NEWS FROM THE KNOLL

ALPHA TAU CHAPTER OF PHI KAPPA TAU AT CORNELL 

 ALUMNIRECORDS@CORNELLPKT.ORG 

  SUMMER 2015

CORNELL CHAPTER REPEATS  

AS MOOSNICK WINNER

Alpha Tau received the Moosnick Tro-

phy for highest grade-point average on July 

18 in Oxford, Ohio, during Conclave. This 

was the 11

th

 time in the past 13 years the 

chapter has received this honor. Chapter 

president Brian McGovern ’13 accepted, 

along with Akshay Jain ’15.

The chapter had just over a 3.4 GPA 

for 60 men. Runners-up 

were Chapman and Ne-

braska Wesleyan chap-

ters, the latter winning 

the Maxwell Award as 

outstanding chapter.

About 120 men from 

around the nation at-

tended the third Con-

clave, a gathering to dis-

cuss programming, learn 

more about the national 

Phi Kappa Tau, tour sites 

related to fraternity his-

tory at Miami Univer-

sity, and meet with the 

National Council, which 

holds meetings in years 

when there is no Convention. Scott Conroe 

’01, Empire Domain director, also attended.

Alpha Tau also received citations for 

recruitment and money raised for the Seri-

ousFun Network camps.

Elsewhere, Eric Oberman ’14 and Mike 

Beveridge ’14 planned to attend Leadership 

Academy in Georgia later in July.

HOMECOMING

2

·

0

·

1

·

5

We invite you to return to 

106 The Knoll 

to see old friends 

and meet the current  

brothers of Phi Kappa Tau 

on the weekend of 

September 18–19.

Join the tailgate before the  

Homecoming football game 

against Bucknell at 3:00 p.m.  

on Saturday, September 19,  

and then join us for dinner with 

the brotherhood later that night.

More details will follow  

in the weeks ahead.

For more information, please 

contact Alexander Gomez, vice 

president for alumni relations at 

vpar@cornellpkt.com.

Photo at top: Reunion Weekend in June 

was an occasion for these alumni and 

undergrads to mingle (l–r, front): James 

Brennan ’07, Will Longano ’07, Eddie 

Castaneda ’07; (l–r, back) Jason Grand 

’07, Alex Fisher ’07, Eric Oberman ’14, 

Steve Pazzano ’07, Tim Wickham ’07, 

VPAR Alex Gomez ’14, Logan Pierce 

’07, Dan Schiff ’02, Ben Lee ’13, Greg 

Nostrand ’14, Jason Freedman ’15, Jeff 

Witz ’14, Jeremy Rothstein ’07.

Chapter President Brian McGovern ’13 (second from right) 

holds the Moosnick Trophy, while Akshay Jain ’15 holds the 

plaque. Presenters were national president Rick Keltner (left) 

and former national president Charlie Ball.

CORNELL CHOOSES CHAPTER FOR AWARDS

Alpha Tau of Phi Kappa Tau achieved 

a rare honor during the annual Fraternity 

and Sorority Awards in April, receiving Out-

standing Chapter status from Cornell Uni-

versity for roughly the 12

th

 time since 2002.

The university’s Office of Fraternities, So-

rorities, and Independent Living (OFSIL) gives 

the award to three fraternities in Interfraterni-

ty Council, along with sorority and fraternity 

chapters from the other two Greek councils.

Javi Ortiz ’12, social chair in 2013, presi-

(continued on page 3)

2

CHAPTER GRADUATES 16, HONORS TWO

Alpha Tau Chapter had 16 seniors become part of the Gradu-

ate Council on May 24, a sunny and warm Sunday that provided a 

pleasant walk to Schoellkopf Stadium for Cornell University’s 147

th

 

Commencement.

A couple of weeks earlier, the chapter’s executive board chose 

two of the seniors, L.T. Nault and Nitin Rajinikanth, as the Meri-

torious Service Award recipients. L.T. served as treasurer in 2014, 

and Nitin served as vice president in 2014 and chaplain for two 

years. Both were honored for how much they cared about the chap-

ter beyond the offices they held. This award was created in 1981.

Bryan McDonald was chosen Dream Teamer of the Year for con-

tributions to intramural sports. This award was created in 2001 by 

Dennis DeMarco ’01 as the chapter sought to build campus name 

recognition and brotherhood through playing intramural sports.

The May graduates were Matt Coster, Tom Flagiello, Ankith 

Harathi, Eric Krasnow, Kevin Liu, Bryan McDonald, L.T. Nault, 

Sam Nelson, A.J. Nickas, Andrew O’Connor, Jake Potashnick, Nitin 

Rajinikanth, Mark Shneerson, David Sternau, Marcus Wetlaufer, 

and Lekshmi “Lex” Shivakumar.

The last chapter meeting of the academic year on May 3 was 

filled with emotion, as usual, with seniors offering their thoughts 

upon leaving.

This was the 14

th

 graduating class for the chapter since re-found-

ing in 2000, with those first members graduating in 2002 and 2003.

REUNION ON THE KNOLL

Last month, the Alpha Tau Chapter hosted its annual Reunion 

Weekend reception for the class of 2005 and the class of 2010, which 

were returning to celebrate their five-year and 10-year reunions. 

We also had the privilege of hosting various brothers from others 

graduation years, including some who graduated in the 1980s. 

