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Don Schreiber Shares his Lifelong Experience with Beta Pi Chapter

In 2017, Brother Don Schreiber ’47 will celebrate 70 years of being a member of Pi Kappa Alpha.

Don describes his membership simply. “My experience at Beta Pi gave me a bunch of true friendships that I’ve maintained a long time,” he says.

That couldn’t be truer. Don, who will turn 88 in September, attends Founders’ Day each year. He’s also been a regular attendee at a couple smaller reunions.

Left to Right: Tom James, Joe Hess, Dick Sheridan, Bruce Wolfson, Al Ford, and Harry Schaub

“At one point, we had about 25 alumni brothers who met once a year on the second Friday in December for lunch,” he explains. “We bounced around different hotels until 1985. Then we settled on the Union League. It was held there for many years, but 11 years ago, we moved to Merion Cricket Club. Last year (2015) was the first year in many that the event didn’t take place.”

Don feels confident that it will recommence this year. The event was originally mostly for 1950s era graduates, but over the years, younger alumni have joined the group.

Don is also part of a smaller group of brothers, along with spouses, who hold an annual meal.

“We started to have dinner from house to house which included spouses and that’s continued for a lot of years,” he says. “I was the host last year. I’m a widower, so it was not held at my house. We met at my club for a luncheon instead of dinner because too many people attending don’t drive at night now.”

During Don’s time, the makeup of the house was quite different from what brothers of other decades may have experienced.

Left To Right: Rich Myers, Nick Chimicles, Stan Serocca, Ed Laquer, Ray Kaelin, Justin Levine, and Dave Edman

“I started at Penn in the fall of 1946,” he explains. “It was a very different situation then. The war had ended in August of 1945, and this was the first class nationally benefiting from the GI Bill. The majority of people entering Penn were returning veterans, so many of the brothers were married and had children.

 During that time, all meals were available at the house, and the brothers—both boarders and commuters—usually ate there.

Don remembers his time there fondly, and he makes a point to support the organization to ensure the vitality of the chapter.

“I donate to a lot of organizations, including my church, my prep school, hospitals, Penn, and other charities each year,” he says. “Beta Pi Chapter is one of many because I think it is the right thing to do.”

“My predecessors at Penn were contributors, so I felt I should give back as well,” he continued. “I know the founders of the chapter were very active as far as being there on Founders’ Day. They were successful people—attorneys, bank presidents, and such—and they certainly made it clear that it was important to give back. Many of the brothers from my era have been big contributors—they have given back to fraternity and the house. In fact, without a couple of them, the house wouldn’t be there today. When the university, in its expansion, took over our house and tore it down, Joseph P. Moore Jr. ’45 found the new location and architects, negotiated with Penn, and sought contributions to re-establish it. It would never have happened without him and others.”

After graduating from Penn, Don spent two years in the Army. Following, he was married to his late wife Betty Anne in 1954. Don dated her through college, and though she didn’t study at Penn, she attended many events on campus and was named Beta Pi’s PiKA Dream Girl during Don’s senior year.

Left To Right: Eric Hoffman, John Allen, Joe Livezey, Jack Walden, Frank Bates, Don Schreiber, and Andrew Rubin

After his two-year stint in the Army, Don went to work for Philco, an electronics and appliance manufacturer. He spent 11 years with the company in sales, and he was transferred many times, living and working in the Midwest. 

Living in Indiana, Don then worked for the Norge Appliance Division of Borg-Warner Corporation, which was later purchased by Fedders Corporation. He declined a promotion to Chicago and resigned to move back to the Philadelphia area where he became a life insurance agent in 1969 and still continues that work today.

“I’m in business for myself, I’m not an employee,” he says. “As an agent, you can work as hard as you want to work and you can keep working. I enjoy coming to the office and I enjoy my clients. I have a lot who are really friends and I know their families. Why stop? It keeps me out of trouble and my health is reasonably good. I play golf and enjoy my sailboat and my little Boston Whaler.”

Don has three sons, a daughter, and seven grandchildren. His oldest son, Rick, graduated from Penn and Beta Pi in 1977. His father graduated from Wharton/Penn and his grandfather from Penn Medicine.

“I certainly enjoy anything to do with Penn and have enjoyed my longtime relationship with Beta Pi and Pi Kappa Alpha,” Don says.