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First, and foremost, I hope all the best for you, for your family, and for your loved ones in this New Year. It can be odd (and arguably is) that we take the time at each calendar event of January 1 to express our sincere hopes of the best of health and success (in one’s efforts, whatever those may be) in a new year for those who matter to us. Nevertheless, there are certain things in life for which we can do no more than express feelings beyond thought, which are best accepted as decisions made by people who sincerely care, with the outmost best of intentions. I ask that you kindly accept these prayerful thoughts in this light.

As we approach the second anniversary of the pandemic, I am happy to report significant positive news about Kappa.

The Brotherhood is strong, growing, and thriving

Impressively, we are a body of over 1,700 brothers. Entering our 124th year, this is indeed an impressive legacy. We are not all physically together, but we are bound by a common bond that surpasses the physical. Personally, I am beyond words to describe the joy of being part of this 1,700.

We enter this year with 1,030 living Kappa alumni. In August 20020 I reported that we had 950. Happily, we have contact information for over 80% of us. Naturally, it would be great to have information for everyone. If you haven’t already provided your contact information, or if you know a brother who hasn’t, please get in touch with me. It is only through this activity of communication that we can remain a unified body.

The Actives initiated a class of 15 in the fall, bringing the total number of Actives (living in or outside the house) to 62! They are also expecting to have over 30 living in the house for FY ’22. This will be the first time in recent memory to have this many in the house. In Fall 2019, there were 16.

Founder’s Day and Dan Stearns

At Founder’s Day, which will be on March 19, 2022, the Alumni Board will present three separate Scholarship Awards to the Actives – one for each of the Cardinal Principles. Each award will be in the amount of $1,000 – the largest amount distributed in recent memory.

Sadly, we lost brother Dan Stearns (’73), who passed in November 2021. In March 2016, Dan was recognized as Man of the Year, for 33 years of dedicated service on the Alumni Board. In recognition of Dan’s dedication to Kappa, the Scholarship Awards will be dedicated to Dan. His wife, Melinda, will be there to help us celebrate and to recognize Dan.

The House and Kappa Finances continue to do well.

The House looks great, thanks to the dedicated and regular efforts of Board member David Hyland, who serves as House Committee Chair, and to the very caring and involved Actives. Please see the article about Work Weekend on the Affinity website for photos and a story about a very successful effort to maintain and improve the House. Dave is also leading a special effort with James Durfee and Dan Lourie to identify capital improvement projects. I look forward to reporting on this soon.

The financial position is strong, thanks to the dedicated and regular efforts of Board member Ben Jarmul, who serves as Finance Committee Chair. As I have described before, the Board adopts two separate budgets – one for housing and a second for alumni association activities. We have been successful in running the housing P&L at a surplus, which surplus is being used to make the additional payments to principal. As a result, the mortgage debt has been reduced to about $225,000 and we are on track to pay off the mortgage by no later than the end of 2023.

Please support our efforts to support you

The alumni association activities budget includes all communication costs (which include the Affinity website), events hosted by the alumni (Homecoming and Founders Day), and the Scholarship Awards The alumni association activities budget for this year is $24,000. Your donations go directly to this budget and to these activities.

Your support of the Board’s efforts is needed and greatly appreciated. Any support that you can give would be greatly appreciated.

We also need your help in communicating with you. The Phi Sigma Kappa alumni total about 1,030. Of these, we have current contact information (either a mailing address, an email address, or both) for 788. Of these, we have emails for 541 – an increase of nearly 100! It is hugely helpful to have email addresses. There are just two regular mailings per year – the Fall Letter and the Spring Letter. In contrast, an email newsletter goes out monthly. Please consider providing your email address (or updating your email address, if applicable) so that we can keep you more current on what is happening at Kappa. You can send your email address to any of us:

Martin Barbato – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Fred DeCock - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emily O’Neill – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

As I close out this letter, allow me to repeat a previous offer - to be available for your input. The Alumni Board is very interested in identifying and implementing steps to improve communications with alumni and to provide activities and events for alumni. Our Alumni Communications Chair, Fred DeCock, who recently retired, is ready to hear from you. So am I. Please feel free to contact either of us. Be well, and I hope to see you soon.


Martin Barbato ’79