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BETA-RHO BULLETIN Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity

California State University, Northridge

Volume 39, Issue 1

Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

Chapter Alumni Pledge $5,000 for Matador Statue A quintet of Lambda Chis from Beta-Rho Zeta ensured that the fraternity would be prominently featured as a major

supporter at the foot of a matador statue that is planned on the lawn in front of the Sequoia Hall. Five chapter alumni

committed to pledging $2,500 for the statue’s construction and upkeep. A 12-inch by 12-inch plaque displaying the fraternity’s name will be situated among the main markers laid at the inner perimeter dominated by a 6-to7foot-tall bronze Matador. At the Annual Meeting on Nov. 30, Gary Thomas addressed the gathering to encourage alumni to step up and match his $500 donation so that the fraternity’s name could be displayed near the foot of the statue. By the end of his pitch, four brothers had matched his ante to ensure that a Lambda Chi plaque could be counted among the statue’s prominently displayed donor names and campus organizations. Alumni who also donated $500 each were Brothers Spencer

Schmerling, Mike Cooperman, Chris Dyer and Rick Childs. Although Brother Thomas had originally pledged $500, he committed another $2,500 later so that the plaque could be more prominently displayed. Other Lambda Chis donated additional funds to the campaign, but wished to remain anonymous. A volunteer on the university’s Matador Statue Fundraising Committee, Brother Thomas had been contacted by Jerry DeFelice, director of development for University Advancement. Brother Childs, another committee member, had been tapped by DeFelice to help contact alumni in the spring of 2010 who might assist with the fundraising effort. Among the people he’d suggested was Next Page >>>

Lindley Complex CUP Hearing Set for May 23 Beta-Rho’s meeting with the city’s zoning administrator for possible approval of a conditional use permit is set for 1 p.m. Monday, May 23 at Van Nuys City Hall. Supporters will convene outside at the City Hall’s “Fernando” statue before the meeting. A bus is being arranged to shuttle supporters from CSUN. The outcome of the CUP hearing will determine how the Lindley property that the chapter owns will be developed over the next several years. All area alumni are encouraged to attend this meeting and show their support for the chapter’s new home. Efforts to win over the Neighborhood Council and area residents with a comprehensive written code of conduct submitted by the fraternity’s housing corporation president, Spencer Schmerling, had been rejected at a recent hearing. Numerous public meetings with the Northridge East Neighborhood Council aptly demonstrated what the chapter had known for decades: area residents do not have even the slightest desire to live anywhere near a fraternity house. Since Beta-Rho possesses what is undoubtedly the marquee property of CSUN’s Greek system, it is making a major effort to invite as many Greek supporters from the campus as possible, including all of the sororities. Questions? Please contact Rick Childs at (661) 948-3260.

Forging a new tradition for future generations. It took Gary Thomas less than five minutes at the 2010 Annual Meeting to ensure that Lambda Chi Alpha’s name would be prominently displayed near the university’s new matador statue.


Matador Statue Brother Thomas. Locating a life-size or larger statue somewhere on campus has been in the planning stages off and on since the early 1990s. A contest originally sponsored by the art department sought designs, according to a Daily Sundial article by Brittany Ellsworth that appeared on Sept. 27, 2010. The early ‘90s was when Associate Director of Alumni Relations Shellie Hadvina originally stepped in to move the project forward. She worked with sculptor and CSUN alumnus Frank Panaro, the former artist who built a small model and then a full-scale maquette of the winning design submission in 1992. Vice President of Student

Affairs and Dean of Students, Dr. William Watkins, noted that the statue project lost momentum after the Northridge Quake. For the university’s 50th anniversary in 2008, however, the Associated Students reinstated a plan to build a matador statue, and it allocated the project’s first $10,000 in 2009, mainly to attract a new artist that was drawn from a nationwide contest to design and sculpt the project. Another artist had been sought after Panaro’s original 1990s design ran into problems with state requirements. The A.S. Senate approved the statue project’s revival under a veil of protest. With budget cuts on the minds of student leaders, many challenged the wisdom of using any student activities funds for a school mascot statue. The

Sundial article reported that Dr. Watkins “said most of the opposition is coming from some who are opposed to the mascot itself, the Matador, not the statue representation of it.” Current A.S. President Conor Lansdale defended the money they allocated and said, “It’s supposed to be a point of pride; we’re trying to give them a tangible, physical representation of a matador.” For the past few years, Hadvina has been part of a campus-wide committee involving members of the Alumni Association and Associated Students. She said that the committee’s nationwide search turned up a new artist, Jon Hair. “[Hair’s] from North Carolina,” Hadvina said. “He’s done several bronze mascot

statues, and he’s been wonderful to work with.” The committee came up with a proposed budget of $150,000 to construct the display area and build the statue. All of the funds were sought from alumni; no additional A.S. funds were involved. After the closing date, the committee learned that it had exceeded its funding goal. “We raised $200,000,” Hadvina said. “The additional $50,000 raised will be set aside for ongoing maintenance.” Donations ranged from $100 to $10,000, according to Hadvina. The statue’s unveiling was set for Freshman Convocation on Sept. 8, Hadvina wrote in an email. The plaque’s inscription will display the fraternity’s name, the original colonization date (1968) and its motto, “Vir Quisque Vir.”

Annual Meeting Shows the Corp. Board’s in Good Hands Beta-Rho’s corporation board brought together nearly three score brothers who reconvened at the Golden Hunan Restaurant in Northridge on Nov. 30 for a three-peat of its Annual Meeting. Among the 29 attendees were 22 alumni, six actives from the chapter and one affiliate. Before Corp. Board President Spencer Schmerling (BP 288) reported on the chapter’s progress regarding its pursuit of obtaining a conditional use permit for its property on Lindley Avenue, he requested that all of the High Alphas in the room stand in order to be recognized. Eleven brothers arose from their seats, perhaps the most gathered in one room since the re-chartering banquet at the Odyssey Restaurant on March 27, 2004. They were, in Zeta order, Dennis Crain (BP 22), Jon Rice (BP 82), Gary Thomas (BP 146), Jay Friedman (BP 249), Ricky Trevino (BP 451), Mike Press (BP 455), Dustin Mirochnick (BP 461), Rob Press (BP 495), Chris Dyer (BP 500), A.J. Jaegle (BP 543) and newlyelected chapter president Vahan Khodanian. Other initiates in attendance

included Mark Eskander (BP 18), Scott Press (BP 55), Rick Childs (BP 83), Doc Ellis (BP 124), Mark Widawer (BP 220), Howard Sapper (BP 257), Ellis San Jose (BP 283), Scott Seward (BP 295), Cesar Ayllon (BP 453), Anthony Pinkett (BP 484), Jessie Arciniega (BP 516), Eric Gonzalez (BP 528), undergrads Thomas Gallegos (BP 561), Steve Shapiro (BP 575), John Bonilla (BP 593), Arturo Olvera (BP 599) and former corp. board president Howard Brightman (EΣ 528). The corp. board’s decision to move the annual meeting up a week into November attracted more undergrads, but an announcement at the previous Sunday’s chapter meeting about the Nov. 15 deadline to RSVP might have discouraged more of them from attending. Moving the meeting to the last Tuesday in November resulted when the 2009 annual meeting coincided with the onslaught of the fall finals week, a move prompted by a change in the university’s school calendar. Unlike some prior years when a handful of candidates were ushered onto the corp.

Call for ballots. Spencer Schmerling and Anthony Pinkett were glad to see that plenty of alumni stayed in the race to fill any vacancies on the corp. board.

board by a unanimous decision, voters had plenty of candidates to select from for the open seats. After regular and proxy ballots were handed out, Brothers Schmerling and Pinkett conducted the nominations. Based on the ballot counts, brothers Scott Press, Childs and Mirochnick received two-year terms; veteran Rob Press and newcomer Gonzalez made the cut for one-year stints. New corp. board members Dyer and Arciniega were chosen as director alternates. Seats on the corp. board remained unchanged, except for the treasurer’s post— Brother Gonzalez filled it. 2

Curtain call. A.J. Jangle bowed out as High Alpha at the Annual Meeting. He clutched some directories for the chapter. Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

Vahan Khodanian

Alex Samowitz

Neil Sanchez

Nick Serenil

Bowling with some new brothers. Johnny Prado, John Bonilla and Arturo Olvera (from left) were among the soon-to-be-initiated brothers at the Matador Bowl.

