Pi Kappa Phi recently celebrated 50 years of continuous brotherhood.
The fraternity, nationally founded in South Carolina in 1904, found its way to, then, Troy State College in 1964.
Pi Kappa Phi was the first recognized and colonized social fraternity on Troy’s campus. Theta Chi was the second social fraternity to be recognized, according to an article from the Tropolitan in 1964.
Before this year, fraternities and sororities were not allowed to organize on Troy’s campus. There also seemed to be little to do socially in the city of Troy at this time, according to the founding members and the history of the colony.
Johnny Butler, one of the founding members, had visited the Omicron chapter of Pi Kappa Phi at the University of Alabama and decided to try to bring the fraternity and the Greek system to Troy. This would be a revolutionary change on Troy’s campus and would help create a social scene that would help show the liveliness of the university in town.
Butler ran for the Student Government Association president his sophomore year, ’63-’64 school year, and won. His platforms were to bring more entertainment and the Greek system to Troy’s campus.
While Butler was unsuccessful in his attempts to bring the Greek system to Troy during his presidency, he continued to fight for the idea to bring fraternities and sororities to Troy.
Charles Kendrick, the founder of Gamma Gamma chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, met with Butler in the Pine Lounge of the Troy Hotel in the fall of 1963, about forming a chapter of the fraternity at Troy, the same place the future members would meet before being allowed to organize on campus.
The founding members used the growing social scene of Troy as a way to advertise their efforts to start a fraternity on campus. They attended social events together and began to call themselves a fraternity, even before they were recognized as a group on campus.
Kendrick and Butler approached the president in 1964, Col. Ralph Adams, the president following Frank Stewart’s death, who refused to allow the Greek system to organize on campus. The men were successful in getting approved to organize the fraternity at Troy following a passing vote from the Student Senate. The men won their campaign by a small margin.
Through a ceremonial ritual on Dec. 6, 1964, 24 men were inducted into the Kappa Phi colony of Troy State College.
Doug Hawkins, the chapter adviser, and Brooks Thompson, the faculty adviser, were instrumental in guiding the original colony and it’s new members to become the Gamma Gamma Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, which was chartered on April 9, 1966.
The fraternity celebrated the 50-year milestone with a banquet dinner where the founding members were able to tell their stories of the organization of the group and their appreciation of the growth and success of the fraternity.
Bo Barrow, the first initiate of Pi Kappa Phi, said that the founding members never imagined that the fraternity would become what it has become today.
“We had more of a bootstrap operation than what they have now,”Barrow said. “We had to learn as we went.”
Butler said that he is proud of the organization and the members of the fraternity today.
“I’m so pleased to see these young men,”Butler said. “They’re sharp, alert and they’re having a good time. Yet, they are serious about their education. I’m very proud to come back as an alumnus.”
Meeting the founding members of the fraternity was an amazing opportunity for the members of Pi Kappa Phi.
Taylor Gray, a freshman psychology major from Hope Hull, an associate member and legacy to the
fraternity, said that meeting the founding brothers was an important moment.
“It’s very important to me to meet the founding members of the fraternity that my dad was a part of and that I want to be a part of,”Gray said. “They show me the foundation of the morals and principles of leadership that I want to pursue as a young man.”
The fraternity has impacted and changed the lives of many of the members throughout the years.
Nick Ledford, a junior nursing major from Slocomb, said that he has been changed in the time as a brother of Pi Kappa Phi.
“The fraternity definitely helped build me as a leader,”Ledford said. “I think that, without it, we wouldn’t be the men we are today.”
Butler said that he feels that the fraternity has a bright future ahead of it and can’t wait to see where it will be in the next 50 years.
“If these men just continue in the direction they’re going, these men will be successful,”Butler said. “Every one of us in the chapter have been successful, and I account a lot of that to being organized as a colony of Pi Kappa Phi.”