“Bearded Scott” Hillen ’97
Want to know something about Delta Chi at Michigan? Brother “Bearded Scott” Hillen ’97 is your guy. A former “C,” Scott took on the task — as an undergraduate — to publish the history of our chapter since its start. That gift, alone, is one that DX will treasure for many generations. Today, Scott works in Ann Arbor the manager of technical operations supporting several of national parks. His recollections of his DX days are vast and give us all an authentic trip down memory lane. “The thing that makes me the proudest about being a member of Delta Chi is that it truly is a brotherhood of a lifetime. We have roots on campus going all the way back to 1892, and the amount of time most brothers are active in the chapter is only a few years. Yet, those experiences of that short time frame have a commonality and resonance that extend far beyond just that short window in time in everyone’s lives.” Here’s Scott’s story in his own words:
“During the time I was at Delta Chi (Fall 1995 to Spring 1997) we had about 20-25 active members. It was a time where we were struggling to keep our membership up and not just get people in the door as brothers but stay on with the chapter and contribute. When I first came to campus, it was not in my plan to join a fraternity whatsoever. I was introduced to Delta Chi by Kyle Wolfe ’97, whom I had met during my freshman year and kept in touch with following that. I found our group of guys to be friendly. What I really liked about Delta Chi was its informality — joining was not a high-pressure situation; it was more like just gaining a new group of friends. It definitely did not match my notions of what joining a fraternity would be, but in a good way.
Not knowing anyone else, I wasn’t completely sure what I was getting myself into and was pretty reserved by nature. Over time, as I got to know everyone better, I became more comfortable with the idea of joining a fraternity and with our group. I’ve never regretted it. Despite the numbers, I remember a lot of people who were dedicated to improving the Michigan chapter and even though we didn’t always agree on the best course, they had the chapter’s best interest at heart. Even with people who might have disagreed on things, I feel overall we still all had a good rapport with each other.
When I first joined the house, there were already two brothers named Scott (Scott Waligora ’97 and Scott Waclawik ’96), so they called me “Bearded Scott” since at that time, as you might suspect, I had a beard. It was a way to differentiate us. I shaved it off the summer after I joined the house, but I still do have my freshman U of M ID card with the bearded version of me.
I did live in the house for my senior year. I lived at Dudley’s Garage in the basement with Bryan Cole ’97 during the fall semester of 1996, and then at Penthouse up on the third floor with Greg Folsom ’99 during the winter semester of 1997. After school finished up that spring, I stayed on and lived in Penthouse until the end of the summer. I remember hanging out with everyone on a daily basis, sharing meals, going out, hosting parties (especially Beach Bash) and being involved with the executive board of the chapter while serving as the “C.” As the “C,” I would send out the “quotes of the meeting” and “fun facts” as part of our executive board and chapter meeting minutes to try and keep people interested and engaged in what was going on at the house.
During that year, I was trying to think of something I could do to give back to the chapter, since it had given so much value to me. It occurred to me that as the “C,” I had all of the records at my disposal to write up a chapter history to summarize not just what occurred during my time at the chapter but since the start. As a history major, I had a natural interest. I think it took maybe about six months to get everything together and publish it. When I heard about the new chapter house being planned, I pulled it out and read it. I was still pleased that something I had written when I was in my early 20s still read pretty well. I was happy that we were able to find out more about the history of our chapter house prior to Delta Chi moving in and hope the information in the chapter history is corrected to reflect it. I’m excited with the growth in our chapter following the recolonization that we now have more stories to add. Of course, now when I am in a meeting, no one wants to take notes. I never tell them that I was once the Recording Secretary of the Year at our fraternity, or else I’d probably get stuck with it permanently.
My memories of those days are vast.
- Walking back to my dorm at 3:00 a.m. smelling like a brewery after the obligatory beer shower as an associate member during our “Ring the Bell” party.
- Walking back in the middle of an ice storm after needing to come to the house in the evening during my pledge term (I was practically doing the splits trying not to slide down every driveway as I was trying to make my way back since it is very hilly near the house). All of the cars in the parking lot at the house wound up sliding together.
- During initiation week with my Kappa class brothers (Mike Pettigrew ’97, Craig Wolfangel ’97 and Tom Hartl ’96), we were “asked” to clean the house from top to bottom. It’s not that the brothers had made a mess of the house intentionally for us to clean up; it was just something they wanted us to do. I remember that at the time, several brothers were genuinely concerned and asked us if we were ok with it, since Delta Chi has a very strict no-hazing policy. We hadn’t been hazed at that point, and it became even clearer to me that they really meant it.