Alumni and Chapter Roll Strikes at Matador Bowl bowling balls on its racks, even the elusive 14-pounders preferred by this writer. The actives’ roster at the bowling alley consisted of Brothers Centeno, Travon Dixon, Thomas Gallegos, Shay Rhodes and Steven Shapiro. Rounding out the undergrads’ list were AMs John Bonilla, Nestor Mendez, Arturo Olvera, Johnny Prado, Joseph Solano, Jaryd Tashiro and Nick Volkov. Alumni who took turns playing, in Zeta order, were Rick Childs, Darren Arrieta, Drew Singer, Eric Gonzalez, Mahdiar Karamooz and Matt Ahmadi. Also among the cheering section were Brittany Tanner, Maui Sampson and Veronica Ikemoto. In one game bowled by the alumni, the scores ranged from this writer’s better-than-his Zetanumber 89 to Brother Ahmadi’s smokin’ tally of 234 who went on an amazing run of six consecutive strikes. Then again, there were several brothers who bowled with hooks that would scare the daylights out of any largemouth bass. Other scores of note: Singer, 130; Karamooz, 139; Arrieta, 114; Gonzalez, 121.

Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity

Volume 39, Issue 1

Version 2.6

Editor, reporter, designer & photographer: Rick Childs The Beta-Rho Bulletin is the official publication of Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha, Inc. at California State University, Northridge and is distributed at no charge to all of its members and affiliates whose mailing addresses are current. Articles, directory revisions, weddings, bir ths and professional info should be snail mailed or e-mailed to the editor at 44044 Engle Way Apt. 65, Lancaster, CA; 93536-6660 or, respectively. MS Word, Excel, JPG, PDF, TIFF files, press releases and photos are accepted. All other correspondence to the corporation should be sent to P.O. Box 280311, Northridge, CA 91328-0311. The next deadline is June 20, 2011. Made on a Mac Mini with iWork Pages ’09. Last revised on May 11, 2011. Editor’s phone number: (661) 948-3260 2011 Corporation Board of Directors: President Spencer Schmerling VP, Communications Rick Childs VP, Activities Scott Press Secretary Anthony Pinkett Treasurer Eric Gonzalez Alumni Directors Dustin Mirochnick Jessie Arciniega (alternate) Chris Dyer (alternate) Chapter Adviser Robert Press High Alpha Vahan Khodanian High Tau Nick Serenil High Iota Erwin Avendano High Rho Arturo Olvera On the Web: Headquarters Chapter Website Franternity Journal


2010 chapter composite photos by (5)

Less than a month after the fall classic alumni-active softball game, the chapter hosted a hugely enjoyable night out at the Brunswick Matador Bowl in Northridge on Nov. 4. The Thursday night slot didn’t deter alumni attendance, and the chapter picked up the tab for the lanes, shoes and refreshments. Eighteen actives and six alumni converged on the last two lanes of the Brunswick Valley landmark, including seven of the associate members and several gal pals. Alumni relations officer Douglas Centeno kept the lanes open, pitchers of soft drinks flowing and attendees attired in rented bowling shoes. When the lanes’ automatic scoring boards froze up at 7:40, Brother Centeno wasted no time feeding the meter and keeping the good times rolling. The only hazards encountered were the overstocked bowling ball deck that often knocked balls onto the floor toward unsuspecting feet and a pesky cellphone-hating parking lot security guard. In fairness, the Matador Bowl had an incredible variety of gumdrop-colored

Steven Zavala

Chapter’s Student Government Leaders Vahan Khodanian: A.S. Director of Finance, High Alpha Alex Samowitz: A.S. Attorney General, High Kappa Neal Sanchez: A.S. Vice President Nick Serenil: A.S. Assistant Director of Finance, High Tau Steven Zavala: A.S. Senator, Lower Division, Seat 2

Alumni-Active Softball Game = Home Run Derby Neither drizzly, overcast weather nor midterms kept brothers, spouses, family or friends from convening at Northridge Park’s field #3 on Oct. 17 for another alumni-active softball game. The gray skies played out like a carbon copy of 2009’s game, except this time the sun failed to show up. Most of the 30 Lambda Chis took to the field to see if the chapter could reclaim the series. It didn’t happen; however, the undergrads kept up the pressure for nine innings as the alumni triumphed, 16-12. Although the chapter trailed by at least two runs for the entire game, they nearly charged ahead in the seventh inning before being shut out for the final two. The last time the chapter claimed victory at the softball tournament, according to Mike Press (BP 455), would have been in 2005 when he was still active with the chapter. “Every time we’ve played in one of these (looking over at his brother, Rob, BP 495), we’ve always been on the winning side,” Mike Press commented. An impromptu ceremonial first pitch was thrown by Mike’s bride of one week, Amanda. The newlyweds embraced and smooched as associate member John Bonilla stepped up to the plate. Mark Widawer (BP 220) observed one of the more obscure highlights of the game. “I need to take a photo of Rick Childs (BP 83) and Terry Lucero (BP 149)!” he shouted. “No one will ever believe me that these two got on base at the same time!” This came as a welcome surprise to Brother Childs after he was told during his previous at-bat that his batting style would’ve been more effective if he had been holding a nine iron. Other alumni on the batting order were Scott Press (BP 55), Howard Sapper (BP 257), Tim Pena (BP 264), Spencer Schmerling (BP 288), Mike Cooperman (BP 386), Tom McNeil (BP 405), Ricky Trevino (BP 451), Cesar Ayllon (BP 453),

Gio Pernudi (BP 473), Darren Arrieta (BP 533), Drew Singer (BP 545) and Mahdiar Karamooz (BP 549). Donald “Doc” Ellis (BP 124) also attended. Playing for the chapter besides associate members Bonilla, Arturo Olvera and Joseph Solano were Nick Serenil (BP 569), Alex Samowitz (BP 568), Steve Shapiro (BP 575), Neil Sanchez (BP 535) Cory Hahn (BP 574), Thomas Gallegos (BP 561), Douglas Centeno (BP 553), Travon Dixon (BP 586) and Matthew Rice (BP 567). High Alpha A.J. Jaegle (BP 543) watched from the dugout. Besides a few brothers who were not on the batting order, some other guests graced the stands, including Susan Press, Amanda Press’s sister, Hillary; Ofelia Pernudi and her baby, Giovanny Jr. Pitchers averted killer line drives this year, although a few brothers could’ve used kneepads when they slid into home base, particularly Brother McNeil. Unlike prior years, the nearby baseball diamonds were devoid of activity due to extensive renovations that were being made to the park facilities. According to Susan Press, a foundation headed by actor Kirk Douglas had donated money to rebuild some of the public parks in Los Angeles County, including Northridge’s. The crowd managed to annihilate 15 pizzas in as many minutes before they headed out.

Slip slidin’ away. Clockwise from middle right: Ricky Trevino slides into home plate. Steve Shapiro wobbles by the plate while trying to tag Neil Sanchez. Newlyweds Mike and Amanda Press kissed after she tossed the ceremonial first pitch. The 2010 team(s) picture, front row, from left: Thomas MacNeil, Arturo Olvera, John Bonilla, Douglas Centeno, A.J. Jangle, Darren Arrieta, Gio Pernudi and Cesar Ayllon. Second row: Rick Childs, Howard Sapper, Thomas Gallegos, Matthew Rice, Cory Hahn, Joseph Solano, Tim Pena, Nick Serenil (in front of Tim), Rob Press, Travon Dixon, Doc Ellis, Alex Samowitz, Steve Shapiro, Terry Lucero, Mark Widawer, Spencer Schmerling, Mahdiar Karamooz, Eric Gonzalez, Mike Cooperman, Scott Press, Ricky Trevino and Mike Press.


Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

Directory Revisions Henry Martin Lederman (A) BP 5 (Note: Known to alumni as Henry M. Lee, he legally changed his surname to Lederman in 2001.) 5731 Tiffany Ct. Ypsilanti, MI 48197-7508 (734) 434-1453 Paula (734) 754-3122 Retired

Phil Abbenante Phillip “Phil” Abbenante (A) BP 254 4393 S. Riverboat Rd. #400 Taylorsville, UT 84123-2503 (801) 209-0850 Debbie (801) 231-7418 (801) 313-8425 Network Security Sales Specialist, AT & T (Note: He submitted the photo above.)

Nine initiates for the fall. Beta-Rho 593-601 put on their new hoodies after completing initiation in the early morning hours of Nov. 20. Front row, from left: John Bonilla, Arturo Olvera. Second row: Corey Davis, Yesai Fstkchyan, Nick Volkov, Jaryd Tashiro, Nestor Mendez, Johnny Prado and Joseph Solano.

Sean P. Butler (A) BP 358 4-75 48th Ave., Penthouse #3803 Long Island City, NY 11109 (646) 286-1429 (212) 746-4943 Director of Compliance, Dept. of Medicine Weill Cornell Medical College

Chapter Recognized at CSUN for Academics; 4 Inducted into Greek Honor Society On March 2, Lambda Chi Alpha received two chapter awards and had four members inducted into CSUN's Gamma Sigma Alpha Greek Honor Society. The chapter received awards in Recognition of Outstanding Academic Excellence and Most Improved GPA. The CSUN chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha consistently ranks amongst the highest fraternity GPA's on campus, surpassing the All Men's and All IFC averages each semester. This semester, the chapter also had four new inductees into the Gamma SIgma Alpha Greek Honor Society. They were: John Bonilla, Neil Sanchez, Erwin Avendano and Vahan Khodanian. Congratulations to these brothers and to Lambda Chi Alpha Beta-Rho Zeta for our continued academic success.

