Article by Nicholas Scalera '63, Phi Kappa Theta Brother
By all accounts, the weekend of events marking the 50th Anniversary
of the founding of NJ Phi Beta Chapter of Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity at
Seton Hall University was a huge success.
Nearly 65 undergraduate and alumni brothers showed up at the October
12th stag party at Cryan’s Beef & Ale House and a total of 122
alumni and guests attended the Saturday evening cocktail party and
banquet held on October 13th in the Main Lounge of Bishop Dougherty
NJ Phi Beta Chapter was installed on April 28, 1962 as the first
national fraternity to be approved by Seton Hall. It originated as Phi
Beta Sigma Honorary Service Fraternity, which was founded on April 13,
1954 as the first local fraternity established at SHU.
The historic event, held in conjunction with University Weekend, was
co-sponsored by The Setonian Foundation, the PKT Alumni Chapter and SHU
Alumni Club, and the Office of Alumni Relations.
Jim Spaeth ’65, anniversary event chairperson, said the event raised a
net amount of $3,100 for The Setonian Foundation, which awards
scholarships to qualified undergraduate brothers. Spaeth added, “That
figure included $2,140 in contributions from brothers. Nearly half of
attendees made a donation.”
Spaeth thanked the SHU Alumni office for assisting the fraternity in
planning the event and for covering the cost of printing and mailing
the invitations, producing the programs and some additional items.
On Saturday, October 13th, many alumni and guests arrived early to
join a tour of the campus led by undergraduate brothers and attended a
special Mass in Immaculate Conception Chapel celebrated by Chapter
Chaplain the Rev. Paul A. Holmes ’77. Many brothers participated in
various University Weekend attractions, including visits to the
first-ever beer pavilion held in a tent behind the center.
Spaeth, who served as master of ceremonies for the evening, gave
welcoming remarks. He thanked everyone for attending and supporting the
fraternity. Nick Scalera ’63 then introduced the evening’s two guests of
honor – SHU President Dr. A. Gabriel Esteban and PKT Executive Vice
President Robert Riggs.
Dr. Esteban highlighted some of the University’s initiatives,
including the reduced tuition program designed to attract the best and
the brightest high school students and his bold plan to establish Seton
Hall as one of the top 10 Catholic colleges and among the 100 preeminent
universities in the nation. He also spoke about SHU’s strategic
planning process, a mobile computing initiative, the largest freshman
class in 32 years and physical plant improvements. Esteban then touted a
project that “didn’t cost us a dime” – opening a 24-hour Dunkin’ Donuts
in Walsh Library that has become a student favorite.
Executive VP Riggs emphasized Phi Kappa Theta’s role as a leader in
the modern fraternity movement. Rob said PKT’s mission is to actively
develop men “to be effective leaders who passionately serve Society,
Fraternity and God” through five areas: leadership, fraternal,
spiritual, intellectual and social. He urged brothers “to remember we
are all part of something bigger than ourselves” and challenged them to
“leave their legacy by serving positively to secure the future of NJ Phi
Beta for the next 50 years.”
Spaeth and Scalera then recognized other distinguished PKT alumni
attending the dinner, including: SHU Vice President for Advancement
David J. Bohan (RPI ’82); Chapter Faculty Advisors Dr. Peter Ahr ’A and
Dr. Michael Valdez ’A; and PKT National Foundation Trustee Emeritus
Gregory E. Stein (CCNY ’70).
Nick Sena, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement, described the
role of the SHU alumni office in supporting individual alumni and alumni
clubs and appealed for donations to assist the office in its work.
After dinner, Brandon Brewster ’97, President of The Setonian
Foundation, explained its mission and services. The alumni chapter was
founded on July 7, 1962 and became an SHU alumni club on January 1,
2008. It oversees monitors and supports NJ Phi Beta Chapter, awards
scholarships to deserving undergraduate brothers and sponsors various
annual social events for undergraduate/alumni brothers.
Brewster presented the Rev. Robert Grady and Dr. Bernard Duffy
scholarships, each worth $1,000, to Chapter Vice President Joseph
Lisella ’14 and Chapter Treasurer Steven Troullos '13.
Foundation trustee Marc Colasanto ’96 then presented engraved plaques
awarded by The Setonian Foundation to six alumni of NJ Phi Beta Chapter
– Doc Ahr, Brewster, Father Holmes, Bill Trub ’75, Scalera and Spaeth –
in recognition of their “commitment and service to the fraternity” over
In a moving tribute, Chuck Guariglia ’64 read the name of every
brother in the classes of 1962 through 1965 who was a charter member of
NJ Phi Beta Chapter. He then called to the stage the eight brothers of
the inaugural PKT class who were present that night: Bob Berger ’65,
Paul Byrne ’65, Guariglia, John Patton ’63, Thomas Portanova ’65,
Scalera, Spaeth and Bill Tribus ’65. The group led all attendees in a
rousing rendition of the Phi Kappa Theta Stein Song and a reverent
version of Seton Hall’s Alma Mater.
Phi Kappa Theta National Fraternity now has approximately 50
collegiate chapters and colonies and nearly 45 alumni chapters across
To donate to the PKT alumni chapter’s scholarship fund, make your
check payable to The Setonian Foundation and mail it to Mike Trapani,
39-65 52nd Street, Apartment 5-N, Woodside, NY 11377.
To contribute to the Seton Hall Fund, make your check payable to
Seton Hall University and mail it to Nick Sena, Office of Alumni
Relations, Seton Hall University, 457 Centre Street, South Orange, NJ
For more information please contact: