Editorial: “Not for Four Years, But for Life”
By Dr. Robert V. Miller, Iota Lambda 216, West Virginia University
Someone recently asked me where I went to school and if I belonged to a fraternity. I was proud to say that I was a Mountaineer (class of 1970) and a Lambda Chi. After leaving the university I went on to graduate school, later married my college sweetheart (and Crescent Girl), moved away, raised a family, built a company, and have had a wonderful career and life. But what happened to Lambda Chi? Does it still have relevance in my life?
Interestingly, as I think upon my friends and acquaintances from the college years, the only ones I stay connected with are my fraternity brothers. The same is true for my wife who belonged to a sorority. In fact, I still talk with my Lambda Chi brothers on a regular basis even though decades and miles separate us. Together we still remember the fraternity songs, the antics, the deep conversations, accomplishments of the brothers, and of course, the ritual. All of the moments we lived together in the house brought us closer together. We still share stories, events and challenges that have affected our lives, and talk warmly about the brothers we have lost over the years.
I remember clearly the phrase “not for four years, but for life” when I became a brother. While it was a catchy turn of words, it didn’t seem relevant at the time. All of us were more focused on getting through school, beginning our careers, and finding success. The fraternity was something we were leaving behind as part of our past. But how wrong that turned out to be!
Recently a group of my brothers traveled to visit an ailing alumnus in another state. Several flew in and others drove long distances to see this member. All gave up a weekend with their families to make the trip and paid their own travel expenses. Why did they go? The simple answer is that they care and wanted to make that brother feel important and valued. They also knew that a visit from the brethren would lift his spirits.
About ten years ago another brother decided we should have an annual reunion to rekindle fraternal connections and renew friendships. Since then brothers have traveled from numerous states and foreign countries to be part of this annual summer homecoming. What is the bond that brings these men together? Not jobs, hobbies, relatives, or even the university itself, but the fraternity and the connection of its brotherhood.
Iota-Lambda Zeta left campus nearly 40 years ago and is only recently being re-colonized as part of a new growth initiative led by the headquarters staff. The incredible part is that Iota-Lambda Zeta at WVU never really died, but continued to live on through the alumni. The fraternity bond that was created so long ago never faded and the connections were never lost. It was simply a matter of re-kindling the flame that never went out.
As an alumnus, and speaking for all of my WVU Lambda Chi brethren, this is an exciting time. Many of us are actively participating as alumni advisors and are ready, willing, and able to lend our support of time, talents, and financial resources to enable this new colony to be successful. All of us want our newly initiated brothers to know about Lambda Chi’s rich traditions, its values, and its philosophy of enriching the lives of young men both during and after the college years.
Lambda Chi is not a four year membership or simply something that one does in college, but a lifetime experience. Our fraternal brotherhood is the common thread that holds both the alumni and active members together and establishes a commonality. We are proud to be part of Lambda Chi Alpha and look forward to working with our new colony at WVU while demonstrating to our new brothers the importance of our fraternal bond. Not for four years, but for life!