Omega Beta had its incipience in September of 1938, when James (Jimmy) Schleifer first discussed the possibility of starting a chapter at UNC, with Murray Vale of the National Executive Council of Pi Lambda Phi. In the Fall of 1938, Hal Warshaw had a talk with the coach of the North Carolina Lacrosse team, Al Cornsweet, who had started the Phi chapter at Brown, and told Jimmy about it.
A nucleus of eight men got together. Among these were Jimmy Schleifer, his room mate, Al Buck, Bob Lerner, Carl Sherman, Whit Lees, Murray Secher, Hal Warshaw, and Marvin Mendelsohn. Along with Nat Sontag, a member of the National Executive Council, the group became known as Omega Beta Local Fraternity. The UNC IFC was petitioned for recognition, whish was obtained in April 1939. Then, Norm Davis, Rex of Omega Alpha arrived, and Omega Beta Local Fraternity duly became the Omega Beta Pledge Chapter of Pi Lambda Phi.
In the school year of ‘39-’40, the group was eager to be inducted into the National Fraternity in Sebtember, but a University regulation stated that a fraternity must remain on the campus as a local for one year. So rushing began under the name of Omega Beta Fraternity, pledge chapter of Pi Lambda Phi. Eleven men were pledged that year.
On the sixth and seventh of April, 1940, having proved its stability on the campus to the satisfaction of the University and the National Fraternity, Omega Beta Fraternity, pledge Chapter of Pi Lambda Phi was inducted and became Omega Beta chapter of Pi Lambda Phi. The brothers and pledges were officially initiated and installed at Omega Alpha Chapter, by members of the National Executive Council and many undergraduate brothers. The fraternity house was located at 302 Pittsboro St., and later moved to 107 Big Fraternity Court, where it remained until the chapter folded in the 1980’s and the house was taken over by Phi Kappa Sigma. The former house is now occupied by Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority and the latter by the brothers of Alpha Epsilon Pi.
Big thanks to Frank Serra for the picture of the old fraternity house above!
In the Spring of 1995, 14 young men were initiated as the first pledge class after the chapter folded. They were initiated at the UVA Omega Alpha Chapter, the brother chapter. However over the following year, apathy grew among the brothers towards the National Office regarding their lack of support in the chapters efforts of acquiring a house. Due to the troubled relationships between the colony and Nationals, the colony was disbanded in the Spring of 1996.
In the Fall of 1996, Brother Joseph Chipman, the only remaining brother from the earlier recolinization, along with Brother Allan Lovette, a transfer from the ECU Delta Zeta Chapter, and the brothers from the NCSU Epsilon Kappa Chapter sprearheaded efforts to once again bring Pi Lambda Phi back to the UNC campus. Through much hard work and perseverance, they recruited a nucleus of 18 guys. After pledging during the Fall of 1996, they were initiated at the Delta Zeta Chapter on December 5, 1996, becoming (along with Brothers Chipman & Lovette) the Alpha class of founding fathers of the Pi Lambda Phi Fraternity which has developed.
Thanks to the gracious donation of Michael Piller, who is among the greatest Pi Lams in our chapter’s history and the recent recipient of the highly esteemed Big Pi award, our brothers now live at 110 West Cameron Avenue in Little Fraternity Court. Here we come together to grow as men, socialize with our peers, and benefit the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Mrs. Sandra Piller (middle) receiving Pi Lam's esteemed Big Pi Award in honor of her husband, Michael.
The Big Pi Award is Pi Lambda Phi International's most prestigious award.