: Oxford, OH - On May 31st, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed four counts alleging fraud against Syed Arbab in the U.S. District Court in Athens, Georgia. 

Syed was an undergraduate member of the Beta Xi Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity at the University of Georgia. Neither the Fraternity nor anyone else associated with the chapter was a named defendant or indicted in the case.  

The lawsuit listed two other defendants, Artis Proficio Capital Investments and Artis Proficio Capital Management, companies set up by Arbab that used the street address of the Athens fraternity.  Arbab had a rental lease agreement in place at the fraternity house until his recent graduation from UGA in May, 2019.  

According to T. Scott Duncan, Jr., current President of the Athens chapter, Arbab’s membership in the organization was suspended upon learning of his indictment. Duncan said that the binding rental lease agreements between the chapter and fraternity members residing in the house specifically prohibit the use of the premises for any illegal activity.  Arbab’s rental agreement expired in May, 2019 about a month after he was indicted.  “Had we known about the indictment sooner,” said Duncan, “We would have taken the necessary steps to terminate his rental agreement and suspend him.” 

The Chapter and the Executive Offices are disappointed and disturbed by Arbab’s actions. The decisions made by Arbab do not represent the values of Phi Kappa Tau. 

Founded in 1906 at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, Phi Kappa Tau is a national fraternity that includes 84 chapters and 9 colonies with more than 4,300 undergraduates in the United States and has served more than 97,000 initiates throughout the past 113 years. 

The mission of Phi Kappa Tau is to champion a lifelong commitment to brotherhood, learning, ethical leadership, and exemplary character. 

- - - 

Tim Hudson 
Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity 

J.J. Lewis becomes West Coast Domain Director 

J.J. Lewis, Central Michigan ‘04, has recently become the new Domain Director for the West Coast region. 


J.J. is an ’06 grad of Central Michigan University. He also holds degrees from Georgetown University and San Diego State. He is currently working on his Ed.D. from the University of Southern California. 

J.J. has worked as the Manager of Community Relations for ServiceSource in Alexandria, Virginia, the Manager of Major Giving for Detroit Public Television, and Interim CEO of the Academy of Arts & Sciences. He currently serves as Superintendent & CEO of Compass Charter Schools in Thousand Oaks, California, a position he has held for three years. 

J.J. has been an active volunteer, including previous stints as our Great Lakes Domain Director and Tidewater Domain Director and recipient of our Thomas L. Stennis II Award, a loyal donor to the Phi Tau Foundation, and supporter of our National Programs for many years. We look forward to his engagement in this role and we are confident he will be a good fit. 

Thank you to our past West Coast Domain Director Gary Klingsbergs, Cleveland State ’82, for your time in the position. Gary served in his role for several years. His loyalty and commitment to the Fraternity does not go unnoticed. 

We are searching for a Domain Director for the Southeast region. If you are interested in fulfilling one of those roles, reach out to our Associate Director of Chapter Services Brandon Lewis for inquiries. 

Hall of Fame Member Enters Chapter Eternal

Jack Soules.jpeg

May 15th, 2019 - Oxford, Ohio: Phi Kappa Tau Hall of Fame Member Jack Soules, Ohio State ’46, entered the chapter eternal on May 1st at the age of 91. 

Jack was born in Ashtabula, Ohio, in 1928. He attended The Ohio State University from where he obtained a Ph.D. in physics in 1954. Following that, Jack accepted a position as Assistant and later Associate Professor of Physics at New Mexico State University. From 1961-1963 he worked in Washington, D.C., as a physicist at the Office of Naval Research. He also taught at the University of Washington before accepting a position as the first Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Cleveland State University, where he worked from 1966-1994. In 2006 Jack retried and moved to Las Cruces with his wife, Shirl, where they celebrated 50 years of marriage last October. 

Jack received the Borradaile Award as an undergraduate in 1946. In 2006, he was admitted into the Phi Tau Hall of Fame. In addition to his work as a physicist, Jack was a private pilot, an avid swimmer, and actor. He acted in many theater productions and founded the Las Cruces Swim Club. He was also a founder of the Unitarian Fellowship of Las Cruces and a founder of the Las Altures Development Corporation. 

Jack’s sons are also loyal members of Phi Tau; Bill Soules, New Mexico State ‘85, and David Soules, New Mexico State ‘85.

Jack is survived by his three children, four grandchildren, and a great granddaughter. A private service will be held for his family members. In lieu of flowers, a gift can be made to the Halzo Foundation (contact p.desimino@crucescreatives.org) or Camp Hope (http://www.donationto/MVCH4CampHope). 

The Executive Offices are Seeking a Program Coordinator

Phi Kappa Tau is hiring! 

We are looking to expand our staff to fill the role of Program Coordinator. The Program Coordinator will work to ensure the timely and effective delivery of Phi Kappa Tau programming. The Program Coordinator will be a member of the Education and Wellness Department and will report to and work directly with the Director of Education and Wellness.

Major Duties and Responsibilities: 

  • Will work alongside Director to coordinate with site contacts for program and logistical needs for Leadership Academy, Presidents Academy, Volunteer Development Institute as well as Building Men of Character Retreats and Good to Great Retreats, which are delivered at the chapter level 

  • Create, run, and update program registration documents as needed

  • Communicate with participants and volunteers about program logistics as well as answer any questions they may have about travel to the programs 

  • Travel to educational programs and help with on-site delivery and execution 

Education Responsibilities: 

  • Help recruit facilitators for our educational programs 

  • Communicate with all facilitators leading up to educational programs about logistical needs and requirements 

  • Work with the Director to ensure facilitators are trained and prepared before the start of each program 

  • Maintain a database of facilitators and those interested in facilitating 

  • Help with curriculum writing and development for Good to Great Retreats

  • Serve alongside the Director on the program curriculum review teams for each program 

  • Help review and edit program curriculum documents before they go to print 

  • Work with the Communications Department to help create promotional plans for each of the programs

  • Work with the Director to help support the development of online education 

Wellness Responsibilities: 

  • Assist with updating Chapter GreekLifeEdu Data Sheets each year to ensure chapters have access to the most recent chapter data 

  • Help with updating the Chapter Campus Resource Document each summer for chapters and colonies to ensure chapters know the resources available to them on campus 

  • Help with the development of any program and/or curriculum to be delivered at the chapter level when it comes to prevention and wellness 

Other Responsibilities: 

  • Help coordinate staff travel for educational programs 

  • Other duties as assigned 

Position Requirements:

  • Bachelors Degree required, Master’s Degree preferred 

  • Experience with event planning and event management

  • Experience working with and/or volunteering with similar educational programs 

  • Knowledge around curriculum development or willingness to learn 

  • Membership in a Greek letter organization preferred but not a requirement 

  • This position would work out of the Phi Kappa Tau Executive Offices in Oxford, Ohio, but remote applicants will be considered 

To Apply:

To apply for the Program Coordinator role, please submit a copy of your resume, cover letter, and three reference to the Director of Education and Wellness Jess Schauble at jschauble@phikappatau.org. Please include salary requirements in your cover letter. Application review will begin immediately. The position will remain open and applications will be reviewed until the position is filled.