Class of ’58 Returns for 65th Reunion

Class of 58 with Purdue President Mung Chiang

Class of ’58 Sigs (L-R) George Valaoras, Bernie Sergesketter, Bob Hamilton, Purdue President Chiang, Harry Thompson, Kurt Vahle, and John Sand.

Six members of the Class of ’58 returned to 202 Littleton St. for their 65th reunion.  To put this in context Bernie Sergesketter ’58 told a group of undergrads that if a 65th reunion class had returned to Delta Delta in 1958 they would have been the Class of 1893.
The returning brothers, along with Bernie, were Bob Hamilton, Harry Thompson, John Sand, George Valaoras and Kurt Vahle.  This group continued to exhibit “the spirit of youth” as they put together a full two-day agenda.
Class of 1958 at Sigma Chi house

Brothers return to Delta Delta (L-R) Bob Hamilton, Kurt Vahle, Harry Thompson, George Valaoras, John Sand and Bernie Sergesketter.

Campus Tour and Visit with President Chiang

Friday morning the group arrived at the Purdue Alumni Office to meet Jill Anderson who coordinated their reunion activities.  Bernie commented, “Jill led the Sigs on a comprehensive tour of the campus where we visited the Veterinary, Agriculture, Nanotechnology and Space Exploration buildings. All were impressive. Jill noted that global leading research is underway in all the Engineering disciplines.  To our dismay “The Smokestack” had been torn down!  We also visited the Armory and found that the inside of the building had not changed one bit since we were in our formations there.”

The tour ended with a half hour visit with Purdue President Mung Chiang. He spoke on the initiatives now underway, including the newly formed Purdue University-Indianapolis campus and Purdue Global.  There are now 50,000 students on the West Lafayette Campus, with a total world wide enrollment of close to 100,000 students.

Lunch at 202 Littleton

The brothers then headed to the Sigma Chi house and lunch with a number of undergraduate brothers.  The Class of ’58 brothers took turns being called to the bricks where they told stories about life in the house in the fifties … like having one black and white television set with an antenna on the roof to get the three Indianapolis stations; one telephone in the whole house; and attending Purdue when the ratio of  male to female students was 4:1.  Bernie elaborated, “Three of the returnees were Electrical Engineering majors and studied transistor theory from mimeographed notes.  There were no textbooks published yet on transistors.”

Jordan Standard wine bottle

Wine provided by Morgan Zaninovich ‘96, who is at Rutherford Winery in Napa Valley, and Eric Morgan ’95.

The highlight of the lunch may have been when the Class of ’58 broke out in song and entertained the younger brothers with very impressive harmonies on “Who Am I Sir, I’m a Sigma Chi” and a couple of other tunes. “The chapter house was as clean as we have ever seen it, and everything was in excellent condition,” remarked the Class of ‘58.

Moses Fowler Mansion

Dinner that evening was at the historic Moses Fowler Mansion, which was built in 1851.  Fowler was an early business partner of John Purdue.  Before dinner we had a social hour where we enjoyed Cabernet wine supplied by Morgan Zaninovich ’96 and Eric Morgan ’95.

On Saturday Bernie stated, “We returned to the Purdue Alumni Office where author John Norberg presented the history of Purdue University, starting at the very beginning.  We learned a lot.  One of the interesting tidbits is that President Fred Hovde worked on the Manhattan Project with J. Robert Oppenheimer in the years before he came to Purdue.  Then we walked down to Harry’s and had lunch.  Like the Armory, Harry’s hasn’t changed!!!”

65 Years of Brotherhood

Bernie Sergesketter concluded, “We had time each day to reminisce and bring back many special memories.  We all agreed that what we experienced exceeded our expectations.  After all these years we still hold such fond memories of our days at Delta Delta and Purdue.  It is always special when we return.”

Class of 58 at Fowler House

Following dinner at the Moses Fowler Mansion (L-R) Phil Steele ’77, Bob, Bernie, Harry, George, Kurt and John.

Sigs at Purdue alumni center

Sigs with John Purdue (aka John Norberg) L-R: Thompson, Vahle, Valaoras, Norberg, Hamilton, Sand and Sergesketter.

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