A note from the President of the Craigielea Alumni Association (CAA):
Any visitor to Craigielea will notice our walls celebrate alumni and our multigenerational involvement and support. Craigielea cannot forget, nor can we.
No fraternity at Cornell has a stronger alumni base than Chi Phi. And the voice of Alumni Members is clearly articulated through the Craigielea Alumni Association, created in 2010.
Following the merger with the Craigielea Educational Fund shortly thereafter, hundreds of Cornell Chi Phi alumni have enjoyed unified representation of its intellectual and monetary interests. The Craigielea Alumni Association is now the governing organization for Chi Phi Alumni and your involvement in this website will help us fine-tune our advocacy of your and our collective alumni interests.
History informs why the Alumni Association was formed. For over a century Chi Phi operated successfully as an active chapter with spirited support from a few dedicated alumni advocates. However, by 2010 the longstanding relationship between actives, Alumni and Cornell was no longer succeeding in maintaining the constructive discourse necessary to sustain our historic building or brotherhood much longer.
In recent years the Craigielea Alumni Association, representing alumni interests and working with the active chapter (advised by the separate Chapter House Association), have developed a strong relationship with Cornell. The new Craigielea Alumni Association board has focused on influencing all concerned to achieve the following actions as a requisite to our continued independent investment goals:
- Establishing a tripartite governance involving alumni, the active chapter and Cornell, recognizing stakeholder interests of the University as owner, and Chi Phi members (both alumni and active) as tenants with documented tenancy obligations and privileges.
- Determining that Craigielea’s failing structure could be rescued at justifiable expense.
- Improving communication with alumni and conducting a capital campaign to finance restoration of the House, which was suffering from decades of deterioration and neglect by all parties,
- Leading a multi-year effort to invest over $2 million dollars in renovation of structure, common areas, architectural treasures and antiquities, bathrooms, WiFi, fire escape and front entry porch.
- Renegotiating debt service with Cornell to manageable levels supported by rental income.
- Repurposing billiard and bar rooms into a library and social spaces more in keeping with fraternal and university academic preferences.
- Commemorating the founding principles of the fraternity in bronze to focus the active chapter on the principles of “We Are Chi Phi”, to ensure we perpetuate our 150 year heritage.
- Establishing proper financial, budgeting and operational practices between stakeholders to insure Chi Phi’s future sustainability as its long legacy suggests.
- Making and maintaining personal relationships between alumni and undergraduate members.
- Rebuilding resources within the Craigielea Educational Fund (CEF), our Fraternity’s foundation, to sustain its influence following recent investments in the House. The CEF is critical to the long-term financial viability of Chi Phi and all contributions by alumni, actives and parents are encouraged.
- Establishing a financially sustainable model with the University consistent with their directives that secures budgeting longevity for Craigielea.
Key to achieving these goals is this new website because it connects all the people who care about Craigielea and Chi Phi. This virtual community provides an ongoing voice to all of you, while providing better access to the events and issues that affect the future of our fraternity.
Most importantly for alumni: please remain connected with friends, visit the house with them, let the actives know you are coming, come to reunion and homecoming, enjoy this brotherhood!!! …. And yes … please contribute intellectually and financially to the perpetuation of this great heritage.
On behalf of all the Trustees of the Craigielea Alumni Assocaition, thank for your generous support,
Brian A. Murdock
President, Craigielea Alumni Association