Spring Birthdays

Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity

Eric J. May (A) BP 268 3727 Gurrier Ave. Acton, CA 93510-1942 Charles L. “Chuck” McCutchan (A) BP 105 5136 Kingsgrove Dr. Somis, CA 93066-9718 (805) 386-3226 Colleen Joe Nguyen (A) BP 261 Human Resources – Strategic Analyst

Christopher R. “Chris” Dyer (A) BP 500 Human Resources Assistant AEG Human Resources Corporate (still co-owns L.A. Rhythm & Hues with Patrick Duffy)

Charles P. “Chuck” Pfarrer (A) BP 109 P.O. Box 244 Bellaire, MI 49614-0244 No Phone

Christopher S. “Chris” Krokos (A) BP 523 6940 Sepulveda Blvd., Apt. 220 Van Nuys, CA 91405-5429 Email your directory revisions, letters and pictures to the editor at

May 3 Randy Jordan, 4 Chuck McCutchan, 5 Drew Singer, 10 Dave Nelson, 11 Todd Moore & Dan Ryan, 12 Rick Childs & Gabe Lockwood, 13 Lt. Col. Paul Bowen (ret.), Steve Branton, Andrew Maltin & Rob Press; 14 Mike Ehrlich & Darin Guggenheimer, 15 Hamid Jahangard & Skip Sonksen, 16 Jeff Friedman, 17 Gilbert Lopez, 18 Corey Davis, 19 Jairo Garcia, 20 Scott Greene, Dave Kern & Chris Wirosko; 23 Anthony Morris, George Raquel & Sean Tobin,

Andrew S. Maltin (A) BP 338 728 Rembrandt Dr. Laguna Beach, CA 92651-3415

James F. “Jim” O’Connell (A) BP 147 8995 “F” Towne Centre Dr., Ste. 105-173 San Diego, CA 92122-5605

Richard H. “Richie” Herrera (A) BP 414 40 Cerro Dr. Daly City, CA 94015-4030 (650) 922-1003 Retail Sales

April 1 John Leynes & Daryl Mobraten, 2 Pat Sheeley, 3 Rich Tabares, 6 Mike Bennett, 7 Tim Gibson, 8 Richard Allen, B. J. Bingham & T. J. Higgins; 11 Jose Fregoso, 12 David Green, 13 Chuck Pfarrer & Mitch Silberman, 14 Byron Baba, 15 Scott Ritter, 16 Neal Kavalsky, 19 Jordan Pierson, 20 Jürgen Seewald, 22 Robert Lange, 23 Capt. Chip Huisman, Terry Lucero, Collin VanDeusen & Parham Yedidsion; 24 Richard Greenberg, 25 Brian Garfield & Jerry Plotkin, 26 Shawn Fancy & Joe Vandertol, 27 Mike Diamant, 28 Jim Overall, 29 Phil Abbenante & Adrian Reyes, 30 Joseph Solano

William F. “Billy” Lloyd III (A) BP 538 (703) 659-3329

Laurits P. “Larry” Cormier (A) BP 297 2121 Valderas Dr., Apt. 64 Glendale, CA 91208-1365

James G. “Jim” Emmerson (A) BP 137

March 21 Richard Shulman, Ph.D., 23 Steve Cohen, 23 Jon Rice, 27 Amante Bartolome, 29 Kevin Gregory, 31 Dr. Robert Scher

Devin M. Letzer (A) BP 471 39552 Dunbar St. Palmdale, CA 93551-4061

Samuel F. “Sam” Renbarger (A) BP 463 Planner TBWA/Chiat/Day Dr. Robert D. Scher (A) BP 51 (775) 348-8579 Steven A. “Steve” Sendering (A) BP 19 4144 Victoria Ln. Eugene, OR 97404-4079 Ted J. Staff (A) BP 281 LOST! Lloyd Cristobal (BP 280) Scott Sonken (ZB 314) A = alumnus F = friend/affiliate

24 Arturo Olvera, 25 Misha Cavaye, 27 A.J. Jaegle, Gary Payne & Craig Warren; 30 Shane Hermanson & George Owens, 31 Brian Quint June 1 William Dahlem, Billy Lloyd & Maj. Keith Mayo; 3 Gary Henderson, 5 Mark Severeid, 6 Ryan Flahaven, 9 Bill Beemer, 13 Rick Field, 14 Matt Siegrist, 15 Ali Araghi, 16 Desmond Ortega, 17 Richard Bluth, 18 Thomas Nirmark, 19 Rich Bongiorno, 20 Mike Shaw 5

Courtesy of Mark Widawer

Debbie Childs

On the road again to downtown L.A. Another perfect Sunday to explore the City of Angels, starting from Union Station after riding the Metro Red Line from Universal City. Rick Childs (from left), Steve Shapiro, Rob Press, Scott Press and Cesar Ayllon retraced the route used for the Walk & Rail Across L.A. in May of last year.

Taking a meeting, Vegas-style. Eight Beta-Rho alumni made a return engagement in Las Vegas during the week of Jan. 24. Brothers from initiation classes spanning 1983-87 have re-convened in Nevada's most storied playground for many years. This winter's delegation featured (from left) Mark Swedelson, Mitch Silberman, Jon Gardner, Jay Friedman, Brian Quint, Howard Sapper, Mark Widawer, and Spencer Schmerling.

Walk & Rail Across L.A.: The Sequel

Noteworthy alumni announcements

Brother Ayllon’s Daughter Debuts in the High Desert

Courtesy of Cear Ayllon

Alumni met on the morning of March 13 for another chance to roam the streets of downtown Los Angeles and ride the subway in what was billed as "Walk and Rail Across L.A.: The Sequel." Last year's veterans, stalwart tour guide Scott Press, his son Rob, Cesar Ayllon and newbie Steve Shapiro from the chapter rendezvoused at the Universal City Metrolink Station where they hopped on the subway. Brother Childs' wife Debbie came along and Brother Ayllon's life partner Kristy Nevarez joined up after lunch. Anthony Pinkett caught up with the crowd later in Pershing Square. The entourage retraced much of the previous year's route and stopped for lunch at Philippe's again off Alameda. Brother Childs and his wife left early, but the others scoured Chinatown's markets and came away with some amusing trinkets before heading across town. Aside from Brother Shapiro, the chapter missed out on the walking tour because they had scheduled a retreat in Big Bear the previous day. Also, word got out that some of them had contracted the flu.

Cesar Ayllon (BP 453) and Kristy Nevarez welcomed Sasha Marie Ayllon into the world on Jan. 22 at 6:12 a.m. Born at the Antelope Valley Hospital in Lancaster, Sasha weighed in at 6 lbs., 4 oz. and was 19 ½ inches long. Brother Ayllon posted numerous comments and pictures on Facebook. In one of them he wrote, "Kristy and I are so happy and still can't believe that we are parents. Thank you for all the wonderful comments, phone calls and visits. We feel more than lucky to share all Cesar and Sasha Ayllon this love with Sasha."

Renbargers’ First Family Addition

Arturo Olvera

Ginny Daniel/Courtesy of Sam Renbarger

Sam Renbarger (BP 463) posted a flurry of announcements online about his first baby, a daughter. She was born on July 8, 2010. His wife Naomi delivered Lillian Christine Renbarger at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in West Hollywood. "After 5 ½ years of being newlyweds, we finally decided to take the next step," he wrote. "And we are glad we did. Lilly is Naomi, Lilly and Sam Renbarger cuter than expected." Their daughter arrived at 8:32 p.m. and weighed 7 lbs., 6 oz.

2010 & 2011 Corp. Board. Striking a pose for the 2012 directory are, from left: Eric Gonzalez, Steve Shapiro, Anthony Pinkett, Rob Press, Jessie Arciniega, Scott Press, Chris Dyer, Dustin Mirochnick, A.J. Jaegle and Rick Childs. (See Annual Meeting story on page 2.)


Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

Michael Press Weds Amanda Degnan in the Moorpark Foothills

Courtesy of Michael Press

One of Beta-Rho’s most eligible bachelors has found his soulmate. Friends and family celebrated the marriage of Michael Press (BP 455) and Amanda Degnan on Oct. 9 at the Walnut Grove in Moorpark. Brother Rob Press (BP 495), one of the groomsmen, reported that "the weather was amazing; the timing was perfect because the time period was between two storms, so fresh pine was in the air. “The best man was [life-long] friend Mike Mathias, exceptional groomsmen Ricky Trevino (BP 451), Josh Lodolo” (BP 459, who flew in from Austin, Texas for the occasion) and Michael’s youngest brother, “Shawn Press, ‘almost a Lambda Chi.’ Other alumni in attendance were father Scott Press (BP 55), Todd Moore (BP 40), Cesar Ayllon (BP 453) and Toby Reyes (BP 485)." Michael first met Amanda at a Toga de Mayo party at the chapter’s former residence, Halsted 1, followed by weekly visits at the G.L.A.A.D. awareness meetings. The couple jetted to the Tahitian island Bora Bora where they honeymooned at the Four Seasons Resort for four days and nights.

