Frank Kock ’71

ReconnectingFrank

In the last few months, I’ve had the pleasure and privilege of talking with many of the people whom I lived with in the house back in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  That may have been the best thing about being involved with the current capital campaign.  As we have reminisced about “the old days” one theme seemed to keep popping up in our conversations.  It went something like this: “You know, I just haven’t stayed connected with the house all these years.”  As I heard that, I would think “That was me not too long ago.”  As with many of us, I was anxious to graduate and start my career and adult life.  And as many of us do, I took a job which was a distance from Ames and many of the brothers.  Between teaching, my family, new friends and colleagues, time just seems to have evaporated.

“You know, I just didn’t stay connected to the house all those years.”

As a matter of fact, I may have visited the house once between my graduation in 1971 and my retirement in 2004.  Sure, I kept in contact with a few of my really close friends from the house, but even that was sporadic.

Then a lucky thing happened to me, out of the blue, I got a phone call from Mike Murphy.  Mike didn’t know me, other than that I was a Phi Kap form Iowa Xi, that we both lived in Omaha, and that he needed some help with a rush function.  At that time, Mike was the chairman of the alumni board, and he was helping with recruiting some Omaha men for the house. He saw my name on the alumni list, and called to asked if I would care to help.  Yes, I was shocked to get the call, let alone be asked to help.   Newly retired, time on my hands, why not?  Besides, I had really been thinking about taking a trip up to Ames just to look around and see what things were like. Nostalgia.

In short, I got the chance to meet a couple of alums and two of the current actives.  We got the chance to swap stories of what the house was like when we were there, and how they felt about being Phi Kaps.  Mike invited me to the annual golf tournament, and out of respect for those who play the game, I declined to play.  I did, however, decide that since I was thinking about going back up for a look, it would be a good opportunity to head up to Ames for the day.  I took a self tour of the campus while golfing was in progress, and then went over to the course after they were done to enjoy a bite to eat.  This gave me a chance to meet several more of the alumni who were there to golf.  More story swapping, more tales told.

Most of the golfers went to get ready for the dinner that night, which I wasn’t going to.  I decided it was time to go look at the house.  I got the lock numbers so I could go in.  It was comforting and a shock at the same time.  Many things were just as I remembered them. Yes, “the hole” is just as we left it.  Other things like the dining room and house mother’s quarters have been changed.  The house looked a little tired…all those college men have put her to the test through the years.  But it renewed me. It gave me a new connection. I knew that if I wanted to, I could walk into that door anytime and be welcomed.

I had planned on coming back up to help with work week that fall, but I ended up taking another job and it didn’t work out.  What I did do was buy season football tickets a couple of years later. That year when I got the info about homecoming and an invitation to stop by the house, I called up Mike Lustig, one of the brothers I had stayed in contact with.  I invited him to go to the game with me and to stop by the house before to meet some of the other alums and current members.  We both had a great time.  The alumni board was there, and so were some of the people I had met at the golf outing,.  Mike and I will be making that trip again this year.

Last November, I got a call from Andy Kowal, our consultant from Pennington.  I knew Andy from when he was a full time employee of the national fraternity.  He asked me if I would consider being a member of the campaign board.  I had “reconnected with the house”.  I will always contend that I was selected by default as I was the only ‘Old Guy” that they knew.  Whatever the reason, I was happy to do it, if for no other reason that I would have the perfect excuse to reconnect with a lot of the brothers from my era whom I hadn’t talked to it over 40 years.  I’ve done exactly that, and it has been a blast.  Sure, it takes people a minute of two to get over the shock of hearing a name from the past identify themselves on the line…sometimes it takes a little connecting the dots to help them remember who I am.  But, invariably, we spend some times swapping memories and updating each other on our current lives.  I got reconnected because someone gave me an invitation to do so, and I had the good fortune to accept.

