Jack Blott ’24
Lam Chis starred on Many 1923 Football Teams
Jack Blott, Michigan Selected as Walter Camps First All-American Center, Fraternity’s Outstanding Gridiron Performer; Zetas at Wabash and Alabama Poly with Six Letter Men Each, Led Other Units; Few Zetas without Football Representatives.
A team of veteran stars greets the picker of this year’s All-Lambda Chi Alpha football team. With a single exception the members of the first team shown above were chosen last year for either the first or second All-Fraternity team. In addition a majority of the members of the second team are Lam Chis who have shown well in gridiron activities before.
With one or two exceptions the members of this year’s team have far outshone their previous performances, and the 1923 team is fully up to the high standard set by the team of the year before. As was the case last year, the forward line is somewhat superior to the backfield, at least in respect to the prominence accorded its members in the press. The backfield, nevertheless, comprises a quartet of stellar performers, able to carry on any sort of offensive in a manner far above the average.
The representation of the Fraternity as a whole also kept pace with that of recent years, showing perhaps a slight improvement in the number of letters awarded to the members of the various Zetas. As in previous years, it has not been possible to obtain an absolutely complete report of all Lam Chis participating in college football, but it is certain that the total reached at least 110, possibly a few more, with about half of these men winning letters.
Jack Blott Leads
Without doubt the outstanding gridiron performer among the wearers of the Crescent as far as the matter of prominence, ability, and improvement over previous performances was Jack Blott, ’24, All-American center from Michigan. Blott has risen in two short years from a newcomer on the Michigan football squad, who had not even thought it worth his while to report for football in his sophomore year, to the greatest center and one of the outstanding linemen of the country. Blott had the job of tilling UK- hole in the-Michigan line left by the graduation of “Ernie” Vick, another All-American center. So well did he do the job that this fall “Hurry-up” Yost, his coach declared: “He is the greatest center that the West has seen in years—since the days of ‘Germany’ Schulz, in fact.”
Blott went to Michigan from Girard. Ohio, where he played football and baseball with the high school team. Strangely enough, his football experience in those days was gained as a fullback and as an end, not as a center. Baseball was his favorite sport. In his freshman year at Michigan he reported for football, bill left the squad after two nights, deciding that he would never make a college football player and that he would do better to devote his time to studies and baseball. It was not until he made the varsity baseball team as a catcher in his sophomore year that he attracted the attention of the football coaches and was persuaded to report for football.
Blott’s success was immediate. He started his junior year us regular center on the varsity squad and played through the year without missing a minute of play. At the end of the year he was chosen for second All-Western center by Walter Eckersall, noted gridiron official, and was given honorable mention for the All-American team by Walter Camp.
At the start of the football season last fall Blott was recognized as the main-stay of the Michigan line, and, with Kipke and Uteritz, backfield men, formed the basis of Michigan’s hopes for another championship team. Early in the season he demonstrated his all-round value to his team when he place-kicked a goal against Vanderbilt for the only-three points of the game. Again in the Iowa game, one of the most important contests on the Michigan schedule, he was solely responsible for his team’s victory when, after passing the ball to Kipke, he recovered a partially blocked dropkick over the Iowa goal-line for a touchdown, the only one scored by his team.
These achievements outside the line of duties of an ordinary center, combined with exceptional strength in the line, both on offense and defense, marked him before half the season was over as one of the outstanding centers in the country. From then on Lam Chis all over the nation watched his progress with interest, pulling for his selection on the All-American team. Thus it was that Michigan men were not the only ones who felt the sinking sensations of despair when news dispatches from Madison, Wis., told of the breaking of Blott’s leg in the first half of the Michigan-Wisconsin game. His necessary absence from the Minnesota game the following week, the last one on the Michigan schedule, endangered not only Michigan’s championship but also his own selection for national honors.
