I returned home to the place, which I consider my second home, recently to participate in the University of Arizona‘s Homecoming Weekend activities. Though we haven’t had the best football season on record, the U of A will always be home to the most amazing college experience ever. Even better, the time I spent in Tucson will always be categorized as the period when I found my calling.
When I entered the seventh grade of a Catholic grade school in North Hollywood, Calfornia, I informed my parents…and Mr. Strub (the president of Santa Anita Park), that I would be studying horse racing as my career path. If I didn’t have the grades when I graduated high school, the only alternative would be to go to work for Mole-Richardson Company, our family motion-picture lighting business. The only school offering a program for my career path was (is) the University of Arizona and its Race Track Industry Program.
Fast-forward, this recent trip back home was very special. While I’ve been an extremely fortunate and humble recipient of awards and recognition, there’s only be one award I’ve ever wanted. When I was an undergraduate member of Kappa Sigma Fraternity, it was my wish to someday live up to the ideals and successes of our chapter’s key leaders. While I’ve lived my life according to my own ideals and principles, the A.L. Slonaker Hall of Fame Award has always been on my mind.
And while I believe the award was presented far too soon, I’m blessed by the many friends and brothers who bestowed upon me an award which I will always cherish.
Below is a bio written by my good friend and brother, Craig Lowden, and featured in the Hall of Fame program and on the Gamma-Rho Chapter website.
After waking up to find the echoes of Notre Dame High School behind him, Pete “Spidey” Parker enrolled at the University of Arizona and joined the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
While Spidey didn’t swing around Manhattan fighting crime in his pajamas, he was a superhero for Gamma-Rho. During his time at the U of A he held the posts of Grand Master for which he won Grand Master of the Year, Grand Procurator, Grand Scribe, Social Chair, Philanthropy Chair, and Rush Chair. It was swell of Pete to leave a few offices for the other members. Before graduating in ’93 with a degree in Animal Sciences , with an emphasis in Race Track Management, he also won the Noble Award for outstanding senior. In honor of his accomplishments on our behalf, the Chapter created the Pete Parker Hustle Award, presented to the active who best embodies his frenetic spirit.
Since that time Parker has held numerous posts including time as the Fraternity Management Group staff motivator (“Make Your F-in Calls!”), executive director of the American Heart Association, director of development for Sage Ridge School, and owner/president of Parker Development Services. He is currently the managing director of NPcatalyst, LLC.
As one might expect from a former Philanthropy Chair, he’s been active in the community as well. He has served as Board President of Northern Nevada Children’s Cancer Foundation, Board President of the U of A Race Track Industry Program Alumni Association, board president of the U of A Sierra Cats Alumni Chapter. He has also been awarded the Volunteer of the Year in Northern Nevada from the Points of Light Foundation and was awarded with a Twenty Under 40 by the Reno Gazette-Journal. His new venture, NPCatalyst, was recently recognized by StayClassy as one of 25 of the nation’s finest Small Businesses in Philanthropy through its CLASSY award, an incredible honor for a company founded in January of this year.
He is also an at-large member of the Gamma-Rho House Corporation.
Parker lives in Reno with son Caden, 14, and daughter Tessa, 11.
“Gamma-Rho was the ideal chapter for me. Becoming active with a small chapter filled with diverse and fun guys allowed me to learn about myself and others, giving me the confidence to seek or create opportunities, interests, and great times. I owe my success as a person to my mom, family & friends, and Kappa Sigma. This trifecta of support gives me the courage to fight for what I believe, what I aspire to, and how I live my life. This award, one which I hardly deserve, is dedicated to every person who has ever touched my life and every person whose life I have touched.”