Alumnus keeps fraternity connection alive as national president of Pi Kappa Phi

If one had to sum up the Roanoke College experience of Dudley Woody '74, it could be explained by the bonds of brotherhood.

Woody initially heard about Roanoke from his brother, Allen Woody '70, who graduated from the College the spring before Woody came to campus. Though the siblings didn't spend any time at the College together, their connection was extended when Woody followed in his older brother's footsteps and joined the Greek organization, Pi Kappa Phi.

Woody had no idea how much of a life-changing decision it would be.

"The brothers in the chapter did a great job of reaching out to me and to many of my fellow freshman," he said. "I was somewhat introverted and the fraternity's outreach appealed to me as did the ability to live in the fraternity house with my friends."

Fast-forward more than 40 years, and Woody, now a Roanoke attorney, still is feeling the positive effects of getting involved with Greek life. In August, he was installed as national president of Pi Kappa Phi during the Fraternity's bi-annual Supreme Chapter meeting, which was held in Washington, D.C. 

He will serve as president until August 2014.

The commitment is a volunteer position, and for Woody, the benefits are worth the time he puts into the role.

As president, he serves as chairman of the National Council, which is the board responsible for running Pi Kappa Phi.  He also coordinates with the chairmen or presidents of the affiliated Pi Kappa Phi entities. They include Push America, an entity that serves the disabled and was started by the fraternity, and Pi Kappa Phi Properties, which helps assure housing opportunities for the fraternity's chapters and the Pi Kappa Phi Foundation. This nonprofit foundation supports the educational mission of the fraternity.  

In addition to these duties, Woody travels for various events, including new chapter installations and alumni receptions. Much of his time is spent communicating with national staff, fraternity volunteers and alumni.

As for his day job, Woody is a partner with Woods Rogers PLC in Roanoke. He's a member of the business section of the firm with a focus on labor and employment law representing employers. He credits much of his personal success to his experiences at the College and with Pi Kappa Phi.

"Roanoke College gave me excellent preparation for my three years at University of Virginia Law School and the fraternity experiences assisted in many facets of my post-graduation life," he said.

Woody's work with the national Pi Kappa Phi headquarters did not immediately follow his time as an undergraduate. Like many recent graduates, though, he continued to visit, assist and socialize with the undergraduate fraternity and his fellow alumni during his first few years after Roanoke.

He got involved on a national level with Pi Kappa Phi in the 1980's when he was asked to serve on the board of the fraternity's philanthropy, Push America, and ultimately served in various offices including president. The undergraduate members of the fraternity not only raise funds for Push's mission, but they also work directly with people with disabilities and on projects to assist them. After about 10 years on the Push America board, Woody was elected to the Pi Kappa Phi National Council, which is effectively the board of directors that guides the fraternity.

In addition to his commitments with Pi Kappa Phi and his legal career, Woody has remained a dedicated Maroon. He still works directly with the brothers of Pi Kappa Phi at Roanoke and also with school administration in regards to fraternity life.

"Even though he has such a big role in the national chapter, he doesn't forget where he came from," said Greg Snyder '14, a brother of Pi Kappa Phi.

Dudley visits the Roanoke chapter each semester to discuss the importance of Pi Kappa Phi and what it has meant to him.

"Dudley shows our brothers that Pi Kappa Phi is not a four year experience but a lifelong brotherhood of men," said David Poole '13, the fraternity's Roanoke campus chapter president.

A business administration major at Roanoke, Woody carried his classroom learning into his fraternity experiences when he served as both treasurer and president of the Roanoke chapter as a student.

"A fraternity is actually a small business and the experience gained in operating that business was invaluable," he said. "I can still recall sitting in fraternity brotherhood meetings which would often be somewhat disorganized to totally disorganized. At times in those meetings I would think, I cannot wait to enter into the real world when meetings would be orderly and controlled. I have since learned that meetings in the "real world" are often just as disorganized and that early exposure was very beneficial."

When asked his advice for Roanoke students who are considering Greek life, Woody reflected on his own experiences.

"Undergraduate members of fraternities often see their experience in terms of their own chapter, but with the many Pi Kappa Phi brothers I've met and worked with all over the country, it is like having a national chapter of close friends and brothers located in almost every state," he said.

-By Megan Semmelman '11

Posted Nov. 12, 2012