Wins Place on Camp’s Team
Michigan, however, rose to the occasion and tied for her championship, and Blott, though sitting on the sidelines in the climax of his team’s season, was accorded the honor that comes to very, very few men even once in a life-time—a place on Walter Camp’s first All-American team. Camp was not the only man who recognized his ability. Practically every other selection of importance including his name either as first or second center, and in the majority of occasions, as first center. The composite selection of five hundred sports writers, coaches, and officials included him on the first team. His closest rival was Garbisch of the Army and formerly of Washington and Jefferson, who was playing his seventh year of college football. Brother Blott was also a unanimous choice among critics and coaches for All-Western honors. It is almost wasting space to say that he has been selected as center and captain of the first All-Lambda Chi Alpha team. The guard positions on our team are filled by men not far short of Blott in ability, although they have not received
Notes: Blott led Michigan to a record of 8-0-0 and a National Championship in 1923. After graduation, he played one season for the Cincinnati Reds before he left professional baseball to coach lines on Kipke’s championship teams and later served in the same capacity on Michigan’s Rose Bowl teams of 1947 and 1950 and on the national championship staff of 1948. Among players he developed were All-American centers Maynard Morrison and Chuck Bernard.
Ross MacNaughton ’27
The record of Ross Ewing MacNaughton, Michigan, ’27, elected to the Order of Merit at the Asheville assembly, is one of marked credit to him and of inestimable service to his chapter and to the Fraternity. Since his undergraduate days, Ross has been recognized as one of the outstanding fraternity leaders at Michigan and has given unselfishly of his time, encouragement, and support.
Particularly notable was MacNaughton’s work during the war period. Early in 1943 it became evident that strong alumni support was the only thing that would save Sigma’s investment in its handsome chapter house. The problems posed by a declining membership and an unbalanced financial structure required the highest quality of leadership.
As chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board, Ross set as the alumni goal, the responsibility of (1) Leasing the house to the university to obtain a steady income; (2) Obtaining reduction in carrying charges of Sigma’s house debt; (3) Refinancing of Sigma’s debt; and (4) Reestablishing the chapter at the end of the war.
The task was immense, but MacNaughton rose to the responsibility. The house was leased so successfully that there was only a small operating deficit. Under his leadership, the chapter systematically moved toward reduction of the debt and general betterment of financial affairs. In the fall of 1945, refinancing of the entire debt was successfully completed. The debt was reduced by almost 50% and, under a new land contract negotiated to replace the old inflexible mortgage bonds, the remainder of the indebtedness was set up in such a financial structure that the chapter can easily handle its retirement.
Sigma’s financial affairs are now in the best shape they have been in since 1925, when an earlier, smaller, and generally less expensive property was owned free and clear.
When the handful of Lambda Chis who remained on the campus during the war found an apartment available, Ross gave them every encouragement. With alumni backing, the group made the apartment a going concern, which insured a strong organization nucleus for chapter reopening. In 1944–46 Ross attended every meeting of the actives, giving to this group exemplary spiritual leadership and sound advice.
MacNaughton’s service to the Fraternity has been long and varied. In 1924 he was initiated into the Wayfarer’s Club, which then composed part of the nucleus of what was to become a Theta Kappa Nu chapter. On January 14, 1926, he was initiated into Theta Kappa Nu. While in college he held the office of chaplain.
His alumni years reveal his conspicuously great service. In 1939–40 he was chairman of the Theta Kappa Nu committee named to help merge the Lambda Chi Alpha and Theta Kappa Nu chapters at Michigan. In 1940 he became a member of the board of directors of the Lambda Chi Alpha Foundation, Inc., the house holding company for Sigma property. When an alumni advisory board was formed in 1942, he became a member; in 1943 he was made chairman.
MacNaughton has served since 1940 as a representative in the University of Michigan Interfraternity Alumni Conference. In 1941–45 he was chairman of Sigma’s Refinancing Committee; at present he is chairman of the advisory board, president of the house holding corporation, and an active participant in the Detroit alumni group. He is also preparing a history of Sigma to be used in the pledge training program.
