Distinguished Alumni Speakers' Series
Features Nick Kralj '62
Legislative consultant Nick Kralj spoke to the Tau Chapter as guest alumnus speaker on April 7 at the Kappa Sig lodge.
Kralj began his political career soon out of college as an aide to Ben Barnes during his terms as Texas House Speaker and Lt. Governor. Always moving with ease and agility among political operatives, he took his career in another direction in 1972, creating what soon became the legendary Quorum Club, known in its day as the premier social gathering spot for top ranking state legislators, A-list lobbyists, power brokers and those who were lucky enough to be in their orbit at the time.
After closing the Quorum Club in 1985, Kralj returned to hands-on politics as a legislative consultant. He has worked closely with the Texas Trial Lawyers Association for the past 23 years. His firm, Kralj Consulting, Inc., has an impressive and diverse list of clients, including economic and industrial developers, municipalities, environmental entities and an Indian tribe.
In addressing the Chapter, Kralj lamented today's political climate of rigid partisanship and divisiveness that serves only well-funded special interests, and reminisced about the days when lawmakers would reach across the aisle to pass legislation that served the public interest of everyday Texans.
But no matter how tough the political climate, Kralj is known for his effectiveness. Tau brother Joe Longley '63, his long-time friend, confidant, and godfather to his daughter, spoke warmly of his loyalty and tenacity, stating "You don't bring a knife to a gun fight -- you bring Nick!"
Kralj was honored as Tau Man of the Year in 2000. He graduated from the University of Texas with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1965.
A Galveston native, he has participated in delegations to Cuba to promote cooperation on hurricane preparedness, environmental protection, and trade issues.
He and his wife, Lynne, live in Austin and have two grown children, Elliot and Nicole, who also live in Austin.
Russell Zwiener, MD, to begin Pediatric Fellowship Program in June 2015
Dr. Zwiener with wife, Jaime, and daughter Emmaline.
Dr. Russell Zwiener '01, soon to start his last year of pediatric residency at The University of Oklahoma-Tulsa program, is happy to report that he has been accepted into the LSU-New Orleans Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition Fellowship program. He is scheduled to begin June 2015. His wife, Jaime, a New Orleans native, is delighted at the prospect of returning to her home city. Dr. Zwiener sends a heartfelt "thank you" to his family, Kappa Sig brothers and friends for their support, along with a "Hook' em Horns" to UT Austin.
A Fond Farewell to a Tau Brother
Laurence Danielly Sikes Jr. '54
Larry's Kappa Sig name was "Tree" and he was a giant tree while in Austin and back to Houston. He will be missed but not forgotten. The Sigs will retire the name "Tree" since few could meet that test again. He was a truly good guy.
Joe Russo '52
July 3, 1936 - May 2, 2014
Cooley Tau Classic Draws Record Turnout
Denton Cooley, MD '38 welcomes his
Kappa Sig brothers to the annual
tournament named in his honor.
The 2014 Denton Cooley Tau Classic golf tournament, held February 18, was the most successful Tau Classic to date, attracting 80 players, nine sponsors, and seven volunteers. As in years past, the venue was Houston's Memorial Park Golf Course.
This year's format featured a four-man scramble with gross and net winners (20 handicap max). Players from the Tau Chapter and other Kappa Sig chapters participated in the annual tournament, now in its seventh year.
Tournament directors Jim Pritchett and Chuck Berson coordinated the day's events, which included a full day of golf, capped off with happy hour and the trophy presentation.
TKSEF Chairman Jim Pritchett '71 (third from left) congratulates
tournament first-place winners Tommy Schillaci '67, John Kimball '69,
and Chuck Berson '67. Joe Lucia '67 (not pictured) was also on
the winning team.
Hagen McMahon '66 is Featured Speaker
The Tau Chapter welcomed Hagen McMahon as its guest alumnus speaker on March 3.
