Mark Levinstein ’79
As Spring is upon us, while UVa student Chi Phis’ thoughts turn to exams, graduation, summer jobs, summer vacation, and perhaps graduate school or a job in the “real world,” the thoughts of UVa. Chi Phi Alumni turn to reunions. Every year, alumni who graduated in multiples of 5 years ago head to Charlottesville in early June to hang out on the Lawn, reconnect with classmates, enjoy the University, and listen to bands from the past and the present. For example, this year the University of Virginia undergraduate classes of 2008, 2003, 1998, 1983, 1978, 1973, 1968, 1963, 1958, 1953, and 1948 return to Charlottesville for their 5th, 10th, 15th, 20th, 25th, 30th, 35th, 40th, 45th, 50th, 55th, 60th, and 65th reunions.
However, for Chi Phis who want to gather with all the guys who were in the fraternity during their time in Charlottesville, this presents a problem. The brother who was a second year pledge wants to see all the guys who were first year pledges at the same time, but graduated a year after he did. Chi Phis want to see the big brother who was 4th year when they were 1st year, the pledge who joined when they were 4th year, all the guys who lived in the house with them, and all the guys who spent time with them at the House on Friday afternoons.
Whatever happened to the brother with the dog that was the de facto mascot of the house? What happened to the brother who outfitted himself in shoulder pads and catcher’s gear, ran around the ledge at the top of the house, launched himself into the evergreen tree and slid down? Whatever happened to the brother who got mad at our fraternity neighbors for damage they caused while playing lacrosse in the quad, threw a small grill through their French doors, and then walked over with a lacrosse stick, apologized for the inadvertent damage caused when he was playing “Hibachi Ball,” and asked if he could retrieve his hibachi? What happened to the guy who climbed up a ladder so he could look in the window to watch his brother and the brother’s girlfriend studying together, only to have the brother push the ladder away from the house and send the spectator into the hedge by the sidewalk next to Rugby Road? Where are the guys who outfitted themselves as golfers, with knickers, golf clubs and golf bags, and caddies, went onto the platform above the 161 Rugby Road front door, drove golf balls through the window of the adjacent bedroom window, and then opened the window and politely inquired of the brother and the girl studying in bed together (the girl now cowering under the covers) whether they might be permitted to “play through”, and then climbed into the room, patiently lined-up their shots, and continued playing out into the hall of the House? What happened to “Limpy,” the guy who was sitting in a second story Chi Phi window playing cards, when he fell out of the window, hit the ground, and messed-up his foot?
If guys only return for “their reunion” every five years, guys who want to be reunited with all of the guys who shared the house with them will never get their wish. So, is there nothing that could be done about this dilemma?
The solution – every five years one reunion to which all Chi Phis will return. For the classes of 1974-1985, that reunion is next year – June 5-8, 2014. Starting with the recently published national Chi Phi Directory and a list of email addresses – the Ultimate List – maintained by the Class of 1979’s David Smith, we are searching for all Chi Phis from those years – gathering contact information including email addresses and getting commitments from everyone to return for the overall reunion weekend or at least for the Chi Phi reunion events that weekend. Any other Chi Phis are also welcome to join in the festivities. With this immense gathering of Chi Phis, there will be opportunities to establish times for Chi Phi-specific activities – such as a softball game, touch football, or night croquet illuminated by the headlights of cars.
If you want to be added to the list of Chi Phis who will be contacted as we move toward this glorious weekend, please send the following information: Your name, year you graduated (or the year the Class you started with graduated – whichever you prefer – if you graduated in less than or more than 4 years), address, phone numbers, email address, and whether you want to return for the June 5-8, 2014 reunion (Yes, No, or Maybe). Or, if you have contact information for a brother you think we may have lost, please provide us the same information for him. You can send the information via email to Mark Levinstein, Class of 1979, at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to get at least 80 Chi Phis from the classes of 1974-1985 (and perhaps years before and after) to return. Then, in 2019, on the 200th Anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s founding of our beloved University, we can do it all again, only in even greater numbers . . .