Russell’s Ramblings

Those who do not hear the music might think the dancer mad

New House for Pi Kappa Phi (Epsilon Eta) at Winthrop


Pi Kapp

ROCK HILL, S.C. — Pi Kappa Phi’s chapter at Winthrop University now has a new home. In June, Pi Kappa Phi properties closed on the property at 360 Park Ave., just a block down the street from Winthrop’s campus, and down the street from the former Epsilon Eta House near what is now Ebenezer Avenue Elementary School.
Currently, ten undergraduate brothers live in the house, with room for house parties this fall and a great opportunity to help with recruitment efforts.

Also, this past spring, the new Housing Corporation was founded to assist the undergraduate chapter in the house operations. Together, the chapter and housing corporation have scheduled two events in August that you’ll want to consider attending.

House Workday

Sat., August 17 8 a.m. to 4 p.m
We need extra help in painting the house, pressure washing the siding and replacing rotten wood on the front porch and handicapped-accessible ramp, landscaping and gardening. Lunch will be provided; join the Housing Corporation for drinks afterwards. If you have any tools (hammers, drill drivers, etc.) bring them with you.

360_Park_AvChapter Open House

Sat., August 24 5:30 p.m.
Join the Epsilon Eta undergraduate chapter for an official open house at 360 Park Ave. Spouses and family members are welcome to attend. This will be the chapter’s opportunity to show off what a cleaned, fixed house looks like. Also in attendance will be Winthrop’s new president, Dr. Jayne Marie Comstock.

CLICK HERE to RSVP and to view a list of the house’s current needs


July 25, 2013 Posted by | Fraternity | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Community Heroes – The Best of the Best

Bill Russell presenting Arlene Arciero Lake Norman Kiwanian of the Year in 2006

There is a marble paper weight that sits on my desk that says, “There is no limit to what can be accomplished if it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”   Throughout my professional and civic career, I have been on both ends of the awards – receiving them and giving them.  As state president and later national president of the Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees), I have literally given away hundreds of awards.  It would not surprise me if the actual number eclipsed more than a thousand.

On many occasions, as the recipients were hugging me with tears of joy streaming down their cheek, they said between happy gasps that they never did it for the award.  Lest you think these were just overjoyed females who let their emotions get the best of them, quite a few were grown men bursting with pride.    I remember the feelings I had when the first Advisors Award was given out to a brother in my fraternity (Pi Kappa Phi at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC).  It was a small award, no bigger than my hand really.  There was no fancy logo, just an inscription Advisors Award presented to Bill Russell from our chapter advisor Russ Palmer.   The award came as a complete shock to me as it probably did to most of the other brothers.  Russ rarely shared any accolades on the brothers.  He preferred to be thought of as a thick skinned, tough guy.  He was.  Perhaps that’s why this award meant so much.

It’s great to be recognized among your peers.  Few people who deserve the recognition ever do what they do for the awards.  They do it, not because of what they get by doing it, but the feeling they receive because they did.   This month, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce will recognize several special individuals – our Cashion Business Person of the Year, the Duke Energy Citizenship and Service Award, the Cherry Community Service Award as well as our Board Member and Ambassadors of the Year.  These awards honor the Best of the Best in our region.  It will be our chance to recognize people who excel at what they do.  A chance to reward someone for giving more than they ever get back.  

My chapter advisor from the fraternity passed on many years ago as have some of my fraternity brothers.  The plain little plaque that hangs in my den looks out of place hanging with others from my active civic career.  Small as it may be, it made a big impression on me.  We don’t do it for the awards but its awfully nice when our friends and associates pat you on the back –  recognizing you as the best of the best in what you do.

January 15, 2010 Posted by | Chamber of Commerce, Fraternity, Junior Chamber of Commerce (Jaycees) | , , , , | Leave a comment

It’s All Greek to Me

Chapter PresidentMention the word “Fraternity” and visions of John Belushi’s Animal House may come to mind.  Keg parties, togas, food fights, and hazing rituals are deeply etched into the public’s mind when it comes to the Greek system on college campuses.  I would be disingenuous if I said when I pledged a fraternity in college, I was searching for leadership development.  Like most college kids of my day, I was looking for a good time.  In 1978, Animal House played across the American landscape and college campuses took to “togas” like cold beer to a frosty mug.  Indeed, my first exposure to a fraternity was a Toga Party.

As a commuting student, I lived at home.  I still remember the look on mom’s face when I appeared out of my bedroom with a white bed sheet strategically wrapped around my body.  Greenery from one of her house plants topped my head, as I sauntered down the hall, with one of dad’s neckties loosely hanging around my neck, sporting my Ray Ban sunglasses.Chairman

Ours was the first national fraternity introduced to Winthrop University.  Having been a women’s college for most of its existence, it was a real culture shock to the Board of Trustees when fraternities petitioned to join the college campus.  I joined a group of young men looking to create a fraternity on campus.  And I joined looking for that good time.  However, over the next few years, that association with my new brothers shaped my character in ways I never imagined.  I held various offices in our chapter from Treasurer to Archon (President).  I represented the chapter at college functions, ran the meetings, helped recruit new members… and yes, answered to the Dean of Students for the pranks and situations college kids do get into. I really believe the Dean’s secretary had my phone number on speed dial.  All that said, the fraternity did shape the skills I would need later in life motivating, inspiring, and leading others.

s31367342081_6770In 1996, when I was hired as the chief executive officer of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, I set about to meet our community and business leaders.  Early on, I was introduced to Gary Knox, one of the Chamber’s past chairmen, who would later be elected to office as Mayor for the Town of Cornelius.  During the first meeting with Gary, we discovered that we had both joined the same fraternity – Pi Kappa Phi.  While he graduated from a chapter at UNC – Charlotte, our experience as Pi Kapps built an instant bond between us.  Ironically, it was his chapter when he was in school that participated in the chartering and initiation of my chapter in 1980, proving what a small world it really is!

Pi Kapp Bothers - Bubba, Bill, & Mark

Pi Kapp Bothers - Bubba, Bill, & Mark

As I mentioned before, the Greek system is much more than social interaction.  Our fraternity created an outreach program that serves individuals that need a helping hand.  Members of Pi Kappa Phi have raised more than $10 million, as well as thousands of man hours to renovate facilities that serve people with disabilities. 

Fraternities and sororities take young men and women and create leaders. 

Pi Kappa Phi - Epsilon Eta Chapter 2009

Pi Kappa Phi - Epsilon Eta Chapter 2009

Tomorrow those leaders will build communities.  It’s an American system modeled on an ancient civilization.  Yesterday’s philosophy working today to build a better tomorrow.  Bound together in brotherhood   –    Leaders by Choice.

June 28, 2009 Posted by | Fraternity | , , , , , | 1 Comment