Donor Testimonials

Building a Future for Gamma Theta
Eddie Keith ’67 Committed to Providing Undergraduates a Rewarding College Experience

When Eddie Keith ’67 was an undergraduate, the Kathleen Craig Claiborne chapter house was unequaled by any other house in the South. Alumni who came before him provided brothers with a place they could call home, and for Eddie, serving as a co-chairman of the capital campaign was his way to thank those alumni and create a similar experience for current members. “Being able to do something to pay back the faith and generosity of those who came before me was appealing,” he said. “I wanted young brothers of today and the future to have the same opportunities that we did and to experience living in a fraternity house they could take great pride in.”

For half a century, Gamma Theta brothers have been among the most important people in his life. As co-chairman, Eddie has been able to stay in touch with brothers from his era, and meet and work with members of the chapter now. Eddie believes current members have the nicest chapter house on MSU’s campus and that active brothers are creative and willing to work and embrace the changes needed to make Gamma Theta an outstanding chapter. He reassures hesitant alumni that although the Chapter is different today than in the past, Gamma Theta is still strong and worthy of an investment. “When we were undergraduates, alumni before us gave their time, money, and sweat to make something special for us to enjoy. Why would we not want to do the same for future generations of Gamma Theta?” he asked. “I want other young men who come to Mississippi State to have the opportunity to build the lasting friendships that brothers from our era have enjoyed—and still are enjoying.”

Eddie worked in student affairs for more than 40 years at colleges in Florida, Alabama, and Mississippi—including 25 years at MSU. In 2014, he retired and now enjoys traveling with his wife, Susan, to visit their children and grandchildren. The couple lives in Starkville, Miss. He can be reached at ekmstdog@gmail.com.


Pay It Forward
Paul Snider ’88 Donates to Help Shape Future Pikes

Reflecting on his years at Mississippi State University, Paul Snider ’88 is proud of his membership in Pi Kappa Alpha. The mixture of campus leaders, varsity athletes, and diverse members made him proud to be a part of the best fraternity on campus. “I have a great deal of pride in being a Pike from MSU,” he said.

Paul held several offices during his undergraduate years and was also one of two members to serve on the Supreme Council for the national fraternity during his senior year. Through Gamma Theta, Paul developed leadership skills and learned how to build and foster relationships. The skills he learned during his collegiate years he uses today as a senior vice president and financial advisor for Morgan Stanley. “The fraternity experience was a tremendous help,” he said. “I learned how to get along with different people, lead, and recruit new members. These skills certainly translated over to business.”

Grateful for the experience he had, Paul donated to Gamma Theta’s capital campaign to pay it forward and thank the fraternity that helped shape him. Although he has not had the chance to visit the chapter house, Paul has heard it looks fantastic and hopes the improvements will help continue successful recruitments. “I think a better facility always has a positive impact on the active chapter,” he said. “Recruitment is the lifeblood of any fraternity. One exceptional class can really make a positive difference.”

Paul and his wife, Sherie, have three boys: Paul Jr., Joe, and Pete. Paul enjoys spending time with his family and watching his boys’ sporting activities. He has been in the financial services industry for nearly 25 years, 20 of those in Pensacola, Fla., where he grew up. Paul lives in Gulf Breeze, Fla., and can be reached at paul.snider@morganstanley.com.


A Valuable Contribution
Campaign Co-Chairman Encourages Gifts of All Sizes

After a discussion with Eddie Keith ’67, it became clear to Turner Wingo ’64 that their undergraduate years were bettered through the generosity of alumni. Living in the chapter house taught Turner how to get along with a diverse group of people and is a trait he used during basic training in the Army and life after college. Reflecting on his own Pike experience, Turner was motivated to contribute to the campaign and serve as co-chairman of the A Legendary Past, Ensuring Our Future capital campaign with Eddie. “We had the best of everything through no effort of our own, but by the dedication and work of those who came before us,” he said. “I knew it was my time to help carry some of the load.

Turner considers himself fortunate that he was able to contribute a lead gift, but reminds alumni of a parable from the Bible about giving. In Mark 12:41-44, a crowd of people offered money to the temple treasury. Jesus watched the many rich people throw in large amounts and a poor widow give her few pennies. Although it was not much, the widow gave the greatest gift of all because she gave all that she had. “It is not the size of the gift, it is about the value of what we had at Gamma Theta, what we still have, and for those yet to come,” he said.