By vocation MacNaughton is a newspaper man. While attending high school in Battle Creek, he worked for The Enquirer News. After graduation from college in 1927, he returned to The News as a reporter. In 1928 he moved to Detroit and took a job as copywriter with the Warner Advertising Agency, and wrote some of the earliest copy for Stinson Aviation. He was advertising manager for the Hannan Real Estate Exchange in 1931–35.
He then became sports editor for the Detroit Club Group Publications, a publishing house which produced house magazines for six private clubs in Detroit. After seven years of sports editing, Ross joined the news bureau staff of the Ford Motor Company, and for the last six years he has helped to handle all outgoing news and has helped press and radio men gather news concerning the Ford organization.
MacNaughton was born in Battle Creek on October 21, 1904, the son of Canadian parents of Scotch descent. He was educated in Battle Creek public schools, is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and lives at 711 Catherine St. in Ann Arbor.
Ross E. MacNaughton, Michigan ’27, former chairman of the Michigan Alumni Advisory Board, died on January 7, 1972.
Dr. John B. Van Why ’32
Dr. John B. Van Why, Michigan, ’32, has been High Pi, faculty adviser, financial adviser, and ex-officio member of the house corporation at the University of South Dakota since 1934. He has been a personal counselor to undergraduates, and has stressed high standards, with the result the chapter has been strong generally during his tenure.
He has exhibited unusual loyalty to chapters other than his own, both at South Dakota and at Wittenberg, where he was High Pi and member of the alumni advisory board for a number of years.
Holder of A.B., A.M., and Ph.D. degrees in education from University of Michigan, Dr. Van Why has had 40 years of experience in teaching, coaching, and the administration of health and physical education programs and in athletics. The first seven years were in high schools. Also, he was a guest professor in the Graduate School of University of Alabama in 1940–41.
His official title is chairman of the Department of Health and Physical Education at South Dakota. At Wittenberg he was director of athletics and physical education.
The list of Dr. Van Why’s records and services is imposing, and listing of only a few of these gives some idea of the wide variety and importance of his work.
He was a civilian consultant to the Army Air Corps in World War II; was one of five physical fitness representatives of the U.S. government in 1944–45; was a member of the National Health Assembly called by President Truman in May, 1948; was a member of the 1954 Washington Conference for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation; and was a member of President Eisenhower’s Youth Fitness Committee. In Ohio he was state physical fitness director in 1941–44 and the state’s first recreation director.
He was president of both the Ohio College Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation and of the Ohio Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation in 1942–44 and of the Managers’ Association of the Ohio Athletic Conference.
In the American Association for Health, Physical Education, and Recreation, he has held major chairmanships, regional presidencies, and other offices, and has been the recipient of the organization’s Honor Award.
He has conducted weekly 30-minute television classes in his field for five consecutive years over two South Dakota stations and for a shorter period in Iowa.
Aside from that, he was commander-in-chief of civilian defense in Springfield, Ohio, in World War II; director of the European Youth Program sponsored by the Springfield Rotary Club; superintendent of the Fourth Lutheran Sunday School of Springfield for three years; executive secretary of the South Dakota High School Student Council Association in 1953–62; twice consultant to American Medical Association conventions; and chairman of the South Dakota Advisory Committee on Health and Physical Education.
Dr. Van Why was born August 16, 1902, in Stroudsburg, Pa.; married Miss Elizabeth L. Everitt December 31, 1924, in Stroudsburg; is the father of two sons, John B., II, member of the South Dakota chapter, and Robert W.; is of the Lutheran faith; and lives at 709 E. Main St. in Vermillion.
Dr. John Van Why, a member of the Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Merit, died December 12, 1969, at the age of 67. He had been faculty adviser of Alpha-Gamma at South Dakota since 1954 and was a leading force behind the movement that led to establishment of Lambda-Theta at South Dakota State. He was inducted into the Order of Merit in 1954.
George W. Spasyk ’49
George W. Spasyk was associated with the administrative staff of Lambda Chi Alpha International Fraternity from 1950 to 1990. A native of Pittsfield, Massachusetts, he received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Michigan in 1949 and nine months later, earned his MBA while serving as a Teaching Assistant in the Business School. Early in World War II, he was engaged in scientific research with the Manhattan Project in work essential to the production of the atomic bomb, and was associated with the project at Princeton University. Subsequently, he entered the U.S. Navy and served for two years.
