The journey began 7 years ago with a coincidentally simultaneous effort from two groups of Gamma Chi Alumni trying to bring together and reunite generations of alumni. The first effort began with a Facebook group hoping it could one day get 50 alumni to join and get together for a tailgate reunion. Today, this group has over 600 alumni and friends of Pike from Gamma Chi, and helps to keep our alumni connected despite thousands of miles of separation. The second effort was the formation of the Gamma Chi Alumni Association, which began with 39 charter signatures. These two movements soon found out about each other and combined forces to make our alumni closer knit than it has ever been since Gamma Chi’s founding in 1939. Today, the Alumni Association boasts over 200 dues paying members and has seen attendance at its events grow to over 1,500 total guests per 12 month period. The Gamma Chi Alumni Association has won the William R. Nester Award for Outstanding Alumni Association every year since its founding.
From this always close knit, but now strongly generationally linked alumni group, volunteers for the Alumni Advisory Board, Housing Corporation, and the topic of this day, the Chapter House Fundraising Committee emerged. Anchored by Shane Pate, ‘00 and Rich Young, ‘80, the committee began with the goal of renovating the current Chapter house to a more competitive state, hoping to raise $3 million for a face lift. Brother Rodger Riney kickstarted the efforts by pledging $25,000, which various alumni were able to come together and match within 30 days. From there we hired a consulting firm that concluded, if Gamma Chi tried really hard, we could maybe raise $1.5 million.
Soon thereafter, the involvement and vision of alumnus Neal L. Patterson took this story from typical to incredible. On a trip to Stillwater for the Alumni Association's annual Hall of Fame Banquet in 2014, the plans for a face lift were discussed extensively with a group of prominent alumni. Brother Patterson’s response was, "let's go bigger." He posed a question to the group inquiring as to the best fraternity house location in Stillwater. The response was the corner of University and Monroe across from Theta Pond. So, he bought it. He then decided Gamma Chi must not only have a competitive chapter House on campus, but also the best Greek chapter house in the nation.
Brother Patterson, in total, donated $8 million; while Gamma Chi Hall of Famer Gordon Eubanks donated $1 million and the pair led the way for the construction of a $12.8 million fraternity house which boasts 32,500 square feet. Scores of other 4, 5, and 6 figure donors made incredibly generous donations, pushing themselves to their giving limit. The house now ranks as the 2nd largest pike fraternity house in the nation and the 9th largest Greek fraternity house in the nation. But it's not just the size—the house features unprecedented levels of amenities and finishes for a Greek housing structure.
At 1pm on April 1st, the culmination of several years of hard work from so many alumni from across generations of Gamma Chi came to a head when the Neal L. Patterson Chapter House was dedicated and Brother Patterson was inducted into the Gamma Chi Hall of Fame.
Later that evening, over 230 guests gathered at the O-Club inside Gallagher-Iba Arena overlooking T. Boone Pickens Stadium to continue to celebrate the momentous occasion at the Alumni Association's Annual Banquet. The guest list was notable with Brother Eubanks, Brother Patterson's family, two International Presidents (Shad D. Williams and John M. Williams), many prominent business and community leaders, and representatives from the International Headquarters in attendance. The keynote speaker for the event was PiKA Vice President and CEO Justin Buck, who primarily spoke to the undergraduates about how now it is their time to capitalize and turn Gamma Chi into a Smythe Chapter. At the banquet, the undergraduates gave out their SLAG awards and Undergraduate of the Year Award. Also given out was the J. Lewie Sanderson Alumni Volunteer of the Year award and Gamma Chi Dream Girl Hall of Fame award.
It was a fitting conclusion to one of the greatest days in our chapter's history and a great celebration of our success. As Neal Patterson says, "Success follows hard work."