Veterans Day Observance 2018

by Michael Van Poots
RPI, ‘95

Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Brother Van Poots on the flying bridge of the Fast Attack Nuclear Submarine USS Montpelier SSN-765

Folks—a moment of your time to reflect upon the upcoming Veterans day observance.

First a bit of history, World War I officially ended on June 28, 1919, with the signing of the Treaty of Versailles. The actual fighting between the Allies and Germany, however, ended seven months earlier with the armistice, which went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month in 1918.

Armistice Day, as November 11 became known, officially became a holiday in the United States in 1926, and a national holiday 12 years later. On June 1, 1954, the name was changed to Veterans Day to honor all U.S. veterans.

In 1968, new legislation changed the national commemoration of Veterans Day to the fourth Monday in October.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Arlington Cemetery, (Fort Myer, VA) Washington D.C..

It soon became apparent, however, that November 11 was a date of historic significance to many Americans.

Therefore, in 1978 Congress returned the observance to its traditional date. Tomb of the Unknowns—Official, national ceremonies for Veterans Day center around the Tomb of the Unknowns.

To honor these unknown Veterans, symbolic of all Americans who gave their lives in all wars, an Army honor guard, the 3d U.S. Infantry (The Old Guard), keeps day and night vigil.

At 11 a.m. on November 11, a combined color guard representing all military services executes "Present Arms" at the tomb. The nation's tribute to its war dead is symbolized by the laying of a presidential wreath and the playing of "Taps."

There are approximately 18.8 million military veterans living in the United States. Source: U.S. Census Bureau.

4 Million served in peacetime.


  • The American Revolution

  • War of 1812

  • Mexican War

  • Civil War

  • Spanish American War

  • World War I

  • World War II – 930,000 military veterans living

  • Korean War – 1.8 Million military veterans living

  • Vietnam War – 6.8 Million military veterans living

  • The Persian Gulf War, Afghanistan, Iraq – 5.6 Million military veterans living.

Please take a moment to reflect upon all Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen and others whose service ensured our Nation's safety.

Brother Van Poots and his wife, Holly, at the Navy Ball.

Thanks for taking a few moments out of your day to reflect upon those who are serving or have served in defense of our country.

My service as a veteran in the US Navy and my membership in Phi Kappa Theta started in college 27 years ago & continues to this day. Phi Kappa Theta fosters human development through community service and social interaction.

We are socially engaged, recognizing our responsibility to affect positive change in ourselves and others.

Phi Kappa Theta’s values are demonstrated through the actions of our members, who better their communities as citizens in a global society.

Main image: Reed & Ryan Van Poots, sons of Brother Van Poots, saying goodby to him next to his sea bag on Mobilization day.

Brother Paul Allen Passes

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA | Tuesday, October 16, 2018 – Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity is saddened to report the passing of our dear Brother, Paul G. Allen (Washington State University, ‘75). Brother Allen died from complications of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma on Monday afternoon. He was 65 years old.

Brother Allen was most recently with Phi Kappa Theta Brothers from across the country during the 2017 Biennial Convention, where he was honored with Phi Kappa Theta's Man of Achievement Award. As an introduction to his acceptance of the Award, Phi Kappa Theta created this video to highlight why we honored him as a Man of Achievement.

During his acceptance speech, he shared his belief that we were in an era where "Each of us will feel called by different causes and opportunities to serve and Phi Kap's emphasis on servant leadership reminds us that each one of us has the opportunity to make a difference." View the full video presentation of Brother Allen's Man of Achievement Award Presentation:

Paul Allen was without a doubt our most famous living Phi Kappa Theta brother. Brother Allen is famously known as a co-founder of Microsoft alongside Bill Gates. He left Microsoft back in 1983 due to health circumstances, devoting his time to philanthropy, space and tech ventures and sports. He was an avid sports fan, owning the Portland Trailblazers and the Seattle Seahawks. He is also Founder and Chairman of Vulcan Inc.

He was as driven in his philanthropy as he was in his business. Brother Allen never stopped asking the question “What could be?” and he was not afraid of tackling some of our most pressing issues – or even showing his love for a community by saving a professional sports team. He saw the world around him and continually looked for ways to make a difference and make it better. His Fraternity experience was so profound that he personally made possible return of our Phi Kappa Theta chapter to Washington State University and he provided resources to ensure that it would excel. It is a model we want to emulate.

Brother Allen was truly a role model servant leader who lived our motto: Give – expecting nothing thereof.

Jeff Jowdy (University of Georgia, ‘83) Foundation Chairman

Paul’s ideas and actions have meant so much to the world. Allen spurred the rebirth of the Alpha Delta Chapter at Washington State University. In 1993 he joined together with a group of collegiate brothers who sought to reestablish Phi Kappa Theta at Washington State University. He led and funded construction of the chapter house, completed in 1996. Giving life to a Fraternity that continues to promote brotherhood, leadership and lifelong friendships just as it did for him. Paul’s vision and generosity opened the door for hundreds of Phi Kaps to enjoy the same comradery that he treasured from his days at Phi Kappa Theta.

Our condolences go out to his family, his corporate peers and to his own chapter, Washington Alpha Delta at Washington State University, who benefited from his generosity and support the most.

Adrian Gonzalez (University of Texas at Austin, '78) Fraternity President.

Brother Allen was a visionary leader who changed the world through technology and serving the world through impactful philanthropy.

View the Statement made by Vulcan and his family regarding the passing of Brother Paul G. Allen.


Founded in 1889, Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity currently has 40 collegiate chapters across the United States. Phi Kappa Theta actively develops men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.

Fireside Chats Are Back!

Fireside Chats are back November 11th and 12th with National President Adrian Gonzalez!

In November, Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity is hosting our Fall Fireside Chat, and this year we want to hear from YOU!

To make these discussions more meaningful and personal for you and your chapter, we're opening up a suggestion box! Topics, ideas and discussion points submitted in this form will be gathered and grouped together accordingly to provide a town-hall feel to get your thoughts heard, and ask more great questions.

This year, we're hosting two back-to-back Fireside Chats to suit your Chapter Schedule:

  • Sunday November 11th at 9:00pm EST/8:00pm CT

  • Monday November 12th at 9:00pm EST/8:00pm CT

Note that both sessions will cover the same topics, the only difference is the time/date!

2018 Honored Alumni

Watch Mike Callais (Louisiana State University, ‘84) receive the 2018 Man of Achievement Award and view his Driven Video.

Watch Robert S. Basso (Seton Hall University, ‘67) receive the 2018 Man of Achievement Award and view his Driven Video.

Watch Ali Soufan (Mansfield University, ‘94) receive the 2018 John F. Kennedy Award and view his Driven Video.

Watch Colin Nguyen (University of Washington, ‘05) receive the 2018 Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and view his Driven Video.