16 Chapters to Compete in Service Showdown


It’s Time for a showdown

16 chapters. 1 winner.

This March, 16 chapters have been chosen to compete in the first ever “Service Showdown”. Taking a note from NCAA’s March Madness chapters will compete weekly in a bracketed competition to see who can have the highest average of service hours per man. Each week the brothers will showdown, and the results will be updated weekly with the first round of elimination being announced on March 8th and the final winner will be announced on April 1st.

Download the bracket here. Share it online #serviceshowdown.

Blank Bracket.jpg

Phi Kappa Tau Introduces Good Samaritan Policy

This past year, one of the Phi Kappa Tau’s largest focus areas has been on increasing prevention efforts and education.  Phi Kappa Tau has always strived to be a leader in educating its members on safety, wellness, and prevention efforts to ensure a positive and safe fraternity experience for its members and guests.  
On December 11, 2018, the Phi Kappa Tau National Council, officially adopted a Good Samaritan Policy joining their peer North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) men’s fraternities.  The policy has two components; both addressing individual members and guests as well as the chapter/colony itself. 
You can view the organization’s Good Samaritan policies on our website or by clicking here

Questions about this policy should be directed to the Executive Offices by calling (800) PKT-1906 or by sending us a message

Welcome Back to the Chi Chapter

Lilly Steger

Video by Logan Lukacs

On February 9th, approximately sixty alumni, representing ten chapters, and five Executive Office staff members gathered at the Hyatt Regency in Raleigh, North Carolina, to recharter the Chi chapter. From 8am Saturday morning until late that afternoon, Phi Taus took over 4 meeting rooms at the Hyatt to initiate 53 new members (8 new members of Chi chapter would be initiated later). 


Following the initiation ceremony was an alumni reception, where National President Bill Brasch, Louisville ’67, gave a history of the charter and CEO Tim Hudson, Truman ’97, stood to read the charter, then facilitate the signing. Finally, Lanny Carruthers, Auburn ’98, spoke on behalf of new National Councilor Bob Ragsdale, Georgia ’66, and the Beta Xi chapter, offering kind words and advice to Chi chapter. 

A key component in any chartering, alumni volunteers should be especially proud of their role in the re-chartering of the Chi chapter. They helped run initiation rooms, facilitate the chartering, and bring life back into a chapter that has been closed. Undergraduates also participated - Phi Taus from Old Dominion’s Gamma Tau chapter made the three and a half hour drive from Norfolk, VA, to Raleigh to help initiate Chi members. Gamma Tau took care of nearly a quarter of total initiations, virtually running their own initiation room, and coming full circle from when Chi chapter helped Gamma Tau at its initial chartering in the 1960s. Members fro University of South Carolina’s Zeta Xi chapter helped with initiations as well. 


The new initiates were full of enthusiasm for what they had gathered to do as well. Among the new member class was father and son duo, Ethan, North Carolina State ’19, and Ken Bunn, North Carolina State ’87. Ken was able to initiate his son into Phi Tau nearly 20 years after his own initiation. “Everybody says I’m exactly like my dad, so I was trying to distance myself from that,” Ethan explained. “He didn’t push me at all, but I went to a rush event at the house and immediately fell in love with the guys.” When he called his dad to tell him, Ken was secretly thrilled. “I gave him the dad talk - make sure you’re looking at all the right things, here’s the pros, here’s the cons, all the while I’m turning to my wife giving her a fist bump.” 

Ethan’s association with the Chi chapter gave him a new reason to get involved. “With all the years without Chi, I had move away from it and just lost touch with the chapter as a whole. I still have a core group, but this is just a great opportunity to pull us back in. When I found out he was interested, it made it even better; it was even more of a catalyst for me to come back and pull all the other guys with me.” 

Thank you to all of our alumni who helped make this chartering a success. We look forward to lots of success for Chi chapter! 


