Alumni President Carter Caldwell '99: "Enjoy and Appreciate it as Much as Possible."

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Q: Why did you join Zeta Psi in the first place?

A: The primary reason that I joined the Sigma was because of the brothers.  It was instantly clear that each of the individuals represented so many of the things that I wanted to be, such as hard-working, good-natured, intelligent, and thinking of others first. 

I have to say, however, that I also loved the history of the house, the camaraderie, the gorgeous Chapter House, seeing the composites from all the prior years that were hung throughout the hallways, and being able to read along each room’s door the names of the brothers who had lived in each room previously.  I thought all those factors blended into something that I really wanted to join.

Q: What was your favorite memory?

A:  While I’m not sure that I can really isolate one favorite memory, I can certainly say that one of my favorite things was the constant friendship that came from the house. There were certainly times during my college career, and most definitely afterwards, that I really needed the friendship and support that comes from one’s closest friends. And those friendships came from my time at Zeta Psi. 

I also have fond memories of the annual pool tournament, as well as the formal dinners that happened each semester. One of these formals, the chef had to call out sick at the last minute. So, rather than cancel the event, I decided that I would do the cooking. And, since everyone was expecting a lobster dinner, I went out and bought 50 lobsters, and multiple tubs of butter, and cooked it all in the industrial pots in the house’s kitchen, along with everything else at the very last minute. I’m proud to say that no one got sick from the food afterwards, so I’ll consider that a success!

Q: Do you still keep in touch with any of your brothers?

A: Most definitely!  I appreciate any opportunity I get to keep in touch with brothers, regardless of whether or not it’s in person.   By attending the Zete events, coupled by being in the Philadelphia area, I get to see a number of the alums here, such as Mac Butcher ’89, Jim Bodine ’86, Michael Scullin ’79, Page Stull ’72, and Jon Stott ’07.                             

But, I also take advantage of connecting with other alums when I’m traveling or just with a phone call, such as with Paul Lisiak ’97, Niels Pennings ’99, Ross Peet ’96, Vic Singh ’99, and Justin Hopkins ’02.  I’ve also enjoyed getting to know some of the current active members, such as the current Phi, Sam Gerson ’17.

I found that other brothers take advantage of connecting with fellow alums while traveling as well.  I recently saw a picture from an event in Hong Kong that Patrick Ko ’01 attended, where a fellow alum and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Walter Douglas ’77 was speaking.  Judging by Patrick’s message, the two of them had a great time meeting and sharing stories.

Q: Tell us about what you are doing now.

A: I’m currently a Managing Director for Cross Atlantic Capital Partners, which is a venture capital firm outside of Philadelphia with $550 million under management investing in early to mid-stage technology companies.  I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and absolutely love the industry and focus. 

I enjoy it so much that, as Cross Atlantic winds down this year, I’m beginning the process of raising a new venture fund also focused on technology companies.  This is an exciting opportunity and I’m really looking forward to it.

Q: Did your time in Zeta Psi help to prepare you for that role?

A: There is no doubt that it did.  Venture capital is all about entrepreneurship and one of the things that I noticed while at Zeta Psi was that the conversation throughout the house, and amongst the brothers, consistently had a lot to do with what was going on in the world, industry, and technology.  This easily lent itself to conversation about ways to improve or create solutions to things.  This type of creativity opens one’s eyes to look at things differently and I have great respect for those who do this on a daily basis.

Similarly, by being fortunate enough to spend so much time with the brothers while I was an active, it meant that I was able to hear so many different perspectives which emanated from the fact that people came from different areas of the country, as well as from so many other countries.  Learning how others think and how their perspectives have been shaped by where they grew up has been a great asset as I’ve invested in companies that’re based in many countries, and are operating across the globe.

Q: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment?

A: Well this is actually something that’s still ongoing, and will be for a while. About 12 years ago, I began having seizures, which really came out of nowhere and we couldn’t find a cause for them.  After trying nearly every medication known to man to try and stop them, we ultimately weren’t successful. And in November 2014, I ultimately had a really bad seizure that ended up causing me to fall down the length of a tall, rocky hill and break a lot of bones.  It put me in the hospital for weeks and required several surgeries.

The severity of this seizure and resulting fall made me really come to understand that my seizures are a serious risk to me, as well as my kids, and finally led me to consider the option of brain surgery, which my doctors had been urging me to consider for a while but I was so scared of the potential negatives, instead of looking at the potential positives. So, in September of last year, I underwent the surgery where the surgeons found a lesion that they think was causing the seizures and, as a result of the surgery, I have been seizure-free. 

And I have to say that many brothers have been, and continue to be, supportive of me as I’ve navigated through this over the past 12 years. It’s that type of friendship and support system that I found as a result of joining Zete. So, I feel that finding a way to live a fully functional life and building a family, despite having to deal with frequent seizures, and then being confronted with the very scary decision of having brain surgery and overcoming that, is really what I consider to be my biggest accomplishment thus far. 

Q: What advice would you give to future generations of Zeta Psi members?

A: I would have to say that my best advice would be to take full advantage of, and appreciate as much as possible, the time that one has while in the house and the time that one gets to spend with the other brothers.  This is an opportunity that few are given, and can provide the basis for some of the closest friendships that you can have in life. But, after graduation, you don’t have the chance to live with, and spend so much time with, so many incredible people, so enjoy and appreciate it as much as possible while still being an active.

Also, make an effort to stay in touch with your brothers after graduation. Even if it’s just a quick phone call or email every once and a while. This can go a long way to keeping that relationship alive and keeping that brother an incredibly close friend.

Q: Just because I have to ask…where is the best place to get a cheesesteak in Philly?

A: Wow!  Well, I think that my favorite place is Jim’s Steaks on South Street.  One has to be prepared, however, to give a quick answer to whether you want your steak “wit” or “witout” onions, because if you don’t answer quickly, then the line backs up very fast and you quickly become the least liked person in the restaurant!

Q: Any additional thoughts?

A: I'm on a mission to bring our alumni network closer together, so I really want fellow alums to feel free to reach out to me with any thoughts or concerns. Folks are more than welcome to give me a call at (610) 457-2899 or to email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., because I would love to hear from them!