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Pi Kappa Alpha

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Pi Kappa Alpha
FoundedMarch 1, 1868; 156 years ago (1868-03-01)
University of Virginia
Colors  Garnet
  Old Gold
SymbolThe Oak Tree, Shield & Diamond, Dagger & Key
FlowerLily of the Valley
PublicationShield and Diamond
Members300,000[1] lifetime
Headquarters8347 West Range Cove
Memphis, Tennessee 38125
United States

Pi Kappa Alpha (ΠΚΑ), commonly known as PIKE, is a college fraternity founded at the University of Virginia in 1868. The fraternity has over 225 chapters and provisional chapters across the United States and abroad with over 15,500 undergraduate members and over 300,000 lifetime initiates.


Pi Kappa Alpha at the Georgia Institute of Technology

Pi Kappa Alpha was founded on March 1, 1868, in Room 47 in West Range (The Range) at the University of Virginia by six graduate students:

Three of the Founders had been former cadets, having served on both sides of the recently concluded Civil War. One had been a Union hospital officer, another a Confederate veteran, and a third, a repatriate. Expansion was considered early in the fraternity's history; 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.[3] Its Gamma chapter was placed at William and Mary just two years later, and a total of seven chapters formed in the first decade. This period of early growth slowed though, and by 1889 only four chapters remained active.[4]

A call for a national convention was sent out, and delegates of three of the four active chapters met in what would become the "junior founding" of the fraternity at what they called the Hampden–Sydney Convention, held in a dorm room at Hampden–Sydney College. This marked the start of a new wave of prosperity and substantial growth and the end of almost a decade of decline. Theta chapter, at Rhodes College, took over the responsibilities of Alpha chapter, granting chapters for a short period before this duty was taken over by an administrative office. 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, having been founded in 1878. The four delegates to the Hampden–Sydney Convention are referred to as the Junior Founders.[4]

Pi Kappa Alpha was not originally organized as a sectional fraternity; however, by constitutional provision it became so in 1889, and for twenty years would only open chapters south of the Mason-Dixon Line.[5]

Pi Kappa Alpha members have supported the nation's armed conflicts in large numbers. In World War I, one out of every six members of the fraternity served in uniform. In World War II, 15,000 of its 33,000 active members served, including General Courtney Hodges, a four-star general and commander of the US First Army in Europe.[4]

Sectarian and other restrictions that were in place during the early years have since been modified or removed entirely: Pi Kappa Alpha remained a southern fraternity until the New Orleans Convention in 1909 when the fraternity officially declared itself a national organization.[6][4] Like many other social fraternities at the time, Pi Kappa Alpha had limited its membership to white males. All race restrictions were removed in 1964.[7]

Traditions and symbols[edit]

The fraternity's rituals were based on those of Independent Order of Odd Fellows.[8]

Shield & Diamond is the official quarterly publication of Pi Kappa Alpha. It was first printed in December 1890 by Robert Adger Smythe, who was then Grand Secretary and Treasurer, under the name The Pi Kappa Alpha Journal. The name was changed to Shield & Diamond in 1891.[6]

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.[9]

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. 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.[6][10] 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.[11] The building is a war memorial built in 1988 to recognize the military services of members who died in the line of duty.[11] A Gold Star Memorial was dedicated on August 1, 2008.[11][12][13]


Chapter misconduct[edit]

Despite policies put in place by the national fraternity to curtail hazing behavior,[14] local chapters have been involved in events which lead to deaths, sexual assault, and other misconduct. Notable examples of misconduct which led to death include:

  • The 1976 death of Samuel Mark Click, a pledge at Texas Tech University who was killed by a train while participating in a scavenger hunt as part of a hazing event.[15]
  • In 2002, Albert Santos, a pledge at the University of Nevada at Reno, drowned in a lake participating in a hazing ritual. He and several pledges were told to swim in a lake in their underwear but Santos could not swim.[16]
  • In 2012, Pi Kappa Alpha pledge David Bogenberger died of a cardiac arrhythmia triggered by alcohol poisoning. According to police, Bogenberger and other pledges at an unsanctioned Northern Illinois University event were pressured into drinking large quantities of alcohol in a two-hour time.[17] Bogenberger and 18 other pledges drank to unconsciousness. Five fraternity officers and 17 other members were convicted of misdemeanors in one of the largest hazing prosecutions in U.S. history. The chapter was suspended by the fraternity.[18]
  • In March 2015, the chapter at the University of South Carolina was suspended after a Pike member was found dead in a private home near campus that had beer kegs and St. Patrick Day decorations on the porch. The Richland County Coroner's Office called it a "suspicious death".[19]
  • In July 2017, the chapter at Lehigh University was kicked out of their house and lost recognition and affiliation with the school after knowingly serving alcohol to minors and refusing to stop knowingly serving alcohol to minors at the schools "Founders Day" event on campus, all whilst in the middle of a hazing investigation. The school stated that it had attempted to work diplomatically and educationally with the chapter several times, and that its decision was both non-reversible and permanent.[20]
  • In April 2024, the University of Virginia terminated the school's chapter for at least four years due to reports of hazing. Justin Buck, then executive vice president of Pi Kappa Alpha national, made a statement calling the chapter at UVA an "embarrassment". This is the second time UVA has revoked its agreement with Pi Kappa Alpha. In 2014 the school terminated the fraternity due to hazing, but the decision was appealed, and by 2015 they were accepting new brothers. [21]

Sexual assault[edit]

Chapters have also been involved with sexual assault cases, such as in 1988, when three Pi Kappa Alpha members at Florida State University were charged in the sexual battery of a freshman female student. The victim was left in the hallway of another fraternity house.[22] The case made national headlines for weeks.[23]

Also in 1988 several members of Pi Kappa Alpha were arrested for a sexual assault that took place at Stetson University.[22]

In 2008, 10 Pike members were arrested at Tulane University for pouring boiling hot water on pledges, with the chapter having also been accused of drugging and sexually assaulting several female students at the fraternity's annual bacchanal[clarification needed].[24]

Florida International University suspended the fraternity in 2013 after the discovery of photos on Facebook of hazing and drug deals, as well as sexually explicit photos of women taken without their consent.[25][26][27]

In 2015, the former fraternity chapter president at Utah State University was charged with forcible sexual abuse, a felony, after allegedly inappropriately touching a female fellow student passed out at a party.[28]

In 2022, the chapter at the University of Alabama (UA) was petitioned by students to be removed from campus. Students at UA petitioned the leadership of the university to kick the fraternity off campus due to compelling allegations of them "drugging young women" and abusing their pledges. It was cited in the petition that the national leadership of the fraternity removed several chapter members for misconduct.[29]

In 2023, the chapter at Montana State University was placed on probation by the university for reports of sexual assault. The fraternity was previously suspended for sexual assault in 2013.[30][31]

Delta Beta chapter criminal charges[edit]

In March 2021, fraternity pledge Stone Foltz was allegedly forced to consume a fifth of Evan Williams whiskey. He later died at the hospital due to alcohol intoxication. Eight members of the Delta Beta Chapter at Bowling Green State University were criminally charged. Charges included: first-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, reckless homicide, felonious assault, hazing, failure to comply with underage alcohol laws and obstructing official business, third-degree felony involuntary manslaughter, tampering with evidence, and obstructing justice. It was described as a hazing incident involving copious alcohol consumption.[32] The international fraternity expelled all of the undergraduate members and revoked the chapter's charter.[33] In 2023, the parents of Stone Foltz filed a lawsuit against Bowling Green State for the wrongful death of their son.[34]

Other incidents[edit]