Phi Tau’s next chartering will be held on March 9th, at Columbus State University in Georgia. If you are interested in volunteering contact Brandon Lewis at blewis@phikappatau.org

Leaders Regional Conference from a First Time Attendee


Lilly Steger

As someone who has been on staff less than a year, many of Phi Tau’s education programs are still new to me. I was lucky enough to experience National Convention last summer within my first month or so on staff, and again Presidents Academy and Volunteer Development Institute in January of this year. So, when the opportunity to attend a Regional Conference presented itself, I hopped in the car and made the trip to Flying Horse Farm Camp, just thirty minutes north of Columbus.

Flying Horse Farms is also the first SeriousFun Camp I have gotten to visit. It’s located just off I-71, the highway that stretches across Ohio from Cincinnati to Cleveland, and the closet Regional Conference location to the Executive Offices in Oxford. Members came from Ohio University, Ohio State, Mount Union, Bethany, Michigan State, Case Western, Akron, Baldwin Wallace, Kent State, Westminster, Muskingum, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Saginaw Valley, and Kenyon to participate in one of three tracks: Leadership, Prevention & Wellness, and Recruitment & Retention.  

After a brief introduction from facilitators and staff members, the different tracks headed off to their various buildings and got to work. Prevention & Wellness, led by Nick Tereck, Saginaw Valley State ‘08, and Makenzie Jones began with introductions and a game where participants sat back to back, with one member drawing a photo the other one had to describe with no obvious clues. These were as simple as a square house and as difficult as a unicorn. The point was to focus on team building, verbal communication, and listening skills. As the day progressed, they talked about more serious issues that maybe be affecting their chapter – alcohol, drinking culture, and drug use.

A communications game from the Leadership track

A communications game from the Leadership track

After that I jumped over to the Big Red Barn where the Leadership track was taking place. Facilitated by Tyler Veniot, Saginaw Valley State ’09, and Carly Corio, one of the most popular games played by this group was a jeopardy-fashioned decision-making game, where two members had to read a situation off a projector and make a quick decision on the context. The first to hit the buzzer – in this case, the buzzer was an unopened water bottle – gave their decision with an accompanying explanation. Some of these were met with affirmation while others were pushed back on by the group, explaining what or how they would react differently.

Participants had to react quickly to a situation and then provide an explanation for the decision they made

Participants had to react quickly to a situation and then provide an explanation for the decision they made

The Recruitment Track took place in the most remote building on the property, the arts and crafts building past the cabins. Here, led by Jason Sweet, Saginaw Valley State ’09, and Jim Rosencrans, members worked on their networking and engagement skills. They were encouraged to share their own stories of why they joined Phi Tau, because their reasons will likely resonate with other potential members. They also did mock recruitments where one participant would approach the other to draw interest in Phi Tau.  

Mock recruitment activites in the Recruitment & Retention session

Mock recruitment activites in the Recruitment & Retention session

Pete Aubry, Development Manager-Corporate Relations for Flying Horse Farms, who helped organize the event with our Director of Education and Wellness, Jessica Schauble, was eager to give a tour of the beautiful property to staff members while the participants were in session. Flying Horse Farms was designed after a children’s book and it shows in the architecture and artwork. From their website:

In 2005, Columbus couple Jenni and David Belford were moved to build a permanent, year-round camp for children with serious illnesses. They coined our name from the book “The Big Red Barn,” in which a “golden flying horse” weather vane sits atop a barn on a farm where kids and animals play freely.  

Today, a barn has been built modeled to look exactly like the one in the book, with big rafters, windows, and the infamous weather vane.  

Flying Horse Farms was the first midwestern camp to be included in the SeriousFun Children’s Network. Paul Newman, Ohio ’43, died in 2008, shortly before the camp opened. However, he did visit the camp while it was still under construction and got to fish in the lake, one of the many things he was excited to do on the property.

 Flying Horse Farms is a stunning property and, like all the SeriousFun Camps, one with an extraordinarily important mission. If you are interested in volunteering at Flying Horse Farms, you can visit their website here: https://flyinghorsefarms.org/get-involved/

Jim K. Heilmeier Enters Chapter Eternal


Lilly Steger

February 12th, 2018: Oxford, OH – Last Friday, February 8th, Jim K. Heilmeier, Kent State ’49, entered the chapter eternal. Jim served as a member of the National Council, a Trustee on the Foundation Board, a Phi Tau Hall of Fame 2006 inductee, and a Palm Award recipient.

