BE's 501 - 600

Recollections From Drew Porter (BE 526):

The effect of BE on my life is so all encompassing that it is hard to describe.  I am short on the specifics you are asking for (memory gets hazy as you may know) and I am not sure how you might use this, but here is my take on my Beta Epsilon experience:
BE is woven into my life.  I grew up in the same neighborhood and went to middle school and high school with Craig Curley (BE 513), son of Charlie Curley (BE 71).  I remember Charlie as a kid.  He was always a really nice guy, a natural leader, and very involved in local politics.  I know he served as the mayor on our town council for a time.  Craig introduced me to the house.  Craig pledged fall of our freshman year (Fall '78).  I pledged in Spring '79.  Craig and I also went to middle and high school with Peter Labberton (BE 570), who we recruited into Beta Epsilon.
BE made my college experience.  I think if it were not for BE, I would have lived in an apartment, had a few friends, and moved on from college like I moved on from high school.  Davis would have been a good education, but not the awesome life experience it became for me.  The quality of the guys who were there at the time (in the late seventies and early eighties) was and is impressive. It was, for the most part, a group of solid, hardworking, nice guys, who wanted to get a great education and have a great time.  The guys who were there with me have a ton of honorifics that show the quality of man we recruited .  My pledge class itself is pretty amazing: a DDS, a JD, a CPA, a Masters of Engineering, three MBAs, and three US Army field grade officers.  BE 523 (M.Eng), BE 524 (DDS), BE 525 (LTC US Army, Ret.), BE 526 (LTC, US Army Ret, MBA, CPA), BE 527 (MBA), BE 528 (COL, US Army Ret), BE 529 (JD) and BE 531 (MBA).  I think there is a reason for all of this.  We were at a school that provided a great education.  We looked for great guys to be a part of our experience.  We built on that foundation by providing unique opportunities for leadership, philanthropy, and camaraderie that made for a lifetime connection and a desire to succeed and live an honorable life.
The things I remember most are the dinners (still a sit down affair with hashers and George Tingus cooking the meals), the exchanges, the open parties with the beer trucks, coming into the TV room after class to find Phil Reich in his bathrobe just waking up at the crack of noon, warm spring nights sitting on the couch on the porch outside of the Social Armpit in Jackson, where I lived my senior year with Andy McSunas.  I remember when house president Ross Cornelius wanted more "dress" dinners (i.e. coat and tie), and the rebellious faction at the back table showed up in dresses (one was pregnant and delivered a Sesame Street Grover in a mock birthing during dinner). I remember learning that JA Brian Lewis was mad at me only after the fact when I invited his now-wife Patty Sundeen (an Alpha Phi and a BE little sister) to our pledge party before he had a chance to ask her.   I remember Mark Lonczak shooting rabbits in Aggie Villa across the street.  I remember abusing poor Ed Wohlleb, a super nice guy, who would always begin anything he had to say in a meeting with the phrase "Listen up, this is important."  I remember Tony Wong being mistaken for an armed robber and being stopped by a bunch of Davis police with guns drawn right in front of the house as a bunch of us looked on.  I remember a chili and beer night at the house where Craig Curley cooked up the spiciest chili I had ever eaten.  I remember some of the guys having a bit too much to drink and playing naked football on the front lawn.  I fondly remember going caroling at the local nursing homes after Christmas dinners.  I remember rearranging the rocks on the dike next to the I-80 causeway into Sacramento with my pledge class and the little sisters. 
I think it was largely the experience I had as a BE that made me want to return to the campus for grad school.  When I was back, I served on the Alumni Board as a member and later as its President.  I also served as an alumni advisor to the Interfraternity Council, as I had served as its president during my senior year.     
Post college, Dr. Michael Pearl, MD BE 551, was my best man.  I was best man for both him and David Overcashier, BE 523.  David was one of my groomsmen.  Mike Pearl and I still go on a boys weekend annually, now 30-plus years out of school.  My dentist for over 20 years is my pledge brother, Dr. George Erbez, BE 524.  For almost 20 years, I have lived two blocks from my senior year roommate, Andy McSunas, BE 549.  It was one of the things that made me want to buy the house even more.
The men I count as my closest friends, to this day, are all BEs.  If something extraordinary happens in my life, be it good or bad, the first call I make outside my family, either to celebrate good news, to commiserate on something bad, or to seek advice and counsel, is to a BE. 
Turpie also had a personal and lifelong effect on me.  I hope you will also take a moment to read my post on Turpie on the site.  

How does a studious guy like me end up in a fraternity?  And what kind of experience was that circa 1980?  Well, when I was a Freshman (Electrical Engineering major), my girlfriend encouraged me to rush.  So I did.

There were a few things that made TX stand out in my mind.  It was clearly a good group of guys who knew how to combine achievement with having fun.  Maybe the chance to have a built-in social life to balance my academics.  But the clincher was more pragmatic: for a cash-strapped college student, it was an incredible value.  So I joined.  There was comradery, fun, and a lot of work as a pledge…we still did all the house chores then.  There was a pretty strong emphasis on academics, so I didn’t feel out of place.  And a well-planned social calendar helped pull me away from the books now and then, which I greatly needed and would have been unlikely to do on my own. 

I wondered why my girlfriend encouraged me so much to join a fraternity, and I found out later that she thought that I would be kept safely distant from other women (call them girls in 1979 at your peril) by living with a bunch of guys.  I admit I was a bit miffed by the hidden agenda.  It wasn’t until sometime early in my first year in the house that I even heard about the Little Sister program.  I can still remember the look of horror on my girlfriend’s face when she found out that our house of 50-some guys had a contingent of 60-some active and beautiful Little Sisters.  Oh the irony.  And perhaps justice.  I can’t say her plan backfired, as we stayed together quite a while.  But I can say that the very strong Little Sister program added greatly not only to the social experience, but helped temper some bad habits that can develop when too many guys hang out too much by themselves (particularly regarding hygiene and language). 

When I think back on my time at The House, as we called it, I think first of the guys.  But there is no doubt that our Little Sisters were also a vital part of that experience.  Cheers to them too. 

David Isaac (BE 0535)

David Fitzharris
1 Photo  8/27/15
Dean 0528 Ekman
2 Photos  11/18/15