By Dolph Santorine, Ashland ’81
Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the honor of helping “birth” a new chapter of Phi Delta Theta at West Liberty University, West Virginia Gamma.
I recently ran into the mother of a current undergraduate at the grocery store.
She enthusiastically thanked me for helping the young men become a part of Phi Delta Theta, and she was completely thrilled with what her son had to say about the Kleberg Emerging Leaders Institute. She then asked why I stay involved. “Paying it forward” was the fast answer, but it was not good enough for her.
I initiated with Ohio Mu at Ashland College in 1979.
I was not the best active member –spotty attendance at meetings and events, late with my dues.
In spite of my shortcomings, the Fraternity was there for me. I was prodded by my brothers to do better in class, improve my attendance and stay involved. Whether they liked me or not, my brothers did what brothers do. The impact on my life was enormous.
Twenty years ago, a founding member of Ohio Mu insisted that I engage with Phi Delta Theta again. It was something more than an invitation. I became engaged again as a chapter adviser.
I can’t begin to describe to you what I get from working with a great group of young people, watching them grow as leaders and develop as individuals. I’m honored each time one of them calls and asks for my opinion. I’m thrilled when I watch them make decisions and act upon them, both as a group and as individuals. I’m proud with every success and am there for them when they fail.
It’s also the alumni and advisers from other chapters I get to meet that make the role so rewarding. Recently retired or still working, they bubble about the funds they raised for a new chapter house or the success of one of their chapter’s undergraduates or alumni.
Maybe I’m paying it forward, but I’m still receiving more than I could have imagined.
It might be selfish, but it’s the real reason I’m actively engaged with Phi Delta Theta.