Alumni Profile: Ken Greenman, University of San Diego
Every member of the Delta-Kappa chapter at the University of San Diego who had the fortune of interacting with former High Pi, Ken Greenman, all might share the same memory: Greenman making an appearance at rush events.
As former High Alpha Owen Buckley remembers it, he was scanning the room at his own rush event when, suddenly, his eyes fell on the only older gentleman in the room. He asked who the man was, he remembers. Ken Greenman, he was told, the fearless leader of the San Diego chapter.
A shroud of mystery surrounded Greenman for those new members, and brothers were not sure what to believe about the legend in front of them.
“Rumors would be passed around between brothers that he was the Harvey Dent of San Diego, because he just has this nature to him, you just shook his hand and you listened to what he said,” said Gavin Lightner, former High Alpha. “He is stoic, but has a commanding presence to him.”
While it might be easy for one to feel intimidated in the presence of Greenman, behind the thoughtful gaze lies a wealth of knowledge and experience.
A ’65 graduate of the University of Southern California (USC), Greenman began his Lambda Chi Alpha adventure in a somewhat unusual way by joining the fraternity during the summer before his freshman year. Once part of the fraternity, however, his involvement was unmatched.
Greenman went on to serve as the High Alpha, High Phi, and at least one other office during his collegiate career. Following graduation, the bright, young Greenman was personally selected by Duke Flad to become a traveling secretary (as educational leadership consultants were called back then). His time spent traveling the country was both formative and a learning experience.
“He has great stories and certainly would say that the time he spent as a traveling secretary…was a very formative time for him and made a big impact on him as a new alumnus, to see the rest of the country and other chapters,” said Dan Paz, current High Pi.
After he completed his time as a traveling secretary, Greenman went on to begin his legal career, spending time working in the Supreme Court and as a federal prosecutor. Greenman is currently retired from practicing law, but his analytical way of thinking made him a strong choice to lead the San Diego chapter in 1995 when they were just a colony.
According to Paz, Greenman became a support system that the colony desperately needed. He led the chapter to the strong one it is today for 15 years.
Towards the end of his service with the chapter, Greenman began to look for a replacement. Paz was selected, after learning from Greenman for quite some time.
The chapter is flourishing today under Paz’s direction, but he credits much of what he has learned to Greenman.
“Being the only support they [the chapter] had for many years, Ken had to be an every man, not only a confidant as a brother, but also a High Pi,” said Paz. “Certainly coming from a legal mind, he was always assessing things from that standpoint, so giving the guys a perspective they wouldn’t always have and foreseeing problems…he was very good at being hands-off, but at the same time influencing them enough that he was always present.”
Paz describes Greenman as the type of man everyone wants to know, a quiet and thoughtful leader.
For Greenman’s members, they can all agree that their High Pi touched their lives in ways they never thought possible.
“Ken was able to go way beyond the role of just being High Pi,” said Buckley. “He demonstrated how good of a father he was for his kids, and I really felt that and saw that he truly cared for me beyond just this role that we have.”
In addition to helping his own chapter, Greenman has been instrumental in helping the entire Greek system on campus, giving legal advice and helping craft policies for other organizations.
So, it came as no surprise that when the chapter celebrated its 20th anniversary, everyone had something to say about their beloved former leader, even if they could not be there in person.
“I don’t think there is a way to really thank him properly, and I’m very grateful to have met him and honored to call him a brother,” said Clay Oliver, former High Alpha and inaugural Ken Greenman Outstanding Brother Award winner.
Paz fully believes that the chapter is what it is today because of Greenman and his selfless dedication to the fraternity. To Paz and all of the members who know Greenman, nothing but gratitude can be expressed.
“I’m amazed sometimes at how in one minute he can be authoritative and disciplinary, and at the same time be a compassionate brother and give the same person he just disciplined the same thing they need as a brother,” said Paz. “That’s kind of that experience and that institutional knowledge all coming together to be that perfect alumni advisor that everyone wishes they could be or have.”
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