2016 Golden Legion Ceremony

March 17, 2016 – GA Alpha Alumni event in Atlanta at Capital City Brookhaven.

Click Here to see the photo gallery.

Chapter Status – 2015 Fall Rush Success!

phi-pledge-class-2015

2015 Fall Pledge Class for Georgia Alpha

 

Fall 2015 update by Blair Brown, Alumni Chairman.

As the Thanksgiving holiday draws near, I cannot think of a more fantastic opportunity to take a moment and be thankful for the growth and success of Georgia Alpha. I am ecstatic to be a part of an organization that has come so far in such a short amount of time. In the previous newsletter I mentioned that we have seen 300% growth since we were re-established. While we have had exceptional success in these past few years, we are also aware of our long-term success at The University of Georgia. We are constantly striving to understand what sets us apart from other fraternities. While some may attribute our success to something as simple as the letters on our house, it seems to many that the foundation of our long-term success lies with the caliber of people we have been able to recruit year after year. I am proud to call myself one of them.

With this in mind, I am proud to be a part of the group of men who initiated 28 new members into Georgia Alpha this fall, to bring our active membership to a total of 122 men. Each of these new members was handpicked in one of our most competitive recruitment processes yet. I am confident that this group of brothers will take leadership positions in Phi Delta Theta and on campus as we approach our 150th year at The University of Georgia. Initiation this semester was nothing short of a success, as we were able to emphasize the values of moral rectitude, sound learning and leadership. The chapter is already seeing the benefits of a successful recruitment process, as the new members are eager to not only lead their fellow brothers, but also Georgia students in a larger capacity.

Jonathon Sharpton, a new brother and management major, is already involved in student government with the hopes of maintaining involvement. Jonathon said, “[he] joined Phi Delta Theta because of its commitment to academics, the friendship and efforts of brothers to hang out with [him], the good reputation it has on campus, and the [existing] involvement in on-campus organizations”.  Other new brothers are involved in the HEROs philanthropy, while others are already involved in financial societies within the business school where they have the opportunity to pitch and defend stocks. None of these achievements would be possible without the efforts of the people that make it all possible.

As we approach the end of the fall semester, we aim to continue our mission of excellence into the spring.  We have many initiatives that we are striving to reach by the end of the school year.  It goes without saying that these are exciting times in our chapter. With a strong foundation for growth, we have already made efforts to invite men out in anticipation for spring recruitment. As always, never hesitate to provide recommendations for new members. As Georgia Alpha continues to reach new heights, I look forward to serving as your Alumni Relations Chairman.

Best,
Blair Brown
Alumni Relations Chairman – Georgia Alpha
UGA Student Government Association
Finance Major at Terry College of Business

GA Alpha Spring 2015 Newsletter

Chapter Alumni Leadership Update- Winter 2015

Dear Ga Alpha Alumni Brothers:

On behalf of our Chapter Advisory Board (CAB), I wanted to update you on both the Chapter’s status as well as future alumni gatherings.

As the winter semester begins, the Chapter has 103 active brothers. New officers were elected at the end of the Fall semester and have now assumed their positions. The officer transition went very smoothly and each was well trained and ready to take over their new responsibilities. In addition to support of the Chapter, the transition and Chapter leadership benefits from the oversight and involvement of our CAB Chairman Ashley Dillard ‘2001. Ashely does an outstanding job of letting the Chapter run itself but always available for advice and guidance either at weekly Chapter meeting or whenever an issue arises. Our turnaround wouldn’t be near the completion it is without his dedication and leadership.

The Chapter continues to expand in other areas. At the conclusion of 2014’s Fall Semester the Chapter GPA was 3.29  which ranks 9th among the 30 Chapters on campus and this follows a top 10 academic Spring Semester with a 3.28 ave GPA.  The Chapter has a full schedule of social events for the current semester. In addition to multiple sorority socials, the Chapter will have its formal as well as a resurrected Bowrey Ball in this winter semester. Additionally, the Chapter is involved in numerous philanthropic events including a set of 5K races for all the Georgia Chapters. For more information on the Iron Phi 5k on March 29th please visit this link.

