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Robert "Bob" Lyons '42 has a lifelong commitment to Beta Sigma Beta that began literally before he ever set foot on Penn State campus.

"My father was a Beta Sigma. When he took me to Penn Station to go to the University, he took a walk through the station and met a bunch of guys coming back from a weekend in Long Island. They were Beta Sigs too," Bob said. "By the time we got to Penn State we were already friends. My father had my luggage sent straight to the frat house, so you could say I was a Beta Sig from the very beginning."

Bob explained that although his father was "an incredible man" and charismatic, the exchange wasn't totally unusual.

"Back then that's the way things happened. Legacies were a very important factor in the continuation of all of the fraternities" Bob said. "It was something that was closely considered. Even as a kid, I was a Beta because of my father's influence."

Unlike most brothers today, Bob didn't have the luxury of earning his degree uninterrupted. In 1944, after two years of school Bob gave up his deferment and was enlisted into the U.S. Navy to serve in World War II.

"I was an engineering student so I had an automatic deferral but by my second year I looked around the frat house and there was no one left. Everyone had enlisted," Bob said. "I joined the Navy and was assigned to a tanker – which had nothing to do with my engineering degree. When I got on board they asked for a volunteer who could type, I raised my hand, and they said ok, you're the mailman. It was a great detail."

While in the navy, Bob was stationed in Tokyo and in Tsing-Tao, a resort town 200 miles from Shanghai. He said it was a great experience but he was happy to return to State College, PA and his brothers at Penn State.

"There were some 60 odd people in the fraternity and they were all my friends," Bob said. "In fact, many of them become lifelong friends. If you look at pictures of my wedding you'll see that every man in our wedding party was a Beta Sigma."

Bob was a very active brother and served as Beta Sigma Pledge Master and later as Chancellor, or Treasurer, in his senior year. Beta Sigma Beta at the time was part of the national fraternity Beta Sigma Ro and Bob had the honor as serving as President at the national level.

Bob graduated in 1948 with a degree in accounting and moved with his wife back to New York City to work as a junior accounting for a big accounting firm. His wife was a buyer for Lord & Taylor. After a year, they decided to leave the city and moved to Harrisburg where he worked in his father-in-law's store. He had the opportunity to buy his own store in Lewisburg and ran that store successfully for over 30 years.

Bob has remained an active and involved alumnus, donating as much as he could to the chapter. His eldest son also became a Beta Sig and remains in contact with the brothers.

"I make it back for the football games," Bob said. "I'm not in as much contact with the active brothers, but I remain in contact with many of the brothers from my era. I talked to a couple of them just this week. All of my friends locally are Beta Sigs."

When asked what advice he might impart to Beta Sigs of today, he reflected on the influence the fraternity has had on his own life through the people he's known.

"My advice to them would be to be good brothers and make the fraternity part of your life," Bob said. "It can be a very important part of the foundation of your life. It certainly has been for my life, as well as my father's, and now my son's."

"For me Beta Sig was an ideal of service. We went in Beta Sigma together, we went into the service at the same time, came back out and married women we knew through the fraternity. We were literally comrades in arms and life long friends. Not much could be more meaningful than that."