Welcomed with Open Arms

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When Ben Beckhart ’82 arrived at the University of Pennsylvania, he didn’t look like the typical Penn student, but the brothers at Zeta Psi didn’t seemed fazed at all. “The brothers accepted me just the way I was – long afro hairdo, disco shirt, white jacket. It was not the New England look!” he laughs. For Ben, that was exactly what he needed and he knew that Zeta Psi was a group that he wanted to be part of.

Growing up in Mexico and Latin America, Ben faced unique challenges integrating into the social scene on campus and the brothers at Zeta Psi were right there to help him out. “I remember having great conversations, strong support, and a genuine caring amongst the brothers,” he says. “Being part of Zeta Psi, especially living in the house, was an excellent introduction to managing social aspects in the United States.”

In particular, Ben fondly recalls some of his most favorite and cherished memories of Zeta Psi were centered around the deep strength and connection of the brotherhood. “I remember the Thursday evening dinners, our special parties, and the outings we took to New York City or Washington, D.C.”

But not only was Zeta Psi a place where Ben found, adventure, comfort and friendship, but it also became an important factor in his education. Offering financial help, Zeta Psi certainly played a role in his degree. “I received a B.S. in Economics from Wharton,” he states. “Living at the house was subsidized and I also received financial aid for my credits.”

After graduation, Ben returned south of the border, living in Mexico and Latin America for more than 27 years. There, he built a successful business model that he continues today. “I am a business builder,” he describes himself. “Currently, I am writing a book on character leadership and seeking small-medium size companies to acquire.”

Even while living outside of the United States, Ben has remained connected to Zeta Psi by supporting the chapter financially and he plans to continue that support. His reasons are simple. “I am motivated to give to Zeta Psi because of the experience and financial help Zeta Psi gave me.”

Just recently, Ben moved back to the United States with his wife and children. Ben’s wife, Karen, is becoming a well-known Luxury Stager in San Antonio and Austin, Texas. His daughter, Sarah (27), is a PhD candidate in Latin American History at Columbia. His second daughter, Jessica (26), is in the Lauder Program at Wharton, and his son, Michael (22) is a junior at Berklee College of Music in Boston.

With his recent move back to the US, Ben is looking forward to reconnecting with his brothers, and visiting the fraternity more often now that his daughter is at the Wharton MBA. Currently, much of his contact remains electronic via social media, but he hopes that will change. And while Texas is far from Pennsylvania, distance has not deterred Ben’s intention to catch up in person with his brothers. In fact, an open invitation stands. “My brothers are all welcome in San Antonio, Texas or San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, when visiting!”

As he looks forward to reconnecting with his brothers in person, Ben hopes the current group remember the importance of those lifelong friendships that are made during those few years. “I would tell the current brothers to remember to nurture the brotherhood and stay in touch.”

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