March 2004 Newsletter

March 2004 Newsletter

2003 Lambda Pi Alumni Association Reunion

The 2003 Alumni Association Reunion weekend was held last October and thoroughly enjoyed by all. Well over 100 brothers and guests attended the festivities. Activities included: golfing, burgers and spirits at the Oasis, the Alumni Annual Meeting, relaxing at the fraternity house, cocktail parties, Formal Dinner with a short program followed by Rockin & Rollin to the music until late into the evening. Yes, the Pi’s still know how to have fun, party and get things done...


The fraternity was started in 1944 by our founding fathers and several of them are already planning to attend this year’s function. Plans are being made to have the Dinner Dance at the famous Sierra Nevada Brewery, one the best Chico venues, plus a well- known live band. We are going all out to have a Big 60th Anniversary celebration. Interest is already high from Lambda Pis from all decades; this is the BIG one you won’t want to miss. We are expecting 300+ brothers and guests to join in the anniversary celebration. Craig Pollock has already volunteered to host a cocktail party for the wild crowd from the 70’s and John D'Anna is excited about hosting a cocktail party for the brothers from the decade of 1960’s. Several other decade cocktail parties will gather as groups before the dinner dance.

Beside the BOG officers, we all owe a great deal to several other Alumni who devoted their time to make 2003 and the reunion a success: lead by Wayne Tarr they include, Ed Kimball, Charlie Moss, Lee Deter, Bob Eernissee, and others. Our collective Lambda Pi thanks go out to all these brothers.

2003 Alumni Association Meeting Minutes

The 2003 Lambda Pi Alumni annual meeting was called to order by Mike Strand on 10-11-03 at 10:30am at the old dorm cafeteria by the creek on campus. Our Secretary, Joe Belden, read the minutes of the previous meeting and told a few jokes; Joe was the only one who laughed. Several comments were made about Joe’s appearance and intelligence. The minutes were then approved as read. Our Treasurer Randy Mora gave the financial report……..about $17,000 in the bank plus the value of the house. Discussions followed about paying off the remainder of the house loan by asking brothers to make donations that would qualify as a Tax Deduction. House Manager Craig Bates reported on improvements to the fraternity house which included a new wood floor. Active Manager Jack Dufour gave his report and awarded three scholarships from the Alumni Assoc. to deserving members and then had the Active members and pledges stand and introduce themselves.

President Mike Strand gave his report and reported a substantial increase in brothers reconnecting with each other. He emphasized the importance of paying down the house loan and maintaining an active scholarship plan. Mike announced an impressive list of Lambda Pi Alumni recognized for their service to the University: three members of the University Alumni Board of Directors and seven Distinguished Alumni; significantly more than any other group. (The latest being Brian Strom in 2002 and the recent Donor Spotlight recognition of Chuck Seufferiein). Annual elections were held for a new BOG. The outgoing BOG officers were given a standing ovation for their fine work. Mike expressed his confidence in the new officer team and asked that all Alumni give their full support to this new team of leaders.

Thanks and Recogition

image012A big thanks to our last years Alumni Officer Team led by President Mike Strand. They brought the fraternity and Alumni Association to a new level of organization, financial stability, and increased active and alumni membership.

« Outgoing Lambda Pi Alumni Officers - 2002 & 2003 (left to right):

Active Manager Jack Dufour ( F ‘66), House Manager Craig Bates ( F ’81), Secretary Joe Belden ( F ‘65), Treasurer Randy Mora ( F ’80), President Mike Strand ( F ’64).

These brothers served in their office for two years. Organizational improvement just doesn’t happen by itself! This team of capable officers continued the foundational work created by our previous officers led by Ron Solomon as President. Randy Mora, Jeremy Callahan and Jack DuFour served as Officers for two terms and have now begun a 3rd term.

New Lambda Pi Alumni Officers

image016« New Lambda Pi Alumni Officers - 2004 (Left to right):

House Manager Charlie Moss (F ‘57), Active Manager Jack Dufour (F ‘66), Treasurer Randy Mora (F ‘80), President Grant Codiga (F ‘79), Secretary Ben Strand (F ‘66), Jeremy Callahan (F ’92).