Turner is a retired Tennessee businessman and was named Mississippi State’s 2016 National Alumnus of the Year. He had a successful career as a longtime proprietor of Sherry’s Hallmark and is a member of the MSU Foundation’s board of directors. Along with his contributions to Gamma Theta, Turner has also provided support for scholarships, and endowed professorship, campus facilities, and athletic programs. Turner lives in Starkville, Miss., and can be reached at tawingo@msn.com.


Making Gamma Theta’s Future a Priority
Why Tim S. Duncan ’92 Gave to the Campaign

timFrom the beginning, Tim S. Duncan ’92 saw that there was something different about the Pike brotherhood. He remembers that the chapter wasn’t tied into one hometown or a couple private schools; there were a lot of out-of-state kids, like him, who were athletes and leaders in their high schools. From what he can tell that is still the case now and he hopes that it is still the case in 25 years as the chapter continues to bring talented brothers into the fraternity. His decision to join ended up being one of the best decisions of his college career. “The Pikes were a top fraternity and I was a kid from out of state who didn’t know anybody. All I had were my words and actions to make an impression. Being in Gamma Theta helped me develop confidence that I could walk into any situation, regardless of my background or the background of others, and be successful if I handled myself the right way.”

After graduation, Tim moved to Houston, but that didn’t stop him from keeping in touch with pledge brothers and finding a way to give back. He sees the A Legendary Past, Ensuring Our Future: Celebrating 90 Years at Mississippi State campaign as an opportunity for alumni to give back as a tribute to their time as undergraduates and hopes it helps the chapter remain successful. “Even though we move on with our lives and what happens to the chapter after we leave is outside our control, you want these guys behind you to know you tried to live up to a standard that was set generations ago, with the expectation that they maintain their status as one of the top fraternities, and hopefully alumni support provides that reminder,” shared Tim.

“The chapter house is the centerpiece of the fraternity; it’s a historical landmark and has housed thousands of young men and shaped a lot of lives. It only makes sense that it will need an upgrade from time to time so that is can be an attractive alternative to on-campus housing and be inviting to pledge recruits.”

Today, Tim is the president and CEO of Talos Energy, a Houston-based O&G company with more than 200 employees. He and his wife, Christy (Kappa Delta), have three children: Rachel, Brooks, and Garrett. You can get in touch with Tim by e-mailing him at tduncan@talosenergyllc.com.


Ensuring the Future of Pi Kappa Alpha
Why Charles T. Cumbaa ’72 Supports Gamma Theta

charlieIn recent years, Pi Kappa Alpha has been a top chapter on Mississippi State’s campus, recruiting some of the best and brightest leaders at the university. They’ve been building on the legacy that all of us have been a part of. But, in order to continue our success, substantial renovations to our chapter house are needed. This is why Charles T. Cumbaa ’72 chose to support the Pride in Our Past, Securing Our Future campaign.

“The state of the chapter house is an important element in recruiting new members. In order for Pike to be competitive on Mississippi State’s campus, the chapter house needs a significant upgrade,” shares Charlie. He notes that, with more than $1 million already contributed to the campaign, our goal of $1.5 million is easily in reach. However, this will take the commitment of all of our brothers.

“This is a very important initiative that will impact the future of Gamma Theta. If the fraternity played an important part in your life and college experience, please consider making a donation. Giving back is an essential part of sustaining the viability of our chapter and ensuring that young men to have similar opportunities in Pike that will shape their lives and create long-term, meaningful relationships.”

When Charlie first came to Mississippi State, he was immediately impressed with the quality of the Pike brotherhood. Through his membership in Gamma Theta, he developed valuable skills that have benefitted him throughout his life. “My Pike membership, coupled with on-campus leadership roles and academic success, contributed to my being accepted at Harvard Business School, which has opened many doors for me.” Because of this, Charlie has made a point to not only give back to Gamma Theta, but to also support Pike University, an important initiative that benefits and develops future leaders.

