Chi Phi Has History in Shaping the Lives of Brothers

Taken last summer in Surfside Beach, SC on the day Scott and Julie got engaged. Front (Left to Right):  Grace, Kirsten, Emma, Olivia Back:  Julie and Scott

The fraternity provided Scott Ackerman, ’94, just what he needed to find his place at Penn State

When many of the incoming PSU freshman were pledging to fraternities the fall of 1990, Scott Ackerman took a back seat to the action. Sitting out his first semester gave him the chance to truly explore his options. “The fact that I decided not to rush and pledge during my first semester gave me an opportunity to learn more about each fraternity,” he explains. “Once it came time to Rush in the spring, I can say there was one overriding factor regarding Chi Phi: there was a clear sense that this group of young men genuinely cared for one another.”

From the start, Scott felt drawn to Chi Phi because of its physical structure, but that certainly wasn’t the only reason he was glad to join the brotherhood. “There are a million reasons, in retrospect, as to why Chi Phi was the right choice for me. I was initially drawn because of the architecture and beauty of the house itself.” But after making the easy decision to choose Chi Phi, Scott immediately knew that within those walls, he had found a home. “I got the feeling that this would be the group of guys that would help shape my experience at Penn State and make lasting memories,” he recalls.

And plenty of memories were made. For Scott, some of his most cherished are the simple things, and a few shenanigans, he will admit. “I spent two full years in the house and had an amazing experience!” he exclaims. “The list can go on forever, but a few special memories that come to mind are the front porch gatherings, Club Room football games, hot tub happy hours, roof jumping during snow storms, the 3-tap keg parties that never shut off, midnight golf course runs, and the brotherhood.”

Scott recalls his time in the house with deep fondness and encourages others to immerse themselves fully within the fraternity. “Living in the house gives every young man an opportunity to live in a social and educational environment, developing skills that will carry on into your professional life,” he advises. “There is never a day or night where there isn’t an opportunity to go to a Penn State game or activity, join a few of your brothers in celebration, or just happy hour. You will learn to prioritize your life, set aside time to study, and have a healthy social-educational experience.

Academically, Chi Phi played a large role in Scott’s success in school. “Chi Phi, as a whole, was supportive of academic excellence,” he says. “That was evidenced by hiring Dr. Frank Downing as a counselor to every Chi Phi member, whether they were living in the house or elsewhere.” Scott recalls each brother having regular meetings with Dr. Downing, and how he helped steer the brothers towards specific tutors, when assistance was needed. “Dr. Downing was a mentor, scholar, leader, and friend to every Chi Phi brother,” he fondly states.

In addition to grades, Chi Phi influenced Scott in ways that can’t be learned from a textbook or in a classroom. “Chi Phi taught me how to have a healthy balance in life. There was never a lack of opportunity to have a good time, but every brother had to independently learn how to prioritize their life and become responsible adults,” he asserts. “You had to be accountable for your actions, which continues throughout life after college. We learned how to be respectful, responsible contributors to society.”

Taking those lessons into his career, Scott found success in professional sports before starting his own company. “I spent 16 years as a Strength and Conditioning Coach in the NFL (Redskins) and MLB (Nationals), along with ownership of two Health and Wellness Centers in Northern Virginia. Today, I am now the Co-Founder and CEO of a company called CoreSyte, Inc., which is a biotechnology startup that designs, develops, and manufactures real-time, non-invasive biosensors which monitor human biometrics through sweat.”

“Chi Phi, as a whole, was supportive of academic excellence,”

While work keeps him busy, Scott is also a proud father, stepfather, and fiancé. “I have two children; Kirsten (11) and Landon (9). I recently got engaged to my fiancé, Julie, and am blessed with three step-daughters, Emma (16), Grace (15), and Olivia (12).”

Scott doesn’t forget his brothers, however, and maintains contact with a few on a regular basis: Brian Tupa, Greg, Nickischer, Chris Flick, and Chad Levant. “Brian was my little brother at Chi Phi, and we now live about an hour away from each other. He and I get our families together for cookouts, trips to the lake, weddings, or Penn State football games,” he says. As for the others, he and Greg share a common passion for motorsports racing and attend NASCAR and sports car racing events together. The rest are mostly in touch through email and social media.

When he returns to his old stomping grounds for home football games, Scott makes sure to stop by the house and check in. While he has contributed financially to the chapter in the past, he feels that he has more to give, if he knows that Chi Phi will continue in the right direction. “I shared some of the same resistance as other alumni, after a few years of disrespect and disrepair by the residing brothers,” he admits. “I would be motivated to donate as long as I know that the current and future path of Chi Phi is on a trajectory of oversight, combined by a level of respect and responsibility by the current brotherhood.”

As for the current brothers, Scott can now offer sound, experienced advice, some that they would all be wise to take to heart. “Enjoy every moment at Chi Phi and Penn State. Learn, prosper, discover, be kind, show respect, be a leader, stay fit, set a positive example for others to follow, be confident, volunteer, mentor and help others, be neighborly, and treat women with respect.”

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