McMahon, known for his vast social network, close ties to his Tau brothers, and expansive story telling abilities, reflected on his student days as a UT Kappa Sig, where he was fortunate to have Frank Erwin, then chairman of the University of Texas System Board of Regents and a Kappa Sig alumnus, as a mentor and inspiration.
McMahon's career has been distinguished, colorful and varied. Four U.S. presidential administrations have sought his advice on banking legislation and regulation concerns. During the 80s, a time of rapid growth for the oil and gas and real estate industries, he served as executive director of The Independent Bankers Association of Texas. He has since served on numerous bank, corporate and academic boards throughout the state and has represented U.S. corporate business interests in Panama and Mexico.
Guest speaker Hagen McMahon '66 (center)
with TKSEF Board Director Reggie Tuck '68
and Tau Chapter Grand Master Matt Stubbs '11.
He is a former president of the Texas Kappa Sigma Educational Foundation and a past chairman of the Tau Trustee and Alumni Association. In 2010, he was honored as Tau Man of the Year and, in 2005, was awarded the John G. Tower Distinguished Alumni Award. For three consecutive years, he was the recipient of the Tau Chapter's Frank C. Erwin Award.
He holds a Bachelor of Business and Economics from the University of Texas and a Master's degree from Southern Methodist University's School of Banking. He lives in Austin with his wife, Susan. They have two sons, Beau and Hagen III, a daughter, Wynne, a son-in-law, John Kennedy, a grand daughter, Avery, and a sundry of family pets.
Tau Chapter Raises $20,000 to Benefit
SEAL Legacy Foundation
Country Music Artist Bri Bagwell Plays Benefit Concert in Austin
Texas Female Vocalist of the Year Bri Bagwell played to a standing-room-only crowd at Antone's on November 8 at a concert sponsored by the Tau Chapter to benefit families of fallen or wounded United States Navy SEALs.
"We were proud and honored to show our support for these outstanding men and their families and to express our gratitude for the huge sacrifices they have made to defend our country," said Alex Amato, Tau Chapter philanthropy chairman. "They truly are American heroes."
The SEAL Legacy Foundation is dedicated to supporting the United States Navy SEAL community and to preserving the SEAL Legacy of NO ONE LEFT BEHIND.
The Tau Chapter raised $20,000 for the Foundation through concert ticket sales and an online fundraising campaign. The Chapter extends its deepest thanks to everyone who supported this very worthwhile campaign, with special thanks to past Kappa Sigma WGM Kevin Kaplan, Bri Bagwell, Commander Mark McGinnis, and Rob and Cathy Lippincott.
Left to right: Tau Chapter Philanthropy Chairman Alex Amato, Chapter President Hayden Witte,
TKSEF Chairman Jim Pritchett, country music artist Bri Bagwell, TKSEF Trustee Hagen McMahon,
Worthy Grand Master Hugh Roberts and U.S. Navy SEAL Commander Mark McGinnis.
A Fond Farewell to a Beloved Kappa Sigma Brother
James Andrew (Andy) William Ivins
March 19, 1949 - November 13, 2013
Andy was my little brother in Kappa Sigma and a lifelong friend for 45 years. He was one of the funniest, most quick witted and intelligent persons I've ever known. He was a true friend to so many people. At least 10 people got up and spoke about Andy at his funeral, not because they were asked to, but because they all considered themselves to be his best friend. He was a loving father and recent grandfather who kept his kids and wife in stitches right up until the end. He fought his battle with cancer with grace, determination and humor and never once complained. He was one of a kind and is already so dearly missed by so many.
Reggie Tuck '69
Kappa Sigs Celebrate Founders' Day
Honoring 144 Years of Brotherhood
December 10 is a day celebrated the world over by Kappa Sig brothers as the anniversary of Kappa Sigma Fraternity's genesis. On this day in 1869, Five Friends and Brothers from the University of Virginia founded the National Fraternity of Kappa Sigma, adopting the traditions of their Renaissance forbearers of the University of Bologna in Italy, dating back to the 15th Century.