Today, Charlie is a member of the senior leadership team for Blackbaud, a software company that exclusively serves the non-profit sector with innovative solutions. His main responsibilities include corporate strategy, product strategy, and partner programs. In addition to supporting the campaign for Gamma Theta, he serves on the campaign board and is a trustee of the Pi Kappa Alpha Foundation. Charlie and his wife, Maryileen live in in Charleston, S.C. They have two children, Alex and Chelsea. You can connect with him at ctcumbaa1@comcast.net.



Undergraduates Advance Leadership in Gamma Theta & MSU

Why Jan L. Gwin ’68 Supports the Campaign

The undergraduates of Pi Kappa Alpha have made excellent improvements over the last several years, proving their dedication to the fraternity and their desire to uphold the Gamma Theta legacy. This enthusiasm and commitment to excellence from the chapter is what has motivated Jan L. Gwin ’68 to give to the campaign.

“The current chapter members seem to be some of the top leaders on campus and are continuing the legacy that was established by the generations before them,” shares Jan. He notes that in order to maintain a competitive edge at Mississippi State the chapter house must be updated. “I want to give our undergraduates every opportunity to be successful. The chapter house was built in 1964 and I feel that it is time to bring it up to today’s fraternity standards.”

Jan encourages his fellow alumni to consider this opportunity to give back and what it would mean for the generations of Pikes to come. “I hope all Gamma Theta alumni remember the foundation of brotherhood they gained from Pike and what the fraternity has meant to them. This is a chance to give back to the fraternity that has given us so much and further our legacy.”

In fall 2015, Jan was named one of the top 100 alumni of the Mississippi State College of Business. “It was quite a privilege to be chosen for this honor.” He has enjoyed the many opportunities to give back to the university and share his own experiences with students. “I always appreciated the open and supportive environment that our campus offers. My professors, fellow students, and Gamma Theta brothers always encouraged me to strive for success.” He shares that much of the person he is today is due to his experiences at Mississippi State and with Pike.

Jan works as a financial advisor with Raymond James Financial Services. He has been in the industry for 40 years. He has two children: Katie Jenkins and John M. Gwin ’01, who pledged Pike at Mississippi State. Throughout his life, Jan has remained close with his Gamma Theta brothers. “The brotherhood of Pi Kappa Alpha is built on a foundation of friendships and trust. That bond has last throughout my lifetime.” You can contact Jan at jan.gwin@raymondjames.com.


 

Pike Alumni Needed to Keep Chapter Competitive
Why Paul B. Murphy Jr. ’79 Gave to Gamma Theta

PaulAs Greek life at Mississippi State continues to grow, competition for attracting the best and brightest members has only increased. The need for an excellent chapter house and strong membership is vital to Gamma Theta’s continued success. That is why Paul B. Murphy Jr. ’79 chose to support A Legendary Past, Ensuring Our Future campaign.

“We have let the house get into awful shape and it puts us at a big competitive disadvantage,” shares Paul. “I would like to see the chapter grow and be one of the top chapters on campus and in the nation. The capital campaign is the first major step in doing so.” Paul observes that the renovations to the house have the potential to make a big difference for the chapter. They will allow Pi Kappa Alpha to compete and attract the top young men on campus.

Much of what motivated Paul to contribute were the memories and friendships he gained through Pike. “We had a great group of guys and the bonds and experiences I had will always be important to me.” He encourages his fellow alumni to remember their own experiences and the positive impact the fraternity had on their lives. The key to success for this campaign is alumni support and involvement. “It would be great if we could have as many guys as possible give to the campaign. Every amount adds up,” says Paul.

“I challenge all of my fellow alumni to contribute. We are still Pikes. It is our responsibility to Gamma Theta to improve the chapter house and, as a result, the chapter will flourish.”

Paul also hopes the renovations will encourage more alumni to get involved with the chapter. “I hope that the renovation of the house will be a spark; that we will have more families and alumni visiting the Pike house on game weekends and other occasions.” He sees the campaign as a way for alumni to reconnect with the chapter and each other.

Today, Paul is CEO of Cadence Banks. He enjoys the opportunity to develop relationships with his clients and help them achieve their financial goals. He and his wife, Katherine, live in Houston, Texas. You can connect with Paul at paul@murphyhouston.com.

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R. Kent Waits '82
Richard F. Cowart Jr. '80
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Dean K. Wingo '67
Craig N. Landrum '74
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Gamma Theta House Corporation Mississippi State University, P.O. Box 1043, Starkville, MS 39760
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