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The Hilltop Breeze Newsletter
"The Star and Crescent shall not be worn by every man but only by him who is worthy to wear it. He must be a gentleman, a man of honor and courage, a man of zeal, yet humble, an intelligent man a man of truth, one who tempers action with wisdom and, above all else, one who walks in the light of God."


Kappa Sigma Legacy: A New House on the Hill

Press Release

The Kappa Sigma Fraternity at Tri-State University celebrated a significant milestone on Wednesday morning, June 11, 2008, when they broke ground on a new chapter house to be located at 300 S. Kinney Street, adjacent to and overlooking the TSU campus.  Attendees at the groundbreaking included President Earl Brooks of TSU, Dr. and Mrs. Ralph Trine, Building Commissioner Dean Twitchell representing Mayor Richard Hickman of Angola, builder Dennis Spidel, and a number of other community dignitaries, alumni and undergraduate brothers, and friends of the fraternity.  The new Kappa Sigma House will be yet another improvement associated with TSU, which is continuing its long term program for modernizing, upgrading, beautifying its main campus facilities at Angola.  In recent years, the university has worked actively with fraternities and sororities to renew and strengthen the positive influences of Greek life on campus. TSU and Kappa Sigma alumni and undergraduates cooperate on common objectives and standards which enhance the college education and professional development process.


Upcoming Events

3rd Annual Sig Cup
Click on image to read more about this years event.

2008 Annual Alumni Reunion
September 26th - 28th

The New Hilltop Breeze

Jim Sproatt, Website Committee Chair, 1971

We are very pleased to announce some
major changes to the website, and the addition
of our newsletter, THE HILLTOP BREEZE. First,
we have moved our website over to a new webmaster, Greg Griffis of Griffis Design.
Greg is bringing a new proactive perspective
to the effort, and is Angola based, so we will
be able capture some photos & involvement that
has been missing. The newsletter is going to
be a very important addition. It will be sent out
to each Brothers email address through our
Group Leader batch communications. A link
in the newsletter also allows you to click right
to the website. The current newsletter will be
placed on the homepage of our website and an archives section of past newsletters will be
available. THE HILLTOP BREEZE will be coming
to you with timely information driven articles
that should be of interest to our Alumni and
the active brotherhood.


Kappa Sigma Board of Directors
Mike Darch, Finance Committee Chair, 1966

Your finance committee is pleased to report that we have reached an agreement with your Building Committee's recommended builder, Dennis Spidel Customs Homes, Inc of Angola, Indiana to build our new fraternity house at 300 South Kinney Street.
We are further excited to report that we have the necessary funds and financing to begin this project immediately.  This includes a construction loan from Farmer's State Bank, a 2nd loan from our builder (in the unlikely event that we need it) and paying off our existing mortgage.  Fund raising will be re-energized in earnest to reduce our new home debt which is sizeable - but manageable with everyone's continued support.
Board Members - Requested your approval to proceed with the following schedule;
May 23rd - Mark Davenport and Roy Meyer signed the building agreement with DSCH's at 1:00 PM
May 23rd - Mark Davenport and Roy Meyer signed the construction agreement with FSB at 2:00 PM
May 26th - The work on the new house began.
More specific building information will be shortly forthcoming.  However, should you have any immediate questions related to your vote, please call 574.315.1668 and I will attempt to answer any questions you may have.

Kappa Sigma Theta-Xi House Project
Click Here for the entire Adobe Reader file (PDF)

Watch a slideshow of the groundbreaking for the new Kappa Sigma House
Click on the sign to enter
The start of the Hilltop House project
Among the alumni brothers of Kappa Sigma Kappa (predecessor chapter of present day Kappa Sigma) is Dr. Ralph Trine, for whose family TSU will be renamed Trine University on August 1, 2008.  The Trine’s are very involved and generous with their support for the community, university, and fraternity.  From undergraduate years in the 1960’s at then Tri-State College, Ralph and Sheri have many fond memories of the original “House on the Hill” at 613 W. Pleasant Street.   Trine said the location was a key. “It’s certainly a tribute to the university in general and the Kappa Sigmas in particular that the momentum that’s started in the last year or two is building on itself,” Trine said. Kappa Sigma has become synonymous with leadership, loyalty, and success at Tri-State and in the business world.
Pictured above (from left):TSU Trustee Mitch Rhoads,  TSU President Dr. Earl Brooks,  Kappa Sigma Alumni VP Dave Ballinger, TSU Trustee Dr. Ralph Trine, Sheri Trine, Builder Dennis Spidel, Janny O’Connel, TSU Trustee Jim Bock
The new Kappa Sigma house will proudly display the chapter’s 60-year history, spanning back to the late 1940’s at Tri-State in the post-WWII era. The new house design and decoration will be in the traditional Craftsman Lodge style, with single bedrooms for twelve resident brothers, central kitchen, dining, and living areas, and capability to expand in the future to house up to 18 brothers.     Four builders competed for the Kappa Sigma project, with Dennis Spidel Custom Homes ultimately winning the contract based on lowest overall price and best proposal for financing assistance and long term maintenance support.  Demolition and construction will begin in late June, and the house will be completed, furnished, and ready for occupancy at the start of the fall semester in August 2009.  The house will be fitted out with a fire-protection sprinkler system, but the undergrads have already voted to make it a totally non-smoking facility. Spidel’s scope will include detailed design, demolition of the existing structures, construction of the new house and off-street parking lot, landscaping, and interior decorating design and oversight.  Spidel’s company headquarters is located in the Angola’s historic railroad depot adjacent to TSU campus, only three blocks from the Kappa Sigma jobsite. The Kappa Sigma alumni group began planning for the new house project in 2005, when engagement and support began to grow dramatically among the more than 600 alumni of Kappa Sigma Kappa and Kappa Sigma at TSU.  The project will be independently supported by alumni donations and loans for 10 years, at which point chapter operations will become self-supporting based on routine fraternity residence and membership fees.

