FaceBook  Twitter

David S. Hyland ’80 is still passionate about Kappa Chapter

Why did you join Phi Sigma Kappa?

I lived in East Halls my freshman year and I knew I wanted to live off campus. Growing up in Boy Scouts and being active in other organizations, I knew I wanted to be part of some type of group.

Fraternities were very strong in the late 1970s. Spring of my freshman year, I rushed a bunch of houses. I felt immediately comfortable at Phi Sig. Scott Gruber ‘78 came to East Halls to pick me up for my first rush dinner. What a great guy. At dinner that night, I met a whole group of great guys. The house was awesome. A big stone house with beautiful woodwork and furniture. A basement with beer on tap, two party rooms and a “tube room” for watching TV with a big group. I could not believe that, if I got in, I could actually live in a huge mansion like this. I never went to any other houses.

What is your best memory from your fraternity days?

There are way too many. It all started with pledging. Hiking back to East Halls, as the sun was coming up, after a long night of cleaning the house. Pledge line-ups with our inductor, Wally Peffer '78, God rest his soul. Knowing and appreciating what a pledge was! Sunday dinners with pledge skits for the brotherhood. House parties, football season, tailgates, Intramural sports, hay rides. The list goes on. It was a great three years and I think about those memories often.

How do you benefit from the fraternity experience as an alum?

In addition to the benefits of brotherhood and lifelong friendships, I have and will always have my own home in State College. My dad worked in the nuclear business for Westinghouse. He was transferred from Pittsburgh to Pensacola, Fla., during my freshman year. When my family moved, I moved my permanent residency to 501 S. Allen Street. I lived there for three years and it’s still my State College home. I travel back often and it is nice to have a place there.

I was also able to benefit from my experience in renovating the fraternity house. It was great to reconnect with a large alumni group, raise a bunch of money and rebuild the house.

What is your advice for today’s active brothers?

Learn to appreciate what you have. Try to understand and appreciate the history of Kappa Chapter, and “Krapper Mansion.” Respect and protect “The House.” I made my best and lifelong friends while being a brother at Phi Sigma Kappa. You guys have the same opportunity. Take advantage of it. And finally, give back. We lost a lot of ground in the fraternity system in the 1990s. Fraternities became disenfranchised from the university and the university almost killed the Greek system. We have fought our way back, but it’s still a battle. Please be committed to supporting “The House.” If you have time, stay involved. Come to the events. Join the board. If you don’t have time, write a check. The bigger, the better.

In what ways is the fraternity experience still relevant for today’s student?

For all the reasons stated above. Be part of something bigger than yourself. Brotherhood at Phi Sigma Kappa offers today’s students the opportunity to learn and practice leadership skills.

What’s new in your life today?

Life is good. Our girls are grown and out of the house. It’s just Cathy and I, and our cats and dog. I’m fortunate to see many Phi Sig Brothers from my era several times throughout the year. I have been serving on the Alumni Board for the last couple of years and really enjoy the experience. Looking forward to staying involved and trying to reintroduce some old traditions to the current and future active Brotherhood.