Honoring Dr. Bill Trakas, Shawhan Hillmyer, Jr., Major Eric Bauer and Carl Finocchiaro

 

Dr. Bill Trakas

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Dr. Bill Trakas mentored generations of students at Averett University, and played a special role within Pi Kappa Phi.  Pi Kapps alumni initiated Dr. Trakas as a brother in 1991 and he quickly became chapter advisor, leading the active brothers through a series of challenges and growing pains. His invaluable counsel served us all long before, and long after, he took on that official role.

As a history professor at Averett he was a friend, confidant and advisor to not just the chapter but the entire student body. For all those who studied under Dr. Trakas, he is remembered for what he taught inside and outside the classroom. He was famous for his tough exams which rewarded long, detailed essays (legend has it one student brought a sleeping bag and a Thermos of coffee) and for holding semi-official ‘classes’ at local bars or while tasting wine or Russian vodka at his house near campus.

If the role of professor is to open a student’s eyes to the world around them, then Dr. Trakas ranks among the best. He taught his history lessons as narratives, woven without notes, just a guy telling stories of the past to a group of friends.

He acted as an older and wiser brother to the chapter, someone who could be counted on for not just his friendship but his advice and encouragement. The doors to both his office and house were always open and he would listen and guide but also debate and challenge. He encouraged us to think for ourselves and truly be the best men we could be. 
He remains an institution amongst the brothers of the Zeta Xi chapter.

 Shawhan Hillmyer, Jr.

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Shawhan Hillmyer, Jr. will be remembered well by all who met him and were a part of his life. He was known to always have a smile on his face and a positive attitude, even through times of hardship. If he couldn’t make you smile, then probably no one could.

Shawhan was born and raised in Dayton, Ohio. After graduating High School, he joined the US Air Force. While in the USAF he attended Indiana University and was trained as Russian linguist and radio operator. The Air Force stationed him in Turkey, where he listened to, and analyzed classified radio transmissions from the Russians. After marrying, Shawhan and his wife Suzanne had three children, Marc, Kati, and David.

At the end of his military commitment, he moved to Sarasota, Florida where he spent over 30 years as a successful real estate broker and developer.

In 1994, Shawhan was initiated in to the Zeta Xi Chapter of the Pi Kappa Phi Kappa Phi Fraternity at Averett College, where his youngest son, David was a student and fellow fraternity member. Being brought into the brotherhood was a true high point in his life. Shawhan would be honored to know that his name is next other fellow brothers who have since passed on and are now apart of the Averett University, Pi Kappa Phi Memorial Scholarship.

 Major Eric D. Bauer

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Major Eric D. Bauer USANG studied aviation at Averett University from 1993 to 1995. After graduating he flew air tours in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and flight instructed in Oklahoma City before returning home to Wisconsin to fly KC135’s for the Wisconsin Air National Guard. With the guard, Eric was based in Milwaukee and was deployed internationally several times.

Eric was a great friend to all and especially the fraternity. For the few years he was active on campus he was a strong force within Pi Kappa Phi. He was a powerful figure who represented the fraternity everywhere he went and was a natural leader who seized every opportunity to bring people together. Whether it was riding his mountain bike, driving off road in his jeep or repelling off Main Hall for the college newspaper he was always up for an adventure.

He affected the lives of everyone he came in contact with and made them realize that life is too short to not take advantage of it. In his presence you knew something exciting would happen.

Carl Finocchiaro

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G. Carlo Finocchiaro, known as Carl to his friends and fraternity brothers, passed away on Feb. 2, 1997 in an automobile accident.

Carl was born in 1969 and grew up in New York, Italy and New Jersey. He came to Averett University in 1987 to study psychology and earned a Bachelor of Science degree.

He pledged Pi Kappa Phi as a member of the Gamma class, and immediately became an involved member of the fraternity. He took the Pi Kapp message to heart, devoting time and effort to the PUSH charity for severely handicapped kids and mentoring his “little brothers.”

Carl was passionate about many things, including baseball and nice cars. After graduating in 1992 he started a packaging supply business with his mother in New Jersey and just a few months before he died became a professional bowler, scoring four perfect games.

“He was a wonderful, giving person,” said his mother, Patricia. “If you needed something, he was there for you. He had a way of listening and saying what you needed to hear. He helped a lot of people.”

 

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