Following his graduation from Michigan, he was appointed Traveling Secretary for Lambda Chi Alpha and in 1952 was named the first Director of Chapter Services to head up the undergraduate chapter operations of the Fraternity, headquartered in Indianapolis, Indiana. He held that position for 16 years, and in 1968, he was named Executive Director of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity and the Lambda Chi Alpha Educational Foundation. In 1989, his title was changed to Executive Vice President and on June 30, 1990, he retired after forty years of service and was designated Executive Vice President Emeritus.
A staunch advocate of interfraternity cooperation, George has served as President of the Fraternity Executives Association and he has served on many committees of the Association and of the North American Interfraternity Conference. He served on the NIC Commission on Values and Ethics for ten years and was Chairman of the FEA-sponsored Interfraternity Institute at Indiana University for four years.
He was a member of the Board of Directors of the North American Interfraternal Foundation from 1990 until 2003, and served for three years as President and two years as Chairman of the Board. He also served the Foundation as a Balfour Distinguished Lecturer for three years, and in 2004 was designated a Director Emeritus of the Foundation. He has been a frequent speaker at national and international fraternity, sorority and interfraternity conferences and at many Lambda Chi Alpha chapter events.
His interfraternity service awards include Alpha Sigma Phi’s Grand Senior President’s Citation, Chi Psi’s Interfraternity Service Award, Kappa Delta Rho’s Fraternal Merit Award, Lambda Chi Alpha’s Order of Achievement, Phi Delta Theta’s Meritorious Service Award, Phi Kappa Psi’s Ralph D. Daniel Interfraternity Excellence Award, Tau Kappa Epsilon’s Salsbury-Scott Award, Sigma Nu’s Interfraternity Leadership Award, and Theta Chi’s Chapman-Alter Interfraternity Service Award.
George was also the first recipient of the North American Interfraternity Conference Interfraternal Award in 1989; the Distinguished Service Award of the Fraternity Executives Association in 1990; the Evin Varner Interfraternity Service Award of the College Fraternity Editors Association in 1992; and in 1993, he received the Gold Medal of the North American Interfraternity Conference, the highest honor in the fraternity movement. At the 49th General Assembly in 2002, Lambda Chi Alpha’s Interfraternity Service Award was renamed The George W. Spasyk Order of Interfraternity Service.
He was named an Honorary Texas Citizen in 1964 by Gov. John Connally; a Kentucky Colonel in 1972 and 1985 by Governors Wendell Ford and Martha Layne Collins; received a Certificate of Special Tribute from Michigan Gov. James Blanchard in 1989; was named a Sagamore of the Wabash in 1990 by Indiana Gov. Evan Bayh, and on March 17, 1990, Mayor William H. Hudnut III declared “George Spasyk Day” in Indianapolis, which he has called home since 1950.
Ever since his involvement with Lambda Chi Alpha began in Ann Arbor in 1946, George has been an active leader and support of the Michigan Chapter as well as a dedicated fan of the Wolverines. George attends nearly all home football games, making the trip from Indianapolis to Ann Arbor many times each year. He remains an active mentor and adviser to the undergraduates of Lambda Chi Alpha.
Paul Robertson ’64
In 1945, brothers Paul C. Robertson, Sr. and Covert Robertson, Jr., established Robertson Brothers with the intent of building homes in Berkley and Royal Oak for returning World War II veterans. After this, they moved on to Bloomfield/Troy to develop Pine Hill, their first investment in the Adams Road Corridor tradition that continues today.
One major milestone was the hiring of Paul Robertson, Jr. in 1972 and the subsequent development of Adams Wood—the first master-planned condominium development that emphasized “lifestyle” living with such amenities as a clubhouse, pool and tennis courts. Many larger communities designed around this lifestyle concept—which evolved to include stunning golf course communities—have been developed, including Bingham Woods, The Homes at TPC, The Links of Northville Hills, The Heathers, The Links of Pheasant Run and The Links West of Pheasant Run.
