Undergraduate Advisory Board Seeking Applicants

The Undergraduate Advisory Board (UAB) is a group of ten undergraduate brothers from chapters around the country who serve as the voice of all undergraduates to the National Council. Our members have direct access to the fraternity’s leadership and provide input, feedback, and ideas that impact the policy and decision-making from our elected National Councilors and Executive Offices.

A new function the UAB is developing has to do with fostering a chapter-to-chapter communication network for the sharing of useful information pertaining to recruitment, scholarship, and other best practices. Our greatest asset as a fraternity is the wealth of knowledge that our different chapters have and the UAB is looking to help share that knowledge on a peer-to-peer level.

The UAB is currently looking to fill 5 positions for a two-year term and 1 position for an interim one-year term. The selection process will be finalized and winners announced at Conclave this summer. The application is quick and easy, just looking to find out more about you as a candidate and why you are interested.

Application Deadline: Monday, July 1st, 2019

Click Here to Apply

Please reach out to the brothers below or the Executive Offices for more information:

Jonathan Zimmerman, President: zimmerman.jonathana@gmail.com

Ryan Lester, Vice President: rtlester@mtu.edu

The Accurate History of the Founding of Phi Kappa Tau

Lilly Steger

It’s true the founding of Phi Tau did happen on March 17th, 1906. And it’s true that the dorm rooms were inhospitably cold. 

But there’s much more to it than that. 

William H. Shideler had been visiting his family in nearby Hamilton, OH, during spring break of 1906. He went back to campus a day early to hang out with his friend Dwight I. Douglass, a senior who didn’t want to make the trip home to Illinois. They wanted to talk about the idea for a non-fraternity association, one they had been trying to organize with two sophomore friends, Taylor A. Borradaile and Clinton D. Boyd. They went wandering off to the Old Main Building, which was only a few yards away from the North Dorm rooms. 

The only room they could find unlocked in Old Main was the office of Dean Hepburn. “This was unlocked, so we entered and took possession,” Douglass said about the occasion. Douglass took a seat at the dean’s office chair and, while digging through the desk for a bit of scrap paper, uncovered a case of cigars. Douglass helped himself to one, lit it, kicked his legs up on the desk, and said to Shideler, “Well, Doc, let’s see what you have.” As they were in the midst of discussing their plans, cigar smoke pouring out under the door, Dean Hepburn walked back in. 

“He really could have made an issue of the affair, but he was a good old sport in addition to being a fine gentleman of the old school and at almost the age of eighty he still had an understanding an an appreciation of student’s problems,” Shideler recounted.

Dean Hepburn listened to Shideler and Douglass and, after hearing about their predicament, gave him his blessing. “Well boys,” Shideler recalls him having said, “I wish you all the success in the world!” 

The events that led up to this break in had been cumulating for some time. In the late 1800s, three other fraternities dominated Miami’s athletic teams, politics, and social life. By March 1905, the atmosphere was so toxic it was nearly impossible to participate in anything without admittance to one of the groups. March 5th of that year was the annual track meet, one that would become a catalyst for Phi Tau’s founding. Shideler and Douglass, coaches of the unaffiliated track team, were pushed out of any placing by other fraternities who had teamed up to dominate the competition. The fraternities that had collaborated to win took home the trials, the semi-finals, and the finals, and “nosed out” all the non-fraternity men. 

The track meet was actually not the first imputes towards organizing a non-fraternity group. In fall of 1905 Boyd and Shideler had organized two political groups on campus to give non-fraternity students a voice in the fall elections. Douglass and Borradaile lead the other. 

This led to moderate success - they were able to elect Ernest B. Southwick (a fraternity man but not part of the key “ring” on campus) as president and Boyd as vice president of the sophomore class. The second “test” against the fraternity men was the annual track meet again, where after bitter competition Boyd was able to win a gold medal - justice for the previous year’s bitter loss. 

Borradaile actually cites the the on-campus politics as the root cause for creating Phi Tau, rather than the track meet. He recalled Miami’s president as having called a meeting to work out the differences between the fraternity and non-fraternity men on campus. But when Borradaile and Douglass attended as representatives, they were told that without an organization behind them, they really did not represent anyone. 

Regardless of which drew more action from these young men, on March 17th, 1906, twenty one men climbed the steps of Old Main Building. Douglass made introductory remarks, then Clinton, Boyd, and Borradaile spoke to the assembly about the need for a permanent, non-fraternity organization to represent their needs on campus. They settled on the name “Non-Fraternity Association,” Douglass agreed to craft a constitution, and Borradaile was elected president for the upcoming year - and the rest is history. 

All of this information comes from Charles T. Ball’s, Miami ’82, book Old Main New Century. If you are interested in reading this book please contact Charlie at cball@phikappatau.org. 

Bethany Graduate Council Throws 95th Anniversary Party

Lilly Steger

The Phi chapter’s graduate council is one we have highlighted before for its exceptional organization and manpower. Years ago, Don Dallas, Bethany ’29, and Dick Mees, Bethany ’48, launched the Harvard Red and Old Gold Club, an educational endowment designed to help Phi Tau brothers. Phi alumni have also kept a detailed chapter directory, mailing lists, and host annual homecoming and fundraising events to keep the chapter engaged. Recently this dedicated group rallied together to host a milestone anniversary, one that will only be topped in five year’s time.


Last October, alumni of the Phi chapter rallied together to collaborate their chapter’s 95th. “We weren’t sure how many would show up, since it was an odd year,” Tim Smith, Bethany ’75, said over the phone, “Our goal was 95 guests for 95 years and we got over 100.” From Friday, October 26th to Sunday, October 28th, Phi alumni gathered in Wheeling, West Virginia, some thirty minutes from Bethany College to celebrate their chapter’s legacy.

Attendees at the open Graduate Council meeting

Attendees at the open Graduate Council meeting

An event nearly a year in the making, it was decided October 2017 to host an event for the 95th. However due to some scheduling conflicts with Bethany, it had to be held at a hotel rather than on campus. Because it was held at a hotel and rooms had to be covered, organizers developed a “sponsorship” system where alumni could chip in during their own registration process to offset the costs for undergraduates. This system raised over $3,000 and all members of the Residents Council were able to attend.

Decor at the Saturday night banquet

Decor at the Saturday night banquet

The event kicked off on Friday night with a “Luau” party - a long standing tradition of the Phi chapter. This was held at the hotel and, despite some rain that canceled plans for a cookout and tiki torches - was huge success with many guests, good food, and custom anniversary Hawaiian shirts. Saturday Brothers and their guests took a tour of the Bethany campus as well as the Phi house, one they have had since 1983. They also had a Graduate Council meeting, open to all attendees, where they “passed the gavel” so all everyone could speak about whatever they wanted. That evening the Harvard Red and Old Gold Club sponsored a reception with speeches, a performance by the Warblers, and distribution of several chapter awards. Every brother that attended also received a new Phi Tau membership card. The event closed with a candlelight ceremony and singing the brotherhood banquet.

A performance from the warblers

A performance from the warblers

The Phi chapter will be celebrating their centennial in 2023 and preparations for the event will begin at least a year in advance. Congratulations to the Phi chapter on the milestone! #GoFar

If you are interested in hosting an event like this you can reach out to your Domain Director.

John Sayers,  Bethany ‘78 , at the luau party

John Sayers, Bethany ‘78, at the luau party

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