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Fraternity Played a Major Role in This Latecomer's Transition to Adulthood

For Walt Torba '87, joining a fraternity was not something he set out to do when he enrolled in college. It wasn’t that he didn’t have an interest, but rather circumstances seemed to delay his path to Lambda Chi Alpha.

“My situation was unique,” he explains. “I initially commuted to Lehigh and became friends with some Lambda Chi Alpha bothers. I didn’t join until my senior year.”

As such a latecomer to the Greek scene, some may have felt their experience was too short, but Walt found a way to make the most of his time in the fraternity.

“I decided to continue my education at Lehigh in the MBA program immediately after receiving by B.S. degree, so I had the opportunity to extend my experience,” he says.

Taking full advantage of the extra time, Walt flourished in the fraternity, immersing himself in the Lambda Chi Alpha lifestyle.

“Besides the obvious parties we had back in the day, I really enjoyed the evening dinner ritual that occurred during the school week. It was a nice time for everyone to get together and talk about their day,” he recalls.

It comes down to teamwork and sharing of responsibilities. The college years bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood. Your experiences during those few years really set your outlook as an adult.

Dinner, to Walt, was a special time, thanks to one person in particular—Ms. Patt Williamson.

“Our cook, Patt, was a fantastic woman, like everyone’s second mom,” he reflects. “Thinking about being around her at the end of each day still brings back nice memories.”

Part of the draw to Lambda Alpha Chi for Walt was the way new brothers were brought into the fold.

“I really liked the fact that the newcomers were not called pledges, but rather Associate Members,” he says. “Since there was never any hazing, Lambda Chi Alpha was really ahead of its time.”

Another draw was how focused the brothers were on academics, something that isn’t always easy to find on a college campus.

“There was a good balance of structure for academics and social outlets,” he says. “Living with a few dozen other people really fostered teamwork and maturity. I believe that even those who choose to live off-campus should experience living in the house for at least one year.”

As a Finance major, with a minor in International Relations, Walt was motivated by the way his fellow brothers supported and encouraged each other, whether it was doing homework in the house or forming study groups and heading to the library. But outside of the classroom, Walt knows that Lambda Alpha Chi gave him life lessons that can’t be found anywhere else.

“It comes down to teamwork and sharing of responsibilities,” he explains. “The college years bridge the gap between adolescence and adulthood. Your experiences during those few years really set your outlook as an adult.”

Today, Walt is employed by Merck & Co. and focuses on International Marketing, and he and his wife have a four-year-old daughter. Although he doesn’t keep in touch as much as he’d like with his brothers, Walt stays connected through Facebook and the occasional tailgate back at his old stomping grounds.

“I went to my first tailgate two years ago and really enjoyed catching up with a few brothers,” he reflects. “I hope there’s more official opportunities like that for alumni to engage in!”