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How the friendships Jeff Lohr, ’66, made at Sigma Chi have stood the test of time

As a freshman, Jeff Lohr, ’66, decided that he wanted to join a fraternity upon his entrance into college. What he didn’t know was which fraternity he would join, finding a surprising answer in Sigma Chi.

“At first, I rushed some of the big-name fraternities with the fancy houses,” he recalls. “Although the houses impressed me, none of the guys made me feel welcome.” At that point, Jeff decided to continue his search in finding the fraternity that he felt met his needs and expectations. “I was invited to a somewhat shabby, by comparison, Sigma Chi,” he says. “I immediately felt at home with the guys I met.”

Acclimating to his new phase of life, Jeff quickly became close to the men of Sigma Chi, finding a true home away from home. “I loved nearly all of my experiences living in the Sigma Chi house,” he shares. “I learned a lot, especially about how to get along with a group of very diverse guys.”

Jeff doesn’t claim to have been the best scholar, but Sigma Chi left a lasting impact on the man he developed into during his college years. “My transcript said Accounting, but my parents thought it should say partying,” he laughs. In fact, some of his fondest memories are those of the social kind. “I will always remember Initiation Weekend, the Sweetheart Formal, and our chapter meetings,” he recalls.

But in all seriousness, Jeff’s time at Sigma Chi not only taught him important life lessons, but he played an integral role in the growth of the fraternity itself. “My most meaningful service to Sigma Chi was when I served as Treasurer of the House Corporation under Mickey Silverman. It was during this time we found a way to purchase the current chapter house on East Prospect,” he proudly explains. “Without this move, I doubt if Sigma Chi would exist at Penn State today.”

Perhaps, though, the greatest take away that Jeff can say he got from his years at Penn State and Sigma Chi are the lifelong friendships that were developed. “Friendships are the glue that helps us through life,” he says. And some of those friendships have truly stood the test of time, despite differing viewpoints and life experiences, reminding Jeff of part of the Sigma Chi mantra. “Of all the various mantras associated with Sigma Chi, the one that stands out for me is men of different temperaments, talents, and convictions,” he shares. “My lifelong friendship with Brother David Kline illustrates its importance. Dave and I have traveled different paths in life. I suspect that we have some fundamental differences of opinions regarding the country and world in which we live, but despite this, and because of the common bonds of Sigma Chi, when we get together we are able to focus on what we share in common. That makes it possible to share and appreciate our differences.”

After many years in the workforce after graduation, Jeff is now retired. He and his wife, Margie (McGarey) celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary last year, and together they have one son, Andy, and two grandchildren. Having spent most of their married life in Charlotte, North Carolina, they decided to move to Portland, Oregon in 2012 to be closer to Andy and his family.

Jeff remains very active, and stays in great shape. “After 25 years or so as your basic slug, I became somewhat of a fitness fanatic,” he chuckles. “I have run 15 marathons and a few triathlons. Although I am no longer competing, I still stay at it nearly every day, swimming or cycling.”