I’m sure you’ve seen the stories of the grandmother going back to college to get a degree or an old war veteran getting his high school diploma. They’re proof that you’re never too old to follow your dreams. 70-year-old Arkansas Tech University student Gary Fryer is proving he wants more than that, though — he wants the full college experience, including a fraternity brotherhood.
From Arkansas Tech University:
During orientation activities at Tech, he attended the annual Involvement Fair on the Hindsman Tower lawn. The event connects new Tech students with community entities and campus organizations.
It was there that Fryer met the men of Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
“They had all the booths set up, and I went by the Kappa Sig one,” said Fryer. “I had a badge on saying I was a transfer student, so they could recognize that and know I wasn’t just some old goof ball. They spoke real friendly and so did the other fraternities, but I guess I responded more to (Kappa Sigma).”
“I have a bunch of 18 or 19-year old brothers,” said Fryer. “I have a group of young men who aren’t afraid to pat me on the back or hug me around the shoulder. They told me they thought it would be great having me in there because I may have experience and be able to give them advice. I told them I don’t give advice. I’ll share experiences with you, and I’ve been through all the experiences you’re going to go through, so I’d love to do that.”
This is incredible. It’s awesome this guy has the guts and the willpower to walk up to a fraternity booth and show he’s legitimately interested in joining. It’s just as awesome the fraternity was so open to the idea of a 70-year-old guy joining their brotherhood (he narrowly beats out Jerry Reid, who joined UVA Chi Phi in his late sixties). Let’s be honest with ourselves: we’d all be taken aback a bit at first had this guy walked up to us asking to joining our fraternity. But a good brother is a good brother.
I assume his pledgeship won’t quite be the same as the freshmen’s pledgeship, but I have no doubt he’ll make it through initiation.
Fryer said he wanted to join Kappa Sig because his older brother, whom he’d visit at the fraternity while still in high school, and younger brother were both part of the fraternity. He says his father-in-law, son-in-law, multiple business partners and other friends were also members.
As if this story wasn’t already heartwarming enough, let’s really double down on it.
Even more significant, and more deeply felt, is the connection that joining Kappa Sigma allows him to maintain with his brother (both in blood and fraternity), Jack. He passed away in 2015.
“There are a lot of times I wish I could tell (Jack) about it,” said Fryer. “I’d like to sit down with him and have a good laugh over it. I haven’t sat around and wished I’d been a Kappa Sig all these years, but when I would see old Kappa Sigs…I was in their social circle, but I wasn’t one of them. Now that I am, it’s kind of fun.”
I’m not crying, you’re crying!
If you ever need to explain to someone why you should join a fraternity, this is a perfect example right here. A brotherhood longer than life itself..
[via Arkansas Tech University]
Image via YouTube