Alumni Profiles

Wilson Cooper ‘59

Brother Wilson Cooper ‘59 refers to his time as an NC Beta as an “unusually supportive environment that saw me out of my teens and into my twenties.” Since he graduated from UNC, Brother Cooper married Sue Fagen, traveled all over Europe and worked as a mathematician for the Navy. Now, he and his wife are retired, but still finding ways to give back to their community. Click below to hear more about what this alumnus has been up to in his own words.

Read more: Wilson Cooper ‘59

John Duckett '09 on Developing Long-Lasting Friendships

Thank you to John Duckett ’09 for participating in this Q&A…

What is your favorite Phi Delta tradition? Why?
White Cocktail. It marks the beginning of springtime in Chapel Hill and it never failed to surpass people's high expectations.

What do you miss most about attending UNC?
I miss having all of my closest friends in one town. After graduation you rely on football weekends, weddings and black tie events to see everyone from school. I took for granted things like having dinner with 20 fun guys every night in Johnny J's dining room, or always having pickup basketball games in the parking lot after class. 

In what ways is the fraternity experience still relevant for today’s student?
I believe the experience is based on developing long-lasting friendships and making a positive impact on the school community through service opportunities. I think those fundamental tenants will be attractive to incoming students for a long time.

What movie would describe your fraternity experience?
I need Charles Hodges to provide a witty answer here. No clue.

What’s new in your life today?
I am currently living in Charlotte, NC but hope to be back on campus in the fall of 2014 to pursue an MBA degree with a concentration in real estate.

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Billy Aiken '72 -- Phi Delt Members Make a Difference in Community

Thank you to Billy Aiken ’72 for participating in this Q&A.

Why did you join Phi Delt as an undergraduate?
I knew little about fraternities when I began college.  I had friends that did and I went through rush with them second semester since we could not do so in the fall.  I joined Phi Delt because of those friends and the people I met at the house.   They were an impressive group; engaged in many things in and out of the classroom and I felt fortunate to be asked to join.  

What is the funniest memory from your Phi Delt days?
I don’t know if there’s one funniest memory, but one that comes to mind is the time an unnamed pledge brother decided to transport himself down West Franklin in a Fowler’s grocery cart.

Have you visited Chapel Hill graduation? 
Yes, I have visited regularly and have had two sons go there.  I have been involved in the Morehead program, Phi Delt, the Board of Visitors and other UNC activities.  Our class gets together regularly, and has had several reunions.  Number 40 is coming up this year.

What about your membership in Phi Delt makes you the most proud?
 Many things come to mind, particularly the lifelong friendships I made during my time there and the contributions that people from the Phi Delt house have made not only during their years at Chapel Hill, but also in the years after graduation.  It’s a remarkable group of people.

Do you have any Spring Break or road trip stories with your brothers?
Again, many come to mind – “riding” to Hollins with Hacker (sometimes in the median), driving to Aspen with Saenger and Coe and driving all night with Snake  to the beach who knew how to  arrive just in time for the sun to come up Saturday morning.   

Share a story of a recent reunion or plans for an upcoming one with your Phi Delt brothers:
Last fall we joined in a reunion for the classes of ’70, ’71 (its 40th) and ’72.  It was great to see everyone, some of whom I have not seen in a while.  This reunion was particularly memorable because Bill Robbins ’70, who had been going through difficult health issues, came all the way from the Rocky Mount to be there.  Unfortunately, he passed away not long after the reunion, but to have him there was genuinely moving.  

How would your life be different today if you had never joined Phi Delt?
My life would be less rich in the sense of friendships that have been a positive influence on me.  I feel like I’m a better person in terms of how I go about my life because of the particularly close friendships I made at Phi Delt.

Where has life taken you since graduation? What's new in your life today?
Life has taken me to a wonderful marriage to Ann, law school, a federal judge clerkship, law practice and many community and school related activities. Also, our first grandchild was born in late 2011.

Why would you encourage other brothers to engage with Phi Delt in their alumni years?
To continue the friendships we made and to pass on to the extent possible the value of relationships with other people and the importance of making positive contributions to the university and to the communities in which you live. 

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