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Thank you to Jacques Gordon '78 for participating in this Q&A

Why did you join Sigma Chi as an undergraduate? I was recruited by brothers from my hometown,St Louis, and a group of freshmen friends from the Quad were also important in my decision to pledge. contingent and a group of freshmen friends from the Quad. I had no previous knowledge of fraternities in general or Sigma Chi.

 

What is the funniest memory from your Sigma Chi days? This is almost impossible to answer. There were so many. As sophomores, we enjoyed hearing the crazy stories told by our chapter advisor, Jim Collins. The grad students Bob Crowley ‘74,Dan Clancy ‘75 and Hugh Jones ‘73 as well as the upperclassmen like Tom Shively ‘75, Steve Cope ‘76, Bubba Lloyd ‘77, Mike Swavola ‘76, Roger Weinberg '76 and Rich Mascolo ‘76 also had a lot of great stories to tell – these are/were very funny guys. We had a guy from Mount Carmel Pennsylvania, Phil Kozlowski ‘78, who could match one-liners with the best of them and did a pretty funny routine at our Sweetheart dinners. But the funniest memory I have is the freshman skit we put on as pledges. It featured a guy who was wrestler in high school (he shall go nameless). He knew how to lose his lunch on command (a trick he used to make his wrestling weight). He performed this feat with wondrous skill during the last act of our skit. It was amazing, revolting and hilarious at the same time.

What is the single fondest memory you have shared/will share with your children and grandchildren? My kids have heard me tell the story of how a couple of us invited women to eat dinner at the Chapter House a couple of days a week. It had a civilizing effect on our dining habits, brought down the cost per person of our dining arrangements, and was a lot of fun because the young women we invited were all really good-natured people. I am also very proud of my year as Rush Chairman, which resulted in the Phi Phi Class of 1980 -- a very strong group of talented young men.

How do you stay connected with your brothers as an alumnus? I stop by the House whenever I am back in town for the Wharton Real Estate Center meetings (generally once a year). I enjoy reading the Quaker Sig and especially appreciate it when brothers from the 70s and 80s write in.

Have you visited Penn since graduation? I have been back many times and I have gotten to know brothers from the 90s and 00s, who are really a great bunch of guys. The Penn campus continues to improve each year. I am looking forward to seeing how the University has re-developed the 24-acre Postal Lands down by the River on my next visit. It is also encouraging to see that our historic Chapter House is in such good shape...with many improvements added over the years. Mark Kocent '82 and Gerry Knorr '82 deserve the gratitude of all brothers for the fabulous, time-consuming work they have done with the Chapter House and with the University to keep Phi Phi’s position strong

What about your membership in Sigma Chi makes you the most proud? For a relatively modest-sized house on campus, Phi Phis have done some outstanding things – both as undergrads and as alumni. We have had many illustrious and highly-accomplished members. When I meet Sigma Chi’s from huge schools here in the Midwest or speak to people at the National HQ in Evanston, they know our chapter because of the high caliber of members that have come from Phi Phi.

How would your life be different today if you had never joined Sigma Chi? I am not sure I would have stayed at Penn. I was thinking of transferring.

If you could go back and relive one moment from your Sigma Chi years, what would it be and why? Any of Chef Wilson’s homecoming feasts.

Where has life taken you since graduation? What's new in your life today? I manage real estate investment for pension funds, endowments and other institutions (including the Penn endowment). My firm (LaSalle Investment Management) acquired a 50% interest in 299 Park Avenue (UBS Tower) in New York City for a client last August. We are doing a lot of buying in Australia, Germany and Mexico now. We recently sold a large portfolio of Japanese industrial buildings (that we developed) at a very handsome profit. It was the largest deal of its kind in Japanese real estate history. The buyer was the Chinese Investment Corporation in a venture with a REIT out of Singapore ($1.5 billion). On a personal front, I’ve got four wonderful kids. The oldest son is studying for a doctorate in mathematics at Michigan. I have a daughter who is a junior at Swarthmore and another who is going to Middlebury in the fall. I have one more boy in 9th grade, my last chance to get one of my kids to look at Penn and maybe Sigma Chi. My wife and I live in Wilmette, Illinois a few blocks from Lake Michigan and about a mile from Sigma Chi’s national headquarters. I teach an MBA class at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management called “International Real Estate”…it’s a lot of fun.

Who do you stay connected with in your alumni years? Are there any brothers you've lost touch with whom you'd like to reconnect? I’ve lost touch with a lot of the brothers from the '70s, but would like to get back in contact with all of them.

Why would you encourage other brothers to engage with Sigma Chi in their alumni years? It makes sense to give back to the Chapter that supported us in our undergraduate years. Sigma Chi gave us all a terrific home base on a crowded, urban campus. The brotherhood appreciates sharing leadership experiences as undergrads, in business and in life.

What is the best thing about your alumni experience? The Sigma Chi network here in Chicago is incredibly strong. It’s been fun getting to know some of the brothers from the Big Ten schools, as well as helping re-start a chapter at the University of Chicago.

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