The Chapter turnaround summarized above has been accomplished in little over two years. Once again we as alumni have much to be proud of. For those of us that have served in various advisory roles for twenty plus years, the current Chapter situation  detailed above seemed to be an event that would never get here soon enough. We could have never achieved this turnaround without the support of General Headquarters (GHQ). Further the expense to take this challenge on and to cover the Chapter’s overhead and occupancy costs that first year was covered by a select few of our alumni. We were able to achieve this miraculous recovery without any solicitation of our alumni. Much of the credit to not needing a significant capital campaign can be traced to the House Corporation’s decision in 2008-2009 to accept UGA’s offer to relocate the Chapter in a build to suit at our present location at 130 Greek Park Circle. While not having the visibility of 690 South Lumpkin, we would have never been able to locate private property in proximity to the hub of campus as we are now. The Brother’s love the location and we have no issue filling our 16 beds and our lease obligation to UGA. As a side note, those Chapters that chose to relocate to private property are saddled with both debt and significantly higher occupancy costs than before. We currently pay about 3% in rent based on the costs UGA insured to build our house. Additionally, the gross rent includes all associated expense including any ongoing maintenance and daily cleaning of the house. Thanks on behalf of all of us should be given to our past and current House Corporation Presidents, Dave Burch and John McGoogan for the countless hours spent negotiating the lease with UGA.

While we have no immediate need for financial support from our alumni, we will have some improvements and replacement of the Chapter House furnishings sometime soon. For now however what we as alumni can do is provide moral support. The actives want interaction with our alumni and know there is over 140 years of Chapter history here that they know little about. They love our alumni stopping by the house. Like many of us they relish interaction and especially would like to meet alumni to advise them for their post graduate experiences.

We are aware that alumni communication and events of the past few years have been minimal. I will take the blame for that but defend that shortcoming by the fact we were focused on the important task of turning the Chapter around. Now that we are sustainable, it is time to “circle the wagon” and come together in support of the Chapter. The next event will be a Founders Day for Georgia Alpha to be hosted by John McGoogan at Capital City Club (Brookhaven) on Wednesday, March 25th from 6-8 pm. At this event, we will be conducting a Golden Legion ceremony for those eligible after 50 years of brotherhood. Many of you may not have been honored for this achievement and we would like to recognize you for that accomplishment. We have obtained from GHQ a list of brothers that have obtained such status over the last five years. A special invitation will be mailed directly to those known to be eligible. If you are eligible and would like to participate, please contact John directly (404-372-0771 or jmc@prestwickcapital.com). The ceremony be conducted by the GHQ and should be an event you don’t want to miss.

In conclusion, we appreciate your patience and continued interest in the Chapter. Additionally, I invite you to feel free to contact any of us as well as our alumni secretary Sam Hepburn (770-714-0999 or hepburnsam@gmail.com). We plan further communications and events throughout the year. Any such announcements will come via our Chapter website, gaalpha.com If you have not registered here please do so in order to stay in touch with what is going on.

Thankfully the critical challenge of the Chapter’s survival has been met and surpassed. It is now time for us to enjoy that and support the young men that made it happen.

Yours in the Bond,

Mark B. Chandler
404-358-7904
markc@hpiinc.net

Ashley Dillard, CAB Chair
706-255-9000
stad10@yahoo.com

Update Fall 2014 

Dear Georgia Alpha Alumni:

We continue to have good news to report from Georgia Alpha. As reported in our last correspondence, Steven Fleming left at the end of the Spring semester completing his one year term in reorganizing the chapter. We owe Steven a debt which can never be repaid in that he not only saved the Chapter but reestablished pride in the brothers as well as the alumni that have seen the quality of members he was able to bring in.

Going into this Fall semester we had 55 brother from the 59 we initiated in March losing only four to graduation. One of those graduates, Will Burgess was the Student Government President for 2012-2013. Will was one of Steven’s early recruits as multiple campus leaders and administrators recommended him.  Despite a full academic and service work load, Will went through pledgeship and participated as an officer in his final undergraduate year. Will graduated in the Spring with top honors and is now a first year law student at Harvard. I caught up with Will at the Alumni luncheon in August and told him that my speculation was that he is the first member of Georgia Alpha to go onto post graduate education at Harvard or any Ivy League school for that matter. Thankfully Will’s legacy lives on in that another active, Austin Laufersweiler, was elected Student Body President for 2013-14.

