An Alpha Zeta Love Story

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Plenty of us had romantic flings back at Penn State; some of us even discovered our other halves in part because of Alpha Zeta. Curt Harler '72 and his lovely wife have just such a love story. We reached out to learn about their Alpha Zeta-fueled romance, see what he had to say. 

The theme for the jammy at Alpha Zeta on Saturday, February 13 1971 was obvious: Valentine’s Day. Since the 14th was Sunday, the weekend’s social event was designed around hearts and flowers. As Social Chairman, I quickly rounded up a list of brothers and the names of their dates. Dennis VanWinkle (DJVW), as assistant social chairman, was charged with cutting out red hearts and inking the names on each…that’s because, as an artist, I was (and still am) a great chemist. Next door at Rec Hall there was a gymnastics meet. The Nittany Lions took on Massachusetts and only a few people attended due to the snowy weather. The Minutemen were not anywhere near the caliber of the Penn State squad and were destroyed. Under Coach Gene Wettstone and led by Marshall Avener, PSU went on to finish ranked third nationally behind Southern Illinois and Iowa State. I vividly recall one Massachusetts kid coming down on the horse, legs splayed wide, to a collective groan from the stands. My date gaped and then squeezed my hand. The rest of the meet went a little better for the visitors. Afterward, we brothers of Alpha Zeta took our dates back to the House. Dancing and merriment ruled the rest of the evening. I remember that DJVW had put “my” heart right above the piano in the living room…the same piano that Fred Waring had played when he did a performance at Penn State. It was a prominent spot, a place of honor, between the front door and the dining room. Why do I remember so many details? Well, that’s because my date for the evening was a cute little Irish girl majoring in Chinese. Flashing blue eyes, long chestnut hair, and brains. It was our first date. She has forever reminded me that I took her to a C- gym meet (in an A+ affair, Penn State had entertained the Russian gymnasts to a house of 16,000 just days before). In a snowstorm. And to this day she claims that I “hid” our valentine heart where nobody would see it. The 2021 calendar is exactly like the 1971 calendar. Valentine’s Day is a Sunday. But it is on Saturday the 13th that we will celebrate being together for 50 years. For those of you better at art than arithmetic, that’s a full half-century. And I am just as smitten today as I was on that snowy Saturday so many years ago.  


Do you or one of your brothers or sisters have a love story that you know began with Penn State Alpha Zeta? CLICK HERE or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to share your story!