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By Rogers “Rod” Vaughn ‘53

I have always felt very fortunate to have had a great education at Penn and to have been a Sig Ep.  My first contact with the brothers at 3909 Spruce was in the spring of 1949 while I was a senior in high school.  My guidance counselor urged me with two other friends to attend a weekend orientation at Penn.  On the application form, she requested housing at Sigma Phi Epsilon since that was a familiar fraternity name for her.  We were welcomed with open arms when we arrived at 3909 and were treated very warmly by all during our two day visit.

When rushing started in October, I quite naturally headed to Sigma Phi Epsilon as my first stop.  The fact that Jim Armstrong, my Thomas Penn dorm advisor was a Sig Ep, also was a factor.  When the rushing period ended, eight pledges were from my dorm – Dick Pelham ‘53, Dave Shirlaw ‘53, Gerry Kiefer ‘53, Pete Yurchak ‘53, Don Sontag ‘53, Norm Boudreau ‘53, Tony Squadrito’53, and myself.  Pete and I were roommates for two years at 3909; Gerry and I enlisted in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps immediately upon graduation as the Korean War was still being fought and we faced being drafted.  I remained in contact with Pete until his death several years ago and still get to see Don Sontag occasionally.  I also get to see brothers from the classes of 1954 and 1955 – Earl Conway ‘54, Bob Johnson ‘55, Clarke Glennon ’55, and Aram Jerrehian ‘55.  Earl, Bob and I live in the Hershey’s Mill +55 community just outside West Chester.  Until their passing, I also kept in touch with Jim Hughes ‘52 and Don Bux ‘53 and occasionally Dave Ffrench ‘51.  I’ve found it’s always a joy to see the friends that were a significant factor in making my years at Penn so rewarding.  I also have great memories about the love and kindness practiced by Dorsey Baker and Mr. Marshall who cared for and cooked for Sig Ep brothers for so many years.  It was my privilege to have known them and been able to have so many enjoyable conversations with them. They were an integral part of the brotherhood I experienced.

My three years in the army, two in Germany, provided me with great experiences and a close friendship with a WW 2 gunner on a bomber that lasted until his passing two years ago.  Before leaving for Germany, I married my Penn Tri-Delt sweetheart and shortly before we returned to the US our son was born in Heidelberg.

My business career spanned 38 years with DuPont, 33 of them In Wilmington, Delaware, and five in Europe (Geneva and Brussels).  The early part of my career was in advertising and marketing and later in business management.  I was blessed to have been the worldwide business director for both the Teflon finishes and Corian businesses that provided me with great friendships and experiences around the world.  I’ve been retired from DuPont since 1994 but continue to see regularly many of the people with whom I worked.

In addition to my business career, I’ve served on the West Chester public school board 16 years, eight years in the 1970s and 1980s and another eight years after retirement – 10 years as board president and two as vice-president.  I also served 13 years on the board of a private school for learning disabled.  Other activities like church treasurer, township long term planning and financial oversight of my son’s business keep me active mentally in retirement.  The passing of my wife four years ago after a great marriage of 58 years has left a void in my life but I remain blessed with my two children, their spouses and three grandchildren who live close and who continually bring joy into my life.

I get back to Penn every five years for the May alumni weekend and look forward to attending number 65 in 2018.  I stopped at the Red Door and visited briefly following the class festivities in 2013.