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Thank you to Mike Heckenberger '80 for participating in this Q&A.


Why did you join Delt as an undergraduate? When I moved into Snyder Hall at Penn State, the first floor (named Allentown House) was populated by a new fraternity -- Delta Tau Delta. It started out as Alpha Lambda Tau (ALT for Allentown) and then they applied to Delta Tau Delta to reform Tau Chapter. I liked the guys--they were like brothers before I even pledged. It was a no-brainer

 

514 mike heck reunion

What is the funniest memory from your Delt days? We saw "Animal House" when it came out in 1978, within weeks of moving into the shelter. Of course this meant we HAD to have a Toga Party. I guess the Toga Party was the funniest but it is close.

What is the single fondest memory you have shared/will share with your children and grandchildren? Moving to State College a week early for fall 1978 in order to accomplish renovations to our rooms before moving in stands out. We had to remove about 7 layers of paint (using old fashion, very harsh, paint stripping chemicals). We were very proud of it when we finished. Another is how we survived the fire.

How do you stay connected with your brothers as an alumnus? Homecoming. Unfortunately it took the death of Don Hoak '82 for me to reconnect with my Delt brothers. The brothers that we lost contact with before Don's death I may never hear from again.

Have you visited Happy Valley since graduation? Why or why not? I did not visit from the time I joined the U.S. Air Force in October, 1980 until Homecoming 1994. After that I made it to State College once or twice before I retired from the Air Force in August 2001. Since then I have been back every year, usually for Homecoming.

What do you think about the Bill O'Brien hire? It's too early to tell. I am still terribly upset about the way Joe Paterno was fired. I have a suspicion that Coach O'Brien (boy that was hard to say) will be a temporary fill (three to four years) until we can get a Nittany Lion to coach the team. Now is just too soon. Face it, would you like to follow a legend like Joe?

What about your membership in Delt makes you the most proud? The 2007 reunion. The fact that 20 some brothers came to State College to reconnect after 25 years (the reunion was the brain child of Dr. Phil Lucas '82) really speaks volumes about Brotherhood

How would your life be different today if you had never joined Delt? I seriously doubt I would visit State College very much. The fact that I have a home in State College means the world to me. I don't know how non-Greeks get excited about Homecoming without a home.

If you could go back and relive one moment from your Delt years, what would it be and why? Other than trying to prevent that fire, I would not change a thing about my years at Delt. The experience made me who I am today.

Where has life taken you since graduation? What's new in your life today? I joined the U.S. Air Force, spent 21 years serving my country followed by almost 10 years with a defense contractor. In April I became a Department of the Air Force civil servant working the MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft at Headquarters Air Combat Command.

Who do you stay connected with in your alumni years? I stay connected with Phil Lucas, Jim King '78, Craig Emry (the only other pledge in my pledge class), Ed McMonigle '82, Brian Matulewicz '81, Sam Allen '80, Stu Wright '78, Bill Fustos '79 and Ben Margerum '82.

Are there any brothers you've lost touch with whom you'd like to reconnect? I'd like to get back in touch with Neil Bidwell '80, Scott Eberly '79, Erik Christiansen '79, Jeffrey Hinch '79, Tim Phillips '79, Mark Smock '78, Jeff Greaser '78, Jeff Piroga '79, Mitch Ripa '81 and Jeff Shupp '79 to name a few, but I know there are more.

Why would you encourage other brothers to engage with Delt in their alumni years? Keep in touch anyway possible. This world gets smaller daily. Facebook and old fashioned e-mail are amazing tools. Visiting the shelter once and while is also amazing.

What is the best thing about your alumni experience? The fact that these brothers know me even after all these years. I am more happy (and damn proud) of being a Delt than when I was an undergraduate.

Connect with Mike at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Alumni Updates

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