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537 best photoWhy did you join Phi Sig as an undergraduate, did family play a role?
My brother Bruce Best '76 was a junior in Phi Sig when I came to Penn State. I rushed about a half dozen fraternities and ended up narrowing it down to Phi Sig and Sigma Nu. I liked Sigma Nu's location right on campus, but I decided Phi Sig because of the brothers. Phi Sig had a nice diversity of membership, everybody got along really well and I felt comfortable with the demeanor of the house.

My son, Alex Best '12, applied to three different schools: Penn State, Virginia Tech and James Madison and I told him he was free to make his own decision, but I'd like for him to attend Penn State. We visited the Penn State campus and Phi Sig and Alex was in awe of the whole experience.

How do you stay connected with your brothers as an alumnus?
For the most part, I stay connected by going up to football games, getting together for tailgates, emails and the annual golf outings. I've become pretty close with Dick Doherty '58, Fred DeCock '80 and the guys on the alumni board because of my involvement. We had a retreat at my place in Northern Virginia for the Exec Board and Alumni Board to talk about Phi Sig. I love Phi Sig, partially because of my son and brother so I take advantage of any way I can help out.

What about your membership in Phi Sig makes you the most proud?
That I was able to carry on the legacy, hopefully Alex will have a couple of boys that end up going to Penn State and carry on. Alex wasn't forced to join Phi Sig, but he liked it.

If you could go back and relive one moment from your Phi Sig years, what would it be and why?
If I had to do it all over, I'd do it the same. I really liked the diversification of the brothers. We were always in the top 10 academically and athletically and were strong socially with DG, KD, ASA. It was a nice, solid, overall experience with the whole university.

Where has life taken you since graduation? What's new in your life today?
I met my wife when I worked in Florida; we worked together and ended up moving around and reconnecting in Philly and New Jersey.

What is the best thing about your alumni experience?
I have gotten to know and understand a lot of the actives by talking with them and figuring out where they're coming from with their needs/wants, which is totally different from the '70s. Getting to know these guys and letting them know that they have alumni that care about Phi Sig and them and the principles of brotherhood, scholarship, character. The actives like to know that alumni care and want to help them make Kappa chapter thrive and they really appreciate that someone can talk to them and work with them to make Phi Sig the best it can be.

Several years ago Kappa chapter redid the whole house as part of a major renovation project. They had a problem before with brothers taking care of the house, and being the owner of two Maid Brigade franchises; I figured I could help out with getting these guys on track of keeping care of the house. So I talked with the exec board, actives and pledges and showed them how to keep the house clean. I went around the house with them and demonstrated how to correctly clean and perform maintenance on the house.

I bleed crimson and silver. I'm very proud that I saw the fraternity years ago and the guys didn't care, but now they do; they work together, have camaraderie. It's nice to see the newfound love and respect they have for Kappa chapter and hopefully, that will continue on.

Brothers can connect with Gary at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..