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The return of NY Phi Lambda

Gary Sanders


Great things are sometimes unexpected. I remember receiving an email from a group at Adelphi interested in forming a chapter. A few days later I arrived to one of the most hospitable welcomes while on staff. Victor Furtick greeted me and gave a comprehensive tour. Victor captured the beauty of the sleepy Long Island Garden City, what impressed me was the number of young men saying hello and greeting Victor and now greeting me. Recruitment makes a colony survive, and I was seeing they knew people.

I met undergraduate after undergraduate, I was impressed with their involvement and the life stories they were sharing. Finally, I met the young man who contacted headquarters, Boris Manakhimov. I can still remember the commitment of Boris when he said they wanted to be Pi Lambda Phi. Not convinced I fully agreed, Boris slowed it down and repeated it for effect, “they were going to be Pi Lambda Phi.” 

The University was not as convinced, even though Boris and the others repeated their insistence with more intensity with each obstacle. The administration wanted to show due diligence and elected to allow several groups to petition for the group. Slowly it was narrowed down to two groups to make presentations to the administration and students. 

It’s about the people

The other Fraternity was larger and started with the upper hand. Their presentation was good. They brought better looking materials. Pilam brought passion!  Ian Lowe and Phil Spence gave everything to show the administration what it meant to be Pilam. Joining us was several strong alumni supporters who showed our support. The staff team and volunteers finished the administration presentation feeling it was at least a draw. We had good reviews, but the real presentation was making sure the students were still behind us.

Unknown to the undergraduates, I had invited a group of alumni to attend that evening. As we re-energized at dinner the first Adelphi Pilam alumnus appeared. We introduced Ted Demetriou to the prospective students and the excitement grew. Soon after Charlie Kaufman, John Ortiz, and Marc Wantuch arrived. The alumni would embrace and quickly catch up as some hadn’t seen each other in years. The prospective undergraduate eye’s were fixated on these alumni. This was brotherhood right in front of them. They had previously met alumnus Phil Bank, and had received numerous offers of support from alumni. The prospective men were seeing one of their aspirations occurring right in front of them. 

The presentation that night cemented what these alumni had accomplished by showing up that evening. There would be a return of NY Phi Lambda to Adelphi University. 


On paper chartering looks easy. For young men who have never experienced a chapter meeting, the challenge of organization requires guidance from alumni and staff. Add standards, and these men begin learning about not only keeping themselves accountable, but their brothers. Steven Araujo, NY Kappa Tau, began training the colony refounders. Bryan Mann, who helped restart the Temple chapter assisted Ian Lowe, Phil Spence, and David Ly with training. Alumnus Marvin Soskil allowed the group to use his house for the first initiation.

The colony worked through the various challenges. Boris Manakhamov, Joe Dujmovic, and other incredible young men began demonstrating their abilities and tenacity. They learned the importance of brotherhood, accountability, academics, community, and just as important having fun together. The colony began to lead the Adelphi fraternities, and eventually the Pilam community.

On January 12, 2013 the NY Phi Lambda was formally chartered and restored at Adelphi University. The brothers invited their parents and partners to join them in celebrating the excellence of their accomplishment. The path to chartering was accomplished by many undergraduates and alumni. From Boris, Joe, Matt, Edwin, Pedro and all the other undergraduates to the numerous alumni the path was a team effort of brotherhood. At the banquet, Victor served as emcee proving his hosting skills are still excellent, as he led another group of visitors on the wonderful journey known as Pilam.

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