‘The Brothers Were a Great Bunch of Guys’

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The year was 1950, and the fall leaves were rustling lazily around the freshman dorms of Denison University. Inside one of those dorms, William Ryno’s friends, who had come from the Chicago area to Denison with him, were telling him everything they knew about Beta Theta Pi: how all their relatives were members and how much they had been loving it.

So, Ryno and his friends decided they would pledge together that very semester.

“The fraternity had a lot of athletes from football, baseball and basketball that I got along with,” Ryno said. “I played varsity baseball, and there were a few guys on the team with me.”

Ryno remembers the fraternity house in the little town of Granville as being a true home for the Beta Theta Pi upperclassmen.

“It was a nice house,” Ryno said. “We lived together there, making memories and such.”

After graduating in the winter of 1955, Ryno began working for an insurance company.

“I was in the insurance industry for a while, but soon went to establish my own agency. I wanted to be my own boss,” Ryno said, with a chuckle. “I set it up in the life insurance field, and then in 2002, when it was bought out, I retired.”

During the winters, Ryno now spends his retirement back in the Chicago area, but the summers have him out in Florida’s Palm Beach.

“It’s very beautiful there,” Ryno said. “Warm, too.”

Although the years have come and gone, Ryno still remembers the brothers he shared his Beta Theta Pi fraternity journey with and how large a part they played in his overall experience.

“It’s been years since I was on that college campus, but I do remember we were all real good friends and would play sports together,” Ryno said. “The brothers were a great bunch of guys, and it was a lot of fun living together, to say the least. I did enjoy the friendships and camaraderie that formed.”