Despite the great success of the past year, there was a bit of anxiety as the Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) along with our actives began preparing for the current school year in June no longer with Steven’s oversight. A lot of time and effort was put in during the Summer as no one wanted to lose momentum now that the “training wheels were off”. Foremost in our planning was Fall recruitment which the actives would be participating in for the first time. As explained previously, the existing recruitment system is highly competitive that produces a few “haves” and too many “have not” Chapters. As many of you know, we had spent the past years stuck on “the wrong side of the tracks”. With the quality of our new members and the leadership of our Recruitment Chair, Steven Huffman, the Chapter secured a pledge class of 30. In fact we decided to cap it off at that to ensure we could handle a pledge class this size relative to the Chapter’s membership. We are happy to report all of our recruits did an excellent job in pledgeship as overseen by John Kimball, our Pledge Educator and all 30 were initiated on in late September  (Note: UGA mandates that pledges be initiated within 6 weeks which is supported by National as well)

This Fall we reopened the Chapter house at full capacity including our Resident Advisor, Will Hedgpeth, a 2013 graduate that is completing his graduate work at UGA. Our most immediate goal a year ago was to ensure the Chapter membership was viable enough to keep the house occupied and not risk defaulting on our lease with UGA.  At this point, we have more Brothers wanting to live in the house than there is room for. The cooperation from UGA during our reorganization and in maintaining the house was better than we could have expected. Seeing the overhead and debt that the other Lumpkin Street Chapters that chose to relocate to private property have saddled themselves with makes us feel better about our house situation more and more.

In conclusion, the Chapter continues to grow and gain attention on campus. We expect to be over 100 by the conclusion of the current school year. While our goal is always about the quality not the quantity of members, this puts us at a comparable level with the other significant Chapters on campus. We appreciate those alumni that have shown support through their attendance of both structured events such as the annual luncheon in August well as the pregame tailgates at the Chapter house which have been organized by Austin Logan ‘2004. We hope you will pass on this updated news to those who might not be getting it.  They can receive these updates directly by visiting our website which provides a simple registration when first opened. In addition to these periodic updates, we communicate all future alumni events. Our goal in communicating with our alumni is to keep them update not overwhelmed. We have not sought funds to the cover the reorganization as that was covered by a few. Frankly, there is no immediate need for financial support from our Alumni as the Chapter is self-sustaining and the house furnished and in good condition. The only thing we owe the Chapter is our gratitude to these young men for their commitment to rebuild a once and now again proud institution going in its 142nd year.

Please do not hesitate to contact me our Ashley about any questions you may have.

Yours in the Bond,

Mark Chandler 1981

Chapter Update-Spring/Summer 2013 

Dear Georgia Alpha Alumni:

On Friday March 1  2013, the Chapter initiated 59 young men in the reinstatement of Georgia Alpha. The ceremony was held at the Chapter house and was conducted by Sean Wagner from National and Steven Fleming our Expansion Leadership Consultant and assisted by several local alumni. On Saturday, March 2nd an alumni reception was hosted by John McGoogan in Atlanta at the Capital City Club. A wide range of alumni attended and had the opportunity to meet the new brothers of Georgia Alpha. After the reception the brothers and their dates had their formal that night in Atlanta. It was a wonderful evening and an amazing accomplishment since deciding to reestablish the Chapter less than a year before.

During the balance of the Spring semester, the Chapter continued to expand their presence on campus. They held their first Bowery Ball in late April which was an overwhelming success. When a Chapter suffers like we did, these traditional events get bypassed or discarded. Our new actives are determined to reconnect to the long history of this Chapter and its many traditions and reestablishing Bowery Ball this year was a great first step. Bringing back the Obnoxious Nine selection process and softball game might be a little more of a challenge given the swing in political correctness on college campuses like UGA. The Chapter would love to have this event in whatever form would be acceptable and are working on those ideas for next year. While our goal is to build the Chapter back with the finest young men we can recruit, they would like to climb back in prominence on a social basis and having several of these “branded” events are key in getting there.

