Remembering Edward S. Acton ’37 - Fall 2015

We regret to announce the passing of Edward (Ted) Acton, class of 1937. He died at the age of 101.

When Will it be Renewed? - Fall 2012

A Schedule Leading to our 125th Celebration in 2015!
We have come to appreciate the complexity of the Craigielea renovation process. Imagine coordinating the architectural and engineering designs, phasing prerequisite structural and systems work, followed by architectural renovation. Then think about coordinating this with fundraising while exercising discipline to ensure that sources of funds collected will always exceed designated uses. All of this in a building renovation project where the answer is sometimes behind the walls, and where construction can only occur while school is not in session.

In this complex environment, we are fortunate that we have alumni with experience in this type of project. And Cornell is assigning one of its best managers to this project. Before joining Cornell, Lisa James had years of experience with Bovis Construction which is one of the industry's recognized best in its project management practices. Here is an outline of the current project schedule, which is endorsed by our alumni and Cornell. It balances constraints and properly sequences work and cash flow:

Summer 2013: During next summer, the balance of our structural work will be completed in the living room, dining room, and bar areas. Renovation will be completed in the library (including portraits, tapestry, and new plaques) and the hall leading to the library. Structural work in these areas is already complete.

Summer 2014: During this second summer, renovation work will move on to the foyer and living-room areas.

Summer 2015: During this third summer, renovation will finish the first floor with the work in the dining room, music room, and bar.

Fall 2015: The 125th anniversary celebration will be moved to the fall, where we will see the renovation work completed in prior summers and the plans for the new Memorial Room (addition to the dining room).

Summer 2016: Property improvements (including parking) and gorge restoration to improve views and stabilize slopes. The Memorial Room will be newly constructed once fully funded and approved.

The ultimate goal of this first capital campaign is to secure enough contributions to substantially upgrade our historic Craigielea property leading up to and following our 125th anniversary celebration. Since our last report, we have raised more than $700,000. We need your continued support and contributions to meet our goal of $1.5 million.

A Third of Our Goal in Only Three Months! - Spring 2012

Structural work, which began last year, will continue this summer under our arrangement with Cornell, which allows these repairs to be funded from future operating surpluses. The chapter house association is working closely with Cornell to prioritize the work so it will be completed for our 125th celebration. The campaign formally started in January of this year and we have already raised more than $500,000 from fewer than 15 Chi Phi brothers. We have set the campaign goal for $1.5 million.

For an organization to conduct a successful fundraising campaign, there are important steps that need to be taken. The first was to develop an assessment of needs, an analysis of costs, and a forecast of the amount of alumni contributions we could reasonably expect to secure. We have conducted a capital campaign feasibility study using the firm of McElroy & Associates. The second step was to establish the ideal organization to execute the campaign and manage expenditures. We started this by merging the Craigielea Alumni Assocation into the Craigielea Educational Fund, a separate 501(c)(3) organization established for the benefit of Chi Phi in 1947. We also organized a fundraising support team that is comprised of alumni brothers from several generations who are working with Greg McElroy. One of our final steps will be a formal capaign kick-off event that will take place either during Reunion Weekend in June or at Cornell's Homecoming next fall.

Brothers wishing to learn more about the Campaign for Craigielea or the renovation project are encouraged to contact Greg at

Celebrating Progress - Fall 2011

In recent years, we looked at the haunting symptoms of distress pulling at our beloved Craigielea and worried if the structural problems could ever be found and arrested. This past summer critical areas were disassembled, remediated, and put back together.

From a financial perspective, we were concerned that the cost of work "behind the walls" would crush our cash flow and consume all proceeds from the upcoming capital campaign. We asked Cornell for help, and we are happy to report that Cornell has stepped forward to loan money--at extremely favorable rates--to our operating account so that structural and safety work can be completed and funded from the proceeds of future operations. This means that Cornell and future Chi Phis both have "skin in the game," and the bulk of the pending capital campaign will now be reserved to fund restoration and improvements to the grandeur of Craigielea.

This is a monumental confirmation of a partnership that exists between the university, active Xis, and alumni; all of us are working together for the preservation of Craigielea. Tackling Craigielea's most daunting challenges began with the mutual commitment by Xi alumni and Cornell to start unfunded repairs, work which we now understand saved the house from collapse. Meanwhile, we also completed a study verifying the viability of our capital campaign; Cornell endorses the very active role to be played by the Craigielea Educational Fund in controlling the use of future donations for the preservation of the house and its artifacts.

Finally, we cannot say enough about the groundswell of support from the active brotherhood, which has survived the disruption from this first round of heavy construction and renovation. A heartfelt thanks to them, the alumni, and Cornell for such a great start to our exciting journey to the 125th celebration!

Progress Report on Restoring Craigielea and its Grounds - Spring 2011

houseHow many strong men are holding up Craigielea? The newest pledge class just contributed 22!

How many of us will stay strong in our support when support is needed the most? McElroy & Associates is now assessing the need in a capital campaign feasibility study, scheduled for completion in June 2011. Reports regarding the viability of Craigielea's timber frame and our ability to restore the "Million Dollar View" on the side of the Cascadilla Gorge are also scheduled for completion in June. When these baseline studies are complete, we can then chart our course to 2015, including building renovations, improvements to both site and floor-plans, restoration to our interior millwork/ornamentation, a new memorial room, and a gorge-side promenade.

Our goal is to make things right for the next 125 years. How many strong men are there?

— Jerry Day '71

Chi Phi Is The Talk Of The Town ... And It's All Good

Over the last few years we've witnessed a transformation at Craigielea, as the undergraduates joined forces with alumni for "fix-up weekends," to maintain and beautify the house and grounds. Working together we tackled several projects including landscaping, painting, cleaning, and many repairs. The house hasn't looked this good in 30 years!

Special thanks are due to Nate Richard and Andy Sliwa, and their successors, for their leadership, initiative, and great efforts, making Chi Phi the "talk of the town."

During one weekend, a coed walking up Edgemoore Lane was even compelled to knock on our door and say, "I just wanted to meet you guys and tell you how nice this place looks!" Aah, how sweet!

Perhaps more significant than the tangible repairs and upgrades were the intangible bonds the alumni made with the actives. This was a great opportunity to share values, needs, and dreams with a very brilliant young generation.

Our vision for Chi Phi isn't just to be "most improved." We believe that we're well on our way to becoming "best fraternity." And the pride and ownership is evident everywhere and is becoming infectious for all new brothers as well.

I encourage all alumni to drop by at Reunion or Homecoming (or whenever) to witness this transformation for yourself. Believe me, it's rewarding these days. Come see what all the talk's about!

Dave Hibbert '74