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We recently caught up with our very own Byron Connell ’63  and had the chance to ask him about his Phi Phi Club experience, and where life since Penn has taken him. Here's what he had to say: 

 

Where has life taken you since you graduated?

I graduated in 1963 with a B.A. in History. I taught for half a dozen years, married, and moved to New York’s Hudson Valley. My career took a major turn when I accepted a position with the New York State Education Department and we moved to New York’s Capital District. I spent the next 40 years in long-range planning and quality assurance in higher education. Along the way, I added an M.A. in Russian History. My wife, Tina, and I both retired about a decade ago and have been enjoying retirement ever since. We get to travel (not currently, obviously), read and write what we want to read or write, not what we’re assigned, and go to concerts and plays. Living where we do, the summer homes of the Boston Symphony/Boston Pops and the Philadelphia Orchestra are only an hour’s drive away. I’ve been a Trustee of the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation since 1999 and at present are Chairman of its Board of Trustees. That has re-connected me with all aspects of the Fraternity, which I enjoy. I’ve also served as a member of the chapter’s grad board for some time.  

 

What are the most important lessons you learned because of Alpha Chi Rho?

Our Landmarks really are important! More and more they have guided me in my life and especially in my dealing with other men and women. I’ve tried to follow them especially in my role as an AXPEF Trustee.  

 

When you look back on your time in Alpha Chi Rho, what moments do you tend to remember most? That’s hard to answer, because I’ve been active in the Fraternity for so long. I do remember that I became a Crow because Curley Walden invited me to do so. To support the chapter’s rush, he came to campus to meet individually with some students who had visited the house but had not decided to join. He came to my dorm room, introduced himself, and asked if he could talk about Alpha Chi Rho. He asked me to accompany him to the house (which was only two blocks away), where I met several Brothers and three other potential pledges. We all agreed to pledge, went through postulant education that spring, and were initiated in May 1960. 

Curly truly was a remarkable man. Election of officers followed quickly and I found myself Treasurer, Ritual Officer, and Pledge Master! (The title didn’t become Postulant Educator until many years later.) I was able to shed the Treasurer and Pledge Master jobs the following year. I remained Ritual Officer until graduation. 

 

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