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A reunion of Phi Phi alumni in New York in spring 2015. Pictured (L to R): Paul Hiller '65, G. Morris '69, Vincent Mannino '69, William Schmidt '69, Charles O'Neil '69, J. Halpern '67 (friend), J. Gardner Colins '68 and Tom Farrell '68.

For Tom Farrell ’68, his Phi Phi experience developed a fine sense of camaraderie and loyalty to his brothers and the chapter. That’s why he, along with other members from his era, have organized frequent reunions for the group in the years since graduation—like last spring’s event in New York.

“We have remained close,” said Tom. “After graduation, we attended each other’s weddings, met for Penn football games, welcomed children, and, later, attended their weddings.”

In past decades, the group was fueled by the traditional party hosted by Mike Cavanaugh ’69 every two years following the Penn vs. Yale football game in New Haven.

“1993 was the final such gathering for Mike, as he died, much too early, in 1994,” said Tom. “The attendance at that party was high as we all knew that Mike was not long for this world. I organized one last party in 1995, but the torch was out.”

The group—and Mike’s spirit—lives on through continued, though more infrequent, reunions. Tom has organized dinners in New York, John Dickerson ’69 in Rhode Island, and Jim Colins ’68 in Philadelphia.

“So reunions have been only occasional, but, on each occasion, conversations have been taken up even with many years intervening,” said Tom. “I believe that we all think that this group of now old men are our mutual best friends who can be depended upon for help and support whenever needed.”

As undergraduates, as Tom recalls, the lives of he and his brothers revolved around the chapter house—even if they were living elsewhere. Most meals were eaten there. There were pre-football game lunches and post-game cocktails and dinner followed by a party with a band. Other parties occurred throughout the year (many followed by drinking games into the wee hours) as well as the formal Sweetheart Ball.

“In those days, students did not have their own televisions so watching sporting and other events was a shared activity at the chapter house. (I can remember Lyndon Johnson’s announcement that he would not run as if it were yesterday),” he said. “We fielded a touch football team each autumn. In winter, there were toboggan trips to the Wissahickon Ski Club.”

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