The original house on the hill
Original Kappa Sigma Kappa and Kappa Sigma “House on the Hill” at 613 W. Pleasant Street, 1959.

Proactive collaboration of alumni, undergraduates, and advisors is resulting in chapter growth not only in membership but in reinstating and reinforcing Kappa Sigma traditions and standards for campus leadership, community service,and professional success. Regular networking with alumni and consistent emphasis on leadership, academics, and chapter traditions are energizing the current undergraduate brothers and attracting more student interest in Kappa Sigma. Community service is a chapter cornerstone-every semester the undergraduates perform volunteer community service projects in support of elderly and handicapped people in need, youth sports, Cameron Hospital, March of Dimes, the Fire Department, and Steuben County highway clean up program.  Membership in Kappa Sigma prepares undergraduate brothers to be responsible and successful leaders in their professions, communities, and families. 
The New Kappa Sigma House
An artist’s rendering of the new Kappa Sigma house at 300 S. Kinney Street,
the chapter’s new  “House on the Hill” overlooking the university.
Kappa Sigma Alumni at Groundbreaking
Pictured above:
(from left): Scott Bond, Mike Brown, Ed Buker, Roy Meyer, Ralph Trine,
Mike Darch, Jim Sproatt, Jim Bock, Mitch Rhoads, Dave Ballinger.
Kappa Sig Brothers
Pictured above: (from left): Jonathon Jung, Dave Ballinger,
GM Chris Parrish, Pete Gorka


The Road We’re On

From Randy Plank, President of Theta-Xi of Kappa Sigma, Inc. (House Corporation and Alumni Group)

It’s truly amazing that I’m writing this and you’re reading it.  What that means is that we’ve actually lit off quite a resurgence in the Kappa Sig alumni group.  Something that I certainly did not foresee a few years ago.   But, boy, it feels good and right to be involved with it, and we’re doing some very good things and making steady progress. 

Our new era started in 2005, when Mark Davenport, Dave Ballinger, and Mike Darch put out the word that the chapter was in financial crisis.  The undergraduate membership had dwindled to 12, the old house facilities were in disrepair, and we were struggling to collect house bills and meet operational expenses.  The crisis was real – without an emergency infusion of cash and alumni guidance and support, it was likely that the chapter would cease to exist.  So it’s accurate to say that our new era started with the emergency business meeting on September 17, 2005, when 54 alumni and undergrad brothers gathered at TSU to start dealing with the problems together. 

Step 1 was to stabilize the house finances, operations, and collections.    The alumni board was expanded and alumni / undergrad committees were set up and activated for initial tasks.  Emergency triage was the focus in the fall of 2005.  Stability and direction were established over the course of the 2005/06 school year.

Step 2 was mentoring the undergrad brothers to reinforce Kappa Sigma traditions of house pride, campus leadership, and community service.  After 40 years of dedicated service to the chapter, Bill SanGiacomo was promoted to Advisor Emeritus and the advisor team was expanded with additional alumnus and faculty advisors who became engaged to counsel the undergrads on a regular basis.  The alumni board, undergrad officers, and advisors began conducting regular conference calls at the start and end of each semester to review objectives, plans, and progress.

Step 3 was to strengthen collaboration with Tri-State on shared objectives and standards.  Our alumni brothers sit on TSU’s Boards of Trustees and Governors, and we communicate and work with the university on many fronts, formally and informally.  If you haven’t seen Tri-State lately, you would be impressed with the great things going on there.  The campus has never looked better, and the enrollment is growing, with over 500 freshmen entering each of the last two years.  Our chapter’s future and the school’s future are joined at the hip, so it is a priority for us to maintain very positive and proactive relations with Tri-State.

Step 4 is ongoing to address our chapter housing situation.  Our old houses do not compare favorably with the new student housing that TSU is building, and there is pressure (with good reason) to clean up fraternities in general.  When TSU helped the Phi Kaps build a new house in 2007, we knew we had to do something to compete for the best students and to differentiate our chapter house from other fraternities and student housing.  Fortunately, we own the best possible site on the hill overlooking campus, the sports fields, and the golf course.  So over the last two years, our building committee developed a great new house design while our financing and fundraising committee established the business model and necessary funding support, and we broke ground on June 11, 2008, a major milestone in our chapter history.  The new house will be ready for occupancy at the start of the 2009 school year.  More information on the new house project is provided in the adjacent press release article.
The goal of all this is to maintain Kappa Sigma’s position as the # 1 fraternity at TSU, providing a chapter brotherhood environment rich with traditions and pride, that encourages excellence in leadership, scholarship, and community service.
So if you’re reading this born-again Hilltop Breeze, then we’re succeeding in spreading the good news to more alums.  Thank you for making the time and effort.  I hope you will find the motivation and time to engage further in some way.  It’s worth it.  Please come to our next reunion on the weekend of September 26 - 28, 2008, which will coincide with TSU’s Homecoming.  You’ll find it fun and rewarding to get re-acquainted with the brothers of your era, and to meet and mix with other alums and our undergrad brothers.  And you can see the new house going up and get a feel for what a great chapter home it will be.  Our house bonds really do last and make a difference - Kappa Sigma is a big part of what makes all of us who we are today.