Jim was born in 1929 in Akron and attended Central High School and Kent State University. During the Korean Conflict he was stationed at Fort Breckenridge, KY, where he rose to Sergeant of the Mess. After discharging, he returned home to Akron to work in the family business, Tasty Pure Food Co., a family company since his father started it in 1923.  

He married his high school sweetheart, Virginia, in 1952 and the couple had four sons. After Virginia passed away suddenly in 1993, Jim remarried Janet in 1997.

Jim is survived by his wife, Janet, and his sons Kevin, Akron ’74, Daniel, Bill, Akron ’78, and former National President, Greg, Bethany ’86, as well as eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held at 10am on Wednesday, February 13th at the following location:
St. Luke’s Lutheran Church
2121 6th Street
Cuyahoga Falls OH

Greg and the family can be reached at gmheilmeier@tastypure.com or the business address: 1557 Industrial Parkway, Akron, OH, 44310.

Executive Offices is Now Hiring for a Success Manager


As brothers, we share a common fraternal bond. Throughout our lifetimes we will meet hundreds, if not thousands, of men who share this bond. We learn about it as an undergraduate member and strive to fulfill this commitment through those years as best we can. Then we graduate college with a goal to stay engaged with the Fraternity that has given us so much. We are excited to share an opportunity to continue your commitment to Phi Kappa Tau while developing as a young professional.

The Phi Kappa Tau Executive Offices is seeking to expand its staff in the role of the Success Manager.

Success Managers are the primary chapter contact at the Executive Offices for our chapters and advisors. This position has three focus areas: Account Management, Project Coordination and Leadership Coaching.

Within those three focus areas, Success Managers work together with chapter officers and advisors to move the organization forward. They provide an essential service to the fraternal constituency.

Some required expectations for the available position are:

  • Strong Interpersonal Communication

  • Strong Organizational Ability

  • Ability to Travel

  • Bachelor’s Degree

  • Relocation to Oxford, Ohio

In addition to developing a continued bond with Phi Kappa Tau benefits also include:

  • Full-time salary

  • Full Health and Dental Insurance

  • Retirement Package (401k)

  • Paid Leave Allowance

Start your career and develop professionally in an environment shaped by something you are passionate about and believe in. You will have the opportunity to network with alumni across the country for future career opportunities.

Please reach out to Brandon Lewis, Associate Director of Chapter Services, at blewis@phikappatau.org with any interest or referrals.

Laurel to Celebrate its 100th Anniversary


Lilly Steger

By November of 1919, men had returned from the war and were making their way back to campuses, Congress passed the National Prohibition Act as well as the 19th Amendment – and “The Laurel” made its debut as the official publication of Phi Kappa Tau. For only $1.50 you got a yearly subscription and issues every two months that covered actives and announcements of the 8 chapters and 800 members.

This November will commemorate the 100th anniversary of The Laurel. Keep your eye out for a special centennial edition coming later this year - in the meantime, you can read about Freshman-Sophomore day at Miami’s Alpha chapter, where a young recruit “again came thorough by winning the frog race,” (pg. 15), the cow that climbed the steps “through some feat of gymnastics unknown to cows” of Ohio University’s Lindley Hall and “stayed all night on the veranda mooing” (pg. 17), and how Muhlenberg’s Eta chapter recruited Van Zandt, “one of the most popular men on the campus” (pg. 32) in the first ever edition of The Laurel: http://bit.ly/2MZG4LW

#GoFar #Laurel100

Bob Ragsdale Nominated as National Councilor

Bob Ragsdale.jpeg

Lilly Steger

Bob Ragsdale, Georgia ’66, has been nominated to the Phi Kappa Tau National Council. Bob has a long history of volunteering with Phi Kappa Tau – as an undergrad he was Chapter President, Brother of the Year, Rush Chairman, and VP for Alumni Relations. Since then, Bob has served as a Domain Director and Secretary Treasurer of the Graduate Council. He has worked with Executive Office staff members and other alumni volunteers to put together a comprehensive alumni engagement program that was adopted unanimously by the Council and Foundation. Bob is also currently Chairman of the BOG for the Beta Xi chapter at the University of Georgia.  

