A Brief History of the
Alpha Epsilon Chapter of
Pi Kappa Alpha
March 1, 1868. That is when the Alpha Chapter of Pi Kappa Alpha was started at the University of Virginia. Thirty-six years later, six men established the Alpha Epsilon Chapter at North Carolina State University. On October 31, 1904, the Supreme Council of the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity incorporated the Alpha Epsilon Chapter. Initiation was held on November 4, 1904, for the six founding brothers. These six men as well as many others laid the foundation for many successful years to come.
The six founding brothers, along with their hometowns, are as follows:
- John A. Park – Raleigh, NC
- Ronald B. Wilson – Greensboro, NC
- J. Gabriel Hardison – Thurman, NC
- Durant W. Robertson – Washington, DC
- J. Graham Morrison – Manpiga, NC
- William A. Buys – Havelock, NC
One of Pi Kappa Alpha’s long running traditions is the spring formal. It was originally named the Pika Ball. The Pika Ball began in 1906, and soon became the largest social event on campus. In the 1930s, it drew almost 3,000 people from other states as well. Soon there after, the name was simplified to its existing name, the Pi Ball. In 1933, Chapter History states, “We feel confident that our prestige as the best hosts at State College will prevail.” And it has. We at the Alpha Epsilon Chapter are already preparing for our 105th annual Pi Ball this spring. The Pi Ball is a wonderful experience, and a much needed weekend away from campus. Past locations of the Pi Ball include Charleston, SC, Fontana Village, North Carolina, Savannah, GA, Myrtle Beach, SC, and Walt Disney World in Orlando FL.
Our history on the athletic field really speaks for itself. We are the fiercest of competitors on the field, and the best of sportsmen off the field. In the early years, a lot of the brothers played Varsity sports. Soon, coaches would not allow their players to pledge a fraternity. Now there are rules that will not permit varsity lettermen to play their sport for the house, if they do choose to pledge. This did not stop Pi Kappa Alpha from winning. Here at NC State University, there is a competition for the President’s Cup; the overall intramural championship award. It was won frequently by the Pikes in the early years. In the 1980s, Pi Kappa Alpha won the cup six times, four of those times being consecutive. After a few years of rebuilding, the cup was returned to the house after the completion of the 1992-1993 season. The house puts tremendous pressure on keeping the cup; staying within single digits of winning three years in a row.
The actual fraternity house itself has been through a lot of history. It was originally located on Hillsborough Street. In 1964, the University built Fraternity Court, and Pi Kappa Alpha moved to its existing location at 214 S. Fraternity Court. The house itself sleeps 38 men in addition to a downstairs apartment for the Chapter Resident Advisor (CRA). It has a kitchen and employs a full-time chef. Lunch and dinner are served 5 days a week at the house. The house is also the site for all Brothers meetings and the majority of our social events. One of the significant rooms in the house is the Bar Room. The bar itself is made up of bricks from the original house, as well as some of the wood behind the bar. During the transportation of the bricks from the house on Hillsborough Street to the house on Fraternity Court, a brother lost his life.
David Maxwell Ford was that Brother. He is commemorated by the large plaque in the Bar Room. There have been three other brothers who have lost their lives while being active members of the Alpha Epsilon Chapter. In the summer of 1987, Greg Moore was killed in a car accident. Donald Brandt Weinhold died in a plane crash in December of 1991. On July 10, 1996, Brother Brian Cardini lost his life in a car accident. Greg and Donald are eternally remembered by the two trees planted in the front yard. Brian will be remembered by a tree as well as a beach volleyball court in the front yard, where we host our annual Brian Cardini Volleyball Tournament. The College of Forestry at NC State also dedicated a tree on Dan Allen Drive by the College of Wood and Paper Products with a cornerstone as a distinction.
In 1986, Hatteras Hammocks donated a hammock to our chapter. To this day, it is the undisputed “World’s Largest Hammock.” In 1993, the Pi Kappa Alpha house was vandalized. The vandals cut the hammock from its place in the backyard, and stole it. In the fall of 1994, the hammock returned to the house, mended and followed by the news media. The News & Observer covered the “Hammock Hanging Party,” which was a rededication ceremony of the hammock. In the fall of 1996, the hammock was stolen again. The brotherhood (two individuals in particular), took it upon themselves to reconstruct a hammock with dimensions equal to those of the original.
The hammock was once again stolen in the fall of 2008 when the chapter was relocated to 2701 W. Fraternity Court. Plans are in store for a new house in the Greek Village.