Member ProfileAlumni Leaders of Beta Zeta - Jeff Hollings '79

Jeff Hollings ’79 currently holds some significant roles as a Beta Zeta alum. He serves as Chairman of the Alumni Advisory Board, Chapter Advisor and Lieutenant Commander of Purdue Sigma Nu Alumni Association. His transition into Beta Zeta alumni involvement began in just the last few years. After decades of mostly living outside the area, at times even outside the country, Hollings was lucky to make it back for an occasional Purdue homecoming. When he received the 2015 letter regarding Beta Zeta’s suspension, he was stunned.

“I started to think about it, looked in the mirror and asked myself, ‘Where was I?’” Hollings says. “I had not been involved with Beta Zeta for decades… I decided that this was a good opportunity to give back to Beta Zeta after all I had received from my fraternity experience.”

“We have some great guys - guys with the right values who are willing to work hard to improve. I feel really good about Beta Zeta’s future. They are trying to build a fraternity and progress to being a top one at Purdue. This is really very similar to what we were trying to do during my years at Beta Zeta."

This realization led Hollings to take action and get involved. He volunteered to lead recolonization, and several other committed and capable alumni have joined him on the Alumni Advisory Board (AAB). The AAB is made up of eight alumni from various eras and each has contact with the current students.

“Four years after getting involved, I have gained more from this experience and especially my relationships with our new colony members, than the collegiates have gained from me,” Hollings says.

Currently, Hollings drives up to Purdue several times a month throughout most of the academic year to meet with the colony.

“We have some great guys - guys with the right values who are willing to work hard to improve. I feel really good about Beta Zeta’s future. They are trying to build a fraternity and progress to being a top one at Purdue. This is really very similar to what we were trying to do during my years at Beta Zeta,” Hollings says.Member Profile

Hollings’ time at Beta Zeta from 1975 – 1979 was a season of growth for the fraternity. Beta Zeta went from 20 Brothers living in the house or annex (plus 17 new freshman pledges living in the house, of which he was one) to over 50 brothers. They had no sorority functions his first year and by his last they had them regularly. They went from a virtually unknown fraternity to one of the top 10–15 at Purdue.

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“We progressed from little campus presence to having guys in leadership positions on many key campus organizations,” Hollings recalls.

“I had been more of a follower in High School. My time at Sigma Nu taught me how to lead."

Hollings was fortunate to see those changes up close, not only as a Brother in the fraternity, but also as a leader. Hollings was “narrowly elected” as Commander his sophomore year. He was encouraged by his fellow classmen to run after they all agreed they needed to change the direction of Sigma Nu.

“I was very fortunate to get the experience of being Commander early during my time at Purdue and being around my fellow Brothers at Beta Zeta. In my junior and senior years, I had the chance to be in other campus leadership roles with IFC and then President of Gimlet Leadership Honorary,” Hollings says.

Hollings credits those leadership roles for playing a major part in his future, including his acceptance into Harvard’s MBA program. He even used his experiences as Commander of Beta Zeta for a crucial entrance essay.  After Harvard he joined Eli Lilly and Company and had a 30-year career in leadership positions in the United States, Asia and Europe.

“I had been more of a follower in High School. My time at Sigma Nu taught me how to lead,” Hollings says.

Member ProfileWhile Hollings did take an extended hiatus from his involvement as an alum, he never broke the relationships acquired. Though they are scattered throughout the country, Hollings says he sees and stays in touch with about 10–20 guys each year.

“Many have been life-long friends,” Hollings says. “Jack Negley (who the long-standing Beta Zeta spirit award was named after) and I see each other monthly or more… my BZ little brother, Steve Mitton, and I ride together in the Hilly 100 every fall, usually with a couple other BZ alumni. I have also greatly enjoyed getting to know the other alumni leaders from other eras-we talk regularly. I could go on, lots of special relationships!”

 

 

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