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Testimonials

jacob2.jpgJacob Baugher Cal '10
After my second semester of freshmen year began, I started to seriously consider the future of my college career. I knew that where I decided to live next year and what kind of organization (if any) I joined would have a major impact on the rest of my college experience. In the midst of this self-reflection, a good friend introduced me to Phi Psi.   

I’ll never forget the first time I set foot in the chapter house. All of the guys just seemed like best friends that loved to hang out, play video games, laugh and joke and not take themselves too seriously. While walking around and talking to everyone, I was introduced to another freshman who had just joined the chapter. A moment of awkward familiarity passed between us before we both made the connection—we were best friends in elementary school, but had lost contact when I moved away after 6th grade! This fraternity really seemed like something I could see myself being a part of; I called my Dad that night to ask what he thought about me joining a fraternity called Phi Kappa Psi…imagine my surprise when he told me that that was the fraternity he joined in college too! I was sold right then and there, and it is still the best decision I ever made.   

I think the most meaningful part of my Phi Psi Experience was beginning to incorporate the values of the Creed into my everyday life. Looking back, it’s very clear to me that my Dad raised my sister and me true to the ideals of the Fraternity. Honesty, doing well in school, and helping your fellow man were lessons I learned a long time ago; and I know that if I continue to lead my life as a true gentleman, I will become the best version of myself I can be.   

However, the most impactful aspect of my Phi Psi Experience has undoubtedly been the bonds and friendships forged with my chapter brothers. The non-Greeks that taunt and claim “you’re buying friends” simply cannot comprehend the depth of trust, respect, and camaraderie that is formed within a chapter, and that transcends generations and school boundaries.   

An old alumnus of my chapter once put it better than I ever could: “I still don’t truly know what it means to be a Phi Psi. Every time I meet a new Brother or attend another Phi Psi event, I learn something new about the Brotherhood and the meaning of our great Fraternity. My Phi Psi Experience is still ongoing, and I look forward to every minute of it.”



Michael Morin Loyola '11
michael2.jpg
On April 8, 2011 I was elected the Student Body President of Loyola New Orleans. On April 29, 2011 I was initiated into the Louisiana Gamma chapter of Phi Kappa Psi. These two events may not seem like they are specifically related in any way, but they are interconnected and I will forever associate the two as being dependent on one another. 

When I decided to pledge a fraternity I knew immediately that I wanted to be a member of Phi Kappa Psi. At that time I was a junior undergraduate and had two years to see that the members of LA Gamma were the best fit for me-they were active on all areas of campus, well liked among the Greek community, and seemed like they had themselves together as an organization. I pledged with 14 other men, all of whom were new students beginning only their second semester at Loyola. Of course I was the odd man out and I was unsure as to if I made the right choice; maybe I just waited too long and missed my opportunity. After our first few new member meetings my feelings were changed and I started to already form close bonds with my member class (Roll Tide). They kept me “young” as best they could and I kept them grounded as best I could-it was mostly a mutually beneficial relationship. They were my biggest fans, some of my best friends, and most tight knit support structure. 

At that time I was also SGA Vice President and was not considering running for SGA President, mostly because I wanted to make sure my senior year was fun and that I left college on a high note. I was sat down by two active members (my big brother and our chaplain) and they convinced me that I should do it; after much thought, I agreed and thus began my campaign. It was rough. Through the entire process, my member class and the active members were incredibly proactive in making sure I had the support that I needed. Whether it was advertisements, speaking with student organizations, staying up all night on election night garnering votes, they did it and I never had to ask. It was almost overwhelming the support that they gave me. To this day I think about the day the results were announced and how special it was. As I looked around I saw some friends, some supporters from other organizations, my opponent and his support team but the group that was the largest and consequently the loudest, was my chapter. When my name was announced it was a flurry of hugs, tears, chanting, and I was even lifted into the air and brought outside by my pledge brothers. 

Like I said, these two dates may not seem relevant to each other, but when I think of my initiation day I know that it was made much more special and much more meaningful because of the care, compassion, and unending support that I was shown before I thought was necessary-before I was even considered a member. No longer was this group of men my campaign team, or member class, they were my Brothers, for life. 