Several Tau brothers joined their Kappa Sig brothers from University of Houston, Baylor, Sam Houston State, and Texas A&M to celebrate the 2013 Founders' Day anniversary on December 10 at the Cottonwood in Houston.
Distinguished Alumni Speakers' Series Features Wade Kilpatrick '69
Wade Kilpatrick -- attorney, savvy real estate investor, lead singer for a vintage rock and roll band, and one of the Tau Chapter's strongest supporters and most effective fundraisers -- was the featured alumnus speaker on October 28 at the Lodge.
Kilpatrick was instrumental in the Kappa Sigma House move to its present location and has been a generous financial contributor throughout the years. He has been a leader in the Tau 125 Campaign to raise funds for the Lodge and future Kappa Sigma House, served two terms as TKSEF president and was chairman of the Building and Design team for the Lodge.
During his years at the University of Texas, Kilpatrick served two terms as social chairman and as Grand Master his senior year. He has been an active Tau Trustee since the late 70s. For more than 27 years, he has been an enthusiastic fundraiser for rush and chapter activities, hosting annual receptions for alumni in his home.
Kilpatrick graduated from UT in 1970 and earned his JD degree from The University of Houston Law School.
He and his wife, Melinda, have three grown children: Gaines, Brian and Kelly. They divide their time between their Houston home and their Hill Country ranch in Sisterdale. They serve on two prominent Land Trust Boards, The Cibolo Conservancy and The Galveston Bay Foundation, through which they work to protect and preserve environmentally sensitive lands and habitats.
Since 2000, he has been the lead singer for the vintage rock and roll band "Mid Life Crisis and the Hot Flashes." The band has played numerous prestigious events over the years, including inaugural events for President Bush and President Obama.
Distinguished Alumni Speakers Series
Joe K. Longley '63 is Featured Speaker on April 29
Joe Longley shares Kappa Sig stories and career highlights
with the Chapter at Alumni Speaker's Night on April 29 at the lodge.
Texas Legal Legend, collector and aficionado of vintage Cadillacs, former band mate to John Denver, great party host, co-author of the most important consumer protection law ever enacted in Texas, loyal friend and beloved Kappa Sig brother -- all of these descriptions apply to Joe Longley.
At age 29, while serving in the Texas Attorney General's Office, Joe co-authored and was instrumental in passing the Texas Deceptive Trade Practices-Consumer Protection Act. When signed into law in 1973, it was among the strongest consumer protection laws in the nation and is today the state's primary consumer protection statute.
In 1979, he established a private law practice with a focus on insurance bad faith litigation, deceptive trade practices and commercial litigation. He has argued cases before the Supreme Court of Texas, the Texas Court of Appeals and United States Courts of Appeals.
In 2000, Texas Lawyer named him to its elite list of "100 Legal Legends" and, in 2002, recognized him as its "Number One Go-To Lawyer for Insurance Law" in the state. In 2011, the State Bar Insurance Section honored him with its prestigious Insurance Legend Award.
Anyone who knows Joe well would agree that he takes his work seriously, but not himself. He's as passionate about enjoying life and being with his family and close friends as he is about his career.
"I met Joe in 1961, more than half a century ago, and we have been the closest of friends throughout," said longtime friend and Tau brother Nick Kralj '62. "He has been my cohort, confidant, and Godfather to my daughter. Besides that, he has been my lawyer, which is no easy task. We have had many memorable experiences together; some quite scary, and some of them a lot of fun. I am very lucky to have had him in my life."
Joe and his wife, Maggie, live in Austin. He has twin sons, Bill and Adam, and a daughter, Grace Ann. Grace Ann and her husband, Sean, are expecting their first child in June and son Bill and his wife, Meagan, are expecting their first child in July.