Michael and Amanda Press

Rob, Scott, Michael and Shawn Press

Brother Schmerling’s Son Chad Takes Over Studio for Bar Mitzvah Nearly 100 guests converged on the CBS Radford Studios in Studio City on March 12 to celebrate the Bar Mitzvah of Chad Schmerling, the son of Spencer Schmerling (BP 288) and Renee Kantarovich. The studio complex had also been the site of his older brother Ethan's Bar Mitzvah on Jan. 17, 2009. Festivities after the ceremony moved to Studio 20, sited next door to the sound stage for the TV Land cable comedy "Hot in Cleveland" starring Betty White. The reception's theme was coined Club Chad, and each of the tables were named after iconic L.A. nightclubs. Dr. Richard Shulman (BP 344) and his wife Marla repeated their roles in the Kiddush and Hamotzi portion of the Bar Mitzvah. Also in attendance were Mark (BP 220) and Marlene Widawer. Anthony Pinkett (BP 484), Scott (BP 55) and Sue Press and Rick (BP 83) and Debbie Childs sat at the Whiskey a Go Go table. Chris Dyer (BP 500) and Pat Duffy (BP 493) worked behind the scenes as the lighting and media technicians with their crew from L.A. Rhythm & Hues. Cantor Russ commented during the ceremony about how much he had enjoyed instructing Chad and his brother. Now that Chad’s parents had no more siblings, he told the audience that he would love to see Brother Schmerling adopt more children so that he could instruct them too. Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity

At Chad’s Bar Mitzvah. Clockwise: Scott Press, Spencer Schmerling, Sue Press and Anthony Pinkett relax at the Whiskey A Go Go table. Brother Schmerling and his son Chad get rock star treatment; Chad Schmerling.


Did you always work for the Coachella school district, or did you work for others? I was actually working for Motorola when I was still going to college. What did you do for them? I worked in their order-processing department; that was my early job. Then I worked my way into the finance areas. I was doing collections. I was a big-time collection guy. I could take any account that they could throw in my lap and clean it up. It just took patience and being able to dig through old material to find everything. But I always enjoyed the challenge of that. Is that something that you did here in the Coachella Valley? No, I didn’t do that here. I started out while I was still going to college. The Motorola sales offices were down by the airport – LAX. Eventually, they moved to San Diego. Actually, for a time I went into their sales group. Worked down in El Centro, worked in Brawley. And then I was back up in San Diego after a while. And I had gotten to a point where the sales didn’t interest me as much as working in the office. So then I worked for seven years in the antenna site development program. That’s where we would build the mountaintop communications sites for the radio systems to operate. Our sales territory was from California, and it included Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada. So I would travel out to those places and climb mountains to seek places out where we could build antenna sites. So I did that for a while too. Then I just reached a point where I thought, this wasn’t what I really was interested in anymore. So I went back and got my teaching credential, and I’ve been doing that for the last 25 years. And that was with National University? I finished at National University, yeah. What drew you to the Coachella Valley? My grandparents moved here 50 years ago. And so my family would come out and visit. Eventually, my parents retired out here, and I was still working in San Diego at the time. I decided it was time to move back closer to home. They were getting older, and my grandparents were extremely old. So I thought I would be around for that and make sure that if they needed any help, I could take care of them. [My aunt] lives in Palm Desert. My mom lives in Palm Springs. She’s 87 and my aunt’s 90. Have you pretty much spent your career teaching here in the Coachella Valley? My entire career. This is my 25th year. Where did you get your doctorate? That was what they refer to as a non-traditional [degree]. It was mostly correspondence, except for the final part. Each year I had to show up and finish out [my coursework]. What university? Stratford University. It’s actually in England. I completed my degree there. Each year I’d travel to England, which was always fun to do anyway. I’d finish a month of school there. It was in educational psychology. Where did you eventually get your bachelor’s degree? I actually got my bachelor’s degree and my master’s degree [in 1988] through National University. I was living in San Diego at the time. And actually, I moved out to Palm Springs, and they had just opened a branch of the university here, so I finished the rest of my work here. That was in behavioral science and counseling psychology. So finishing out my doctorate in that area made the most sense. How did you wind up at Northridge and being part of the start of our chapter? I started out at Arizona State and had rushed the Lambda Chis. At the time, it was a little tough because I was considered a nonresident. My parents were footing the bill and everything else. So they finally asked me after my second year if there was a chance that I could come back and finish out in California. I ended up transferring to what was called at the time as San Fernando Valley State.

Dr. David Trimble The Beta-Rho Bulletin Interview hile Mike Ehrlich (BP 1) and several Valley State and Pierce College recruits witnessed the birth of Beta-Rho, Dr. David Trimble (ZΨ 276) is generally credited for its conception. He joined Lambda Chi Alpha at Arizona State in September, 1966 and transferred to what was then Valley State in the summer of 1968. By the time he had earned his BA in behavioral science in 1986, he’d spent more than a decade as a Motorola sales rep, bill collector, trainer and antenna site administrator, Brother Trimble then transitioned to a career in primary and secondary education in 1987. As an educator, he has tackled assignments in elementary, middle and high school. Five of those years were spent working as a senior instructor in the migrant resource program. He commuted to five schools a year during that period, 21 in all. They ranged from Coachella and Thermal to Mecca and even as far south as Salton Sea. Today he lives with his wife Judy in La Quinta and teaches fourth grade at the Peter Pendleton School in Coachella. The editor and his wife, Debbie, met with him at Mimi’s Café in La Quinta on Jan. 8. He turned 65 on March 6.


Dr. David Trimble 8

Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

I did not finish there; I finished at National, but I had started [my I asked Michael about that, and he had no clue about how the first degree program] there. class’ initiation order was set. Now the way the Zeta numbers are So, you were studying behavioral psychology? determined are by the date you joined. Believe it or not, I was actually in the business department at that We determined that Mike, of all of the original ones, was the most time. dedicated of the original initiates. He took his education seriously. Not It sounds like me; I had four majors. that he didn’t have fun; we all had fun. We all got crazy. Yeah. I had reached the saturation point with everything that had Ben Gafford was also pretty dedicated. Mike always said wondrous to do with business at that time. More of what I was doing there was things about him, and Ben passed away [at the end of 2004] from for my father. My father said that’s the place to go and what to do. cancer. Ben was a roofer and had come from Pierce College. Mike So, you do what your dad wants you to do if he’s going to pay the said they recruited a few guys from Pierce College. bills. Pierce became our feeder school for a time. You do what the bank of Mom and Dad tells you to do. Were there any individuals in the chapter while you were involved That’s exactly right. besides Michael that really stood out? So anyway, I had been initiated in Arizona at Arizona State. It was a Jim Allison was a good guy and an interesting person too. I’ll tell great group of guys there. I had a good time. It was coincidental when you who I use to get a kick out of was Jay Rodine. I don’t know if you I went back that I inquired if there were any chapters around. USC ever met or knew Jay. He was a character. and UCLA were a little too far away for me while living out in the I’ve seen his picture from the [1972 chartering] banquet. Valley to get there. So I inquired if there was a possibility of starting a I had gone back to Arizona, and he showed up one time, and we chapter at Valley State. Strangely enough, Tom Helmbock—remember just went out and reminisced and had a good time. After that day, I Tom Helmbock? He became executive director [executive vice never saw him again. He had a good sense of humor and was always president, Bill Farkas’ predecessor] after George Spasyk retired. I had looking for the right girl. met Tom at Arizona State, and I had inquired. He came out to my What was a typical rush semester like when you were in the colony? house. Tom Lawrence (AI 620) showed up and Lance Shermoen (ZΔ We were pretty low key compared to what, I think, most of the rest of the fraternities were like. Because 317). So, between the three of us and we were small, we didn’t have a lot we talking it over with Tom—he had said that could offer in the way of a big social they were considering trying to start a calendar of any sort. Most of the time, it chapter out there at the school, so that’s was basically what personal contact that what prompted us to do that. we had with people and inviting them So we organized what we could, over to just casual times. started out with looking for interested Was it classroom rush style? Were there people to pledge the fraternity, and get it any guys involved in student government started. We ended up with eight guys at the time? interested in joining at that time. I can’t Not at the time. In the early years, we remember all the guys’ names at this might’ve been considered the ‘geek’ group point, but I know [pointing at the 2011 in that sense when we first got started. directory on the table] that you’ll have it What were most of the guys majoring in? right there. I think business was the main [pursuit]. I know Ben [Gafford, BP 2] was there, Administration Building, circa February, 1983. The I wanted to relate one thing I saw in Mike [Ehrlich] was there. [Begins thumbing chapter first held meetings on campus in Admin. 206 in the fall of 1968. Brother Trimble served as its first chapter president. here [referring to a newsletter in a binder through the directory pages.] Jim Allison he was looking at]. We did a float within [BP 3] – that’s who I couldn’t remember – Monty [Moorman, BP 4], Henry Lee [Lederman, BP 5], Joe Coyne [BP our first year there at the school. It was rather comical because I think it was Cal State L.A. that had their homecoming. A few of us 6]. An interesting, eclectic group of people. happened to be up there, and they said, “We’re done with our float. When did the chapter start having a housing corporation board? Do you want it?” We drove down – one of the guys had a trailer – When did Howard [Brightman, EΣ528] get involved? and we loaded it on the trailer and tied it down. We brought it back Actually, Howard was pretty involved almost from the beginning. We and redid it and redesigned it so that we could use it. had a pretty solid group with Tom [Lawrence] guiding and leading us. What year was that? Was Tom the official chapter adviser starting from the first ’69, I think. One of the other fraternities got wind of it. We drove it semester we were there in the fall of ‘68? in the parade, but they disqualified us. It was fun to do. Tom was the High Pi from the beginning. Were there any chapter formals during that time period? He met at my home with Tom Helmbock who was one of the No. We had joined up with a sorority and done some activities chapter consultants [now known as ELCs]. It was really funny when with them at the time.... And a few of them became our little sisters. he showed up at the house that night; I had just seen him a month AOPi. That’s who it was. before in Arizona. He was kind of surprised too. So the first meeting about forming the chapter was at your parents’ Did you ever get to go to any of the leadership seminars or general assemblies? house? No, but I traveled back cross-country one year, I did stop in at the Yeah. It was at my home. national headquarters. Took a tour of the place. Sat down and had a Where was that? talk with George [Spasyk, the executive vice president at the time]. In Woodland Hills. We actually had a couple of get-togethers And actually Tom Helmbock was there too. It was good to see him there. again. [Actually, he went to the Bahamas General Assembly in 1970.] There’s this plaque I’ve seen that lists the seven founding fathers. Did any of them mention where we initiated the first group? If you Your name is on it. Lance Shermoen is on it. see Howard, you might check. Because if I remember right, we used There weren’t any others. It was Lance and myself in sort of a the UCLA fraternity house. [He added that the “music” we are all seat-of-the-pants kind of operation. He and I were more or less the familiar with in the waiting area was played that night, too.] ones that came up with the initiation order for [the first class]. Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity


Engineer and Aviator Barry Megginson Remembered eronautical engineer, pilot, computer expert, Lambda Chi legacy and former swim team athlete Barry Jay Megginson (BP 42) passed away on June 7, 2010. Brother Megginson’s life was celebrated at a memorial service in Rolling Hills on June 18. He was 57. Brother Megginson is survived by his brother Brian (BP 79), Percy (ΓΓ 327), his father; sister-in-law Dianne, nephews Jeremy, Tyler and Luke, and his niece, Grace. A longtime resident of Redondo Beach, Brother Megginson had suffered a mild heart attack on May 1 and spent a week recuperating in a local hospital. According to Brian, after Barry was released from the hospital, he contracted a respiratory infection and sore throat. About a week later, he succumbed to congestive heart failure in his sleep. His older brother, Bruce, died from heart disease in 2004. Services took place at the Rolling Hills Covenant Church in the Palos Verdes area led by Pastor Andrew Noch. About 70 family and friends attended. Afterwards, most of the group drove across town to the hillside home of Brian Megginson for a reception. In the fall of 1972 Barry joined the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at Cal State Northridge. His class was initiated in November, two months after the chapter received its charter. The following year, Barry dropped out of the chapter as his pursuit of flying intensified and he concentrated more on his job and swim team training. According to his brother Brian, Barry almost moved in to the chapter house in the fall of 1972. His father had planned to relocate the family to Tehran, Iran when he was offered a job as "a special ambassador to the Shah," according to Percy Megginson. However, the arrangement fell through at the last minute, although the Megginsons had just sold their home in Woodland Hills. When he wasn’t studying for engineering tests or competing at water polo meets, he spent as many spare weekends as possible taking flying lessons at Van Nuys Airport to earn his pilot’s license. Eventually, he turned his hobby into a part-time job as a ground flight instructor. He particularly enjoyed taking friends up in a rented Rockwell Commander. Barry’s decision to join Lambda Chi was based, in part, by his father’s association with the fraternity. His father, Percy, downplayed his son’s membership in the fraternity. “I tried not to influence him too much on whether to join a fraternity,” his father said. Nevertheless, he seemed quite pleased to have not one, but two legacies in Lambda Chi Alpha. Brian eventually followed in his brother's footsteps and joined Beta-Rho in the spring of 1975. Many of the friends who gathered at Barry’s memorial service knew him as a co-worker at Northrop-Grumman’s El Segundo plant. He worked there as an NGC analyst from February of 1976 until his retirement in January, 2008. Barry took part in the B2 bomber program and spent four years in research for the company. His father had also worked at Northrop-Grumman. Aside from his bachelor of science degree that he earned at CSUN in 1975, Barry completed a masters program in engineering at Cal Poly Pomona in June of 1990. His brother Brian studied there in tandem with him. They both graduated the same year. Before enrolling at CSUN, Barry gained notoriety for his swim team exploits at Taft High School in Woodland Hills. Among the honors he received was an award in 1971 as a member of the Los Angeles City High School’s Second Swimming Team for the 400-yard freestyle. Barry’s scholastic, lifestyle and career choices made a huge impact on his brother Brian and his family. Brian fondly remembered Barry as a nurturing and influential brother. In times of stress or hardship, Brian recalled during the service that

Courtesy of Brian Megginson


Courtesy of Brian Megginson

“he would make everything better; he would make it all okay.” After Brian married Dianne and started a family, “Uncle Barry” spent countless hours babysitting and mentoring his niece and three nephews. Brian’s wife followed him to the Barry Megginson with his niece, Grace. podium and then the children all eulogized their uncle during the service. “I can attest that, even though Barry never became active in the fraternity…,” Brian wrote in an email, “He lived out the Lambda Chi values to his family and co-workers.” Besides following his brother into the same fraternity, Barry “nudged” Brian into majoring in engineering that led to a job at Litton after graduation. When he decided to leave Litton, Barry then coaxed him to apply for a job at Northrop-Grumman where he eventually became a part of Barry’s team. No obituary notice was made public. 10

Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

He Wanted Wings A Beta-Rho Bulletin Interview with Percy Megginson and His Son, Brian rian Megginson (BP 79) spent most of his undergraduate years in Beta-Rho as a dedicated scribe, the High Gamma; jovial companion and enigmatic math genius. His low key, nearly always upbeat personality could've been one of the inspirations for the page Kenneth on the comedy series 30 Rock. But ask him to solve a huge arithmetic problem on the spot or name a day of the week going back hundreds of years, and he could unflinchingly nail it. It's not surprising that he wound up in the aerospace industry. How he got there, however, should not be such a mystery. After the memorial service last summer for Brian's brother Barry, his father, Percy (ΓΓ 327), began to recount his late son Barry’s and Brian's career paths and some of his own exploits. His sons had retraced his collegiate and career choices, including their decisions to join their father's fraternity. Percy also recalled some of his fraternity experiences of the 1940s. Each of the Megginsons in Lambda Chi Alpha have contributed greatly to American aviation ingenuity, and Percy has detailed some of his recollections in a work-in-progress autobiography he refers to as I Wanted Wings. The editor met with Brian to interview Percy at his father’s residence in Torrance on Nov. 23, 2010. Brian’s father celebrated his 88th birthday on Jan. 21st.