Fraternity chapters have been involved in various other notable incidents. In 2014, the leaders of the University of Arkansas chapter were asked to resign following an unauthorized Martin Luther King, Jr. Day party that incorporated racist stereotypes.[35][36] From 2014 to 2018, the fraternity lost its chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi following a hazing incident that led to the death of two mated flamingos. Pledges stole a flamingo from the local zoo, and in the struggle to defend its mate, the male was killed. The next morning, after being left on a bicycle path, the other died.[37] In May 2017, the chapter at California State University, Chico was charged with illegally cutting down 32 trees in the Lassen National Forest during an initiation of new pledges. They were also charged with possession of a firearm and conspiracy to commit offense or defraud the United States.[38] In October 2017, the chapter was sentenced to 9,800 hours of community service and a $4,000 fine after pleading guilty to cutting down and damaging trees in the Lassen National Forest by the U.S. District Court.[39] In 2021, seven members of the chapter at the University of Mississippi were arrested for harassing a former member who reported the chapter to authorities for hazing. As a result of a pledge who was told to ingest bleach, he was later diagnosed with Grade 4 severe erosive esophagitis.[40] In 2021, the chapter at Clemson University was suspended for four years for hazing. It was reported to university leadership that pledges of the fraternity were subject to acts of personal servitude, line-ups, humiliation, and other morally degrading behavior.[41] In 2022, the chapter at Pennsylvania State University (PSU) was suspended for three years due to the PSU Conduct Hearing Board finding the chapter responsible for multiple and repeated violations of PSU policies over an extended period, including prohibited alcohol use and failure to comply.[42] In 2023, the chapter at the University of Arkansas was suspended after a hazing video leaked on social media. The video leaked showed a pledge kneeling before an altar, holding another pledge's hands while fraternity members chanted and paddled the kneeling pledges.[43]

