From the Executive Director: Phi Kappa Phi’s Landmark Birthday

Bradley Newcomer
Oct 21, 2022

As this autumn issue of Forum reaches our members, the fall semester is well underway in campuses across our Phi Kappa Phi community. After navigating the lockdowns required by the pandemic, we’re heartened to see students and faculty once again able to physically gather on campus. It’s a piece of news well worth celebrating at a time when so many headlines underscore the world’s challenges.

In our summer issue of Forum, I mentioned the pond cypress our staff and board leaders planted last spring at our national office to honor those lost to COVID-19. That little tree was bare when we gathered to place it in the ground back in March, but I’m happy to report that our memorial tree is fully green now and thriving. Seeing it just beyond my window at the national office is a reminder that resilience comes in many sizes – and that it rests in each of us.

That affirming reality has been brought home to me in a special way since joining Phi Kappa Phi’s national office as your executive director and CEO in January. I’ve been deeply impressed by the resourcefulness and tenacity of our members in answering the challenges of the past three years. I’m privileged to witness that can-do spirit up close when I visit chapters in many places.

One of my recent trips included a stop at the University of Maine, where Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897. I was humbled during my visit when I was able to see some of the Society’s founding documents in the campus archives.

That visit also highlighted a landmark birthday for Phi Kappa Phi, which this year is marking the 125th anniversary of its founding. The Society’s birthday was a centerpiece of our biennial convention in Orlando this summer, which was a huge success. Even if you weren’t able to attend the convention, you can still connect with the rich legacy of Phi Kappa Phi by checking out our new video history of the Society.

Watching this splendid story of Phi Kappa Phi’s evolution, I was reminded that the strength of our Society has always rested in its members – and in the willingness of special people who agree to share their talents and wisdom in leading our organization.

That proud tradition is evident in the contributions of our past president, Missy Hopper, who left our National Board of Directors this year after years of distinguished service. As Past President Dan Sandweiss passed the gavel to our new president, Lora Becker, at this year’s convention, I couldn’t help but think how fortunate we are to have both Dan and Lora on board to help guide Phi Kappa Phi.

The theme of this Forum issue is conversation, which is fitting since our Society has always been grounded in the lively exchange of ideas. I always welcome your ideas and suggestions about how our national office can serve our members. Please don’t hesitate to reach me at

I can’t help but wonder what the next 125 years will bring for Phi Kappa Phi. I feel extraordinarily lucky to be partnering with you in helping to shape that future.

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