Brothers Until The End

A small-town boy from North Dakota, Randy Ritterman was ready for a change.  It was the early ‘80s, and he yearned for more out of life.

So, he packed up his belongings and headed for the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND and became the first of his family to pursue a college degree.

Ritterman soon found that the chaos and cacophony of sounds included with a campus in a big city could soon become overwhelming.  After all, he was the guy who had never seen a one-way street before.  But soon he found a place of refuge.

“I felt very naïve and I think that I got a little lost in all the things going on in college,” said Ritterman.  “I joined Lambda Chi because it really gave me that hometown feeling and feeling of a large family, which is one of the reasons that led me to Lambda Chi.”

Since becoming High Pi, the University of North Dakota chapter has seen major improvements.

The sense of brotherhood and belonging that Ritterman found in the modest ranch-style fraternity house propelled him forward not only in his major (engineering), but in his life, as a whole.

“I think that one thing a fraternity house does, regardless of your career or major , is it teaches you to get along with a bunch of different personalities that are not all cut from the same cloth,” said Ritterman.  “I was the vice president when I was an undergraduate and I learned a lot about how to run projects, how to set things up, how to motivate people, and I think that has served me well in the business world.”

Following his undergraduate days, Ritterman worked for a few years as an engineer before returning to the university to complete his MBA.  Once graduating with his MBA, his journey took him to Minneapolis, where he started his career in business and a family.

While the North Dakota native continued to make the long trek home now and then, the number of trips he took slowly came to a halt following his parents’ death between 2010 and 2012.  Ritterman’s brothers had lives of their own and he was busy himself raising a family.

But after attending an alumni event in the spring of 2013 and seeing how the chapter needed a guiding hand, Ritterman was ready to dive headfirst again into the brotherhood he loved.

“They were on the cusp of going backwards and losing membership or moving forward and really growing into a strong chapter,” said Ritterman.

Shortly after devoting his time to the chapter house once more, Ritterman was unanimously elected as High Pi and has not looked back since.

It is a well-known fact throughout the chapter house that in every member’s cell phone resides Ritterman’s number, always there to lend a listening ear.  Though Ritterman advises from afar, his presence is always felt at meetings and executive meetings through Skype and he tries to visit the chapter house several times throughout the school year.

Ritterman (back row, left) stands with the new officers after officer installation in January, 2017.

Since taking on the role of High Pi, the chapter has more than doubled in membership and a strong emphasis on academics has helped shift the house’s culture.  Ritterman likes to remind the brothers that “education is the one thing that no one can take away from you”.

“I think one of the best things that I have seen is much more focus on scholarship and holding people accountable, than there may have been in the past,” said Ritterman.  “Our chapter holds very strongly to the 2.5 grade point or there are ramifications and we hold people accountable to that, there aren’t exceptions to it.”

Through his experience as High Pi, Ritterman has been able to see his chapter change for the better, as well as watching members grow from scared freshmen into tomorrow’s leaders of the chapter and other campus organizations.  For him, Ritterman says, the most rewarding part is watching the members mature, becoming important members of society.

The undergraduates, likewise, feel his impact in everything they do.

“Randy, since I have been here, has been very instrumental in the advancements that we have made in our operating standards, with how we are doing in the eyes of the university and nationals,” said Kass Longie, High Alpha.  “Everything you could ever have asked for from a High Pi, Randy does.”

Ritterman could not be more pleased with the progress the chapter has made, but he knows there is room for further positive change.  With the help of other alumni, he hopes that the chapter continues to grow with a focus on academics and scholarships, creating the next generation of young men to lead the chapter forward.