Notable members[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "404 Page Not Found - Pikes.org". www.pikes.org. Retrieved 26 March 2018. {{cite web}}: Cite uses generic title (help)
  2. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Founding History". Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  3. ^ Beta chapter, Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "A History of Beta". Archived from the original on 24 March 2012. Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d Anson, Jack L.; Marchenasi, Robert F., eds. (1991) [1879]. Baird's Manual of American Fraternities (20th ed.). Indianapolis, IN: Baird's Manual Foundation, Inc. p. III-99–102. ISBN 978-0963715906.
  5. ^ "Baird's Manual of American College Fraternities" (9th ed.). James T. Brown. 1920. Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Google Books.
  6. ^ a b c Garnet & Gold Pledge Guide (15th ed.). Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. 1970.
  7. ^ Hughey, Matthew W (Winter–Spring 2006). "Black, White, Greek...Like Who?: Howard University Student Perceptions of a White Fraternity on Campus" (PDF). Educational Foundations. 20 (1–2): 9–35. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  8. ^ Hodapp, Christopher; Kannon, Alice Von (4 February 2011). Conspiracy Theories and Secret Societies For Dummies. John Wiley & Sons. ISBN 9781118052020. Retrieved 26 March 2018 – via Google Books.
  9. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Pike University". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  10. ^ Folmsbee, Stanley (1960). History of Tennessee, Volume 4. Lewis Historical Publishing Company. p. 838.
  11. ^ a b c Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "About Memorial Headquarters". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  12. ^ Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity. "Fast Facts". Retrieved 11 July 2011.
  13. ^ United States of America Congressional Record 111th Congress, Vol. 155 - Part 7. Government of United States. 2009. p. 9673.
  14. ^ "BGSU sophomore Stone Foltz has died following alleged fraternity hazing". wtol.com. Retrieved 8 March 2021.
  15. ^ Hank Nuwer (2001). Wrongs of Passage: Fraternities, Sororities, Hazing, and Binge Drinking. Indiana University Press. pp. 320–. ISBN 0-253-21498-X.
  16. ^ "Parents of Drowned UNR Student File Lawsuit". kolotv.com. Associated Press. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  17. ^ Burnett, Sarah (2012-12-18). "Hazing At Fraternity: 22 Pi Kappa Alpha Members Charged After Student Dies". Huffington Post.
  18. ^ Vitello, Barbara (May 8, 2015). "Father of NIU frat hazing victim tells 22 convicted, 'You left him alone to die'". Daily Herald. Retrieved May 10, 2015.
  19. ^ "Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity Suspended: USC Member Found Dead After St. Patrick's Day Party". ibtimes.com. 18 March 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  20. ^ Farmer, Casey (19 April 2018). "Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity loses university recognition". thebrownandwhite.com. Lehigh University. Retrieved 11 September 2023.
  21. ^ Progress, EMILY HEMPHILL The Daily (2024-04-23). "UVa suspends 2 frats, terminates another one entirely after hazing allegations". The Daily Progress. Retrieved 2024-04-25.
  22. ^ a b Miller, Michael E. (22 August 2013). "Pi Kappa Alpha Has a History of Suspensions in Florida, Including for Alleged Rape". miaminewtimes.com. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  23. ^ Basu, Moni (November 16, 2014). "Ghosts of rape past: Can a survivor find solace in return to the crime scene?". CNN. Retrieved December 9, 2015.
  24. ^ "Suspended Tulane frat's reputation is hardly brotherly". nola.com. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  25. ^ Miller, Michael E. (29 August 2013). "FIU Suspends Frat After Facebook Posts Reveal Drug Deals, Hazing, and Creep Shots". Miami New Times. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  26. ^ Vasquez, Michael (21 August 2013). "FIU suspends Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity over Facebook posts". Miami Herald. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  27. ^ Chen, Tina (24 August 2013). "Fraternity Probed for Alleged Drug Dealing on Facebook". ABC News. Retrieved 13 January 2014.
  28. ^ "Fraternity chapter ceases operations at USU after former president accused of sexual abuse". fox13now.com. 26 March 2015. Retrieved 2015-11-02.
  29. ^ "A Petition to Kick Pi Kappa Alpha off University of Alabama's Campus Has over 200 Signatures". 20 October 2022.
  30. ^ "Montana State fraternity is on probation after two reports of sexual assault". 2 October 2023.
  31. ^ "Student group joins lawsuit, state appeals climate case, MSU frat on probation". 12 October 2023.
  32. ^ Hendrix, Sheridan (April 29, 2021). "Stone Foltz: Eight BGSU students indicted in fraternity hazing death". Columbus Dispatch.
  33. ^ "Statement on Indictment of Former Members of Delta Beta Chapter at Bowling Green State University". Pi Kappa Alpha. April 29, 2021. The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity has a zero-tolerance policy toward hazing, illegal activity, substance abuse, and bullying. Following the tragic death of Stone Foltz, the Supreme Council of The Pi Kappa Alpha International Fraternity voted to suspend the charter of Delta Beta Chapter at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and that its charter be revoked.
  34. ^ "Parents of college student sue university after son died after hazing incident". 24 June 2022.
  35. ^ Maher, Emily (26 February 2014). "Frat president reacts to accusations of racially-themed party". KHBS Ft. Smith/Fayetteville. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  36. ^ Leyenberger, Kyle; Gilleece, Erin (27 February 2014). "UA Frat Sanctioned After 'Disrespectful' MLK Party". NWAHomepage.com. Nexstar Broadcasting. Retrieved 4 June 2014.
  37. ^ Southern Mississippi fraternity rush prank goes awry, flamingo dies
  38. ^ "Frat charged for damaging national forest during hazing". nypost.com. 17 May 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  39. ^ "Chico State fraternity sentenced in tree-cutting episode". mercurynews.com. 17 October 2017. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
  40. ^ "Court date for the seven arrested Pi Kappa Alpha members set for Feb. 28". 9 December 2021.
  41. ^ "Clemson University fraternity suspended for 4 years after hazing investigation".
  42. ^ "Pi Kappa Alpha suspended through fall 2025 for violations of University policy | Penn State University".
  43. ^ "Pi Kappa Alpha suspended pending investigation into hazing allegations". 3 November 2023.

External links[edit]