Donald Kennel ’78 On Beta Gamma and Life after Graduation

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We recently had the opportunity to speak with Donald Kennel ’78 and ask him about his time at Penn State and his journey through life since graduation.

What made you choose Phi Kappa Theta over other Penn State fraternities?
I chose Phi Kappa Theta over other Penn State fraternities because the brothers were a very diverse group. They all came from different backgrounds and academic focuses. Another reason is that Phi Kappa Theta was big into fun, social programs including THON. I wanted to be able to focus on academics while also having a good time. Coming from a small town in New Jersey, I was proud to be able to call myself a brother of the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity. My involvement in the fraternity made it easier transferring from a small town to a huge campus that is Penn State. I developed close, long-term relationships and thought it was quite the benefit of being a Phi Kappa Theta brother.

What is one memory you have of being a brother that you will never forget?
Who doesn’t love the “Great Pumpkin” from Charlie Brown? I sure did! During my pledge days, I acted on this. I thought that it was a great idea to keep a giant pumpkin in the house fridge and use it when needed around Halloween. All of the memories I have make me appreciate everything Phi Kappa Theta and being a brother stood for. After I graduated, the chapter dissolved and I was very disappointed. At this point, I believed that it was a great time to give back to the fraternity and try to help.

Why do you decide to support Beta Gamma this year?
I believe it was a great time to give back to the fraternity and try to help keep it going. I will never forget how important it was when I was an undergraduate. The people and memories I was connected with during my time there were timeless, and I feel it is really important to keep it going for future generations.

Speaking of these future generations, what advice do you have for future generations of brothers?
When meeting new people, make sure to really embrace them and learn something new or interesting about them. All interactions are valuable and it is nice to really get to know someone. I take great pride in my involvement with Phi Kappa Theta and believe that everyone should take part in their alumni years because it is great to be able to see the evolution of the fraternity through the years.

Similarly, what advice would you give the younger you?
Looking back at myself as a college-aged student and thinking of things I would possibly change, I would tell myself to study more (particularly for Chemistry) and buy stock in Apple because it was not really expensive back then, but it would have been quite beneficial nowadays to have done so.

What do you do for fun now living in Maine?
I thoroughly enjoy skiing in the winter and boating in the summer. Between the two, boating is my favorite because it allows me to get away for a few days at a time.

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

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