Pi Kappa Alpha

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Pi Kappa Alpha
Pi Kappa Alpha Coat of Arms.svg
Founded March 1, 1868; 147 years ago (1868-03-01)
University of Virginia
Type Secret/Social
Scope International
Vision statement "To set the standard of integrity, intellect, and achievement for our members, host institutions, and the communities in which we live"
Motto "Once a Pike, Always a Pike"
Colors      Garnet      Old Gold
Symbol The Oak Tree, Shield & Diamond, White Horse, Dagger & Key
Flower Lily of the Valley
Jewel Diamond
Publication Shield and Diamond
Chapters 225[1]
Members 15,590[2] collegiate
270,000[1] lifetime
Nicknames Pikes, Pikas
Headquarters 8347 West Range Cove
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
Homepage http://www.pikes.org

Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ) is a college fraternity founded at the University of Virginia in 1868. The fraternity has over 220 chapters and colonies across the United States and Canada with over 15,500 undergraduate members and 270,000 lifetime initiates. Originally a white-only southern organization, the fraternity became a national fraternity in 1909, and removed its racial restrictions in 1964.[3][4]


Pi Kappa Alpha was founded on Sunday evening March 1, 1868, at 47 West Range (The Range) at the University of Virginia, by Robertson Howard, Julian Edward Wood, James Benjamin Sclater Jr., Frederick Southgate Taylor, Littleton Waller Tazewell Bradford and William Alexander.[5] On March 1, 1869, exactly one year after the Alpha Chapter at the University of Virginia was formed, the Beta Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was founded at Davidson College.[6] Theta Chapter, at Rhodes College, took over the responsibilities of Alpha chapter when the Fraternity was in decline in its infancy. John Shaw Foster, a junior founder from Theta Chapter, helped to reestablish Alpha Chapter at the University of Virginia. Theta Chapter is the longest continual running chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha since its inception in 1878. After almost a decade of decline, Pi Kappa Alpha was "re-founded" as part of the Hampden-Sydney Convention, held in a dorm room at Hampden–Sydney College. The four delegates to the Hampden-Sydney Convention are referred to as the Junior Founders. Pi Kappa Alpha was not originally organized as a sectional fraternity, however by constitutional provision it became so in 1889.[7] It remained a southern fraternity until the New Orleans Convention in 1909 when Pi Kappa Alpha officially declared itself a national organization.[8]

Originally, Pi Kappa Alpha's membership was restricted to white men, but the race restriction was removed in 1964.[3]


Its rituals are based on Independent Order of Odd Fellows.[9]

Shield & Diamond[edit]

Shield & Diamond is the official quarterly publication of Pi Kappa Alpha. It was first printed in December 1890 by Robert Adger Smythe, the then Grand Secretary and Treasurer, under the name The Pi Kappa Alpha Journal. The name was changed to Shield & Diamond in 1891.[8]

Foundation and educational programs[edit]

Pike University[edit]

Pike University is the name used for all of the fraternity's leadership programs. The program is administered by the fraternity's professional staff.[10] Founded in 1948 as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization for charitable, literary & educational purposes. Events held by the university include International Convention, the Academy, the Chapter Executives Conference, and several regional Leadership Summits. Pike University grants more than $100,000 in scholarships each year.

The Pike Foundation[edit]

In 1948, Pi Kappa Alpha established and chartered the "Pi Kappa Alpha Memorial Foundation" as a 501(c)(3) organization.[11] The foundation grants $350,000 in scholarships and grants to undergraduate members each year. It also provides funding to the fraternity and its chapters for leadership programs, scholarships, and chapter house facilities. The foundation grants initiation fee scholarships to undergraduates inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, Omicron Delta Kappa, Order of Omega, Phi Kappa Phi, and Tau Beta Pi honoraries.[8][12] The Pike Foundation also maintains and operates the Memorial Headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. This facility houses professional staffs, the Harvey T. Newell Library, and the Freeman Hart Museum.[13] The building is a war memorial built in 1988 to recognize the military services of members who died in the line of duty.[13] A Gold Star Memorial was dedicated on August 1, 2008.[13][14][15]


Pi Kappa Alpha's move to start a chapter at the historically black Howard University in 2006 was opposed by some students and alumni.[4][undue weight? ]

In 2014, the leaders of the fraternity's University of Arkansas chapter were asked to resign following an unauthorized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day party that incorporated racist stereotypes.[16][17]

In October 2012, the fraternity was suspended indefinitely at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville following the hospitalization of a member.[18]

In 2012, Pi Kappa Alpha pledge David Bogenberger died of a cardiac arrhythmia triggered by alcohol poisoning. "The event that night involved the pledges rotating between several rooms in the fraternity house, being asked a series of questions, and then being provided cups of vodka and other liquor to drink," police said in a statement. "This resulted in the pledges drinking a large quantity of alcohol in about a two-hour time period." Pledges were told to drink regardless of whether they answered questions correctly.[19]

List of Pi Kappa Alpha brothers[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b https://www.pikes.org/ShowNews.aspx?pid=9&nid=1323
  2. ^ "2013-2014 Year in Review". Retrieved 2015-03-01. 
  3. ^ a b Hughey, Matthew W (Win–Spr 2006). "Black, White, Greek...Like Who?: Howard University Student Perceptions of a White Fraternity on Campus". Educational Foundations 20 (1-2): 9–35. Retrieved 5 January 2013.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  4. ^ a b Craig LaRon Torbenson, Gregory S. Parks (2009). Brothers and Sisters: Diversity in College Fraternities and Sororities. Associated University Presse. p. 261. 
  5. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Founding History". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  6. ^ Beta Chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "A History of Beta". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities, 1920 Edition, page 306
  8. ^ a b c Garnet & Gold Pledge Guide (15th ed.). Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. 1970. 
  9. ^ Conspiracy Theory & Secret Societies
  10. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Pike University". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  11. ^ https://www.pikes.org/EducationalFoundation.aspx?pid=10
  12. ^ Folmsbee, Stanley (1960). History of Tennessee , Volume 4. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 838. 
  13. ^ a b c Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Memorial Headquarters". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  14. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Fast Facts". Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  15. ^ United States of America Congressional Record 111th Congress, Vol. 155 - Part 7. Government of United States. 2009. p. 9673. 
  16. ^ Maher, Emily (26 February 2014). "Frat president reacts to accusations of racially-themed party". KHBS Ft. Smith/Fayetteville. Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  17. ^ Leyenberger, Kyle; Gilleece, Erin (27 February 2014). "UA Frat Sanctioned After 'Disrespectful' MLK Party". NWAHomepage.com (Nexstar Broadcasting). Retrieved 4 June 2014. 
  18. ^ "Fraternity known for butt-chugging is 'suspended indefinitely' at Tennessee". Retrieved 2014-07-08. 
  19. ^ Burnett, Sarah (2012-12-18). "Hazing At Fraternity: 22 Pi Kappa Alpha Members Charged After Student Dies". Huffington Post. 

External links[edit]