Under the command of Paul Robertson, Jr., Robertson Brothers has continued to give customers “what they want” by offering an array of gracious home choices (single-family homes, detached condominiums, attached condominiums, stacked condominiums and mid-rise condominiums) in many of the area’s premier locations. To date, the company has been involved in building and developing over 40 communities.
Sigma Alumnus George Spasyk proudly tells of a memory Paul Robertson’s days as an undergraduate:
In the summer of 1962, I was serving the Fraternity as service secretary and was in charge of planning the General Assembly. Cliff Taylor ’64 and classmate Paul Robertson decided to attend the [Lambda Chi Alpha] conference in Pasadena, California.
This was destined to be an historic Assembly, as legislation had been proposed to eliminate all clauses that restricted membership [in Lambda Chi Alpha] on the basis of race, religion, or national origin.
Robertson and Taylor wanted to attend the Assembly to lobby other chapter undergraduates to support the proposed legislation. They made it there on their own, but did not have the money for a hotel room. I had no problem in accommodating them by offering them the floor of my room. They even tucked their meager belongings in my closet while the maid made up the room each day.
The Assembly turned out to be historic, as predicted. The membership legislation was adopted; there were no longer any artificial barriers to membership in Lambda Chi Alpha.
The following year, Taylor and Robertson served the Michigan IFC as president and treasurer respectively.
Major General Larry Twitchell ’65
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Larry Twitchell played football and studied mathematics, all while being an active member of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. He is currently Chief, US Training Mission, CENTCOM, in Saudi Arabia. General Twitchell took some time off his busy Schedule to see the Wolverines beat the Nitanny Lions of Penn State in 2005. The following story appeared in The Sigman, the official newstletter of Lambda Chi Alpha at the University of Michigan:
Air Force Major General Larry L. Twitchell ’65 spent two days in Ann Arbor in October on leave from his Middle East duty post, and spent the day of the Penn State football game visiting with undergraduates and alumni at the chapter house before taking in the game and tailgate activities with alumni brothers from the early 1960s.
On the Friday before the game, Larry visited legendary Michigan football coach Bo Schembechler on campus and presented him with a framed American flag. In a letter to George Spasyk ’49, Larry describes that visit: “The presentation to Bo was the American flag I had flown over the skies of Afghanistan and Iraq in August 2003 when I served as the leader of the air war.
“Why Bo, since he came to Michigan long after I left the University? Besides the honor of meeting Bo, simply to fulfill an inner need, one might say. As we, the staff of U.S. Central Command Air Forces, were doing the planning for Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2002, there were many versions and iterations before the plan was presented to the President. One of the questions we addressed hypothetically was ‘will this generation do as well as the WWII generation?’ I formulated an opinion that Americans instill in our youth a will to win and our leaders and mentors are our teachers and coaches. So, I thought I would like to try to recognize Bo and to thank him for his contributions to UM football and to the Nation. “Again, it was good seeing you in Ann Arbor and good to see the house and meet some of the fine new Lambda Chis.”
Bob Kidder ’67
C. Robert Kidder (BSE IE ’67) might look at himself as he would a good bottle of pinot noir from Sanford Winery, his vineyard in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley—over the years both he and the wine matured into something robust and in great demand. However, whereas the wine bottle gathered dust in its rack, Kidder never stood still, developing from “a regular college student” into a vintage businessman, entrepreneur and non-stop supporter of education and the underprivileged.
Kidder, the current chairman of Borden Chemical, Inc., started his journey to success with a CoE bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and a master’s in industrial economics from Iowa State University. He thanked his father for both degrees: “If you were a kid with reasonable grades and you wanted to make your way in the world, at least according to my dad, you got an engineering degree and followed it up with an MBA. It was random judgment at the time but it turned out to be correct.”
