Mike Friel '77- When I Met The Current Brothers at Psi Chapter, I Was Impressed"

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Brother Mike Friel '77 on life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Q; Why did you join Psi Chapter in the first place?

Friel: “I was a live-in in the spring of 1975.  I already knew Bill Slugg ‘74Chris Teaf ‘75Russ Hatton ‘78 & his brother “Boring” Bruce Hatton ‘78 from our days as members of Paoli Troop #1 of Wayne PA.  I was having a lot of fun living in the house and my future brothers were great guys and since I had always planned to join a fraternity I accepted when President Dave Beck gave me a bid.  Besides, I figured it would be much easier pledging as a live-in since I would not have to haul ass from East Halls to the news agency to get the morning papers.”

Q: What’s your favorite memory from your time in the chapter? 

Friel: “Cannot say in print. I did truly enjoy our pledge trip and I loved Wednesday night rush tap. Being in college in the mid 1970’s was about as good as it gets. Do I hear an Amen Brother?      

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

Friel: “In touch with many from the classes of ‘75, ‘76, ‘77, ‘78 and beyond. The bond that exists between the guys (and their families) 40 years later is something truly special. Back in the 1980’s Mark “Denk” Denkowski ‘77 and Sean Lacy ‘78 lived with me at one time or another on the Main Line.  Also, one of my best friends in the world is Brother Jim Drylie ‘43 of Doylestown, PA. We met at an auction in New England back around 1990 and have been pals ever since.”        

Q: Tell us about your job title and what you do.

Friel: “I am the owner and President of three different structural bolt manufacturing & distribution companies, located in PA & IL. If you see heavy steel construction going up in the air, hopefully the bolts are from one of my companies.  At the end of the day, I’m just a bolt & nut guy.”  

Q: How did your time in Psi Chapter help to prepare you for that role? 

Friel: “Being a member of a fraternity is a very strong lesson in living and working with folks with other backgrounds, beliefs, values, goals, you name it.  Living with these guys day and night and getting along with them is big in getting ready for what confronts you in real life.”    

Q: Tell us about your family/hobbies. 


Friel: “I have a wife Jennifer and two kids Lillian; 15, and Charlie; 13. We live in New Albany, OH which is in the heart of Buckeye territory. Not an easy place to live during football season.  My main hobby is driving to ice hockey practice/games/tournaments all over the Midwest and Canada. When time permits I prefer to be at our vacation house in Rock Hall, MD sailing the LIAHO or driving our ski boat, Slap Shot.  Drinking beer is always fun, too.”   

Q: What would you say is your biggest accomplishment? 

Friel: “Getting married and having a family. I think I surprised the whole brotherhood when it happened.  My kids are 13 and 15 and most of the guys from my era have grandkids now.” 

Q: What advice would you give to future generations of Phi Kappa Sigma Psi Chapter members?

Friel: “Go where you want to go and do what you want to do. I must say this; when I met the current group of men who are both brothers and pledges of Psi Chapter, I was impressed. I hope they are smart enough to know that the freedoms that exist in the U.S.A. do not exist elsewhere, and that life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness is what really counts. They will be facing some serious challenges in their futures and this country needs men who will tackle those challenges with the skills they have developed as Penn State Men of the Skull.”