Duncan Kretovich ’66: “No particular regrets…I’ve had a good run.”
Q: Describe the fraternity as you remember it in your time frame.
A: During my time, the fraternity house was a comfortable haven from the intense activity on campus and the anxiety of the labs. (I was a zoology major and the labs were intense because most students wanted to go to medical school.) Chem labs were the worst because they were much more difficult than the biology and physics labs. I just wanted to be a scientist. Returning to the house in the late afternoon was a relief. There was always someone to talk with who was going through the same courses.
Q: What are your fondest memories of being a Delta Chi at Michigan?
A: My fondest memories are of preparing for Michigras and toga parties, and maybe some midnight raids to Fingerle Lumber.
Q: Do you remember any incidents/funny stories from your DX days?
A: The most memorable incident was building the Viking ship float for Michigras. Then, the pledges had to get underneath it and push it all through the parade.
Another memorable story for me was the night we played some kind of dictionary game the evening JFK was assassinated. The game was the only way we could get through the shock of the events. Well, FJ got all bent out of shape when we lost on one question. He stormed out of the room to the sound of great rounds of laughter.
Q: Did you live in the house? Who were your roommates?
A: Yes, I lived in the house for several years. I think we called the room the “Tower Suite”. It was neither a tower nor a suite, but still a good room. I think my roommates were Ed Worth ’65 and Frank Morrey ’64.
Q: Did you have a nickname and if so, how did you get it?
A: I don’t think I had a nickname. Maybe “Dunc” was as close as I got.
Q: What about your membership in Delta Chi makes you the most proud?
A: The Delta Chi house was a “geek” house. I was happy to find a home, as I was and still am a geek. Most of us have had successful careers and lives, even though we were not the “cool guys”. I am still in touch with many of the brothers and look forward to gatherings to talk with others and find out what is going on in their lives.
Q: Do you stay in touch with your Delta Chi brothers?
A: Yes, there is a group of us who have recently gotten together in the fall around house events.
Q: What was your undergraduate degree? What was the first job you took after college?
A: My undergraduate degree was in biology and chemistry.
My first full-time real job after school was with the Ann Arbor Police Department, as hard as that may be to imagine. I never got on the street. My first rotation was in records; my biology training made me good in records and they never let me out!
Q: Did you go to graduate school? Who all have you worked for?
A: I discovered that my degree did not make me very marketable, except maybe to work at the Detroit Zoo! So after leaving the Police Department, I worked as a commercial lighting designer for a couple of years. I then completed an MBA at EMU, where I concentrated in accounting and finance. That training resulted in a position as an Assistant Controller at Dayton-Hudson, Inc., where I managed the capital budgeting function. I worked mostly in Detroit with frequent trips to Minneapolis. This was mostly in the early 1980s.
After a few years of corporate finance at Dayton-Hudson it was clear that we would be closing down the department store business and I didn’t want to go to the Target Division. So, I made another career change and returned to school. I earned a PhD in Accounting and Finance at Michigan State.
I took my first academic appointment at Northeastern University in Boston, my home town. My allegiance changed from the Bruins to the Redwings when I accepted a position the University of Michigan–Flint.
After a few years, Portland State University in Oregon made me an offer to become the Director of the New Graduate Accounting Program. I retired from that position in 2011. For several years I also served as the Academic Director of the University of Oregon’s Executive MBA program located in Portland.
Q: Where have you lived?
A: Since leaving undergrad school, I have lived in Ann Arbor and Flint, Mich.; Westboro, Mass. and Portland, Ore.
Q: Were you in the military?
A: No military service. I was drafted, but failed the draft physical due to a previously undetected heart defect.
Q: Tell us about your family and interests.
A: I have two daughters and two granddaughters. The older daughter, Mariah (41), was born in Ann Arbor and now lives in Windsor, Vt. She works for an insurance agency and specializes in antique and older cars. She has two daughters, Kayla and Ellynor.
My younger daughter, Katie (29), was born in Wellesley, Mass. She now lives in Durham, N.C. She followed the “old man” into the biology program at the University of Michigan, where she got her undergraduate degree. Last year she finished a PhD in cellular and molecular biology at Duke University and is now in a post-doc program at UNC Chapel Hill.
My wife, Donna, is an accounting professor at Portland State University. She went to the University of Oregon for her undergraduate and Cornell for her MBA and PhD. She plans to retire this June and start enjoying the good life.
Q: What hobbies do you have?
A: I do a little wood working and took up cowboy action shooting a few years ago. I also enjoy photography and am taking some art classes in drawing and painting – apparently no talent in those areas.
Q: Any volunteer work?
A: I have volunteered for Habitat for Humanity on building projects. I have also been a board member for a non-profit.
Q: Any illnesses you might like to share?
A: The heart defect that kept me out of the military was a bicuspid aortic valve. I have known for 40 years that eventually it would become a problem and require a surgical repair, which eventually arrived three years ago when I had extensive open heart surgery. The repair required a new aorta valve, a new mitral valve, an aorta graft and a double bypass. When I was told before the surgery that there was a 2-3% chance of having a stroke post-surgery, I figured those were pretty reasonable odds in my favor, but then two weeks after getting home from the surgery, I had a stroke.
Q: What would you say are your life’s biggest successes?
A: I regard my biggest success as the hundreds of former graduate students that are now very successful in their chosen careers from medicine to finance and accounting.
Q: On the contrary, what would you say are your biggest failures or regrets?
A: No particular regrets. I’ve had a good run.
Any Brothers who wish to contact Duncan can do so at [email protected] or 503-704-7094.