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Kovner Banquet 2007

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Admitting, “I’m half the man I used to be” the newly svelte Mike Naegele ’92, President of the Alumni Association, emceed this year’s event. He began the evening with an observation:

“2007 marks the 80th anniversary of Pi Lambda Phi on Temple’s campus. That’s 80 years of tradition, camaraderie, leadership, sports championships, parties, bad beer, illicit substances, deviant sex acts, senseless acts of stupidity, arrests (but very few convictions), campus-low GPAs, and wholesale aggravation for the university administration. Here’s to 80 more!”

It is this sentiment that brought over 50 alumni and undergraduates to the Holiday Inn Historic District on November 9, 2007 to renew fraternal bonds and honor the memory of fraternity brother Alfred “Koko” Kovner.

While past banquets favored attendees with a thick skin and protective eyewear, this year brothers felt little cause to engage in raucous behavior, instead focusing on catching up and embellishing their fraternal reputations. The event would serve as a platform to discuss the state of the chapter, recent achievements and plans for the future.

Mike called upon the eldest member in attendance to deliver the invocation. Fran DeLucia ’53, reached out to the entire organization, “it is my honor and my pleasure to be here to deliver the invocation this evening… blessings to those who are here and those who are not here.” 

The group then observed a moment of silence for those who passed into the Chapter Eternal in 2007:

  • Phillip Zeidman ‘49
  • Sheldon Perloff ’69
  • Shawn Battle ’92.

State of the Chapter

Chapter Rex, Ron Jenkins ’08 was asked to give a brief report on the undergraduate chapter. Ron noted that nearly 20 members were still active and participating in meetings, sports and other activities. He spoke of the brotherhood’s desperate need to begin pledging to replenish waning numbers, but recognized that due to tenuous relations with the university, working closely with the alumni and Pi Lam IHQ was the best way to go about this.

Jim Kelsh ‘75, Vice President of the Alumni Association, then took the podium to provide a state of the chapter report. Jim initially disoriented the supposedly college-educated crowd by using big words like “vociferous” to describe last year’s banquet. But he quickly rebounded, pointing to the simplicity of some of our successes, including the formation of the alumni association, appointing of chapter advisors Ron Savarese ’91 and Tim Bryan ‘87, progress of committees, and opening channels of communications with the university. 

Jim and Gary Sanders, Pi Lambda Phi Executive Director, then fielded questions from the floor regarding the reestablishment of the chapter, housing options, possible investment strategies, and finances.

Undergraduate Awards

During the awards ceremony, undergraduates were recognized for their various contributions to the chapter.

To present the Athletic Achievement award, Mike introduced a brother who put to rest the rumor that most Pi Lams only wrestle with alcoholism, recent inductee to the South Jersey Wrestling Hall of Fame, Dean Sizemore ’77. Dean presented the award to Rex Ron Jenkins ‘08, who brazenly challenged the alumni to a flag football game, like the old days. Only the alumni’s relative sobriety and brittle bones prevented them from taking up the challenge right then and there.

Lee Greenspan ’55, a classmate and close friend of Jerome R. Balka, delivered the 2007 Balka award for adherence to the Pi Lam code of conduct (SCLOF). Not the most academic of brothers, Joe Carrington, accepted the award, admitting that, “four out of five ain’t bad.”

David “Tagles” McDonnell ’89, former Rex and Kovner winner, delivered the most prestigious award of the fraternity, the Alfred “Koko” Kovner Memorial. The 2007 award winner was graduating senior Scott Fultineer ’07. Scott unselfishly deferred personal accolades and thanked the alumni association and those in attendance for all they have done for the active chapter.

Good and Welfare

A call for Good and Welfare was met with enthusiasm as a number of brothers expressed what Pi Lam has meant to them and their desire to reinvest in the chapter’s future.

“The people that you meet through this whole journey of brotherhood… last for a lifetime. You count on these people. It’s not just what you go through in college; it’s what you go through in life. Pi Lam has meant a whole lot to me.” 

– Tom Monaco ’86

“We’re here for a reason. We’ve got a great thing and we’ve kept it going for the greater part of a century.”

– Paul Lucas ’93

The ensuing call to “pass the bowl” resulted in some well-needed donations for the chapter. For some brothers it may have also resulted in a case of the munchies, but we don’t care to speculate on that.

To wrap up, Bob Arthur ’94, chairman of the events planning committee, described the post banquet activities, which included specials at a local drinking establishment and a Saturday tailgate for the Temple vs. Penn State football game.