Paul Majchrzak ’75
“Delta Chi, to me, represents exactly what it was supposed to do—create strong bonds and friendships for life. Though, I can say I didn’t realize that until the last few years. Now, I treasure that beyond belief.
I pledged Delta Chi in early 1972, mainly because my brother, Ken Majchrzak ’66, was a Delta Chi alumnus and I was in the house quite a bit from 1963 until 1965. The house seemed cool and I didn’t have to think about it, just show up at a pledge event.
What happened that night transformed me forever. As I socialized and talked to a couple of brothers, two brothers grabbed me and said “come with us”. It was Dan Hughes ’74 and Hassen Baghai ’73 steering this poor, innocent lad downstairs into the drinking room. Of course, there was a Whales Tails game going on. They taught me the basics rapidly, but failed to disclose some essential rules like No Swearing and No Pointing, which I did both.
I’m sure I won (?) the game that night. After recovering the next day, I was convinced Delta Chi was for me. How could I not accept after that warm welcome!? Here it is, 44 years later and I just came back from a vacation in Cabo San Lucas where both Dan and Hassen were as well. We have followed each other’s’ families for many years, been to many weddings and many vacations. Wherever there is a keg…we show up. There’s plenty of beer in Cabo, that I can remember!
Hard to guess who my roommate was in my first year—the esteemed Hassen Baghai, sometimes known as “Baggy”. You can probably surmise the context. We lived in lower dorm which provided a convenient escape hatch out the back door, though JR was onto us. The second year, as I was elected President (I’ll get to that in a minute), I had a room to myself.
Delta Chi also honed my management and organizational skills, which were lame as you would expect being a sophomore. As I moved into the fraternity there were elections for officers. I got elected President and thought “wow this is really cool” until I quickly realized that everyone else took a step back instead of me taking a step forward. No matter, I was determined to be a decent President, which I think I mostly accomplished. And rank has its privileges—at least being President it was unlikely I would receive a Dork or Light award. They tried to give me an award or two, but they were ruled out of order. My only regret was that my great fraternity experiences were taking time away from school work.
Delta Chi was an unusual place in 1972. Fraternities on campus were not cool and they had trouble recruiting members. I think at our peak, when I was in the house, we had 18-19 members—way below what they have now. However, this low membership allowed very close relationships with all of the brothers. And we had JR cooking for us…how could it get any better?
Low membership, though, presented challenges fielding intramural sports. Heck, our water polo goalie, Bob Pliska ’72, couldn’t swim. They allowed him to hang onto the edge of the pool when the action was at the other end of the pool. We weren’t too bad, as it turned out. We won more matches than we lost. We also had a great football team, which competed well, even against the jock houses. My nickname was the “Polish Hook” being a QB Pollock like Ron Jaworski (the Polish Rifle), but not throwing quite as accurate as Ron.
I have so many fond memories and I have the joy of reliving many of the memories once or twice a year when on vacation with my brothers. Some of these memories include drag racing down South U in a brother’s 1966 396 tri-power Corvette, a couple of brothers (and sisters) streaking home from P-Bell in the snow (and losing clothing and keys along the way, then waking me up at 2 a.m. to help them find the keys), a large waterbed in my room that sprung a leak yet didn’t fall through the floor and carrying cases of Boones Farm wine into football games.
I have been married for 32 years to my lovely wife, Lydia, who has been an incredible partner for me. She has been to the house a few times but couldn’t believe the house was actually standing (me neither). We moved to LA and then San Diego in 1981. I brought my trusted Corvair with me. Yes, I own an “unsafe at any speed” car. Always have. My first car in high school was a Corvair. I had a 1960 Corvair at the frat. With a gasoline heater (it was stock) in the trunk. It worked darn well in those cold Michigan winters. I met Lydia in a Corvair. Sold that Corvair to buy her the wedding ring. But, not to fear, I have owned many more since that fateful day and I will always have one. The national Corvair Museum is in Ypsilanti. Check it out. It shares the same building with Hudsons and Tuckers, which are nearby.
My advice to new members is to let the experience flow over you as much as you can. Allow the friendships to build and take advantage of activities. You may not realize as its happening that these small events will affect you for the rest of your life. I am certainly grateful. Even though I switched to Eastern Michigan for my senior year (BA Marketing) and for my Masters (MBA), the time at Delta Chi still stands out. My career has been great as I am now running a $100M software business with Teradata Corporation. Life has been good. Delta Chi formed the basis for much of my life, both work and social. Helping others succeed in their career is what it’s all about now.”
–Paul Majchrzak ’75
If brothers wish to reach out to Paul, they can do so by email: [email protected]