You went to the University of Cincinnati? Percy: Right. 1941. September. Brian: Before Pearl Harbor, right? Percy: Yes. I graduated [high school] in June of ’41. I was there on a scholarship. Things were peaceful, but not for long. What was your major? Percy: Aeronautical engineering. I don’t have a BS, but I have a certificate that says I completed all the requirements for a BS. The degree I got was that plus a thesis, plus two years of professional experience which is what they call a co-op that the college arranged for me. I graduated with a degree of professional aeronautical engineer. It’s higher than a BS. It’s that plus a master’s thesis, plus some professional experience. We went to classes six days a week carrying up to 27 credit hours for seven weeks. I’ll tell you, it was go home and hit the books every night. When I came home on Saturday afternoon, I had 18 hours on the books before Sunday night. After seven weeks of that, you’d go out on the jobs. And they were fairly interesting jobs. I could tell you about those briefly. How did you get involved in the fraternity at the university? When I graduated high school and started there in September, I was rushed by several fraternities. Lambda Chi was one of them. I was there on a shoestring and a scholarship. I couldn't afford it in my freshman year. So I joined Lambda Chi then in my sophomore year. And then I went off to war and came back. I was never an officer though because I was so darned busy. You must've had a huge influence over Brian and Barry because of your aeronautical engineering career. When I joined the fraternity, I didn't know what to make of Brian because all I knew was that he was a genius at math and could do all these calculations in his head that I couldn't figure out. Nobody in the family can. I didn't really get the connection that engineering ran in the family. Did your father have any background in aeronautical engineering? What did he do? My dad quit school in the third grade because his father died, and he had to start plowing the fields to feed the family. Where was this? In Southern Alabama. When the war came along, he got drafted and they taught him to drive a truck. And he became an ammunition truck driver delivering the shells to the front lines. Then he got a job with the Louisiana Oil Refining Corporation which became Pure Oil, if you've ever heard of it. Ultimately, it went through a couple more Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity

Percy and Brian Megginson changes and then became Union 76. My dad worked for them for 24 years and 11 months. They wanted to make him the manager of the Cleveland area, but he had to cover up some misappropriated funds. And he said, "I just can't do anything illegal," so they fired him. So he started his own company. When he went around to say his goodbyes - he was a station supervisor at the time - they all said, "Meg, whatever you sell, you come see us, 'cuz we'll buy it from you." So he got to thinking about that. He formed his own little company. It started as just a guy with a loan and a truck. He paid cash for the gasoline he bought at the Ohio riverbanks and hauled it to dairies and filling stations and sold it to them. That company was built up into a $25 million a year business when he retired. His son was smarter than he was; he built it up to a $50 million a year company. Then he retired, but his son took it over, and he built it up to a $500 million a year business. And then he sold it, and I guess he's sitting clipping coupons back in Ohio. They operated around Ohio, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Northern Kentucky as the company grew. But it was strictly oil business. Could you give us a snapshot of some of the things you did before Pearl Harbor? Okay. I was going through school and working at the local Wright Next Page >>> 11

He Wanted Wings aeronautical engine plant. I was a precision engine grinder on aircraft gears. I did that for a year and taking ROTC. As I started my sophomore year the war was getting pretty serious, and my buddy and I – Dick Donahue – we decided to join the Navy. We were going to become Navy pilots. But we were taking Army ROTC and the colonel wouldn’t release us to the Navy, but he said, “If you joined the Army, I couldn’t stop you.” So man, we took off in the car and went down to Lexington, Kentucky, and enlisted in the Air Force! And in about January, we got called up for active duty. And I went into training as an aviation cadet in the Army Air Force. What year are we talking about? This was in January of ’43. I was in my sophomore year. Then I was in the Air Force and graduated from cadets a year later, February the 4th of ‘44. Then I came shortly thereafter to the West Coast, of all places. That was a fluke thing because I’d been trained as a single engine fighter pilot. Where were you going to fly if you’d flown fighter missions? I flew P-40s in advance. So you flew Warhawks? Yeah, Warhawks in training. Once you graduate, you go through a transition to whatever plane that you’re going to fly in combat. They taught you combat tactics as well as how to fly that airplane, use it as a weapon and work collectively in a formation of planes. I was all set to do that; I’d just graduated and I came back, and they sent me to Fort Worth, Texas where they told me they were going to give me training in production line maintenance of heavy bombers. Well, I screamed my head off to my colonel and I said, “All of my instructors all the way through had recommended me for fighter flying.” Anyway, I went to my colonel and said, “Hey, I just want to be a fighter pilot.” And he said, “Well, you go do your job and I’ll see what I can do for you. By the way, what airplane would you like to fly?” I said, “Well, I’ve never been in a twin engine airplane, but if I had a choice, I’d want to fly a P-38.” Two weeks later, I was sent to the West Coast (laughs) to go through a training course for P-38 combat flying. That took ‘til near the end of that year. The Army was very small, but it was rapidly expanding, and it was re-organizing and was coming up with new concepts of training. We were really specialized in our training in those days. What theatre were you going to go into with the Lightning? Well, every theatre had Lightnings. I flew first the P-63 [Kingcobra]– which you’ve probably never heard of. It was a Bell airplane that was very advanced, but had very short range, so we gave most of them to Russia. It was a beautiful airplane – faster than the P-51, faster than the P-38 – but it only had two hours worth of fuel. What was the mission of the P-63? What did they do with that plane? Strafing and dogfighting, bomber escort. You had to be pretty close to your target with that plane, because you could only fly out for an hour and an hour back. That's right. In Europe they were flying these big four-hour which grew to eight-hour missions, and the longest mission in my P-38 squadron was, believe it or not, 11 hours and 20 minutes. Strapped down where you can't move. Did they put gas tanks on your wings? It carried over a thousand gallons. Was there one big tank under the fuselage, or did you carry more gas in the wings? The answer is yes to all those. It had four tanks internally and two external that you could drop. Not very many people know about the P-63. It must've been a really small production run. I went to Santa Rosa. Got there at 5 o'clock in the afternoon. They took me across the street to the doctor and gave me a physical. Came back and [his commanding officer] said, "Now we're going to

take you to the flight line. We want you to study tech orders tonight, 'cuz tomorrow morning you're going to take off in that airplane." I'd never seen or heard of a P-63. (Brian laughs.) Never known it existed. And I did it about 8:30 the next morning. I took off, and it was the simplest airplane; it had an automobile-type door. You just get in and slam the door. And you didn't have all these switches that most of the fighter planes had. Who made the P-63? Bell. You knew about the P-39, the Bell Airacobra. Okay, from a hundred feet away almost nobody could tell the P-63 from the P-39. The only way you could tell is that the back tip (goes over to point at a portrait of the P-63's tail hanging on his wall) comes to a point of the fin here. On the P-39 that's rounded. That's how you tell them apart! They had almost exactly the same mould line. But this airplane it was so fast and so easy to control, so beautiful to fly. It's almost unbelievable. I'm not prejudiced towards it at all. It was a nice airplane. It could go to altitude beautifully. I took one up to 44,000 feet one day. I saw the whole state of Washington at one time; I was right over the center of it. Brian: You could really see the Pacific Ocean and Montana [at once]? Percy: No, I don't remember that, but I could see the skyline of Seattle and Spokane right at the border [of Idaho] on the eastern end. That's how I knew I could see the entire state. It scared me 'cuz I was stationed in a base right in the middle [in Ephrata]. I've gotta watch myself; if I don't come down in the right direction and angle, I might wind up a hundred miles from home.

Bell P-63 Kingcobra


Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

How far out could you go from the base with a P-63? How many miles could you travel before you had to turn around and come back? Well, at the most I guess about 200 would be the limit. Most of our combat missions were longer than that. You were in Europe, right? Where was your base? Foggia, Italy. The country is shaped like a boot, and there's a spur on the back of it. I was stationed one mile north of the spur on the back of the Italian boot next to the coastline. The southern third of Italy. And you mostly flew the Lightning there? Yeah, that's all I flew. I flew with the 1st Fighter Group, and I flew with the oldest squadron in the Air Force. It was formed by Jimmy Doolittle and Frank Luke from Arizona - [a WWI fighter ace, the "Arizona Balloon Buster," who is the namesake of] Luke Air Force Base. I was in Frank Luke's squadron, which is the 27th squadron. Were your missions generally in Italy, or did you go anywhere else? They were nearly all to the north. We flew a few missions dive bombing and strafing right at the border of Austria, Bulgaria, Czechoslovakia and Northern Italy. But mostly Southern Germany and Austria up in the Alps mountains. We were mainly at that time trying to pin down the Germans. The Germans had a lot of forces in Italy. As the war went on they were starting to lose on the Western Front and they wanted to pull those out, and we were trying to keep them from deploying northward. So we did dive bombing, strafing, and I was with a group that flew in tight formation. We're the oldest and the proudest squadron in the Air Force and, by George, if you get