My Phi Psi experience has meant more to me than I can ever begin to properly put into words. I can tell stories, look at photos, and even participate in ritual but I do not believe that my Phi Psi experience will be found here. My Phi Psi experience is intangible-it is in the unspoken conversation between myself and my Brothers that says I have committed myself to bettering you and you to bettering me; we are better men because of each other, and we are better men because we are Brothers in Phi Kappa Psi. 



Matt Goldsmith Ashland '09
matt.jpgI joined Phi Kappa Psi my sophomore year of college and since that time, I have had only one regret about my decision—that I waited a year before joining. Because of joining, I was honored with holding office numerous times in my chapter, became involved in student government (eventually becoming Student Body President), branched out on campus, became a facilitator in our Greek Leadership retreats, an officer on my Interfraternity council, was selected by my chapter to attend national conferences as our representative, and became a member of the staff of Phi Kappa Psi National Headquarters. I spent a year as a traveling consultant, visiting and speaking with numerous chapters, undergraduates and alumni across the country, and even had the opportunity to help bring back our Noble Fraternity to another campus. I gave of my knowledge and experience to others and gained knowledge myself. 

The idea that I am connected through our strong band to men from all of walks of life—scholars, statesmen, actors, business innovators, industry tycoons, blue collar and white collar and liberals and conservatives—is awesome in the most literal sense of the word: inspiring of awe, “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” I am part of an organization that was formed in a time when the question of natural rights for all men (and women) was still being debated, a time before our nation almost split in two before being solidified by the blood of her own sons and by chapters of this Fraternity; a time before we had 50 states, let alone instantaneous communication among those states and the world; before the advent of the automobile, before the plane; before the typewriter, the computer, the internet, the iPod; before we could not only see the distant corners of our galaxy and galaxies innumerable but also before we could even break the hold of Mother Earth and travel amongst the stars. Over 161 years have passed since two men gathered in a house during a snowstorm and founded our Fraternity and here it still stands, a testament to the values and hard work of over 123,000 men (and spouses and volunteers) who have dedicated hours beyond counting to ensuring that our Brotherhood stands the test of time. 

The Phi Psi experience, to me, helps emphasize the idea that it is not “I was a Phi Psi.” It is “I am a Phi Psi.” Brotherhood, involvement in the community, education, and service do not end at graduation. The Creed, the oath, the Ritual are not four-year promises, but lifelong commitments. Our history has illustrated that, our advisors and volunteers reinforce it, and our peers recognize it. 

The Experience of being a member of Phi Kappa Psi is so all-encompassing, so multi-faceted, that it is almost hard to narrow down a particular concept that stands out as the defining virtue it has instilled in me. I am a better person for having joined, but I am not the best me I can be yet. I am always learning, always striving to be a better man, a better scholar, even over a year out of school and through all of my travels.  And I think that is the best way to describe my Phi Psi Experience—perpetual.  I am ever-striving to live up to the standards of this Fraternity and the trust reposed in me by the mantle of history and my Brothers. 


Michael Corcoran Syracuse '04

michael corcoran RESIZED.jpgJoining a Fraternity was not something that had entered my mind as a college Freshman. My Dad had attended a university that had no Greek life, so I had no basis of comparison besides the typical pop culture stereotypes.

However, in the Fall semester of my Sophomore year, I discovered Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity, and found my perception of Greek life turned on its head. I never thought of myself as the "frat boy" type, and was amazed to find I was not alone; many of my future chapter brothers were very much the same way.

Joining Phi Kappa Psi has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Serving committee and officer positions helped improve my organizational skills. Attending programs like PLA, GAC, and ALA opened my eyes to the bigger picture of being a Phi Psi on a global scale. Serving as Chapter President helped me find my own voice and style as a leader, skills which I use in my professional life today. And the Alumni Association network helped me land a paid summer internship and prepare for the working world after graduation - a debt which I have paid forward by chartering and leading a new Association in my new home city.

But most important of all, Phi Kappa Psi has blessed me with three invaluable gifts: a home away from home during college; a Creed of values which I strive to live by every day; and a nationwide family of Brothers, some of whom I consider my closest and most trusted friends.


