From Senior Pledge, to Senior Advisor......and Beyond

FaceBook  Twitter

With a background in agriculture, it was perfectly fitting that Vince Verbeke, ’82, would join Alpha Zeta. He grew up on a small dairy farm and was involved in FFA and 4-H.

He joined the fraternity his senior year. He pledged after realizing he would need a new place to live when his roommate got married. Through his participation in FFA, he knew Dean Snook ‘82, already a member, who recruited Verbeke to Alpha Zeta.

He enjoyed being part of a large pledge class, and says he and the other pledges always kept their big brothers busy. One memory that sticks out to him is when there were piglets roaming East Hall's stairwell after a pledge party.

“I’ll always regret that we didn’t tell the University Park Police that there were three piglets,” Verbeke said. “There were only two, and we told them that there were two — opportunity missed.”

After graduation, Verbeke went back to work for Veridge Farms. He had worked there since he was eight years old and was a partner with his parents until 1986. He then took a job teaching Vocational Agriculture in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, and later, in Brockway, Pennsylvania.

In 1988, he returned to Penn State after being hired by the Penn State College of Agriculture Sciences, where he worked for the next 25 years. Despite not having a computer background, he worked as a computer trainer and spent his time “learning by doing.”

While back on campus, Dale Olver, the previous Senior Advisor of Alpha Zeta, convinced him to become the House Advisor. Olver soon stepped down, making Verbeke the Senior Advisor, a position he served in for the next 22 years. He enjoyed the opportunity to be a part of the organization again and to watch the interactions between the young men and women in the fraternity, all the while learning from them.

“I’m sure that I learned more from the brothers and sisters of Alpha Zeta than I imparted on them,” he said.

Verbeke, as he put it, “retired” from Penn State in 2013, and he and his wife, Laurie, moved farther south. They wanted to get out of the harsh Central Pennsylvania winter weather and be closer to their daughter, who is a nurse at Duke.

Verbeke currently works at the University of Virginia Health System in the Surgical Services IT group, which directly supports the computer technology system in the operating rooms.  Since 2015, he has been the Interim Manager of SS IT.

Later this year, he and Laurie plan to travel to Munich, Germany, to visit the foreign exchange student they hosted in 1999.