the carnage - we lost many thousands of men in our bombers - but none of our bombers was ever shot at by a plane [while his squadron was escorting them]. When you had these Lightnings, they couldn't break through when your squadron was protecting the bombers? They didn't try. We'd see them off in the distance; they wouldn't get close. We had the absolute discipline. We were there to protect our bombers. We didn't care what happened to the rest of the war, that was not our responsibility. But it was really drilled into us. "Don't go out and be a hero, 'cuz we'll ship you home." We saw jets and rocket planes in the distance, but none of them came close to us. The Germans had some pretty weird equipment towards the end of the war, like experimental jet planes. If they had built any of that stuff in quantity, it would've been horrible. The ME 163 was the one that interested me. It's rocket powered. He'd fire his rockets for about 20 seconds and get up to about 500 mph and zoom way up. And the first time I saw one, my wing mate said, "Hey Meg, did you see that?" And I'd say, "Yeah, he can go straight up faster than I can go straight down." Those planes were like five or ten years ahead of their time. Fortunately, the Allies were able to obliterate their factories. We built good airplanes, and we built so many of them that we just overwhelmed them. Once you finished your stint in Italy and came back in September of '45, did you just go right back to school? Yes. I was home for six or seven days; I'm home on terminal leave for 90 days. And I go back to UC. I couldn't get GI benefits 'cuz I'm still in the military, so I paid my own tuition, started into school, and finished a semester by the time I got my discharge. From then on I was on the GI bill. I got married in '48, the year before I graduated. In my first year of married life, my wife [Vi] was a legal typist and worked for... A paralegal? A paralegal. They didn't call them that in those days. We were so busy that she couldn't type my thesis. We paid somebody else to type it. I was carrying such a heavy load. I literally had three lecture courses that I took six days a week. Brian: Even during that last year when you were married? Percy: No, you're right. After the end of January, I did not. Towards the end we went back to a normal schedule because I was finishing up my thesis and I had no more of these work sessions. What was your thesis about? It was about stress analysis of light metals: aluminum and magnesium in the plastic bending range. Which means from the elastic limit to the failure limit where, when you release it, it won't break, but it won't spring all the way back. ‌ Structural analysis. This is somewhat similar to what you are doing today, except with different materials than [what] your dad was [working with]. Brian: Aluminum is still the baseline material for skins. Metals are better, impact load resistant‌. You see that in your home devices. Plastic breaks (more easily). What was it like when you first joined? Did you have a big chapter house? What was the environment like when you were an undergrad? Lambda Chi had been in existence for quite some time. Thirty-two years? (Brian reminds him that the fraternity originally began in 1909.) I knew it was back before World War 1. One of their members had been a Superior Court judge in Cincinnati. They had a lot of names of people I respected. Actually, my closest friend, George Bremer, was the Best Man at my wedding. We wrote a joint thesis together for our degree[s]. Did you have to paint the house and re-tar the roof every summer? No. We had a hell week for the pledges. Everybody had to live at the house. I say that because the University of Cincinnati was a streetcar college. A lot of the students lived at home and commuted Next Page >>>

Lockheed P-38 Lightning

out of formation, you've disgraced the squadron; you're no good. They'd ship you home. Were they missions like [British de Havilland] Mosquitoes where they would typically fly really low to strafe areas like rail yards? Yes. And we escorted [bombers] at high altitude. It's extremely adaptable. Were [the P-38s] all made out of plywood? The Mosquito bombers were all wood. No, they were all steel and aluminum. There was no wood in the Lightning, unless it was some little thing in the cockpit. How long did you fly in Italy? I didn't go over [to Europe] until December of '44 and got there in January of '45. Then I came home the following September. We escorted the bombers in a unique way. We flew our P-38s in tight formation. And as you know, they had five guns in an area this big (holds his hands out about two feet apart). I remember that Lightnings had their guns in the nose section [and didn't fire through a propellor]. They had this incredible firepower. All the other fighters had their guns out on their wings and they crossed. We were flying in this tight formation during the last nine months of the war. Not one German fighter ever made a pass at one of our bombers that we were escorting. Not only could we get a free drink at any bomber squadron, we could do almost anything. With all Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity


He Wanted Wings

in the original charter; he was in the next class after…. How long was he active until he got so involved with flying that he just dropped out? Maybe a yearish. Percy: I don't think it was over two years. Yeah. I never met him. I joined in the summer of '75 so, at that point, he'd been gone for a couple of years. Percy, to Brian: What year did we almost move to Iran? Brian: It was fall of '72. Barry was going to live at the fraternity house. Percy: We'd sold our house in Woodland Hills to move to Tehran. I was going to be a special ambassador of the Shah. Why did you get chosen to be an ambassador to Iran? I wasn't an ambassador. I got a call from Northrop corporate office. The former general manager of the division I worked for said, "Perc, I want you to go to Iran," and I was going to get this big, high position, a driver with a car and all kinds of special privileges that you don't normally get here in the U.S. What he wanted me to do was go around and negotiate with their fief owners, the guys that owned the mountaintops. He wanted to [combine] all these isolated little cities into one country. He was taking the brightest students out of them and sending them to the university. He was creating jobs in the national capitol, trying to pull that area together to form a country for the first time. So all these different tribal members: he was trying to get them all unified? And the mullahs ran these isolated communities. That's what got him overthrown. At least that was my view of it. So his attempt to try and get all these mullahs to create a single nation got him into trouble? Yeah. He wanted them to become the congressmen or senators of a nation, and they liked being king of the hill. He wanted to democratize them like what Iraq's been going through. That's right. I had been a contract negotiator, and I had signature authority for Northrop-owned contracts. They bought one-third of a triumvirate. One was a German company and I think one was Japanese. And one-third was Northrop. So they wanted me to go over and work for this triumvirate, and they guaranteed that when I got home I'd get all my pension restored, 'cuz I was going out on a limb for three or five years. At the last minute, the deal fell through because the Shah ran into trouble. I believe he'd gotten ill. But we'd already sold our house. So Barry was going to be moving into the fraternity house, and Brian was going to be educated in European schools. And you went to which high school? Brian: Taft. I could sense that Barry was a hugely positive influence on your kids. I was so sorry that other brothers didn’t attend [the memorial service]; they really missed it. They should’ve been there. It’s a shame that Lambda Chi never got to see that side. Percy: He got discouraged by some of the things that happened in the chapter. Brian: And with all his flying, it was a time issue too. Percy: Plus his night job working for a computer company; he was a busy boy. It doesn’t sound like he left the fraternity on a whim. He went [to CSUN] on an athletic scholarship, and the coach was really worried. He said, “You can’t swim and take engineering courses. There isn’t time.” Both of those turned out to be a small part of his activities. He did both of those, and I don’t think it took half of his time. He was also a chief ground instructor at A & P teaching wouldbe pilots all the rules and regulations. He worked at night as a computer programmer in Santa Monica for some company I don’t even remember the name of. And what else did he do? Competitive swimming. He never made the U.S. nationals, but he made the

there. Brian: Kind of like our chapter. Percy: In those days, not more than half the families had one car. Nobody had two cars. Most of my neighbors didn't even have one. How many brothers could your fraternity chapter accommodate at one time as far as sleepovers were concerned? Approximately 30. Your chapter is still very much active, isn't it? Because I've noticed that their name comes up fairly frequently in awards. The last I heard it was. [General Headquarters lists GammaGamma as active. It was founded in 1919 and has initiated over 1,400 brothers, according to their website,] They've been up and down. They were strong when I was in. They rushed me along with a lot of other guys, and I had this close friend, George Bremer, when we went to these rush parties. It was during the Depression. I couldn't afford to join my freshman year. So as a sophomore, we both had worked and had a little money, so I could actually pay my tuition. We went to Lambda Chi and said, "We want to join now. You rushed us last year." How much did it cost to go to college back then? What were your fees like? You know what a year's college cost me? $250! That was for the first semester. And for the second semester, it was like $150. But liberal arts and other courses weren't that expensive. Engineering was extra expensive. A graduate engineer was [earning] $3,000 tops for salary in the first year [after college]. My first job was $2,974 a year. That was at Wright Field as a project engineer. Wouldn't a graduate in engineering today be starting at around $50,000 a year? Brian: They would be making around $70,000 a year in 2005. It could be a little down now. You mentioned you didn't have any offices in the fraternity. Did you have any charities or projects that you were involved with that were memorable? Did they have any social gatherings with sororities on campus? Percy: We had exchanges, spring formal. We had inter-fraternity sports: volleyball and softball. During hell week, besides living there, did you have projects to fix the house? No. We had to do a lot of dumb stuff. We had to learn the 'pusillanimous.' Did you ever hear of that? I have no idea what you're talking about. Every time we'd go in and out of the house, I had to say, "Pusillanimous pubescent protoplasmic pledge Percy Megginson." Everything with 'p's'. All this alliteration must've driven you crazy. And we had to scour the floors. Just dumb stuff. But the idea was to get together to know the other pledges and members well by living at the house and obeying their orders. Your description of hell week reminded me of MIT when I visited there in the summer of 1976 after a General Assembly [in Roanoke,Virginia]. Our chapter never had a hell week. Did they have you sleep overnight at the Cantara House before initiation? Brian: I think that started a class or two after me, the big brother little brother night. On the Friday night of initiation we did. Percy: In my senior year our chapter went down to Wheeling, West Virginia and we installed a chapter. We installed, I think, the High Alpha. Fortunately, there were some professors there that were Lambda Chis. So we had a pretty good-sized audience. But we really rehearsed that very carefully and wanted to do it first class. Barry joined in '72. Brian: He was [among] the first after the chartered class. He wasn't 14