Professionally, Bob served as Director of Development for Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College where a primary function of his job was alumni relations and fundraising. He also worked for the University of George Cooperative Extension Service for thirteen years and as the Director of Field Services for the Georgia Farm Bureau, the role he retired from eight years ago. 

Bob currently lives on a 300-acre family farm in Georgia with his wife of 48 years, Eleanor. 

VDI Pilot Program Slated for Leaders, Bluegrass, and Heartland Regions

Regional VDI .jpeg

Lilly Steger

Last year, Phi Kappa Tau announced a pilot program to locally deliver Volunteer Development Institute, or VDI, at Leaders Regional Conference in Ohio. We are proud to say this program was a huge success and this year we will be expanding the pilot program to two additional regions - Bluegrass and Heartland!

We’re counting on you to attend and provide feedback so we can continue to expand our National Programs. If you are a current volunteer or you are thinking about volunteering with an undergraduate chapter, you should attend! It doesn’t matter if you have volunteered for 1 year or 10 - VDI is an educational program designed to help improve communication with undergraduates, increase your understanding the National Organization and its policies, and develop a strategic plan for your chapter.

Here are the details:  

Leaders: Saturday, February 9th, 2019
Flying Horse Farms, Mt. Gilead, OH, 43338
Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-leaders-regional-conference-phi-kappa-tau-tickets-51422937390#tickets

Bluegrass: Saturday, February 16th, 2019
University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY 40508
Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-bluegrass-regional-conference-phi-kappa-tau-tickets-51420685655

Heartland: Saturday, February 23rd, 2019
Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, IL, 62901
Registration link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2019-heartland-regional-conference-phi-kappa-tau-tickets-51423593352

For all three sessions there is a $10 registration fee. Lunch will be provided.  

The objective of the program is to understand your strengths and how to best utilize them to support your chapter’s BOG, review advising best-practices and prepare for common problems, gain a better understanding of how to work with the current generation of Phi Taus, and finally learn how to prevent issues before they present themselves.

We hope you take the opportunity to attend this valuable program. VDI has proved to be very successful in the past and has helped many alumni develop their skills as advisors.  

See you at Regional Conferences!

Scholarship & Award Applications Open

Attention Brothers!

Phi Kappa Tau Foundation scholarship applications are officially open! Last year the Foundation awarded nearly 70 scholarships to students pursuing bachelors, masters, and doctoral degrees. These scholarships are distributed based on academic merit, commitment to Phi Kappa Tau ideals, and community service.

The deadline for all 2019-2020 academic year scholarships is March 1st, 2019 – A MONTH EARLIER THAN PREVIOUS YEARS

All applications require:

  • One letter of recommendation

  • An up-to-date resume (including any volunteer experience or community service)

  • Two references

  • An essay describing how, by admitting you to membership, Phi Kappa Tau has helped develop you into a MAN OF DISTINCTION

Eighteen endowed scholarships were awarded because of the generosity of Phi Kappa Tau Foundation donors in 2018. There is no application fee for these funds, and they may be applied for annually.

 Get further details and apply for a Phi Kappa Tau scholarship here.

Additionally, applications are now open for all awards and recognition. Last year Phi Tau recognized over thirty alumni and undergraduates for their outstanding work as community leaders, philanthropists, and scholars. Awards can be applied for individually or you can nominate a Brother or friend of Phi Tau for an award.

All award applications are due April 1st, 2019.

 Award nominations are an excellent way to show your appreciation for a Brother or friend of Phi Tau’s dedication to the organization.

 Read and apply for the full list of Phi Kappa Tau awards here. 

The Organization looks forward to celebrating our successes this year at Conclave!