Once a Phi Delt, Always a Phi Delt

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Bill Koenig '68 Reflects on the Strong Bond of Brotherhood

When Bill Koenig ’68 joined Ohio Zeta, one characteristic made him stand out among the rest of his pledge class—he was older than the others, starting school after serving three years in the Army. While all of his classmates from high school were seniors, Bill was just starting out as a freshman on campus. For Bill, it would have been easy to reunite with his classmates, as many of them were members of the Sigma Chi Chapter, but he decided to follow in his brother’s footsteps and join Phi Delta Theta.

“My older brother was in his fifth year in the School of Architecture at Ohio State University and was a Phi Delt,” he says. “I chose Phi Delt primarily because of the diversity of the members. We had scholars, athletes, musicians, and just regular students with a vast array of backgrounds and interests.”

Bill knew that coming in as a 21-year-old freshman would set him apart from his other brothers, but he quickly realized that being part of the fraternity was beneficial to his overall college experience.

“As an older freshman, Phi Delt gave me an identity on the huge OSU campus, which would not otherwise have been possible,” Bill says. “It opened so many doors and opportunities to me that I would have missed without the backing of the fraternity.”

The unity and devotion that he found at Phi Delta Theta was exemplified by the actions of his brothers, particularly during a time of crisis for one of them.

“One of our members, Dick Maxwell ’64, was paralyzed during an intramural football game,” he recalls. “The response of the entire fraternity was incredible, yet none of us saw it as anything but doing what needed to be done.”

And the long-term relationships and dedication to their fellow brother extended well past graduation.

“This kind of support continued for literally decades until Dick passed away a few years ago after a remarkably inspiring and productive life,” he says. “This was simply a confirmation of the quality and strength of the bond of Phi Delta Theta.”

Bill attended OSU from 1962 through 1968, but only two of those years were spent as an undergrad.

“I was fortunate enough to be admitted to Ohio State’s School of Dentistry after only two years of undergrad,” he says.  

During his time at OSU, Bill was active in the fraternity, serving as Rush Chairman after his freshman year and remained as involved as possible throughout dental school.

“The demands of dental school certainly limited my Phi Delt time, but it was still a significant part of my life,” he says.

Upon graduation, Bill practiced Pediatric Dentistry for nearly a decade before entering Orthodontic Residency at Case Western Reserve University and earning a Master’s Degree in Orthodontics in 1980. Married to his wife, Judie, for 43 years before she passed away, Bill has two children, Kari and Andy, six grandchildren, and is proud to have passed the appreciation of Greek Life to his son, who is also a 1996 OSU graduate and a member of Ohio Zeta.

Concerned that today’s youth don’t understand the value of fraternity life, Bill continues to contribute to Phi Delta Theta in the hopes that others may share in the experience that he had.

 “For some, a caricatured, satirized, and highly inaccurate representation of fraternities in general may have caused the Greek system to lose some of its appeal,” he clarifies. “For others, the notion of a group of college students dedicated to each other and to improving the world around them seems a little corny. But, these are the things which make Ohio Zeta great, and I hope they can continue to become even greater. As you know, once you’re a Phi, you are always a Phi for the rest of your life.”