Paul Habernig SUNY Oneonta '04

Paul Habernig.jpgFour years of college and my biggest personal accomplishment most people still don’t understand.  It is true what they say, from the outside looking in you can’t understand it, and from the inside looking out you can’t explain it. Being Greek is not something that I ever thought I would be, but to this day, I can’t imagine my life without my best friends, my brothers, and my fraternity. 


It was the spring semester of my junior year in college, when my suitemate, friends and I were sitting on this ugly green couch in the common area of my suite at SUNY Oneonta, and we had a conversation about starting our own fraternity on campus.  Now I don’t remember how the actual conversation started, but what I do remember is coming to the realization that I was missing something.  I was going to be a senior in the fall, moving off campus, and I still felt like everything else I had accomplished in college was not enough.  My best friend Richardo and I had hours and hours of conversations of this master plan that we had to become a fraternity.  Sure, we could have done it the easy way and just pledged a current unrecognized fraternity and called it quits.  But that wasn’t enough.  What those men stood for and represented wasn’t for me.  I wanted a group of men who stood for leadership, brotherhood and service; an organization which I could relate too and be proud of.


After much research and plenty of conversations with the Administration at the college, we had invited a national fraternity to our campus later that spring.  To no avail, they canceled on us.  I thought, perhaps this is not meant to be, maybe we aren’t the right guys for this.  My involvement in Student Association at the time, and my ability to not keep secrets, was the answer to my dilemma.  A friend had told us about this fraternity that his cousin just joined, called Phi Kappa Psi.  I couldn’t believe it, everything about this fraternity exemplified what we were looking for.  In the summer of 2003, the national headquarters was contacted and we were on track for a visit in early September.  Within three months the national headquarters was so impressed with our determination and drive, that we became a colony of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. Basically we were accepted on a trial basis, an audition.  We had to prove to the national organization that the men in our organization were what they looked for in new members.    We were the second recognized fraternity on campus in over ten years.   Within that time frame, we had to prove too many about our understanding of the fraternity and the values and principles that the men of this organization represent not only as a social fraternity but the joy of serving others. 


I had no idea the amount of work ahead to become an official chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.  An application process included member recruitment questions, reference letters, community service hours, an explanation of leadership, campus involvement and a future business plan. This had to be completed in order for our colony to become a chapter.  It wasn’t until a few weeks before graduation, our group received a letter stating that our application was approved and we would become the 146th chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.  Due to the timing and size of our group, we faced several obstacles, including the location and date of our chartering ceremony.  Our overwhelming sense of determination and eagerness to be a part of such a group, impressed several national alumni that they offered to assist us in the chartering process.  All of our founding fathers and brothers were flown out to San Diego in July of 2004, to the biannual governing conference known as the Grand Arch Council. All expenses were paid.  My vision and plan to become a fraternity was coming true! Here, we were charted and introduced as the first national chapter to be a colony and a charted chapter in under a year, an accomplishment that set us apart from every other chapter. 


Upon our return from San Diego, we had a celebration on our campus inviting family, friends and the national headquarters staff to honor our accomplishment and new journey as a chapter known as the New York Kappa Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity. 


Sure, maybe my biggest accomplishment in college happened after I graduated, but the journey itself was an experience of a lifetime.  Every year I am able to see the bonds of brotherhood grow, the level of community service increase and the chance to form everlasting relationships.  Every September we celebrate that first September in 2003 when Phi Kappa Psi said yes to us.  Every February we celebrate our Founder’s Day in honor of the two men who represent the great joy of serving others.


I cannot say that there has been one event in my life that has made such an impact that I wanted to share with everyone.   I cannot say that I came close to death or that I have saved a life of a child.  But I can say that Phi Kappa Psi has changed my life, and to this day, I will never forget the effort and dedication it took to make something like this happen.  I proved too many that it is never too late to get involved and it’s never too late to form such a bond of brotherhood. So I leave you with this, never give up on what you want, and never get discouraged just because it didn’t work out the first time.  Today, more than ever, am I proud to be the founding father of the NY Kappa Chapter of the Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity.  I am proud to be a PHI PSI.


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