Our new BOG president Grant Codiga addressed the group and outlined his goals for the coming year:

  • Plan for a Rockin’ 60th Anniversary Celebration in October.
  • Continue to improve alumni communications through our Lambda Pi website, emails, newsletters and networking.
  • Continue making house improvements and work to pay down the mortgage to achieve a debt-free status.
  • Increase visits and communication with the Active group - help build the Active group from 25 to 40 quality members.
  • Support the Chico High School restoration project under the direction of John D’Anna.
  • Further support Wayne Tarr’s effort to grow Chico State Alumni membership.
  • Continue to improve communications with the University developing new partnerships – Initiate a 60th Reunion dedication.

image018Vic Brownell, one of our founding fathers, told the group about helping start the fraternity in 1944. Vic remembered that in 1944 women students significantly outnumbered the men. He said that he and the other Founders started Lambda Pi primarily because they opposed the public pledging tactics of the other fraternities.

Vic told us how impressed he was with our Alumni Association and Active group he met during his visit. It was very gratifying to him to see the continued interest in a local fraternity that does not have a national group to keep it going. It shows the great friendships and experiences that we have as fraternity brothers. Many questions and laughter prevailed. His comments ended with a standing ovation. Grant asked everyone to meet at the fraternity house at 1pm to meet and visit with the Actives. Grant reminded everyone of the various decade parties before the 7 pm dinner dance at the Holiday Inn. The Green and White was sung with vigor and the meeting was adjourned at 12:07 pm. About 50 Lambda Pi’s attended the Annual Alumni Association meeting.

Jack's Active Report

The fall of 2003 was a positive step for Lambda Pi. The semester began with 13 pledges and 11 pledges ended up being formally initiated at the end of Help Week. As of today we have 25 Actives. The fruits of our labor are netting results. During Rush Week, Grant Codiga, Bob Kohen, Bruce Fields and I participated in a Tuesday rush activity. The actives invited about 15 strong prospective pledges to the house. An excellent spread of tri tip, bread, salad, and beer was served. The alumni present had an opportunity to talk to each of the prospects. It was a low key affair and we had time to get to know and recruit each prospect. Girls arrived about 2 hours after the meal was concluded. Good touch. The actives commented that Alumni participation at the Rush function played a key role in several young men signing up to pledge Lambda Pi. Due to this success, the Alumni plan to do the same thing for spring rush. This joint activity was fun for both Alumni and Actives and provided a positive model of how to effectively recruit new members. The Actives currently have 13 pledges for the spring semester. We encourage you to join us at the next Rush activity; you will have a ball!

Many of the junior actives still live in dorms and we will utilize that asset to recruit. We are in the process of teaching the active group how to make a rush pamphlet with Lambda Pi photos, history, and goals. This can be an effective tool for recruiting. We want the Active group to create the pamphlet for the spring rush. I believe we are finally in a position to recruit larger pledge classes. The number of actives is increasing, and there is a direct correlation between the size of the active group and the size of the pledge class. We are gaining momentum to build a solid Active group. The best is ahead of us.

By the way, we all owe Jack a special “thanks” for volunteering so much of his time to work with our Active group. 2003 was a challenging year for Jack: he endured both prostate and colon cancer surgery this year AND GOT MARRIED! Plus he volunteered to serve a THIRD term on our Alumni BOG. Jack we love you and thanks for your outstanding contribution to Lambda Pi; you are amazing!

Golf Event

The Lambda Pi brothers had another great golf event at the 2003 Reunion. Gary Kent was the host member at Canyon Oaks Country Club for us again. Even though it was a very breezy day, there was still a great turnout. Those that attended were as follows:

Patrick Sullivan, Gary Masich, Gary Kent, Alan Freese, Randy Yergenson, Ben Strand, Dale Cooper, Rico Brazil, Brian Herndon, Ken Lange, Larry Ray, Dick Young, Chris Nichols, Phil Mickelson Sr., & Joe Belden.

Some of the highlights of the golf outing were.......a residence burned down a mile or so away and the wind blew smoke over the course so dense that many of the golfers could not see their ‘300’ yard drives right down the middle or their wedge shots within 2 feet of the pin. Chris Nichols, being the fine looking woman she is, received many helpful hints on her swing, stance, and body posture and so on. All the guys wanted to help show her how to hold the club. No one went thirsty out on the course. The beer wagon followed the Pi group closely the whole day. Benny Strand couldn't be there at the beginning due to his flight schedule, but he caught up with us around the 5th hole or so and then proceeded to whip our butts. Yes, Phil Mickelson Sr. is the father of Phil Mickelson Jr. the famous tour professional on the PGA. His son’s silky smooth swing is just like his dad – sweet!

Lambda Pi Alumni 2004 Planning Meeting

On 12-13-03 at 3:30 pm Grant Codiga called to order an Alumni Board planning meeting at the Chico Brewhouse. He asked for the minutes to be read covering the 2003 Alumni annual meeting. Secretary, Ben Strand, read the minutes. Craig Bates motioned the minutes be approved; it was seconded and the minutes were approved as read. Grant spoke about the history of Lambda Pi’s struggle during the past 10 years and its rebirth success during the past 4 years. Craig Bates began commenting on his era and involvement with the Pi’s and further commented on what’s happening with Chico fraternities in today’s time. Dan Ostrander and Rod Hass commented on the same subjects from their perspectives.

