Interview: Terry Lawler

Our featured Interview this week is with Brother Terry Lawler (Lambda-Iota 151). Terry joined in the era right after Chi Delta Rho transitioned into Lambda Chi Alpha. Terry has answered the call to assist in Recolonizing Lambda Chi Alpha in Whitewater. He has been an active participant in University / Fraternity relations for many years.

Terry LawlerTerry, when were you in school in Whitewater?
I attended Whitewater from 1964-68 and again from 1973-77.

Two times! What degrees did you attain from your times in Whitewater?
I hold a Bachelor of Education and an Master of Science in Teaching.

I know that you are now retired, but while you were out in the business world, what did you do for a living?
I taught English at Tremper High School in Kenosha for over 33 years. I was English Department Chairman for fourteen of those years. In the last five years, a fellow retiree and I have been operating a small private tutoring business, E&L Educational Enterprises.


Retirement hasn’t slowed you down in terms of working and helping out in the community…
Not at all, I am also a trained Celebrant, a lay person who plans and conducts life celebrations (as opposed to funerals). Since starting in 2005, I have conducted over two dozen services. Also, I have been a paid columnist for the WEAC since 2002. My column, “Front Lines,” runs in the monthly publication, On WEAC In-Print. I write a bi-weekly column on education, “Learning Curve,” for the Kenosha News.

Now that you are “retired”, what are you doing for fun?
For fun I have been enjoying the free time that retirement has given me. My wife, Colleen, and I enjoy travel. Since my retirement we have visited England twice, Wales, Scotland, Ireland and Italy.

Where did you attend high school and when did you graduate?
My family moved a lot so I started high school in Stevens Point in 1960, transferred to Madison West during my sophomore year and Janesville my senior year where I graduated in 1964.

You moved around quite a bit when you were younger…do you still move around that much?
No, I have lived in Kenosha for 39 years.

Are you married and do you have any children in your life?
My wife, Colleen, and I celebrated our tenth anniversary this year and I have two adult stepsons from my first marriage.

Who introduced you to the Fraternity?
I was introduced to the fraternity by Xan Johnson, Tom Roesch, and Mike Mueller.

Terry Lawler 1967And when did you join?
I pledged and joined in the fall semester of 1966-67.

Did you have an opportunity to live in the Fraternity house? Which house was it?
I lived in the house on Fraternity Lane in 1967.

Terry, some people may remember seeing Chopper, the Saint Bernard Mascot, on the Lambda Chi Alpha Composites, from “Back in the Day”…those were your days in school. Can you tell us any stories about Chopper and what it was like having him around?
Well, we were still on Fraternity Lane when I graduated in 1968. We had furniture in a semicircle aroung the tv in our basement dining room/meeting room/lounge. Friday and Saturday nights usually found 2-3 brothers with their girlfriends and a few other brothers watching the tube. Chopper would stand in front of the tv facing us and then shake his jowls, spraying all of us with dog spit.

Chopper 1968Nice! So Chopper liked to sit around and hang out with everyone?
Yes, John Brady used to sit on a dining chair holding one end of a towel while Chopper hung on to the other end and pulled him around. Chopper also liked to play “tag” in the basement. If you were playing tag with him and you dodged around a lounge chair with a guy sitting in it, Chopper would just go right over the guy.

Did you win any awards or have accomplishments you are proud of?
I worked with the Ritual Team.

What are your best memories of Lambda Chi?
Brothers will understand this: my best and worst moments both occurred during Ritual.

What is the one Lambda Chi related event that made you say “Wow, I never thought I would be doing this when I joined a fraternity”?
The “wow” event was a Saturday when we performed community services, particularly, helping at a retirement home.

Can you still recite the Greek alphabet?
I can still recite the Greek alphabet.

Who, would you say, had the biggest impact on your fraternal experience? Why?
I would say my big brother, Dave Rumage, had the most impact on me. He was tremendously supportive and kind.

Any advice you want to share with future Lambda Chi’s?
Future brothers: I have had experiences with Lambda Chi’s from other states which showed me that the bond of our brotherhood is just as strong between you and a brother you have just met as between you and brother you have known for years.

One Response to “Interview: Terry Lawler”

  1. paula mohan Says:

    Terry forgot to mention that, in addition to all this other stuff, he is also an accomplished actor and performs in venues all over the midwest. I saw him play Clarence Darrow last spring in “And On the 8th Day”, an original play based on the Scopes trial. Terry has a great presence on stage- he had me absolutely convinced that I evolved from monkeys. He’s performing in a new play this spring and everyone that is able should try to go and watch it.

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