An Unlikely Reunion

To some, the badge they receive when initiated into Phi Kappa Psi is a symbol of a lifelong commitment. To others, it represents the memories built from years of brotherhood. And still others recognize it for its mystical and hidden meaning. Badge (for web).jpgBut, to a member, all will agree that the original shield (Phi Psi historically referred to the membership pin as a shield, not a badge; that distinction is hardly used now) pinned on them when first initiated is an invaluable, special piece.

For one such brother, that treasure was seemingly lost forever. Bob Greene Buffalo '59 is a familiar name and face within Phi Kappa Psi. The steadfast leader of the South Florida Gulf Coast Alumni Association, Brother Greene is a proud member of his chapter at New York Eta. Shortly after his initiation, in the early 1960's, Bob lost his badge. As best he can remember, it was scraped off of his jacket by the seatbelt of a car.

Over the next five decades, Bob stayed devoted to Phi Psi, but always knew that a piece of his experience was lost forever.

Then, in late July of 2010, the Phi Kappa Psi National Headquarters was contacted by a man in New York claiming to have found a badge some years ago. Having finally had the time to research the lettering and identifying it as a Phi Kappa Psi piece of jewelry, he noticed an engraving on the back. It was Brother Greene's full name, New York Eta, 8-8-59. Could it be?

It turns out that this good Samaritan was a student at Buffalo in the late 1980's and had made several trips back since being an undergraduate. He can't remember exactly when or where he found the badge, but that leaves over 20 years of undocumented time when Brother Greene's badge was "whereabouts unknown." To say the least, it was a miracle.

The timing could not have been any sweeter. Bob received news of this discovery just days before joining hundreds of fellow Phi Psis in Orlando for the 75th Grand Arch Council, where he was inducted into the Order of the SC, having attended his seventh national convention. To Bob, it was more than a coincidence. It was fitting. Bob's original badge, some 45+ years estranged from its owner, is now back with him, having arrived shortly after he returned from the GAC.

Bob Greene.JPG
Greene (right) pictured at this summer's Grand Arch Council with Bill Recht (Cornell '49)

To our tens-of-thousands of brothers out there, think about what Phi Kappa Psi has meant to you. Maybe it is trivial to place all of that meaning in one piece of jewelry, but the badge each brother receives is unique to the wearer. It represents not only your experience, but all that Phi Kappa Psi was, is and will be. 

To help share the story of Phi Kappa Psi and honor her, we ask that all members wear their badge on Constitution Day, which will be observed on Friday, September 17th.