About Pi Kappa Phi

Brief History:

Pi Kappa Phi (Pi Kapp) was founded by Andrew Alexander Kroeg, Jr., Lawrence Harry Mixson, and Simon Fogarty, Jr. on December 10, 1904 at the College of Charleston in Charleston, South Carolina. The fraternity has 131 active chapters and 9 associate chapters, with more than 100,000 initiated members. Pi Kapp's national headquarters are currently located in Charlotte, North Carolina. It is the only fraternity to own and operate its own philanthropy, Push America, which works with Pi Kapp chapters to serve people with disabilities.

Mission Statement:

Leaders By Choice - The expression of shared values and ideals as contained in the Ritual of Initiation, Supreme Law and Fraternity policy;

The pursuit of brotherhood through scholarship, leadership, service, and personal experiences;

The achievement of personal excellence in each member and collective excellence in our Fraternity;

A lifelong brotherhood of its members.


In the membership education process of all Pi Kapps, one of the more commonly stressed notions is that a Pi Kapp is a man of C.L.A.S.S. This stands for Character, Leadership, Academics, Sportsmanship, Service. It is these ideals that the national organization and individual chapters strive to attain throughout the recruitment and new member education processes, as well as lifelong objectives of every brother.

Below is a poem written for the Pi Alpha's (someone who has completed the Journey of Hope) upon their arrival in 2002. For more information about Pi Kappa Phi, please visit their website here.


By T.J. Sullivan

Speech to the Journey of Hope Arrival Banquet
Washington, D.C.
Sunday, August 4, 2002

For some, fraternity is a house
a structure of walls and rooms
where men live and pass time.

But my fraternity has no walls
except perhaps the rock walls of Loveland Pass
at the Continental Divide,
or the walls of corn in Iowa,
the skyscrapers lining the streets of Atlanta or Chicago,
the orange girders of the Golden Gate Bridge,
the relentless climb of Kirkwood.

For some men, fraternity is a collection
of photos on a wall.

But for me, it’s the photos taken by
the disposable camera I keep in my back jersey pocket.
It’s the photos taken in front of the welcome signs
as we cross state borders.
It’s the countless snapshots taken with clients
with smiles so wide you can see every tooth
and most of the gums.

It’s the fireworks on the Fourth of July
in a corner of America I’ve never seen before.
It’s the stories in the newspapers,
and answering the same reporter’s question,
“Tell me what you guys are doing, exactly?”
for the hundredth time.

It’s shaving EVERY DAY,
remembering to zip up my jersey,
remove my sunglasses, tuck in my shirt,
and smile for the photos that will hang
in homes and offices for years
after I leave this place.

For some men, fraternity is in the parties
or in a cup of beer.

For me, it’s in gallons and gallons of water
that sustain me. It’s in spotting that Saturn or van
every five miles or so, where I can always
count on a word of encouragement.
It’s in the songs that play over and over
on the FM radio stations that become
the soundtrack of my summer.

It’s in the faces of the kids who talk to puppets
like they are real people.

It’s in preparing meals or shopping in different
grocery stores every day so that my guys
will stay healthy enough to ride tomorrow.
It’s in the children asking for autographs,
and kind, incredible strangers who reach out
to thank me for coming, when really,
they are the ones who should be thanked.

It’s in the cry of excitement I hear from
the girl in the wheelchair as I ride up
for the picnic.

For some men, fraternity is the pin, on the shirt,
or the trophies in the case.

But my fraternity is in the proclamations
in the dozens of small towns celebrating
Journey of Hope Day.
It’s in the trucks that move one lane to the left
and honk their horns to say hello.
It’s in the spaghetti dinner prepared
by people I’ve never met, or the grease mark
that just won’t scrub off my leg.
It’s in the gym floors where I sleep
and the lump in the throat of the volunteer who
says goodbye and “see you next summer.”

It’s maintaining my place in the paceline,
making my way to the front,
where the wind is stronger.

For some men, fraternity is in the party
that ends in the early hours of the morning.

For my fraternity, it’s in the sunrises.
It’s those quiet hours in the Nevada desert
or through the Ohio farmland
when the world is still asleep, and all you hear
is the sound of a dog barking some distance away.

It’s in my t-shirt that desperately
needed a wash two days ago, and now
is simply disgusting.  It’s in smiling my way
through my second or third flat of the day.

For some men, fraternity is about
impressing sororities.

But for me, it’s in the cards and packages
that wait for me at the next mail drop,
especially the ones with the stickers and
magic marker hearts all over them.
It’s about that volunteer in Nebraska
who hugs me like she’s always known me.

It’s in getting our butts kicked
in wheelchair basketball.

It’s in anticipating the look on my mom’s face
as I ride onto the grounds of the Capitol,
and the pride in my dad’s voice
while he waits patiently for mom to let go.

For some men, fraternity is about getting
another event shirt.

But for me, fraternity is forgetting
that I’m standing in front of a few thousand people
in a baseball stadium, wearing spandex.
It’s riding next to Bruce Rogers into Denver,
pinching myself because I’m riding next
to the guy who started it all.

It’s in the phone calls from my girlfriend
who understood how important this was to me.
Or, in the admiration of my chapter brothers,
and my real-life little brother
who thinks I’m cool.
It’s dancing with the young woman
with the walker who makes me blush
when she shamelessly hits on me.

For some men, fraternity is about
pledge class unity, or leadership positions.

But for me, it’s glancing in my left rear-view mirror
for the first cyclist to appear
as I wait alone on a roadside.

But for me, it’s that moment when I realize
that these guys riding beside me have become
my family, and that soon this incredible
journey will be a memory.

It’s about those times when we get off the bikes
and just look out a piece of scenery so breathtaking
that no one says a word.  Then, one guy
turns away to wipe his eyes with his forearm
and says, “Let’s get back on the bikes, fellas.”

It’s about arriving in Tallahassee or Washington
and wanting in some small way to turn
around and do it again.  Or in the relief in the
eyes of the staff members who pray every night
for my safe return.

For some men, fraternity is about four years.

But my fraternity goes for miles and miles
on two thin wheels.

You see, I am a Pi Kappa Phi.
I have learned the true meaning of fraternity.

I am a Pi Alpha.



© Copyright Ryan Cole 2008