Happy 165th Birthday, Virginia Alpha!

Last month the chapter and alumni leadership held an unprecedented reunion celebrating our chapter’s 165th anniversary on Grounds, and we are proud to say the weekend was an enormous success!  The weekend kicked off with a reception at the Rotunda with alumni, brothers and faculty, culminating in a turnout of around 100 people.

Executive members of the Montalto Corporation made a presentation laying out the current state of the chapter, and their vision on how we can make Phi Psi stronger in order to better prepare future generations of men. President Drew Marquardt also spoke, highlighting the chapter’s current strengths of friendship, diversity, scholarship, and giving back to the community.  He concluded his speech by announcing an official partnership with the Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) — a non-profit operating out of Charlottesville — and a donation of $5,000, demonstrating the chapter’s continued efforts to end sexual assault and help the greater Charlottesville community.

Following the reception was a tailgate at Scott Stadium before the Friday night football game. But, the celebration didn’t stop there. On Saturday, the chapter hosted an open house complete with catered barbeque, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages. With even more brothers and families in attendance Saturday, the house was filled with raucous laughter as brothers rekindled friendships that picked up right where they had left off.


Chris Perkins ’94, Montalto President, set the tone for the gathering.  After a difficult period around the Rolling Stone article and a defamation suit against the magazine, Virginia Alpha received a $1.65M settlement.  After paying fees and taxes, the principal has been invested with the portfolio managers who manage the UVA Fund, UVIMCO, and the balance stands at nearly $800k.  This makes Phi Psi’s endowment among the largest of any fraternity at UVA.


Chaz Felix ’94 has led a working group that developed a plan to hold the settlement in trust and use the investment income to fund house projects, financial aid, alumni engagement, and charitable giving.  Disbursements will not exceed 5% of principal annually and will be decided by a group of alumni and active-member trustees.


Drew Marquardt ’20, GP, updated gathered alumni on the state of the chapter.


Drew presented Becky Weybright, Executive Director of The Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA), with a charitable gift marking the beginning of Virginia Alpha’s partnership with the agency.


The house looked pretty good for the Saturday event.  Ed Barry ’66, (facing left) flew in from Sacramento.


The chapter’s chef, Chef Darin, made the pastries in Buzz’s renovated kitchen!  Impressive.


Another beautiful day at 159 Madison Lane and good group of guys to enjoy it.


The group presented Ben Warthen ’65 with a reproduction of architect Stanislaw Makielski’s 1928 drawing of the front elevation of 159 Madison Lane.  A complete set of drawings is held in the special collection at the University.  Ben continues to serve the chapter on the board of Montalto and as chapter advisor, as he has done for almost 30 years.  Thank you, Ben!


(L to R) Mike Marsh ’82, Jim Petersen ’82, Scott Robertson ’81, and Greg Case ’82 pick up right where they left off.


Most of the chapter leadership attended the Rotunda event.  (L to R) Henry Owen ’20, Eric Pawela ’19, Andrew Braun ’20, Drew Marquardt ’20, Emmett Debree ’20, Henry Woodw ’20, Van Spina ’19.


George “Fuzzy” McClure (left) ’66, who flew in from Paris, and Jack Cann ’63 were reunited at the Rotunda.

If you want to see more photos from the weekend, visit https://flic.kr/s/aHsmvagn41. Credit goes to Tom Daly ’04 for the photos.  The chapter would also like to thank Cate Liverman and her team for excellent event-planning support.  Cate is Director of Alumni Events with the UVA Alumni Association and is the spouse of Ryan Liverman ’06 and daughter of Bob Brown ’75.

Thank you Masons Fund

Once again, graduates from the years 2008-12, a.k.a. “Masons”, have come through with their annual fundraising campaign. The Masons Fund began only a couple years after the graduations of some classes in this group and has continued on an annual basis for the past six years. This year 41 Masons gave $4,713 that will increase the endowment and be used for house projects, scholarships, alumni events, and charitable giving.  Since its founding, the Masons Fund has delivered over $30,000 to strengthen the chapter.

Get involved!

The silver lining of Rolling Stone’s poor journalism in 2014 is that our chapter now has more alumni engagement and financial resources than anyone can remember.  We want to use this opportunity to increase that engagement and build relationships between brothers across generations. Here’s what you can do:

  • Give!  Because we now have principal to put to work, your gift will grow over time and continue to support the chapter.  Go to https://www.virginiaalpha.org/give to make a contribution.  If you don’t have time to volunteer right now, your gift — of any amount — says you want to see the chapter thrive.
  • Mentor a brother.  The guys want to get to know you and what you’ve done since your days at 159 Madison Lane.  Email alumni_chair@virginiaalpha.org to get matched up with a brother.
  • Host a regional meet-up.  We have approximately 800 living alumni living all over the world.  If you’d like to organize a get-together in your city, email bob@virginiaalpha.org for details.
  • Provide professional services.  We need some legal help to set up the corporate entity that will manage the endowment.  We can also always use graphic designers, builders/architects, historians, and tech geeks.  If you want to get involved by doing what you do, but for the chapter, email bob@virginiaalpha.org.

The brothers and alumni advisors of Virginia Alpha wish you and your family a safe and happy holiday season.  High high high!

From the archive

None of these alumni could make it to last month’s event, unfortunately.  This photo, dated Feb 22, 1919 is in the University’s special collection and is marked “Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity”.  In our records, the pledge class of 1919 consisted of Leight Buckner, Charles Carlin, Dewitt Courtney, Theodore Dorsey, Alexander Gates, George Hester, Marion MacGill, Robert McKenney, J. O’Brien, Haskell Rightor, Robert Sample, Clarence Simms, Earl Via, and Charles Wertenbaker.  Does anyone know if these are the men pictured? Contact alumni_chair@virginiaalpha.org if you do.