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What I learned at the Pike House that helped me be successful.


THE MAIN THING I LEARNED during my four years at Alpha Phi have directed my life in three distinct areas. Faith … Family … Fraternity.

I was very surprised at the number of references our ritual has to the Bible. After my initiation, I was
able to read over and over again our ritual and was enlightened that even the name and motto of our beloved fraternity comes directly from the Word. The ritual and the initiation ceremony opened a door for me that allows me to believe that Jesus is my living savior and I will use his teachings every day.

My Family means everything to me. My wife, Renee, and I have been married for over 42 years. We
have two beautiful children, Michael and Lauren. We also have seven grandchildren. We are truly
blessed. Oh, by the way, did I mention that Renee worked for the Pi Kappa Alpha National Headquarters for 16 years, so through Alpha Phi we were able to meet. Also, my son is an Alpha Phi alum and it was a lifetime highlight for me to participate in his initiation ceremony. My daughter even married an Alpha Phi alum. Do you think I have carried this a bit too far? Absolutely not. All of their lives have been enriched by our family foundation and the experiences PKA has provided. And, I would be remiss if I did not mention that my cousin, Kurt Risk, is also a Pike from Alpha Phi.

My Fraternity experience at Iowa State was phenomenal. We had such a large group of creative, smart men who were scholars, leaders, athletes and gentlemen that we could accomplish anything, and we did. My participation in Alpha Phi’s achievement of its first Smythe Award opened the door for me to work for the National Fraternity as a chapter consultant. This lead to a 19-year tenure as a national officer, serving as chapter advisor, Regional President (of two different regions), and six years on the Pi Kappa Alpha National Fraternity Supreme Council. This exposure to PKA on a national level has broadened my friendship and brotherhood even beyond the Alpha Phi experience.

Friendship, love and truth!

Faithful and true   - Mike Risk ‘70

SUDDENLY LIVING WITH 85 new Pike friends as a freshman taught me that I could learn more from people who aren't just like me. People I may not normally hang with. Years later when I owned my own advertising agency, I surrounded myself with all different types- eccentric, logical, left-brained, right-brained, quirky, organized, full of original ideas - but all passionate about what we were doing. They all brought something different, and great, to the party. Just like that crazy mix of guys at the Pike house. - jac coverdale '71

PI KAPPA ALPHA PROVIDED ME leadership skills that have continued through out my entire career. It helped me foster brotherhood and friendship with a team of Pikes that have remained friends for life. The social skills learned in the house, the solidarity, and taking responsibilities grew as becoming an upper classman.   Definitely life changing, as well as the fond memories of all the good times at the Pike House in Ames, and the related functions. Back then I had the honor of being the Fire Truck Chief…. Rodney (Governor) Ragan – '72


WHAT I LEARNED AT THE PIKE HOUSE that made me successful. Let’s take this in steps, because it’s not just “one thing”. First you had to have had some level of success to be admitted to Iowa State. Not all people who apply for admittance get accepted so to have been admitted has demonstrated an achievement. Next there is a desire to go through Rush, either formally or informally. That demonstrates there is a commitment for something more than just a scholastic experience, which further separates us from the masses.


Now we have been asked to pledge PI Kappa Alpha and the journey begins because like-minded, successful people, have come together. You are taught the valuable lesson of bonding with your pledge class. The class “endures” together the activities that we all go through, but the lesson is never lost. We all shouldered the burden, we all carry each other, there is not individual praise but group praise. That in itself is a life time attribute. The group is made up of talented people but not everyone has the same talent. Given different tasks the group succeeded, that is the life lesson, for success, identify your strengths and the strengths of others and harness that attribute for the good of the whole , this is what I look back on for a lesson to be learned. - Craig "Muttley" Jensen '71

AS I STARTED MY CAREER AFTER GRADUATION, I landed a sales job with IBM, a hundred-year-old Fortune 500 company. To say it was buttoned down would be an understatement.  There were volumes of Standard Operating Procedures for everything. There was high value education, lots of direction. Seventeen years later I started my own company, The Frantz Group, from a blank piece of paper, in my basement. (Now 27 years old and going on.. )


This is where my PKA experience was extraordinarily valuable.


The Pike House was a loosely organized bunch of uniquely talented guys who had lots of stuff to do. We had to recruit new brothers, attract sororities to come over for parties, build Veisha floats, create and perform Varieties skits, clean the house, raise the young pledges into fraternity men..  it went on and on.


What was great about all this stuff to do is it gave all of us an opportunity to lead something.  Something that we were interested in..  Like in my case, I was Rush Chairman for a summer.

 I drove all over Iowa dragging my parents ski boat around to take recruits out for a good time.  I met the recruits, their parents, their families, preaching the gospel of PKA.


It was a hoot.  


But, there was a lot of coordination that needed to be organized and I needed the brothers to help me. And that, was very much like starting a new business. Finding people with very individualized talents, figuring out how I would leverage them to help the cause, and getting them to help me. Everyone helped out..  we worked like a team and had a great time simultaneously.


So, the lesson I learned from our house was what it was like to behave like a team and get big things done while having the time of our lives. Pretty great. - Swede - John Frantz '71

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