We spent Saturday afternoon on the Knoll, relaxing in the back-

yard and playing KanJam and cornhole. Undergraduates got the 

chance to meet Graduate Council brothers and talk about their ex-

periences here at Cornell. It was interesting to not only learn about 

what changed since their time as undergraduates, but also what 

stayed the same. Certain things about Phi Tau and Cornell seem to 

be timeless, such as the names of the rooms in the house and the 

crowded first-floor parties. These shared experiences made it easy to 

connect and to appreciate being part of this brotherhood. 

The reception was a great opportunity to show alumni that our 

chapter is still striving. We talked about the different things we 

were doing on campus and the various recognitions that our chap-

ter has received. It was also an opportunity to see the impact that 

other Phi Taus were making in the real world. Brothers who gradu-

ated only years ago are now up-and-coming in their various fields, 

and we are all interested to see where they will eventually land. 

Our next major event will be our annual tailgate and alumni re-

ception during Homecoming weekend. It will occur on September 

19, and we encourage all alumni to return to Cornell and to attend. 

More information will be sent out soon, but we hope to see many 

of you there, because it is a great opportunity to reunite with old 

brothers and to reconnect with the chapter. 

Alex Gomez ’14

Mark Shneerson and Andrew O’Connor (l–r) savor the walk to 

Schoellkopf Stadium for Commencement.

Lex Shivakumar, Ankith Harathi, and Nitin Rajinikanth (l–r) on 

their way to the Arts Quad before Commencement.

A.J. Nickas, L.T. Nault, and Dave Sternau (l–r) pose en route to the 

Arts Quad to line up for the procession.

Bryan McDonald and Tom Flagiello (l–r) get ready for the procession.

3

is published by the Alpha Tau Chapter of Phi Kappa Tau Fraternity at Cornell for its members and friends. News and photos should be sent to: Alumni 

Records Office, Alpha Tau of Phi Kappa Tau, P.O. Box 876, Ithaca, NY 14851-0876. Comments about this edition can be sent to Alex Gomez ’14 at 

vpar@cornellpkt.com. This issue edited by Scott Conroe ’01

NEWS FROM THE KNOLL

We regret to announce the deaths  

of the following alumni:

CHAPTER ETERNAL

“Worked in 47 countries,” writes 

Robert 

Ostrander ’49

. “Finally came to roost in 

Romulus, New York, in 1995. Home is 

where the heart is!” Get back in touch with 

Bob at reomag@rochester.rr.com or at 5715 

Rt. 89, Romulus, NY 14541.

Dan Schiff ’02

 writes: “Had a great time at 

my Cornell 10-year reunion, and I appreci-

ate the guys in Ithaca letting me stay in the 

house. Glad to see Alpha Tau continuing 

to grow with quality brothers!” Write Dan 

a note to let him know how you’re doing: 

schiffilis@gmail.com; 4530 Connecticut 

Ave. NW, Apt B2, Washington, DC 20008.

In July, 

Drew Weirman ’09

 finished up a 

year-long assignment as a manufacturing 

engineer at Lockheed Martin in Syracuse, 

New York, where he worked on sonar, 

ground-based radar, and electronic warfare 

systems for the military. “Will probably be 

relocating again soon!” Write to Drew to 

get all the details: arw84@cornell.edu; 823 

Clover Dr., North Wales, PA 19454.

O

I KT ALUMNI NEWS

William J. Cuccio

 

’66 

December 6, 2014

Donald

 

R. Curtis

 

’53 

February 5, 2015

Richard C. Daniels ’49 

January 26, 2015

Robert

 

W. Ficken

 

’50 

March 31, 2012

Edgar

 

J. Stevenson

 

’67 

January 22, 2015

Charles

 

B. Winn

 

’56 

May 27, 2009

WHY I VISITED THE KNOLL

I returned to The Knoll for my 10

th

 Cor-

nell Reunion in June because Phi Kappa 

Tau defined my college experience. There 

are many banal things I could say about 

nostalgia for the good old days, though, 

truthfully, I have no desire to be 20 years 

old again. But it’s comforting to visit and to 

see how Alpha Tau Chapter remains a solid 

brotherhood.

Many aspects of my Cornell social 

scene are gone: Dino’s bar is a distant mem-

ory, the Palms is a pile of rubble, and the 

Chapter House is charred to a crisp. For-

tunately, our chapter house still stands, 

better in many ways. And, of course, our 

vast backyard remains the perfect place to 

spend a gorgeous spring day.

The current undergraduate brothers 

wouldn’t know me from Jeffrey Lehman 

(former Cornell president), but it wasn’t 

hard to see that the character of the chapter 

has carried through the years. One young 

woman serving as a class of 2005 Reunion 

clerk, upon hearing which house I was in, 

exclaimed, “Phi Tau? I love those guys!”

That Alpha Tau continues to thrive is 

a credit to our strong alumni leadership. I 

know I shouldn’t take for granted that 106 

The Knoll will stand forever as our home, 

but I hope it does. I’ll be back for other 

reunions, and each time I return, the un-

dergrads will look at me with increasing 

concern when I say I’m down for some of 

the social games they like. But beyond just 

allowing me to awkwardly relive the past, 

the fraternity has given me friendships that 

continue going strong. And that’s the most 

important thing I could ask for from a col-

lege experience. 

Dan Schiff ’02

dent for 2014, and member-orientation 

officer for last spring, was named an Out-

standing Chapter Officer. Spring initiate 

Christopher Cox ’15 was named an Out-

standing New Member in the Greek system.

The chapter also received an award 

for Outstanding Social Responsibility, for 

strong management of social events and for 

participation at risk management talks.

(continued from page 1)

CORNELL CHOOSES  

CHAPTER FOR 

AWARDS