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Pass the Torch, Please

This is my last Oak Leaf as Editor. Thank you all for having me. It has been a great honor and pleasure serving the fraternity these ten and a half years. I look forward to supporting the Oak Leaf with my own letters (so many of you write that I rarely provide information on my own life) and, of course, to reading the next decade of the Oak Leaf.

In fact, somewhere out there, your new editor is reading this column right now. Whoever you are, rest assured that I will share all that I have learned about this job with you. From the practical: How to use FrameMaker (if you choose to continue using it). Who are all of our friends at Pomona who help us produce an Oak Leaf? If you’ll listen [cue dramatic music], I’ll even tell you my less practical but quite critical “Oak Leaf Secret” that has sustained me during my tenure.

I will share with you all the two most important lessons for an Oak Leaf Editor which, of course, Zibby taught me. The first lesson was that this newsletter’s mission is simple: Celebrate all that Nu Alpha Phi was, is, and may yet be. He taught me not to focus on the negative and not to mistake editing the Oak Leaf for journalism. Zibby’s second lesson was to never, never, never-ever miss an opportunity to ask alums for money.

You’ll find the news, dues, and donations page in its usual location. Please pay your dues and donate generously. Today. I’m not kidding.

Next, I leave you with two challenges. First, find something grand, magnificent, and charitable to do. Zibby once said, in reference to the Nu Alpha Phi Alumni Association, “There’s gold in them thar hills.” I had considered leading a drive to boost the Memorial Scholarship Fund, but found that between our donations and Pomona’s stewardship we are just shy of funding two full tuitions every year. Due to the complicated grant, loan, and work study formula, we support five students in excess of $12,000 per year. That’s outstanding. While we could certainly launch a major drive to double or even triple the scholarship fund, we’re already distinguished within the Pomona community by this fund. Let’s find a significant project (within Pomona or without, it doesn’t matter) and let’s go mine that gold.

There have been times in our Fraternity’s history when Alumni recognized a weak connection with Actives (and vice versa). Various classes of Alumni reached out to reforge those connections (and vice versa). In our struggle to recover from Zibby’s retirement as the Fraternity’s Alumni/Active liaison we have entered one of those times. Therefore, my second and most important challenge you is this: Make it your personal mission to do one thing, even a small thing like writing a letter to the Oak Leaf, to contribute to that connection. If you are an Alumni Officer, make it your personal mission to sponsor one initiative to will bring Actives and Alums together. If you are able to travel, make it your personal mission to visit attend a Wash or a meeting and interact with the Actives. If you live in southern California, make it your personal mission to host one Active/Alum event in your home. The ongoing continuity of the Fraternity demands our action.

Finally, thank you, Tori, for ten years of tolerating (even aiding and abetting on occasion) my Oak Leaf-inspired insanity.

Paul Nagai ‘88 #978


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