Kidder went on to serve with the U.S. Navy as an officer in the Naval Civil Engineering Corps. The stint gave him a prime opportunity to use his expertise in the theory of justification of capital projects. How? By writing the Navy’s policy on capital-project and cost-benefit justification. “From a business perspective,” he said, “it was great experience.”
He took that experience to Chicago’s McKinsey & Company, Inc., a global strategic management consulting firm. There Kidder prepared studies for a range of clients, including Sears and Ford Motor Company. He described his time at McKinsey as “life shaping.”
“Ninety percent of the people at McKinsey went to Harvard, Stanford or Wharton—a lot of smart people,” he said. “Ultimately I would credit whatever success I have to McKinsey.”
After six years in Chicago, Kidder moved to Los Angeles as senior vice president of Corporate Development for Dart Industries, where his responsibilities included strategic planning, merger and acquisitions and capital budgeting. In 1978, Dart acquired Duracell—a transaction that would lead to a series of corporate twists and turns which not only were critical to Kidder’s career but which demonstrate just how complicated (and interesting) the life of a major executive can be.
In 1980—the same year Dart merged with Kraft—Kidder joined Duracell as vice president, Finance and Administration for Duracell Europe; a year later he became Duracell’s vice president of Sales and Marketing. He was named president of Duracell USA in 1982 and president of Duracell, Inc., in 1984. In 1986, Dart and Kraft parted company, but Kraft retained ownership of Duracell. Two years later, Kraft sold Duracell to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) in one of the largest leveraged buyouts in history—this would prove to be the most critical link in Kidder’s career chain. That same year, 1988, Kidder assumed the position of president and CEO of Duracell, which became Duracell International Inc. Eventually, Kidder became chairman and CEO, a position from which he stepped down in 1994.
The twists and turns didn’t stop there.
He and his wife Mary (BA ’66) retired to Santa Barbara. But the “retirement” lasted less than a year—KKR called, not once but twice, because Borden hadn’t faired well and needed a leader. KKR, which knew Kidder well, realized he was the right person for the job.
It was an intriguing offer, but Kidder had already poured himself into the business and art of developing “a good bottle” at Sanford Winery in the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley. Kidder, a partner in the winery, said that it was and is “a loveable investment—value is growing, the winery team is family, the Santa Ynez valley is beautiful, and tasting the wine is a love of my life.”
In other words, the Sanford Winery captured Kidder’s heart. However, it wasn’t something Kidder was able to commit to fully—KKR was still knocking on his door. The first time KKR called, Kidder passed on the job. But that didn’t discourage KKR, which pursued him again with yet another offer.
“It looked like an opportunity to create value,” Kidder said of his ultimate decision to join the company. “I was still pretty young and I was looking to do something.”
And “do something” he did. Under his direction as chairman and CEO, a new structure was put in place that gave way to new companies—including Borden Dairy, Borden Food and Wise Foods—each with its own board, capital structure, business policies and management. Over the following years, these companies were sold off; only Borden Chemical and Elmer’s Products remain.
Today, Kidder also sits on the boards of Morgan Stanley, EDS, Children’s Hospital of Columbus and the Wexner Center for the Arts, the latter two as chairman and president, respectively. And the College of Engineering is fortunate to have him on its 150th Anniversary Campaign committee, which is undertaking the challenge of raising $300 million.
As if to demonstrate a need to support more than the CoE institution, he and Mary took their commitment to a personal level, creating the C. Robert and Mary Kidder Endowed Scholarship Fund to help provide an engineering education for a scholastically talented and financially needy African American student.
Mary, who met Robert when they were both U-M undergrads, has kept pace with her dynamic husband. Following her graduation from the University, she worked as a journalist for the Ann Arbor News and the Cedar Rapids Gazette in Iowa, then moved on to work in public relations for Iowa State University and George Washington University. She’s a trustee of the Columbus Museum of Art, and a trustee of I KNOW I CAN, a scholarship program that guarantees all Columbus city school graduates an opportunity to pursue a college education or advanced studies and training. Mary also devotes time as a volunteer in the Columbus public schools, writing newsletters and helping to develop and implement educational enrichment programs.
