Virginia Tech–Bachelor of Science in Economics, 1982
Current City: Olney, Maryland
Hometown: Silver Spring, Maryland
Initiated in 1982
Served as Worthy Scribe while working towards his Master of History degree, and Worthy Grand Associate Architect
Worthy Grand Architect-Elect
Maggie Kleinman: What made you join Alpha Rho Chi?
Phil Buckberg: I had three best friends in college, one of whom was an architecture major. One of them joined Alpha Rho Chi during his junior year. I continued to hang out with him and the brothers of the Metagenes Chapter, and I basically felt like I was a part of them, without being a brother. During January of my senior year I received a bid and was shocked. I didn’t understand why they would want an Econ major as a part of their architecture and allied arts fraternity, nor did I ever see myself as part of a fraternity. But–I loved the people, and I figured, ”why not?” I’m graduating soon, and if it turns out I don’t like it, I don’t have to be a part of it any more. I love these people. So I accepted.
MK: So you graduated… And then what?
PB: I graduated and worked for a year, and then I realized I really missed the chapter, so I went back to graduate school at Virginia Tech, mostly so I could continue to be involved with the chapter. After a year and a half of classes spread among the Master of History track, teaching and other classes of interest, and a bad back, I withdrew from the program. After the Convention at Andronicus in ‘84, at a time when Alumni Associations were not very popular, Brother Lisa and I thought it was important to have this alumni representation and restarted the Metagenes Alumni Association.
MK: What keeps you coming back to Alpha Rho Chi?
PB: So, I remained very active with the fraternity until 1995, when I found out that my wife and I were expecting Emily, our first born. Now, I can say there are two things that keep me coming back to Alpha Rho Chi. First, Kim Clark. For an extended period of time, if you went through Metagenes, you knew Kim. He kept people together. In 2007, the Metagenes Chapter decided to present him with the Pop Ely award at their Founder’s Day celebration, so I planned on going down for this recognition. This celebration happened to be scheduled immediately after the Virginia Tech shooting. During a time when the campus was almost completely evacuated, the student brothers asked us to come to show some normalcy in such a hard time. I proceeded to go, and we went about our business. Walking around the campus I really felt a connection to the school and the fraternity. I was reminded of the brothers that I love and the bonds that I had here.
The second reason starts with Maryland Day. I was taking Emily around the University of Maryland Mall, and we came across the tent for the Olynthius Colony–I was so excited to see that University of Maryland was finally going to have a chapter! So Emily’s involvement and the Olynthius Chapter keeps me coming back–how could I not love a chapter that loves my daughter almost as much as I do?
MK: What do you think is different about the Fraternity today than when you were a student brother?
PB: Technology. It’s amazing how easy it is for brothers to stay connected nowadays and how social media can be used to foster those relationships. Before, I would see people at convention and then chapter visits. Now, I come home from Convention with 50 Facebook friend requests, and everyone knows what everyone else is doing. On the other hand, the brothers are still exactly the same.
MK; What excites you about Alpha Rho Chi?
PB: It’s all about the people. You join something that isn’t your family, yet it is your family. Alpha Rho Chi is something we all believe in, and it is always about the people involved.
MK: What is your favorite Alpha Rho Chi tradition?
PB: At Metagenes, after any party we had, at the end of the party when it was mostly only brothers left, we would get in a circle and sing motown. I was a part of these even before I was a brother. It was funny–you wouldn’t leave until most of the people left because you didn’t want to miss the motown singing.
MK: What is your secret ingredient in your famous brownies?
PB: Extra chocolate: there is no such thing as too much chocolate.
MK: How do you feel about the title “Worthy Grand Dad”?
PB: I’d be honored to be the Worthy Grand Dad: I think it’d even be cooler than being “Worthy Grand Architect.” You know, I am a dad first, and a brother second… Yeah that’s pretty cool.