May 5, 2005

New fraternity posed a challenge for

business student
Herald-Times Staff Writer

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third of five stories profiling graduating Indiana University students.

The series by Sarah Morin will conclude on Saturday graduation day.


Brendan McPherson


AGE: 22


Overland Park, Kan.


Real estate finance and entrepreneurship.




Woodburn Hall library.


Nick's English Hut.


Effective negotiations.


Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity flag (red, yellow and blue with a lion).


University of Kansas Law School.

Brendan McPherson never saw himself as a frat guy.

So it's surprising that his proudest moment in his four years at Indiana University was finding out last month that he would receive a national award for being a fraternity leader.

His brothers at Delta Kappa Epsilon credit McPherson or "Dill," as they call him for helping secure a home on Jordan Avenue's fraternity row.

McPherson, who will leave business school for law school after graduating Saturday, said he was attracted to building up a new chapter on campus. "Deke" membership has nearly doubled to 42 since his freshman year.

Friends described McPherson as a man with two sides. In short, a go-getting goofball.

"He balances his fun, carefree college side with his professional work," said Kevin Cane, DKE president who met McPherson when they were both freshmen.

McPherson is a guy who shaved his head into a Mohawk with Vanilla Ice sideburns for Little 500 and also earned a 3.64 GPA while interning at Blackwell Homes, a local home building company.

"If he stayed in Bloomington, I'd hire him tomorrow," said J.C. Hulls, who handles sales and development for the company. Hulls said out of all the firm's interns from the business school, McPherson has been the best.

Hulls said McPherson created a survey that went out to 150 people for market research, which is still used as a marketing tool.

"He did everything," Hulls said of McPherson's work, which covered developing Web sites, marketing, mailing and researching.

Giving a tour of the four-floor fraternity house earlier this week, McPherson was proud that he and the guys finally have a home of their own.

In the study room, he said hello to a pair of students seated at the wooden table, studying for an accounting final.

"A201, that was my only college C," McPherson told them.

Downstairs in the dining hall, where guys are eating chicken and noodles, green beans, mashed potatoes and buttered breadsticks, they shared stories about McPherson. Some they said just can't be talked about much less printed in a newspaper.

Sitting next to McPherson, who is wearing jeans and a blue-collared dress shirt, Karl Hagedorn said the former president of the fraternity has made it easier for him to take on the role next year.

But paired with the praise in their friendship is some razzing. Hagedorn dogged his taste in music "emo-punk, but they call it indie rock to make it sound better" and his weak jump shot when the two play hoops behind the house.

When McPherson revealed that he was a beekeeper back home in Kansas, selling honey from his Quail Run Honey business, Hagedorn laughed and shook his head.

"You're such a nerd," he said, smiling.

"If you met him, you wouldn't think he's president of a fraternity at all," Hagedorn said, adding he decided to pledge the fraternity after talking with McPherson over dinner at Applebee's. "He's a pretty good salesman."

For his fraternity work, McPherson will be presented the North American Interfraternity Conference Undergraduate Achievement Award this summer.

"Brendan is 'one of the guys,' yet he has the respect of his peers because he is a worthy leader," wrote Eric Freeman, a DKE alumni from the DePauw chapter, in one of 13 letters of support for the award.

McPherson said he joined the small fraternity as a freshman because he liked the "startup process" of it.

And he was no stranger to the concept. With a sizable savings from his startup lawn-mowing business in high school, he bought a four-bedroom house on Bloomington's west side in the spring of his freshman year. He sold it last year to move into the fraternity house.

A real estate finance and entrepreneurship major, McPherson said his ideal job would have him doing everything real estate, law, rental properties and market research.

His advice to college students is to give anything a try, as he did with the greek community.

"Get involved with as much stuff right away," McPherson said.

Then he added a suggestion showing his practical-meets-party-guy personality: "Don't party yourself out you have four years."




Delta Pi of ΔKE ~ Illinois    ~    Delta Psi of ΔKE ~ Indiana   ~    Psi Phi of ΔKE ~ DePauw


Post Office Box 813     Greencastle,  Indiana  46135