Yesterday as I returned to the house after my morning run, I came across a friendly looking older gentlemen on the front porch clearly waiting to get let in. I introduce myself even though I'm dripping sweat and breathing heavy. He introduces himself as "Dr. Chuck" and tells me he's from Baton Rouge, LA and was in Little Rock for his 50 year med school reunion, and he figured he'd stop by to see the renovated house which he donated money to. Right off the bat he wanted to find his composite, which luckily was right in the main room. He began to tell me the backgrounds of every man in the composite and you could see the viable smile on his face. He assured me that I didn't need to stay with him and that I could go shower. Luckily Afshar was in the dining room and was quickly able to take my place as host.
Later in the Day I met with Ashley Tull the Senior Associate Dean of Students. He made a very clear observation that the chapters with the strongest alumni support are the most successful on campus. The same is true for the opposite. We also went on to discuss the connection between Greek Life and donations to the University. What is it that makes Greek alumni feel so much more connected to the campus? In a conversation with CAB chairmen Matt Durrett, he put it bluntly: "You don't see old guys from the 4th floor of Pomfret (Residence Hall) having a reunion every year". He went on to explain that his pledge class has reunions every year and they still reminisce about they good memories they had not only at Phi Delta Theta, but at the University of Arkansas.
So next time you see an alumni peering into the windows, don't look at him like a leper. Greet him with a wide smile and a firm handshake. Take the time to listen to his stories and laugh at his jokes. Keep them connected to both the chapter and the university, Because one day in the not so distant future, that's going to be you.
Photo 1:Michigan Alpha Christmas in 1979 - Courtesy of Tom Horlacher
Photo 2: Michigan Alpha Founders Day 2010 - Courtesy of Greg Karmazin