Enjoying Speaker's night: Nick Young '10, Hayden Witte '10,
featured alumnus speaker Joe Longley '63, and
TKSEF Vice President Reggie Tuck '68.
Acclaimed Filmmaker Joe Bailey, Jr. '03 Delivers Commencement Speech to UT Graduating Class
Encourages graduates to "advocate fiercely for those less fortunate" than themselves
Award-winning filmmaker and Tau alumnus Joe Bailey, Jr. delivered the commencement convocation speech to the Plan II Honors Program 2013 graduating class of the College of Liberal Arts on May 18 at the Hogg Auditorium.
As a 2005 Graduate of the Plan II Honors Program, Joe shared insights about the Plan II educational experience, including these thoughts:
Plan II teaches by inspiration. It is a challenge: to progress, to never rest on what natural gifts you may have, but to get in the mix, to engage your peers, to challenge and to develop ideas. An abiding respect for scientific inquiry. A love of narrative, and the skills to craft a story out of just about anything, thereby drawing others into the discussion.
Conscience. Ethics. Purposeful thinking. An understanding of discipline, of dedication, patience, and craft. Moral courage to speak up, and the wisdom to engage, rather than merely debate.
These are gifts to share. They are essential ingredients to a functioning democracy, to a life well-lived; to teach your children, to share among family and friends. They are the makings of leadership, of invention, and they are good for their own sake.
He concluded by encouraging graduates to "advocate fiercely for those less fortunate" than themselves and to "go forth to love and serve."
Joe earned both a BA and a JD from the University of Texas at Austin. Currently a research fellow at the UT School of Law's Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice, Joe will offer a course entitled "Documentary & Civil Society" to Plan II Juniors in the upcoming 2013 fall semester.
More information about Joe's highly acclaimed work may be found on his website.
His film INCENDIARY: THE WILLINGHAM CASE is currently featured in iTunes Movies.
Dapper Attire Wins the Day for Knicker-Clad
Team at 2013 Tau Open
Luke Hotze '03, Russell Zwiener '03, Bruce Hotze '01,
and Stephen Caruselle '03 (not pictured)
will now -- after 10 years -- have their names
etched on the Tau Open trophy as the 2013 winning team.
In their tenth year together, the always best-dressed knicker-clad team Luke Hotze '03, Bruce Hotze '01, Russell Zwiener '03, and Stephen Caruselle '03 won this year's Tau Open, held April 19 and 20 at Lakeway near Austin. The outstanding shot of the tournament belonged to Luke Hotze, whose drive on the challenging 327 yard Par 4 Second at Yaupon landed two feet from the pin.
The Tau Open, a two-day, four-man scramble with a second day calcutta, is held at Lakeway Country Club's Live Oak Course and Yaupon Course every year in April.
Tau Alumni Visit the Hallowed Grounds of the Original Kappa Sigma Tau Chapter House
On January 13, the morning following Bill Wittliff's Kappa Sigma Man of the Year celebration, a group of alumni and family gathered at the former site of the original Tau Chapter House for this photo. Located on what was then West 19th Street (now Martin Luther King Blvd.), the house faced the UT campus, with a direct view north to the Tower. It was the home of UT Kappa Sigs for more than 70 years, until the fraternity relocated to West Campus on San Gabriel in 1972, and then to 1002 West 26th Street in 1996. The gathering was a great opportunity to cap off the best Tau alumni reunion in recent history.
Renowned surgeon Cooley a smooth operator on, off court
By Dale Robertson
March 17, 2013
Long before he became a world-famous heart surgeon and Houston icon, Denton Cooley had a nickname.
Artist Daddy-O Wade's "Smokesax" on its Way to a New Gig
"Sigs for Sax" Join Together to Support its Future
Bob "Daddy-O" Wade's colossal "Smokesax" sculpture, the long-time landmark of Houston's Billy Blues Restaurant and Bar, made its 13-mile journey on February 28 from Richmond Avenue to its new temporary home at The Orange Show on Munger Street.