A key point to all this discussion is - successful fraternities must deal with the dynamic issues of the fraternity on a real time basis. Grant remarked that Lambda Pi Fraternity is now an alumnus driven fraternity that can deal with fraternity issues as they cycle. Grant has set up a house improvement organization that will bring in needed resources. Recently fencing improvements were accomplished under the direction of Charlie Moss. Dan Ostrander kindly donated labor to install new windows. The Active organization is in place to help coach and direct the active membership and general communications will be handled by the newsletter and web page. Emphasis in the fraternity will be placed on minimizing demeaning behavior and increasing the mental and conditioning aspects of pledging. Discussions continued recognizing the changes in society and how the fraternity needs to adapt. The above comments resulted in a strategic theme that will require listening, sensitivity and action from the alumni board. Treasurer, Randy Mora, gave a financial budget update with forecasts.

Lambda Pi Fraternity Alumni Association
Treasurers Report
As of December 13, 2003

  1. Combined cash balances as of December 13, 2003 total $17,110.71. Funds are in 3 accounts at Wells Fargo Bank as follows:
    • Money Market $ 14,482.39
    • General checking 2,597.44
    • Active Support A/C –Dufour 30.74
    • Total $ 17,110.71
  2. Cash Flow Report: Cash balances as of the beginning of the year were $20,649.68. The net decrease in cash is $3,538.29.
  3. Net Worth Report: The Alumni Association’s net worth of $163,985.71 is comprised primarily of cash balances and equity in the Cedar Street House.

Submitted by: Randy A. Mora, Alumni Treasurer

Randy was thanked for his superb service as our financial manger. Randy stated we are in good shape but tracking slightly down and have a soft rental market. Discussions occurred on the house rent dynamics. Remarks covered: we bought the house right, we need to maintain the house in good repair, the house needs to be fully occupied, and the tenants need to feel good about living in the house.. Bruce Field suggested using the attic as a room. Grant directed Bruce to work with Charlie to assess the feasibility and develop a plan.

Jack Dufour gave an update report on the actives, pledging and rush. The Alcohol Pledges were signed by all Active members and pledges. Jack showed the group an old pamphlet the actives were planning to customize for our fraternity. This pamphlet will be used to explain the history of Lambda Pi and will be used for recruiting. A motion passed to set up a $300/ semester Fraternity Development Budget account for Jack’s expenses as required. Discussions occurred covering: paying off the house loan, establishing the LLC, and the high cost fraternity insurance. Grant asked Dan Ostrander to review our insurance coverage and offer suggestions. Grant plans to move forward to raise money with the Resource Committee. Rod Hass and Grant reported on plans for Lambda Pi’s 60th Anniversary next fall. Grant reminded everyone we were having dinner with the actives and encouraged all to go by the fraternity house. Four Alumni officers and 3 other alumni participated at the meeting. Grant adjourned the meeting at 5:45 pm. About 15 fraternity actives had dinner with this alumni group.

Did you know history shows students from Greek organizations have a great impact on American society? For example:

  • 85% of Fortune 500 chief executives were in fraternities
  • 75% of Congress is Greek
  • More than 80% of all presidents and Supreme Court justices since 1900 have been Greek
    Lambda Chi Alpha magazine 11-2003

Lambda Pi Alumni Spotlight

Chuck Seufferiein - (B.S., Business 1974) is CEO of Cornish & Carey Commercial, a large real estate firm in the Bay Area. Chuck is providing funding for an annual award program to help business students who want to study business in a foreign country through international programs in the College of Business.

Brian Strom – (B.S., Accounting, 1969) is president and CEO of SureWest Communications in Roseville, California. Strom was selected as the 2002 Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year and as the 2001 Roseville Chamber of Commerce Businessperson of the Year.

Alumni Memorable Moments

Navy Jet Jock Meets the Red Baron!

As part of the colorful and notorious Pi history, there are a couple of our brothers in particular with a storied past whose individual exploits are of legendary status. For the first time each became aware of the other over this past reunion weekend.

Drifting back to the reunion weekend… it was late Friday night out in front of the Oasis, a handful of brothers were still swapping tall tales about the good ole days at Chico State. There were many wild and crazy stories and they would have been funny and entertaining regardless of the quantity of beer consumed.

