Pi Kappa Alpha

Scholars, Leaders, Athletes, Gentleman

Our History


In the fall of 1920, a group of men from the colleges of Science and Industries met with the avowed purpose of creating a local fraternity to which men from all degree courses should be admitted without discrimination. ON November 23, 1920, Zeta Delta was born, having ten charter members. Almost immediately they sought to affiliate with a national fraternity. Early the following March they were admitted to the General Intrafraternity Council and obtained faculty permission to petition Pi Kappa Alpha for membership. The Beta Sigma chapter was born on December 5, 1921. The chapter moved into the house on 4807 Baum Boulevard on December 17, 1921. It was a great start to the young fraternity.

The first Sweepstakes milestone was on the 29th of May in 1922 when Pika tied with SAE. The first Sweepstakes win was in 1926, which was also the same year that Sweepstakes ran a two day race utilizing Friday and Saturday. 

The next big event for the growing fraternity was in 1928 with the purchase of the house on Wightman Street. A special meeting was called after the opportunity presented itself to create a house-purchasing campaign. A housing corporation was created under the name the Beta Sigma Building Corporation to be controlled by the Alumni. The plan allowed the chapter to acquire the house on April 28, 1928. Sadly, during the winter holidays of 1935, the house on Wightman Street was destroyed by fire and the brothers were forced to occupy Sigma Nu's old house at 4921 Forbes Street. 

The chapter took a large leap forward when it acquired the Thaw Mansion in 1936 at 5010 Morewood Place, on the corner of Morewood Place and Morewood Avenue. The house was 75 yards from the main entrance of the campus and no more than 200 yards from any of the college buildings. Benjamin Thaw was the previous owner of the three-and-one-half story building made of grey brick, two feet thick. The house had 20 rooms and 8 baths with a 6 car garage in the basement. 

Switching over to a few Pika buggy landmarks, Pika's famous Shark won in 1959, 1963, and broke the ATO record in 1967 of 2:24.8.

As the start of classes approached in the Fall of 1958 there was a level of excitement amongst the brothers of the chapter. They were moving into a new chapter house and a new home. The university was in the process of completing of completing construction on the new building at 5004 Morewood Place (later to be re-addressed as 1079 Morewood Avenue). This building occupied the exact location of the Ben Thaw mansion and our prior home. While our location had not changed the facilities had. The fresh and new facilities fostered a fresh and new outlook on the future. The university would eventually complete four duplexes. We were to share the physical building with Delta Tau Delta although the houses were essentially separate. While the facility was new and modern we had managed to retain the memory of the prior mansion and the tradition that had become part of chapter history. To behind with two of the Italian Marble fireplaces that had graced our mansion were now carefully restored as part of the new chapter house. The carved 15th century fireplace that had been imported from Italy was now prominently positioned in our basement which was carefully finished with ornate woodwork also from the mansion. Even the bar in the basement would be built form the wood doors that originally hung in the mansion.

In 1962, we secured a fire truck from New Kensington with the approval of the city. It would become a hallmark at events on campus.

Another buggy event was the first time under 2:20, with the 1975 team setting a time at 2:19.3. PI-THON set another course record in 1977 with 2:17.8, breaking the 1975 record Pika had set. The buggy White Lightening set the course record in 1980 with 2:15.4 with the last male Mark Bufalini. Pika's Silver Bullit was the first modern three wheeler and Godzilla was Pika's first dropping push bar buggy in 1983. Pika again broke a milestone in 1983 when their time of 2:09.0 broke 2:10. 1984 was the first year Pika entered the women's buggy competition and won with a time of 2:48.6. The success continued with King Solomon setting a record of 2:08.67 in 1986 and Pika's B team setting a Sweepstakes wide record for the first B team under 2:10. 2008 saw Pika win for the 7th consecutive year with a time of 2:04.35, which was also the first time under 2:05. Pika buggy is making a strong comeback after a small hiccup. They continue to be one of, if not the fastest, free rolls in the competition and their pushers look stronger every year. This past Sweepstakes the women's team took fourth place after losing some strong pushers to a track meet the second day. The highlight for the pushers that race was putting up the fastest hill 1 times in Pika history with the women's time of 20.69 and the men's time of 15.41.

The brotherhood most recently moved back onto campus into the Margaret Morrison Fraternity houses. These are 16 bed houses with a downstairs kitchen and living room, but we make it home. The newest addition was a two-tone paint scheme with wood trim that gives the downstairs the regal appearance that it deserves. The porch has also been reinvigorated as the weather warms up and brothers are routinely seen grilling on the porch. 

 We are a dedicated group of individuals committed to long lasting friendship and brotherhood. In addition to bettering ourselves, every year we participate in (and host) a wide variety of events to increase the sense of community on campus, including Greek Sing, Buggy, philanthropy events and more. The chapter is growing stronger and on its way to being the best house on campus.