Bill Gallagher '57 commissioned Wade '62, his good friend and Tau brother, to create the 70-foot-tall sculpture for his namesake restaurant in 1993. Constructed from a VW Beetle, oil field pipes, a surfboard and other recycled parts, the giant blue saxophone has been a folk art icon at this Galleria area site for 20 years. But Billy Blues has long since gone and it was time for "Smokesax" to move on as well. To ensure its preservation, the property owners donated "Smokesax" to The Orange Show Center for Visionary Art.
Wade oversaw the complicated and bittersweet process of watching one of his most acclaimed works of art be sawed into five pieces before it could be transferred to its temporary location. The Orange Show, a nonprofit organization, underwrote the cost to dismantle and transport the sculpture to an onsite warehouse, where it will remain until a site for its permanent display is selected.
Several Kappa Sigs, including Dan Moody '60 and Bob Moor '64, have joined together to create an underwriting campaign they're calling "Sigs for Sax." Moody has donated $10,000 toward the funds needed for its preservation and future relocation to a new site.
Denton Cooley Tau Classic's Sig-Am
Format Adds a New Twist in 2013
This year's Denton Cooley Tau Classic Golf Tournament, held February 19 at Houston's Memorial Park, attracted the largest number of players to date, with more than 90 golfers participating.
The new Sig-Am format -- Sigs with non-Sig partners -- increased the number of players and added a new spark of fun as well.
Players and guests enjoyed beautiful weather, a delicious lunch on the terrace and a relaxing happy hour to cap off a wonderful day.
Guests included parents of current actives, old rushees who didn't pledge Kappa Sig but wish they had, Kappa Sigs from other chapters, including A&M, Ole Miss and LSU, and friends of Dr. Cooley and other Tau alums.
Congratulations to our winners: John Martin '79, Steve Casacia, Jim Widner '78 and Tom Lockwood '81.
Tournament directors Jim Pritchett '71 and Chuck Berson '67 extend a warm thank you to everyone who played and volunteered,with a special thank you to the Cooley Tau Classic sponsors: Tito's Vodka, (Tito Beveridge '81), Oil and Gas Journal (Roy Markum '68), Guero's Taco Bar (Rob Lippincott '67) and John Martin '79.
The seventh annual Denton Cooley Tau Classic is scheduled for February 18, 2014, so save the date!
Bill Wittliff Kappa Sigma Man of the Year
The opportunity to honor Bill Wittliff '59 as the 2012 National Kappa Sigma Man of the Year was an event that we as Tau brothers will cherish for the rest of our lives. Many of you have heard me tell the story about Bill wagging his finger at me, clearly irritated when he learned that I had submitted his name for nomination. His reaction didn't surprise me. His life's work has been about putting the spotlight on others, while deflecting it himself. He's one of the most accomplished men I know, but also one of the most humble. After the National Committee announced that Bill was their choice, he slowly warmed to the idea and grew to embrace it. When the big day arrived on January 12, Bill had a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye that never went away. He was honored to accept the award, but the real joy for Bill was being with so many of his Tau brothers to share great memories and appreciate how strongly those Kappa Sig bonds have held us together throughout the years.
Bill, you're everything that's good about being a Kappa Sig. There's no one more deserving of this honor than you.
Hagen McMahon '66
They tell you when they are rushing you that these are the guys who will be in your wedding, who you will travel with through life, and some who will be pallbearers at your funeral. I have found that to be exactly right, and I'm glad to have a body of friends like that. What a great joy.
Bill Wittliff '59
Rob Lippincott '67, Tito Beveridge '81 and Cathy Lippincott
John Cochran '61, Rolf Larson '59, Mike Goldstein, M.D. '61,
Bill Wittliff '59, Jim Carroll '59 and Joe Howell '61
Hagen McMahon '66, Mike Sharpe '79, Jim Pritchett '71 and Reggie Tuck '69