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Twice the Impact, Twice the Fun with Beta PiRick Heaslip '74 is enjoying the Pike alumni experience twofold. Not only is he an active participant in our thriving alumni association, but he recently stepped up to serve as the Beta Pi faculty advisor, a position required by the university, thanks to his affiliated faculty position in Organizational Dynamics at Penn. In this Q&A Rick shares more about his PiKA undergraduate experience, how his volunteer role has helped him to reconnect with the chapter, and the lasting memories he has from his fraternity days.

Why did you join PiKA as an undergraduate?
Joining PiKA was an easy decision for me. Like many Penn freshmen, I initially rushed fraternities in search of a fun social life. I looked at many houses – but PiKA was different from the others. The brothers at PiKA seemed to share a bond that went deeper than that of other houses. They were a diverse group that seemed to respect their differences, and to find a way to highlight the best in everyone. I quickly made new friends there, and found that my friends were welcome too – there were six of us who joined PiKA from my dorm floor that year.

Tell us a bit about your affiliated faculty position at Penn.
I actually started teaching at Penn quite by accident – more as a hobby than a profession. I was working as a Vice President of Project and Portfolio Management in the pharmaceutical industry when I become interested in exploring how one could best teach program leadership at the college level. After discussing it with the faculty in Penn's Organizational Dynamics group, we worked together to design a course for that purpose. I have been teaching Program Leadership Skills and Systems for seven years now, mostly to working executives who are pursuing a Master's degree in Organizational Dynamics.

Why are you volunteering to serve as the chapter's faculty advisor?
It's a great opportunity to grow closer to the chapter and its alumni. I look forward to helping the chapter improve its academic focus, and also to providing the brothers with some "real world" advice on how to integrate their academic interests with their career choices – and how to leverage all the great opportunities that Penn provides.

What are your goals for the chapter as faculty advisor?
I would like to focus on helping the chapter members understand how best to leverage their education when pursuing their post-Penn careers. In a world that is changing quickly, it is important that they recognize not only the depth of what they have studied, but also the breadth of what it has prepared them for.

How can alumni help the chapter reach those goals?
Alumni can probably best help the chapter members reach these goals by offering them the benefit of their vast experience. I would hope that those who have accumulated interesting stories and learned life's great lessons will take the time to share them with their brothers at Beta Pi.

Why would you encourage other Beta Pi Pikes to get involved in their alumni years?
It's a great way to reconnect with their brothers – old and young – and relive some of the excitement from their college years.

Tell us more about your life outside of Penn and PiKA (family, hobbies, etc.).
I married my wife Julie (whom I met at Penn) shortly after completing my postdoctoral training. We've been married for 29 years and just sent our third child off to college. We are now trying to figure out what "empty nesters" do. I'm also waiting to see what life as an author brings; I've written a book based on my teaching at Penn (just released!), and I'm anxious to see whether anyone finds it interesting enough to buy!

Brothers can email Rick at richardjheaslip@gmail.com to reconnect.