So here is my invitation to you, not that you or I or any of the brothers need one, this is our house, as it was once our home.  Stop by the house on just about any football Saturday, and you’ll find a group of us alums on the side yard, enjoying some food and refreshments and good conversation.  Better yet, stop by our tent during Homecoming and we’ll feed you and slay your thirst. Or come to the golf outing in August. Call a couple of the brothers you’ve been meaning to get in touch with again and put together a foursome, a good time will be had.  And if that doesn’t work, call some of the guys you were in the house with and just talk.  You’d be surprised how much fun it is.  It can be as complicated or simple as you want to make it, but do yourself a favor and “reconnect” with your fraternity and brothers.  There was a reason you chose to become a Phi Kap in the beginning.

My final invitation to you is to reconnect with me if you are in the Omaha area.  I would enjoy seeing you and visiting about old and new times.  It is and can be just that simple.

In the Bonds,

Frank Kock

Iowa Xi ‘71

Omaha, NE

(402) 453-2069

fkock@cox.net

Nick Van Berkum ’05

VisionsNick Van Berkum ’05 wrote the cover article for the fall 2013 issue of VISIONS magazine.  The article, “Born to Be a Cyclone,” can be found on page 12. Nick is a communications specialist for the departments of sociology and anthropology at Iowa State University.

Leo Landis ’87

ColumnLeo Landis ’87 received a Distinguished Alumni award from the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences during Homecoming Week this November. Landis, the first ever recipient of the award for the History Department, received the honor Thursday, November 8, at the LAS Awards Ceremony at the Scheman Building.

Mark Biegger ’84

ISU-PG Mark Biegger ’84 was profiled in an ISU College of Engineering essay on the varying paths of three Procter & Gamble industrial engineers from Iowa State. The article titled “The Passion for Leading gives Mark Biegger Early Experience for Career” traced his path to becoming Chief Human Resources Office at Procter & Gamble.

Leo Landis, The Bacon Professor

Bacon FestLeo Landis ’87 gave an interview to the Des Moines Register promoting the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival earlier this year.  He gave a presentation at the festival titled “Twelve Bacons in Twelve Hours” where he talked about the history of bacon and showcased bacon products from local meat lockers here in Iowa.

The Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival is an annual event here in Iowa put on by the The Iowa Bacon Board to promote everything bacon.  What started as a groups’ passion for “all things bacon” has evolved into the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and Blue Ribbon Bacon Tour. In 2001, a group of guys began celebrating bacon during an annual weekend retreat at the Porter Cottage in Spirit Lake, IA. Six years later, they pursued a deeper understanding of their favorite meat by earning “All About Bacon” diplomas from Living History Farms. On March 1st, 2008, officially organized under the Iowa Bacon Board and led by Brooks Reynolds, they went on to found the world’s premier bacon festival.  To learn more about the Blue Ribbon Bacon Festival and purchase your tickets for next year, please visit their website at www.blueribbonbaconfestival.com

You can view Leo’s Interview HERE and read the slideshow HERE.

Member Directory

After numerous requests and a lot of research, I have a member directory working that is now available on the site.  You will have to log in to use this so if you need help with that, please email me at Nate.Kemmer@pktalumni.com.  You can search the directory for other members by name or email address right now, but soon will be able to search by pledge and graduation year as well.  If you have any other suggestions to make our site better, please use the suggestions section HERE to make recommendations.

In the Bonds,

Nate Kemmer ’03

Secretary and Website Administrator

Payment Links

Brothers,

Our Intuit Payment network account is finally setup and working.  The links on the donation pages are now active and will allow you to pay your dues or contribute to the capital campaign.  I will be posting a tutorial showing how to setup your account for those of you that want reoccurring payments.  Thank you for your support and if you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at iowaxipkt@gmail.com

In the Bonds,

Nathaniel Kemmer ’03

Official Launch

I am proud to announce that we have officially launched the site.  The welcome email when out last week and users have been logging in and updating their passwords and information.  Thanks to all of you who already have.  Please feel free to join the conversation on how you would like the site to look on the website suggestions page here.  You can also let me know of any events your would like posted on the calendar by sending me an email.  Thank you for your support!

New Theme and Updates

Brothers,

I have changed the theme of the website to be more conducive to our goals with this site.  I have also updated most of the pages and retitled them.  Please feel free to suggest changes as you see fit.  Thank you!

In the Bonds,

Nathaniel Kemmer ’03

Alumni Outing at El Bait Shop

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