As Spring semester concluded, the primary focus is Summer recruitment. The Fall rush will be the first one this group has participated in. Many of you maybe unaware how much the Rush process has changed over the past 20 years. The women’s process is unchanged and conducted on campus the week before classes begin.  Virtually all the Chapters obtain their quotas due to the sheer volume of women participating. The most recent first year classes are approximately   5,000 students which almost 70% are female. Of the roughly 1500 male first year students approximately 500-600 of these men will participate in Fall rush which is less than it was 30 years ago. Additionally there are 28 fraternities on campus. Another significant change in the men’s process is the expedited process in which freshmen are being extended bids as early as June. Consequently the formal rush process which begins in early August shortly before classes start is whittled down to roughly 50% or 250-300 young men that have not already accepted a bid. In fact the 8-10 largest chapters do not even have to participate in the process as they have procured their pledges classes at that point. It is a flawed system especially when you have been on the short end as we have. The Intra Fraternity Council (IFC) has finally recognized the system needs to be changed and is monitoring the early bidding process but we cannot wait around for that to happen as the large Chapters control the executive positions of IFC and of course have no reason to change things. Rather than wait for things to balance out we need to put the Chapter in a favorable position for recruitment and also leadership within the IFC. Considering we have current student body President, Austin Laufersweiler  for the second year in a row as well as more elected SGA senators than any other chapter, we feel our leadership presence will continue to spread throughout campus including within IFC. Despite the significant changes in the recruitment process described above, alumni recommendations remain the most important membership considerations. Thanks to those of you that have sent us recommendations for the coming year. Please forward any considerations on to me or our Recruitment Chair, Steven Huffman (404-580-2196 or steven44 AT uga.edu ). While we cannot assure you that we can pledge each of these young men, we will make a good impression on them.

Our Expansion Leadership Consultant, Steven Fleming completed his one year term in May and has decided to move out in the business world. He is serving an internship this Summer in the Washington DC area. Needless to say he has not only saved but rejuvenated our Chapter and we will be forever indebted to him for the job he did. We remain hopeful that he will relocate back in Georgia this Fall but are prepared to “fly on our own”. Our Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) is headed by Ashley Dillard. Ashley is an Athens native and graduated in 2002 and was President of the Chapter. We meet monthly and have one of our members attend each Chapter meeting. While time consuming seeing the enthusiasm of this current group makes it all worthwhile.

In closing, I hope each of you will attend our second annual alumni lunch at the Chapter house on Saturday, August 24th beginning at 11:30. We had a great time last year and the event will once again be catered by Lee and Daniel Epting. There is no fee to attend but we will gladly accept donations which will be given to the Chapter for operations. Please do not hesitate to contact me about the event or any of the information above.

I hope to see as many of you as possible in Athens in August.

Yours in the Bond,

Mark Chandler 1981
Contact: 404-358-7904
or email is markc@hpiinc.net

Below is our Alumni Update from the Fall of 2012

Dear Georgia Alpha Alumni Brothers:

As many of you are aware your Chapter Advisory Board (CAB) decided to accept the recommendation of Phi Delta Theta National (National) to reorganize the Chapter at the conclusion of the of the 2012 Spring semester. The Chapter’s membership had been underperforming for several years and was at a minimal level of membership per National standards. At the conclusion of the semester the actives were advised that they were being granted alumni status but would not be a part of the Chapter for the balance of their undergraduate experience. The notification of this decision was made to the Chapter personally by both representatives of the CAB and National in May.

In the  joint decision to make this significant change, the CAB agreed to install Steven Fleming, Expansion Leadership Consultant with the National office (Whitman College 2010) to recruit a new membership for our Chapter. Steven had led successful reorganizations at University of Arkansas, Vanderbilt and U.C.L.A. …..chapters like ours that had a long a storied history but had not performed well over the past decade.

Steven moved into the Chapter house on June 1st 2012 and got to work immediately with  the  UGA  administration and various campus organizations to solicit names of young men that were involved  but elected not to join a fraternity. Steven found what we had experienced for the last decade that there are many young men that are disenchanted with the current rush system and had not considered joining a fraternity due to that.

At the conclusion of October, Steven had secured an initial “founding fathers” pledge class of 51 members. The members of this group participated in 70 different organizations on campus and included the current student body President. The pledge class did their formal pledging in early November that was attended by many of the alumni advisors. The Chapter had a great first semester that concluded with the announcement that our cumulative GPA of 3.46 was second on campus.

As the 2013 Winter semester begins our Founding Fathers class is working on their first pledge class with high and deserved expectations. The Chapter will conduct an initiation on Friday, March 1st at the house and then we will host a reception for the new Brothers at a reception in Atlanta at the Capital City Club-Brookhaven on Saturday, March 2nd from 4-6pm.

We are thrilled with the direction the Chapter is headed and trust you share this enthusiasm. We hope you will come to the event in Atlanta on March 2nd 2013 and meet the new brothers of Georgia Alpha.

Please be sure to register your email for periodic Alumni updates and events.

Sincerely,

Mark Chandler 1981

Chapter Advisor