- Of course, when living at the house, I always enjoyed playing a game of pool, or ping pong, or just hanging out. The house rule was if you got skunked in a game of pool, you had to run around the house naked. Luckily, I do not remember that actually taking place (or maybe it did and I blocked it out of my memory).
- During the year, we only had one co-event with a sorority that I remember, and we went on a scavenger hunt around Ann Arbor. I had a car, so I was the designated driver for our team of four. During the course of the evening, I managed to get pulled over not once but twice (once for an illegal right turn on red, and once for speeding). I think I have had two tickets in the 18 years since combined. Needless to say, we finished last in getting back to the house. It was not a very suave moment.
- During the 1996 Michigan hockey season, the Wolverines made it to the Frozen Four in Cincinnati after many attempts, and several of us had season tickets. We all sat together. Many of the brothers in our group went, but since it was the end of the school year and I was light on funds, I couldn’t afford the tickets. Of course, I watched on TV, and they won the championship in overtime. The following year, they made the Frozen Four again, and I was determined not to miss it. So, Craig Wolfangel and I got tickets, and we drove all the way to Milwaukee to see them repeat. Of course, they lost in the first game. We didn’t even go to the championship. That was a long, disappointing ride home!
- On Monday nights during football season, we would go to the Touchdown Café every week and watch Monday Night Football. They had a contest using the trivia boxes where you had to predict what the next play of the game would be (either a run or pass, and the distance). The more you got consecutively right a row, the more points you would get. Jamie Williams ’95, Jason Earnhart ’96 and I also participated in a Quiz Bowl competition representing Delta Chi and won the whole competition. We were so good that one of the other teams threw down their buzzers in disgust.
- Despite not being the most talkative person, I remember talking for about 45 minutes straight at our final chapter meeting about my time at the house, how I wasn’t sure about joining (and considered de-pledging at one point) and how happy I was that I did join for life.
My undergraduate degree was in history and political science, but after I graduated from school, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do. I worked summers at Henry Ford Museum & Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Mich., while I was in college. I worked in Visitor Services, selling admission tickets and working in customer service at the front of the museum and various locations in the village. At that time, a new museum was opening up on the same site called the Automotive Hall of Fame, which honored influential people in the development and growth of the auto industry. After leaving Ann Arbor, I returned home and lived with my parents (in Brownstown Township, Mich. — about 50 minutes from Ann Arbor). At this point, I moved over to the Hall of Fame as the supervisor of the “First Impressions” department, which was basically the front-line staff for the museum. I used the time to save up for a place of my own. During that time, an opportunity opened up where my father had inherited his uncle’s home which is in Allen Park, Mich. (just outside Detroit, about 40 minutes east of Ann Arbor). We worked for about a year to modernize it and fix things up as it had been neglected for some time. I eventually moved in. After first renting the home, I was eventually able to buy it. I’ve continued to live there for the last 15 and a half years.
After working at the Automotive Hall of Fame for two years, I decided to switch gears and had the opportunity to join TechTeam Global, Inc., in Southfield, Mich. TechTeam (now Stefanini, Inc.) is an IT services company that provides help desk and deskside support services for companies looking to outsource those functions to a third-party vendor. I started as help desk support and after about six months moved into a managerial role, having a team of 25-50 support technicians. I worked on several different large accounts with the company (Liberty Mutual Insurance, Ford Motor, Chrysler, Sears, and Ernst & Young) in a managerial role for the next 14 years.
In September 2013, I moved to Camis Inc. which is located in Ann Arbor about a block from campus. So, after being away from Ann Arbor for 16 years, I am back there on a daily basis. It is not uncommon for me to head over to the Michigan Union for lunch and pick up a copy of the Michigan Daily to read while I am eating, just like when I was in school. Camis is a software company that works with federal, state and local parks services to provide them tools to manage their operations. It is headquartered in Canada, where they have contracts with several provincial parks and Parks Canada. Camis opened up an office in the US in the spring of 2013 after getting a contract to support Michigan State Parks. I came on board to launch our US technical support center, which works with park staff to resolve any problems or questions they have regarding our software. After becoming acclimated with Michigan, we were also given the responsibility of supporting Washington State Parks. In September of this year, I became the manager of all of our technical support operations in both the US and Canada. As part of our support, we have the opportunity to go on annual field visits to all of our locations to set up equipment and perform system maintenance. Though it is nice to get out of the office, it is most definitely not a vacation. When we visit the parks, usually the only thing we see is the inside of the park or campground office and usually have to visit multiple locations in a day. It’s nice to get out on the road, though, and see parts of our state I’ve never seen. Camis Inc. is always looking for people who want to work in our reservations center, taking reservations for campsites in Michigan and Washington. It is typically part-time work and is of course highly seasonal, but we are open year-round. One of the reasons Camis is located in Ann Arbor is the availability of a student workforce that is local and can be flexible. If any current brothers have experience or are interested in customer service and are looking to pick up a part-time job to earn some extra money either during the school year or over the summer, they can reach out to me. We’re at 530 East Liberty in Ann Arbor (at the corner of Liberty and Maynard streets).