With all of those commitments and responsibilities, it’s hard to believe that either Kidder would have enough time to enjoy even a cup of coffee. But they do. Kidder, for example, collects contemporary art that includes work by his favorites: Armand, Johns, Kiefer and Koons. He enjoys much of the music his two twenty-something children, Kevin and Karin, listen to, including David Bowie, Alanis Morissette and Peter Gabriel. And he considers himself something of a “techie,” spending two to four hours a day with his stable of toys, including PCs, a PowerMac and a Blackberry.
“A lot of folks can get their email,” he said, “and that’s about it. I can crash a computer and set it back up again.” He shrugged. “It’s not a unique talent by any means, but I get a kick out of it.”
Over the years, he has remained a loyal alumnus to Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity, both at chapter and the international levels.
In summary, Kidder is successful and respected in business; a non-stop supporter of education and the underprivileged; and a Californian with an eclectic ear for music and plenty of tech toys at his disposal. And, of course, he’s a vintner who, like his chardonnays and pinot noirs, has mellowed nicely over the years.
Note—he’s tied for 72nd on the Golf Digest CEO ranking, with a handicap of 18.
Cliff Taylor ’69
While serving as Interfraternity Council president as an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, Taylor persuaded the university administration to cede to the 45-chapter student-run IFC the judicial authority to handle fraternity violations of university regulations.
Previously, IFC had authority to manage only the violations of its own rules, not those of the university.
This signaled a dramatic change in policy at a time when in loco parentis (in the place of a parent) had been the norm in college-student relations virtually since the founding of the fraternity movement in 1776. His accomplishment was the subject of the November 1963 Cross & Crescent (the magazine of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity), which featured Taylor and University President Dr. Harlan Hatcher on the cover.
A native of Flint, Michigan, Taylor graduated from the University of Michigan in 1964, and earned his law degree from George Washington University in 1967. After a three-year tour of duty as a line officer in the U.S. Navy and one year as an assistant prosecuting attorney, he spent 20 years in private law practice.
In emulation of Abraham Lincoln’s inability to win early political campaigns for a variety of offices, Taylor ran unsuccessfully for Congress from Michigan’s 6th District in 1974 and 1976, and for Michigan state attorney general in 1990.
But his outstanding record as a lawyer brought the highest ratings for competence and character by lawyer rating organizations. In 1992, he was appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals by Governor John Engler and was subsequently elected to a six-year term.
His service on that court was cut short in 1997 with his appointment as a justice of the Michigan Supreme Court by Governor Engler to fill a vacancy, and the following year, he was elected to fill the remainder of that term. In 2000 he was elected to the Supreme Court for a full eight-year term to expire in 2008.
On January 6, 2005, Taylor was chosen by his fellow justices to serve as chief justice. Every two years, the justices elect one of their colleagues to serve as chief justice for a term of two years.
Bruce Koepfgen ’74
Bruce Koepfgen is CEO of Oppenheimer Capital and PEA Capital. He also serves as chairman of the Allianz Global Investors Fund Management Board and of the US-oversight board. In addition, Bruce is a member of the Executive Committee of Allianz Global Investors.
Prior to joining the Allianz Global Investors organization in 2003, Bruce spent 23 years at Salomon Brothers, including 15 years as a managing director. During this time he served as co-head of institutional fixed income sales; general manager of the Midwest region and of the UK and European businesses; chairman of Salomon Analytics; a member of the Fixed Income Management Committee; and a member of select transaction committees for Salomon’s mergers with Travelers and Citigroup. From 1999 to 2003, Bruce was a private investor, consultant and CEO to several venture-backed start-up companies, and served on the boards of both public and private companies. Bruce holds a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Michigan and an MBA from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management.
Bruce served as the President of the Michigan Chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha in the 1972–73 school year. He served on the Student Advisory Committee of Lambda Chi Alpha in the 1973–74 school year. He has remained a loyal alumnus, recently providing the chapter the funds to redecorate and refinish our living room.