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Fraternity Experience Taught Brother Jenschke About Leadership

Why did you join Lambda Chi Alpha? Did you shop around at other fraternities, or was Gamma-Psi your first choice?

It was my first choice.  A high school friend, Gerry “Gas” Megasko (’73), introduced me to LXA.  We were friends in grade school and high school, and he became my big brother.  In turn, I introduced Joe Giansante (’76), another Pottstown native son, to Gamma Psi.

What is your favorite memory when you look back on your fraternity days?

Can’t say there was one favorite memory.  Parents’ Weekends, Ale and Clam nights for faculty members, Alumni homecomings, initiation ceremonies, blood donations, White Rose dinners, recruiting, pudding races with perennial winner James “Meaty” Abel (’72) and wrestling with ”GD” (’72) at 515 Delaware, the monthly chapter meetings, and just hanging out.  And I don’t know why I remember this, but my duty in keeping the new house clean was keeping the women’s bathroom clean.  Freudian?  A lot of memories that added up to a terrific experience.

Where was the best hangout on campus/town during your college years

Pete’s Greekers come to mind, on many an occasion.  Also, The Smuggler was a cheap place to “hangout.”  (I wasn’t a “Tally Ho’ type of guy.)  Late night runs to Dunkin’ Donuts helped break up studying.  But just hanging out at the house and shooting the bull with the brothers was great.

What are the top three things you gained from the fraternity?

The leadership education was priceless.  Also, learning about different backgrounds and appreciating our differences yet coming together to form a bond among the brothers and working toward the chapter goals.

A very significant accomplishment for the chapter was when we transitioned from “pledging” to Associate Membership.  While there were holdouts, most of us believed it was time to get away from the emphasis on physical tests to real education on the values and goals of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity.  I learned much from the transition process.

Did you hold any positions while in the fraternity and if so, what did you gain from that experience?

I was assistant to High Delta John Caso (’73).  We were moving into a bigger house and needed to grow the chapter in numbers so recruitment was a priority.  Thanks to the leadership of “Case” we were very successful.

My time as High Alpha role presented several challenges, the first one in organizing the move from 515 Delaware Avenue to the hill on campus.  Getting the entire chapter “moving” in the same direction was both frustrating and fun.  I still have a vivid memory of Fred Ziegler (’71) playing the piano on the back of a moving truck as we made our way across town and up the hill.  

We put a lot of effort into getting the new house organized and functioning, as well as improving the quality of chapter-sponsored activities and getting the chapter integrated into the interfraternity world. 

We also wanted to maintain the strong bond with our alumni brothers and were concerned moving away from 515 Delaware might significantly hurt that.   So we emphasized alumni events and worked with the Chapter Board of Trustees for their advice to help us promote continued alumni involvement.

Lastly, I wanted to get the chapter more involved with the national fraternity, both the headquarters and surrounding chapters.  Several of us attended the first regional LXA conference at Penn State in 1974 with several Pennsylvania chapters in attendance.  And we had events with the West Chester chapter and helped the Kutztown colony get started.

Tell me a little about your career, family, hobbies, etc.

Like Walt Keiper (’85), my experiences at Gamma Psi led me to my first “job” after graduation, working as a Chapter Consultant for Lambda Chi Alpha.  I was waiting to enter the Air Force and thought this would present some great experiences – and it did in spades.  I learned much about Lambda Chi Alpha from my travels to visit chapters and brothers.  I think they helped me as much as I helped them.  And working with the national staff showed me how dedicated they were to the ideal of Lambda Chi Alpha and how much they wanted to help individual chapters.

After that one year, I entered pilot training in the Air Force and, except for two excruciatingly slow years behind a desk at the Pentagon, stayed a pilot throughout my 21 year Air Force career.  I was fortunate to be able to fly as a pilot, instructor pilot and test pilot in high-performance fighter jets, including the F-106, F-4, F-15 and F-16, among others.  My experiences as a test pilot were the most challenging and rewarding I’ve known.  And I was fortunate enough to be a Flight Test Squadron Commander as my last duty assignment before “retiring” from the Air Force in 1996.

Of course, along the way I married my beautiful bride, Leslie, and am very fortunate that she has still not sent me away after 38 years!  My daughter, Lindsay, also graduated from Lehigh and became a lawyer in the Air Force, where she met and married another Air Force lawyer.  They have since left the Air Force and gave us our first granddaughter in 2015.  My son, Matthew, went to Franklin & Marshall where he played football and earned a degree in Geology. 

Since leaving the Air Force, I’ve been lucky to fly in the corporate world, flying Gulfstream G-IV aircraft.  You could say flying is the only thing I know how to do, so it’s a good thing I can still do it.

I see that you’ve contributed financial gifts several times over the years to Gamma-Psi. What motivates you to make contributions?

I like to make contributions of time, talent and treasure whenever I can provide some value.  One very near-term desire is to see the chapter recolonize on campus, and I would be happy to help getting that done.  It would be great to be reunited with my Gamma Psi contemporaries and get them involved as well.