The Alpha Omicron chapter celebrated it’s 100th year at Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX, during the University’s annual Homecoming and Reunion Weekend on November 5-7, 2010. Over 200 brothers, their families and friends, gathered for a weekend celebration that included the Centennial Banquet, the initiation of a pledge class and much camaraderie and celebration. In the process, AO completed a $100,000 fundraising campaign to endow the Alpha Omicron Centennial Scholarship Fund, which will distribute a need-based scholarship to an active AO brother annually. Distinguished guests included International President Kevin Virta (EP ’83), Regional President Blake Monroe, Southwestern University President Jake B. Schrum, and Congressman Pete Sessions (AO ‘76.25).
AO’s Centennial Celebration was a culmination of several years of planning led by Centennial Planning Chair, Dustin James (AO ’78), Alpha Omicron Alumni Association President, Daniel Webb (AO ’05), Centennial Scholarship Fund Chair, Mark Wood (AO ’77) and countless other alumni and active brothers. These men utilized a network of 20 other alumni brothers, each responsible for 2-3 pledge classes, to share news and updates about the Centennial Celebration throughout the year leading up to the big weekend.
Centennial Banquet Commemorates 100th Year
With the Crest as a backdrop, the marquee event of the weekend, the Centennial Banquet, kicked off the weekend on Nov. 5, in the largest ballroom on campus. Rev. John Raish (AO ’63) gave the invocation and Webb welcomed over 200 brothers and their guests to the Centennial. University President, Jake B. Schrum, thanked the men of Alpha Omicron for 100 years of service to Southwestern University as a vibrant contributor to the campus community and through the contributions of it’s many alumni volunteers and donors.
The chapter then welcomed International President Kevin Virta who noted that, “Alpha Omicron has been a flagship chapter in Texas since being the first chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha chartered in the state. In addition to its success at the chapter level, and as an outcome you would expect from that success, Alpha Omicron has produced outstanding alumni who have gone on the serve Pi Kappa Alpha, Southwestern University, their communities and our country. Some who come to mind would be Wallace Lowry who served Pi Kappa Alpha as a Supreme Council Vice President from 1968 to 1970 and received the Fraternity’s Loyalty Award in 1977 for his years of dedicated service to Pike at the local, regional and national level. And of course, Congressman Pete Sessions, the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Achievement Award.” Alpha Omicron is in rare company as a chapter to have have alumni recipients of both the Loyalty Award and the Distinguished Achievement Awards.
Virta specifically recognized Chapter Advisor Mike Rossman (AO ’69), who has served the fraternity for over 36 years and welcomed Congressman Pete Sessions as the keynote speaker. Sessions spoke of the importance Alpha Omicron has had in his life and concluded by reminded those in attendance that “when you go against a Pike, you go against the best!”
A great evening concluded with a report by Mark Wood (AO ’77) on the fraternity’s progress toward raising $100,000 for The Alpha Omicron Centennial Scholarship Fund.
After Wood’s presentation, Sessions rose from the crowd and exhorted those present to pledge additional funds to reach the goal. By the end of the weekend, the goal was met through gifts and pledges from over 65 alumni brothers.
On Saturday morning, Nov. 6, over 300 AO brothers, friends and area runners competed in the 10th running of the Jameson 5K in memory of AO brother Jaysn Jameson (AO ’87). AO was a “Gold Level” sponsor of the race. Proceeds from the event benefited an endowed University scholarship in Jaysn’s memory that to date has raised over $57,000.
Later that day, the Alpha Omicron Alumni Association recognized chapter adviser, Mike Rossman, with the creation of the “Mike Rossman Award” for outstanding service to AO. Avery Sheppard (AO ’07) was awarded the AOAA’s “Steve Raben (AO ’59) Award” for outstanding recent graduate leadership and later in the day, was elected President of the AOAA.
At Southwestern University’s Alumni Association Awards Dinner on Saturday evening, Nov. 6, three of the six awards given were received by AO alumni brothers. Robery W. Dupuy (AO ’66) and Taylor Garrett (AO ’97) received Distinguished Alumni Awards and Congressman Pete Sessions was awarded a Medal of Honor, the highest award given.
The weekend culminated with the initiation of the chapters fall pledge class in front of over 100 alumni and active brothers. With assistance from alumni, the active chapter conducted the initiation under candlelight in a cave, not far from the chapter house, a tradition re-created from 1960’s that had not been seen in over thirty years. What an outstanding way to bring Alpha Omicron’s Centennial Celebration to a close and an unforgettable moment for AO’s active brothers.
Alpha Omicron hoped to host the largest gathering of AO alumni and active brothers in history in an effort to strengthen brotherhood and leave a lasting mark for the next 100 years. The chapter accomplished all of this and is confident this success will carry it for years to come.
Written by Dustin James (AO ’78) and Daniel Webb (AO ’05)