Fall 2010 / Winter 2011

Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity

Courtesy of Brian Megginson

Canadian nationals. So he was a serious swimmer. When did you start to work in California? Did you always work for Northrop in California? Percy: Yes. I was chief of the target drone procurement office at Wright Field, and Radioplane was the chief builder. Where is Wright Field? Just north of Dayton, Ohio. What year did you transfer out to California? In October, 1954. I got into that [cost analysis]. That's because most of these negotiations that I did… every country that got oil immediately wanted to defend it with an air defense system because there were Arabs that lived within 200 miles from them that had hated them for 4,000 years. Don't you know anything about history? It hasn't changed all that much. Except now they're dealing with more dangerous things. Yeah, that's right. I went out with Radioplane many times on business, but I was a contract negotiator. And they started sending me all over the world to negotiate these contracts. But it was mostly financial. Boy, I learned to do arithmetic in my head because in those days, when we wanted to multiply, we turned a hand crank on a Marchant calculator. To divide, you turned it backwards, and it took some time. And I couldn't take one of those on a plane. They were too big and heavy. So I did most of it in my head, and we're talking about multi-million dollar numbers that had six, eight or ten digits in it. A lot of math. When Barry and Brian went through school at Northridge and got their engineering degrees, did you give them a letter of recommendation when they came out of college? How did they get involved in Northrop? Brian: I didn’t actually start at Northrop. I was at Litton for six years. But Barry went to Northrop and spent his whole career there. Percy: Yes. I can tell you the start of Barry’s career because it started on a Sunday morning with me out in Thousand Oaks at the plant. There was a program manager. We were both there on a crash program, and the program manager knew about Barry. He wanted Northrop to hire Barry, and he was just about ready to graduate. And I said, “He can’t get in. He went down to personnel and they said, ‘We’re not hiring any engineers now, so we’re sorry, we can’t help you.’ He said, ‘He’s one we want to hire. Just a minute.’ ” So he went over and got on the phone and called another 25-year veteran at Hawthorne and said, “Hey, we got one of the guys, and he’s a Northrop type, a pilot and an engineer. He also worked as a computer programmer at night in Santa Monica while he was in college.” So they wanted him, but he got this engineering manager to go down to personnel and tell them, “When Barry Megginson comes in, just send him up to me.” So they went up and interviewed him and took him down to personnel and said, “We want to hire this guy.” Then they were looking for someone for [a job they couldn’t fill], and Barry said, “None of these guys are qualified that you brought in. In fact, none of them are near as qualified as my younger brother. And they said, “Can you get him in here?” And he says, “Well yes, if you’re serious.” They paid Barry a thousand dollars for bringing Brian in. Brian: And then they put me to work for him. Percy: I said to Barry, “[You] can train him to do this job,” and Barry was expert at it. It was in the field of his specialization. Was this a structural analysis job? Yes. But it was using a new computer program to solve simultaneous differential equations for structural problems. Brian: NASTRAM. Was there a particular plane you were working on back then? The F-18. You’ve been working on the F-18 for your entire career. Except for six years. What did you do during those years? I went to the Lightning II, the F-35. It was interesting because Dad

flew the Lightning I and I got to work on the design of the Lightning II. Is that a purely Northrop-Grumman plane? No, Lockheed’s their prime [contractor]. Did you actually work for Lockheed-Martin those six years? No, I worked for Northrop. So, did Lockheed-Martin sub-contract to work on a major aspect of the program? Yeah, we worked on the center fuselage. It’s a really complex plane. Percy: And there’s so much structural analysis, so many pieces of what I’ll call plastic construction/composite, no one company could very easily handle it all. They actually farmed out the design. Do they actually have the Lightning IIs flying these days? It doesn’t get a lot of press. It’s still not something the public’s aware of too much. Brian: Yeah, it’s in flight test. In fact, the solo variant has actually been engaged, and they’ve done the vertical landings. As far as your college career goes, did you go to CSUN with the idea that engineering would be what you wanted to do from day 1? I thought about doing math or business, but then Barry had a talk with me in my senior year, so he [got sold] on engineering. He talked me into it pretty quickly. So I thought I’d give it a whirl. Percy: [Brian] was really thinking more of business management math through his college years. It seemed like with your math background, you would be a natural in engineering. Did the fraternity have an influence on your career at all? Brian: Not really. There were very few engineering majors in it. Tony Suarez, at least he started in it. It was mostly business [majors]. Percy: When I came out here in 1954, I put my house up for sale in Dayton, Ohio. I am going around with two other men that worked for Radioplane, so we were really well-escorted by realtors wherever we went. ‘Cuz there were houses by the scillions for sale in the San Fernando Valley. They were building them as fast as they could get the lumber together with the nails. It’s a lot like the way the Antelope Valley was in the late ’80s and then again in the early 2000s when I had my home built. In 2005, there were homes going up like crazy. And then it stopped dead in its tracks two years later. There’s one house I didn’t buy that I want to tell you a little story about. What’s the street that runs right in front of the Administration Building at Cal State Northridge? [Plummer Street.] I was taken there by a realtor and shown that house, and I said, “What’s that big woods over there?” …Which is now the Cal State Northridge campus. He said, “Oh, that’s state-owned land. They’ll never build anything on that. This is a beautiful place to own a home, to be out in the country....” 15

BETA-RHO BULLETIN Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity P.O. Box 280311 Northridge, CA 91328-0311

Address Service Requested

Editor’s Journal By now, many brothers have probably seen Inception, the cerebral sci-fi action thriller from last summer about people who enter other people’s dreams that was directed by Christopher Nolan. I think about that movie a lot. The movie’s central conceit of having a person plant an idea in someone’s subconscious without them being aware of it compared with my experience of joining Lambda Chi Alpha and the teachings of its ritual. I never dreamt that I would join a fraternity in college, let alone write articles for its Beta-Rho chapter newsletter 35 years later. Nevertheless, when I became the chapter’s historian in 1976, I couldn’t just let my photography and scrapbooks tell the story. For a movie comparison, there was a key line that one of the main characters, Saito (Ken Watanabe), told Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) early in the film: “Do you want to take a leap of faith? Or do you want to become an old man, filled with regret?” Before the night of Sept. 8, 1975 when the brothers “circled up” for me in the backyard of the Cantara House, it was Brian Garfield who performed a fraternal variety of inception over several nights of dinners and movies together. Having Brian as a new friend who also happened to be the rush chairman of Beta-Rho had a profound influence on my life that summer. I had procrastinated up to the middle of rush week before the idea of bonding with Lambda Chi Alpha had reached the inception point. Brian didn’t apply any pressure on me to join; he simply introduced me to his friends who showed me why this group of individuals might be people I’d like to associate with throughout my college years and beyond. Now it had become my fervent desire to take a leap of faith that Tom Lawrence so eloquently restated at chapter meetings and special occasions. He predicted that some of the men in the room where we congregated would be members of our wedding parties, business 

associates, people who we vacationed with and even pallbearers for our funerals. All of that came true for me, even the part about the pallbearers. (I had brothers help me carry both of my parents’ caskets at their funerals.) The dream took hold. The faith that Tom and others professed became a kind of ‘totem’ for me. However, it didn’t manifest itself as an object I could carry around in my pocket like Cobb’s little steel top that revealed whether he was in a dream state or the real world. My totem became the teachings of the ritual, and its architect, as every Lambda Chi knows, was Jack Mason. The most revealing conceptual totem for me manifested itself as Delta Pi, a journey from my unenlightened college lifestyle to a series of principles I promised to uphold as a member of this brotherhood. In movie discussion parlance, revealing this totem’s secrets would be considered a ‘spoiler alert.’ The ritual’s secrets have been kept safe within me; my totem’s power has remained undiminished with time. Like Cobb’s movie nemesis wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), both the chapter and I have engaged in emotional struggles over losing something (or someone) special in order to move forward. The chapter gave up three properties to develop a larger, more practical one, yet outside forces have stymied its progress. I lost my home to foreclosure last August; my downsizing to an apartment prompted me to commence with another career change. The dream has continued. To re-engage reality, a ‘kick’ was needed to break the dream states of Inception’s principal characters. This was typically accompanied by exposing them to a recording on headphones of the late French singer Edith Piaf ’s song ‘Non, je ne regrette rien.’ In our realm, that kick from our lethargy could be accomplished by simply repeating the meaning of Delta Pi. Say it with me, and fix it in your mind: “….” Now wake up.


Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity 2011 Alumni Loyalty Fund

Beta-Rho Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Fall 2010 / Winter 2011 edition The chapter’s alumni loyalty fund could use your first-time or continuing help! Newsletters are a vital part of keeping in touch with what’s going on with the chapter and our alumni. No one except the printer and the USPS makes money from them; they are a labor of love. Efforts to discontinue a printed version of this newsletter and make it an e-zine and/ or a web page are discussed frequently by the corp. board. However, we are aware that only about half of our alumni have shared their email or Facebook pages with us. Digital PDF file copies of nearly every Beta-Rho newsletter since 1975 are already posted at where they can be downloaded. If you would like to gain access to this members-only website’s user list, contact the editor, Rick Childs, at (661) 948-3260 or Any financial support you could provide in these fiscally restrictive times would help. Use the P.O. box address at the top of this page. Thank you in advance for any support that you can offer!




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Fall 2010/Winter 2011 Beta-Rho Bulletin  

Alumni pledge $5,000 toward the construction of the Matador Statue, the most of any organization at CSUN. 2010 Housing Corp. Annual Meeting...

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