Then it came time for the Jet Jock’s story by one of our esteemed brothers from the 50’s. It took little coaxing to get him to relate his high-speed “visit” to the fraternity house. While then gainfully employed by the U.S. Navy, he was overcome by how much he missed his Pi brothers, the frat house and Chico. He made a few phone calls, --a warning really, announcing the time of his “visit”. He reminded the brothers, however, that he couldn’t hang around long—it would have to be just a “short” visit. A little noisy too, he added.

With the frat house on stand-by alert (but the rest of Chico unaware) they finally heard him coming… at tree top level! …in a U.S. Navy jet! 400 knots! With perfect timing, the jet shot up vertical right over the Pi house with afterburners roaring! Then disappearing from sight, the Jet Jock returned to Navy formation and continued his training run over Nevada. It took a week or two for Chico to return to normal. No Martha, Chico wasn’t being invaded!

All of us who heard the story for the first time that Friday night loved it! Other guys from the 50’s couldn’t wait to chime in and embellish the telling! One of the more amusing of the anecdotes was that there had been a slight miscalculation of the actual elevation at Chico and as it turns out, “tree top level” wasn’t quite accurate –it was LESS than tree top level – a little scary! Rumor has it that certain trees in Chico are still stunted to this day.

When the Jet Jock’s story was told and retold, I remembered another fabled flying ace of sorts. The Red Baron! Our Red Baron of the 60’s! Brothers from the ‘60s couldn’t wait to share the exploits of the Red Baron. One of us started the story and each of us constantly interrupted the other.

The Red Baron Rides! Four concise words. Just a single telephone call to Craig Hall alerted 900 girls that the Red Baron was again on his way. That’s all it took.

By the time the Red Baron rode up in front of the dorm on his Triumph motorcycle, the girls were lined up on the street cheering him on. He wore a WWI leather pilot’s helmet, goggles, a long red scarf wrapped around his neck flowing in the breeze, and NOTHING ELSE! Yes – No clothing! All of Craig Hall (the women at least) were lined up out front cheering on their champion and no doubt, wondering who the masked marvel really was. With the local police closing in, the Red Baron returned to the Lambda Pi house, grabbed a beer and dressed before the officers approached the brothers and asked: “All right. Who’s the Red Baron?” One history major spoke up and said: “Oh officer, I know that one, wasn’t he the famous WWI German fighter pilot?” The police departed once more without discovering the identity of the Red Baron; even today, this local Chico brother’s identity is only known to a few trusted brethren.

The Jet Jock loved this story and asked if the Red Baron was going to be in town. He really wanted to meet another colleague of the “wild blue yonder”. I shared that he lived in town and probably, in turn, wanted to also meet the Jet Jock. As it turns out, the Red Baron was at the frat house on Saturday for a few brueskies. I was able to relate to him the stories of the night before and he was, as expected, most interested in the story of the Jet Jock. After listening attentively, he had just one question, “Was he wearing clothes?” What do you mean, I asked. “Did the Jet Jock fly his multi-million U.S. Navy Jet naked? Yes or No?” Hell, I don’t know! I said. I’ll have to ask him.

Later that Saturday night at the dinner dance, I bumped into the Jet Jock. I couldn’t wait to tell him of the Red Baron’s awe and respect as well as his one question.

“Naked? Really? That’s what he wanted to know? Well, no. Let’s see. You know I guess it’s possible to fly a jet that way. I never did it…..I guess it could be done. Hell, once you were in the cockpit, it would be too tight------I think you’ve got to be ”prepared” first before you climb in….I’m positive no one ever flew a U.S. Navy jet that way….You’d have to walk across the tarmac ….I’ve got to meet this guy. Is he here? Point him out to me will you?”

So at last the great Lambda Pi legends the Red Baron and the Jet Jock met at last year’s reunion and toasted each other. That’s the beauty of our fraternity. We’ve got so many characters with so many stories to tell. Formals, informal, sneaks, house memories, socials, Pioneer Week,……… The list is endless. All you have to do is simply ask… “So, tell me about your time at Chico.” Then sit back, listen and be amazed! I’m telling you guys….you have got to believe that your time at Chico and your being a Pi brother are times to be relished! The above story is just a snippet. What a history we have!

This coming October, we will be celebrating our 60th anniversary! Sixty years! You need to be there. You need to reconnect with your brothers. They want to see you again and “catch up”. Don’t think for a moment that you’ll be all talked out and have nothing left to say after the first 10 minutes. No Way!

Many of us have reestablished friendships and now get together and talk frequently. It has been an unexpected pleasure, I assure you!

See you in October.
Your fellow brother,
Joe Belden

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