Lambda Chi Alumnus Responds

The recent letter to the editor by the “true brothers of Beta Zeta” is quite instructive as to this group’s state of mind, immaturity and attitude as it illustrates a clear aversion to recognizing the true reasons their chapter was suspended. Rather than looking inside themselves for answers, they seek to place the blame for their downfall elsewhere. If this group had spent a mere fraction of the time and energy into being a fraternity that lived up to the standards of Lamba Chi Alpha that they put into blaming others for their problems there wouldn’t be a need for letters of this nature. They have no one to blame but themselves for turning a first class fraternity into a continuing saga of Animal House.

The anonymous authors of Beta Zeta stated that “Lambda Chi Alpha has never been a banner Fraternity that lived up to every rule and regulation…”. Perhaps that was true of the chapter of which they were a part, but I can assure you that was not true of the brothers in the 1970’s and 80’s. In that era the brothers of Lambda Chi were campus leaders who were elected by their peers to serve as Student Government Presidents, Vice Presidents, Senators, Student Court Justices and as members on important university policy making committees. The fraternity held the highest cumulative GPA for many consecutive years running and was annually the proud recipient of the University Scholarship Trophy. Those same brothers have gone on to become successful business leaders, physicians, attorneys, research scientists, college professors and financiers. Their biographies appear in various Who’s Who publications around the world. They have written and published professional articles and books and are called upon to teach seminars in their fields of expertise. These are, in my opinion, the true brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha, for they have demonstrated in their lives the true spirit and character that this fraternity epitomizes. And they have done so by staying within the bounds of the rules and regulations of the fraternity, the university and society.

Instead of taking responsibility for their own actions, these individuals attempt to place the blame for their situation on a single individual, Larry Ford. This is no less ironic and misguided for if any single individual was responsible for trying to strengthen this chapter it was Larry Ford. In the early ‘80’s when the chapter was facing the realistic possibility of becoming homeless Larry spearheaded the effort to form an alumni housing corporation that ultimately became responsible for buying land and constructing a house. Larry donated untold hours of his personal time and professional legal services to make this possible. He and other members of the housing corporation personally guaranteed the loan for this house. A couple of years ago when the fraternity was in financial straights and needed to make repairs on the house Larry loaned them $10,000 out of his personal funds. Over the years Larry has served in a number of capacities, both with the national organization and the local chapter of the fraternity. Never once has he asked for any compensation for his time. If he could have been paid only the minimum wage for the countless hours he has given this fraternity Larry would be a wealthy man today. But Larry wasn’t seeking monetary compensation or to be patronized; rather he was merely living up to what it means to be a true brother of Lambda Chi Alpha. It’s a pity the current members of the Beta Zeta chapter will never know what that means.

This chapter was given numerous opportunities to right itself and was offered assistance time and again, by the national organization and the local alumni. But rather than honor the tradition and spirit of Lambda Chi Alpha they chose to ignore all pleas and offers of help marching instead resolutely down the primrose path of destruction. In the end, there was no other choice but to close the chapter, and as an alumnus I support that decision as painful as it is. Those who abandoned what the fraternity stood for will have plenty of time to reflect upon the past. Perhaps, in doing so, they would be well advised to remember the words of English poet Matthew Arnold, who said “Resolve to find thyself; and to know that he who finds himself, loses his misery”.

Sincerely,John R. Dillard, J.D., Ph.DBeta Zeta 100Class of ‘77