Phi Kappa Theta in August
by Kevin Lampe
Western Illinois University, ‘83
Trustee, Phi Kappa Theta Foundation; former National President Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity
I missed IMPACT18.
I did not just miss it.
I missed being with my Phi Kappa Theta Brothers.
Our annual meetings, usually in August, are a part of me. Since 1989, I have attended every year except one.
For many Brothers, we have a collegiate experience that bridges our lives from about 18 to 22 years old. Together, we make the transition from teenager to adult. A time full of trial and error, some answers but more questions and taking our first steps on our life’s path.
After graduation, we decide what role Phi Kappa Theta will now have in our lives. For some, it’s homecomings and football games, or local alumni or housing boards, some will socialize with others from their era in school and others will be a part of events that span the history of their chapter.
Now, I have done all of those activities. But I added an additional facet to my Phi Kap life. I became active with “nationals” as the “undergrads” will say. My involvement with the National Fraternity includes almost every aspect of Phi Kappa Theta volunteer commitment.
For those who chose that Journey (pun intended), our chapter meeting is the August meeting. Some participate for just a few years, while others for decades upon decades. Each summer, we spend a few days together catching up on each other's lives and sharing stories of days gone by.
Much of the time though, is spent contributing to the vision that shapes the future of Phi Kappa Theta. There are board meetings, speeches, constitution and bylaws changes, training sessions, banquets, trustee elections and of course, our ritual.
During those days, brotherhood is rekindled. We will celebrate personal and professional success. We will agree and disagree. We will fight and plan. We will make mistakes and achieve goals. Yet, sometimes, we will say something awful, exhibit questionable behavior or just do the wrong thing. Then real brotherhood enters our lives again - a brother reaches out to another to listen, guide, offer advice or provide honest but loving words that will correct another's life course.
During my course of alumni leadership, I am thankful for the words of encouragement from alumni brothers. I am even more grateful for the strong but firm words of constructive criticism from these brothers. As I approach my 40th year as a Phi Kappa Theta brother, I have become the sum total of that experience.
I missed that.
I missed IMPACT18.
I missed my brothers.
Kevin Lampe graduated from Western Illinois University. He is recognized internationally as a political strategist, crisis manager and media relations expert. Kevin and his wife, Kitty Kurth are partners in Kurth Lampe Worldwide, a strategic communications rms with clients across the United States, Europe and Africa. Beginning in 1996, Kevin joined the Podium Operations team at the Democratic National Convention. They are responsible for the training and logistics for all speakers. In 2004, Kevin helped then-State Senator Barack Obama prepare for his keynote address at the convention in Boston. Kevin served as his undergraduate chapter’s president, ritualist, recruitment and chapter installation chair. He began his service to the National Fraternity on the Undergraduate Advisory Council (UGAC) in 1980. First elected to the Fraternity Board in 1999, he served as National President from 2009 to 20011. He currently serves as a trustee on the Foundation Board. Kevin and Kitty reside in Chicago, IL and Burlington, WI.