The Harrod family celebrated daughter Kendall’s graduation from the University of Oklahoma in May 2022.

Ada, Oklahoma native Cullen Harrod, DDS (East Central, Epsilon Omega ’93) will tell you Pi Kappa Alpha has strongly influenced his life as student, as a chapter consultant in 1996-97 and today as Beta Omicron’s chapter advisor.

Harrod grew up in a household of educators where academic achievement and hard work were the expectation. Both of Harrod’s parents graduated from Oklahoma State where his father Ken also played football. His Mother Kaye was a lifelong teacher and librarian, and his Dad was a teacher and later managed a prison farm where inmates raised animals and crops to help feed the state’s prison system. Harrod’s older sister Karrie attended OSU, was a Chi Omega and today is enjoying a 30-year career in grocery management.

For college Harrod stayed close to home and attended East Central University, part of the state’s regional university system, from 1992-96. He was in the university’s Honors Program and was a leader in PIKE and across campus. Harrod was student government freshman representative and later SGA secretary, president of the Honor Court and a member of ECU’s club soccer team. In the mid-1990s Epsilon Omega Chapter was a consistent 50–60 man chapter on a 4,000 student commuter campus. Harrod served as its president, vice president, recruitment chair and in new member development roles. He was IFC president and in the Order of Omega.

Harrod planned to be a dentist but as the end of his senior year approached he had yet to be accepted to dental school. Harrod reflects, “It really caused a lot of questions about what I was going to do with my life. In spring 1996 I attended PIKE’s Arkoma Regional meeting and after listening to then-Director of Services (and later 2022 international president) Mark Dziatczak (Wayne State, Delta Nu ’91) talk about chapter programming, and he mentioned that he would stay afterwards and discuss job opportunities with interested attendees. Not too long after that I found myself flying (for the first time) to Memphis for a weekend of group interviews. Working as a chapter consultant turned out to be one of the best experiences of my life.”

Harrod’s chapter consultant class included  Mike Margolin (Arizona, Gamma Delta ’92), Rodney McDougalle (Indiana State, Theta Omicron ’92), Emil Peters (SMU, Beta Zeta ’92), Shane Wagner (UNC- Charlotte Kappa Kappa ’96), Joe Welsh (Linfield, Delta Rho ’93) and Eric Wulf (Iowa, Gamma Nu ’92).  “I have so many great memories of my time in Memphis and at MHQ,” says Harrod.

During the 1996-97 period when Harrod worked for the Fraternity, he re-applied to dental school and was accepted to the University of Oklahoma’s College of Dentistry. He met his wife Samantha (Pi Beta Phi, Oklahoma) on their first day of class in 1997. The couple graduated in June 2001 and worked together in Oklahoma City and later bought the practice relocating it to Oklahoma City suburb Edmond where they have lived for 23 years. Partners in life and business, Harrod says “We have a general practice and do a bit of everything. We work a lot with the restoration of implants and Sam is a leading Invisalign dentist in the state.”

The Harrods have two children, daughter Kendall who graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2022 and son Landon, a Beta Omicron Pike now in his junior year studying Chemical Biosciences.  Kendall earned a degree in Chemical Biosciences and is a Chi Omega member. She is currently at Marquette University in a post-grad program and will be applying to dental school in the fall. The dental profession also is Landon’s chosen course of study — he is majoring in Chemical Biosciences and is a member of OU’s pre-dental society.

Dr. Cullen Harrod and son Landon where father pinned son in the University of Oklahoma PIKE House following initiation in September 2022.

“Once Landon decided on OU, I checked into the chapter and was impressed with their accomplishments. I told my son to check out the other houses, but I could tell early his mind was already made up and he signed a bid for the fall of 2022. It was a proud moment to place my pin on Landon at initiation,” recalls Harrod.

Harrod became the Beta Omicron chapter advisor in late fall 2022. Beta Omicron received Chapter of the Year, the Outstanding Senior award and Harrod was named Chapter Advisor of the Year in the university’s Greek Awards Program for 2023-24 earlier this spring. Beta Omicron won a Smythe Award at the Louisville Convention in 2022 and was a Orians Chapter Excellence Award winner in 2023.

“I always planned on advising in some capacity once my kids were out of school and we weren’t spending every minute playing club and high school sports.  Our family has had OU season football tickets for over 15 years, so we were usually on campus for game days. We started tailgating at the PIKE house and I met the SMC at the time Beckett Myers ‘19 and the alumni association president and former International Fraternity staff member Colton Steele ‘19. They informed me that they were looking for a new chapter advisor and asked if I would be interested. We had a couple of meetings and I accepted the job. It’s been very rewarding.”

Asked about advice for today’s Pikes Harrod responds, “The main thing I try to hit home is that being active in the chapter and on campus is the best thing they can do during their college years. It’s not all about grades and resumes. They need to run for office or interview for a committee. There are so many leadership opportunities out there in the Fraternity that directly translate into career and life skills. Sometimes a job like house manager can have a huge positive impact when done well. If the leadership role sounds like too much, they can still play intramural sports, join a campus club and support  philanthropic events. These are important parts of the Fraternity experience and some of my best memories.”

Thanks to Dr. Cullen Harrod for his caring, lifelong commitment to Pi Kappa Alpha and its ideals.