I’m currently not married nor have any kids, but my two nieces, ages 4 and 6, live in the same city I do (with my sister and brother-in-law), so I get to see them often. I very much like the chance to hang out with them, play games, read or pretty much do anything they have in mind. I’ve needed to be reprimanded on occasion to settle down as one of the “kids.” Once they get a little older, they’ll have their own friends to spend time with so I want to take advantage of as much time as I can and am very happy to be a part of their lives. The best part, of course, is that I can spend time with them and get them all cranked up, and then return to my quiet home.
I have always been a big sports fan and am into our four professional sports teams here in Detroit, and, of course, anything involving U of M. I’ve been to Lions, Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings games over the years in addition to Michigan football, basketball and hockey. After graduation, I participated in a fantasy baseball league that started up when I was still an active member of the chapter and has been going each season for about 18 years with several brothers. I haven’t participated in the past few years because my e-mail address changed and by the time I remember it, I’ve missed the deadline. I’d definitely like to get back to it.
I also like to travel and have taken road trips to the Western US several times over the past seven years, visiting nearly all of our national parks in that part of the country. I enjoy it because you’re not beholden to any time schedule (other than sunset), get to see lots of different parts of our country, get out in the outdoors and take a hike to see something interesting, and of course take pictures and enjoy some amazing scenery. This year, I changed direction and went to the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and Mammoth Cave in Kentucky. This fall, since I had to go to the Northwest on business, I was able to spend a few days sightseeing in central and northern California prior to heading up to Washington State. Eventually, I’d like to travel more overseas, but the US has a lot of interesting things to see and do all by itself.
On a personal level, my biggest success has been to be able to stay closely involved with my family and do my best to play a meaningful and active role in their lives. Professionally, my biggest success has been to be able to advance my career while still serving as a mentor to others, imparting upon them skills and tools to allow them to feel more fulfilled in what they are trying to accomplish. Probably my biggest regret is sticking with something too long, even if it isn’t working out as expected. You need to have a clock in your head and know when you have to draw the line and change direction if need be.
The thing that makes me the proudest about being a member of Delta Chi is that it truly is a brotherhood of a lifetime. We have roots on campus going all the way back to 1892, and the amount of time most brothers are active in the chapter is only a few years. Yet, those experiences of that short timeframe have a commonality and resonance that extend far beyond just that short window in time in everyone’s lives. The time and effort that’s gone into securing our new chapter house, especially by many brothers who are several decades removed from that experience, bears that out.
My advice to my younger brothers would be to really take advantage of the opportunities afforded to you being in Ann Arbor. There is always so much going on — on campus and in the community as a whole. Sometimes I will pick up a copy of the UM Record (which is for university faculty and staff) and in the back, there is a calendar of events, exhibitions and lectures happening on campus. As a student, I had no idea was going on, but now that I am reading about them, I am envious that I did not take advantage of them when I had the chance. As a student, it is so easy to get caught up in the day-to-day of going to class and of course taking advantage of opportunities that being a member of Delta Chi offers. It’s important to still keep an eye out for other things happening around campus. We are very lucky that Ann Arbor is a magnet for people in all disciplines from all over the world who want to come to campus and share their experiences and knowledge with students. In addition to having fun and taking advantage of the university experience, it’s also important to think about what you want your next steps and goals to be beyond those four years and use the time to prepare for them.
As I think ahead to the future, I’d like people to remember me as someone who contributed positively to their life experience, either with a valuable piece of advice, a funny or memorable story, a smile or encouragement in a time of need or any positive circumstance that would make them want to remember me 50 years after the fact!”
Brothers can connect with Scott at [email protected] or 313-550-4107 (mobile).