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Chapter Alumni

The alumni of Purdue's FarmHouse form the foundation of our organization and its many successes. They serve as mentors, supporters, leaders and most of all, believers in our Chapter's members and goals. We sincerely appreciate and value each and every alumni, and we want to continue to stay in touch with you! Please consider keeping us up to date with what you are doing, and check back here periodically to see what is new at Purdue's FarmHouse!

Alumni: Our President

Alumni Highlights

Alumni: Text

Wayne Turner '79 Credits FarmHouse for Lifelong Friends

Encourages Alumni to Reconnect

Wayne Turner '79 was interested in joining FarmHouse after seeing the chapter make an impact on his older brother, Larry Turner '73. "I thought about pledging from high school, but I decided to check out other options. I was glad I did, as I never looked back on my choice. I was always proud of FarmHouse, because the campus looked to us as an example of how to do it right. From academics and campus activities to community involvement and conducting ourselves, we earned other's respect through hard work and acting with integrity."

Wayne served the chapter as secretary and president, taking in lessons and experiences that are integral to his success today. "I learned how much one can achieve with a good work ethic and a good moral compass," he said. "I also learned about the power of persistence."

Wayne graduated from Purdue with a bachelor of science in economics, using the skills he developed while in FarmHouse to start a career as a lawyer. "During my senior year, Jeff Veenhuizen '78 took me aside and challenged me to follow a dream that I had only begun to acknowledge to others: to attend law school. I was very fortunate to be hired by Lee McTurnan, a well-respected trial lawyer. A southern Indiana farm kid could not have hoped for a better mentor. We became law partners and had a great litigation practice for nearly 20 years before merging with a larger law firm."

When asked about his time in the chapter, Wayne looks back on a few of the alumni and brothers who had an impact on him personally and produced lifelong memories. "Ellsworth Christmas '55 and Mark Pope '71 were always great resources and presences for me. Seeing brothers like Roy Wilson '71 and Sonny Beck '59 at Founder's Day and Homecoming activities is always special as well," he said. "I also remember David Retherford '78 breaking his front tooth while opening a door (sorry, Dave) and watching Dave Virgin '78 perform the mystifying feat of jumping completely through a grey house window without touching any of the sides. There were a lot of memories made in that house. We were privileged to enjoy such an empowering experience, and we still benefit from those close bonds because of the generosity of alumni who preceded us. I would like to preserve that experience for years to come."

Wayne and his wife, Karen, live in Indianapolis and have two daughters. In his spare time, Wayne enjoys water skiing and spending time on Lake Wawasee - former stomping ground of his little brother in the house, Bart Bowser '81.

Alumni: About Us

Travis Park '92 thankful for FarmHouse connections

Fraternity Bonds Benefit Career

Travis Park '92 had many connections with FarmHouse. When he enrolled at Purdue, he knew that he wanted to become a member. "The brothers were good guys and very engaged on campus. I enjoyed meeting the guys at recruitment weekend and knew that the alumni were fine leaders in my home community. They were men with the same background and values as me."

After joining FarmHouse, Travis served as the recruitment chairman. He was thankful to be around men who strived to succeed and teach others how to succeed. "The lessons that I learned while serving in the chapter still pay off. I often tell folks that 4-H and FFA really started the development of my career and leadership skills, and the FarmHouse experience at Purdue was where these skills were refined and polished."

Travis earned a bachelor's and master's degree in agricultural education. He taught high school agriculture for five years and then enrolled in graduate school at the University of Florida. Travis then earned his Ph.D. and has been a professor at Cornell teaching agricultural education for the past eight years.

"I bond with the men at Cornell because of the fraternity experience. Although we may be in different fraternities, we still believe in many of the same principles. With FarmHouse, I was able to benefit in life and on campus." Travis still keeps in touch with brothers from Purdue Chapter and enjoys meeting brothers from other chapters and other fraternities. I call Lee Stanish '99 once in a while for an update on the chapter and enjoy hearing about the wonderful things they are accomplishing.

Travis and his wife, Lacy, have three daughters. He says he will encourage them to join a sorority because of the many lessons they will learn from the experience. It's a good place to learn respect, tolerance, and people skills.

Alumni: About Us

Roy Wilson '71 Thankful for Life-Changing Experience

Receives Award for Serving Chapter

After joining Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity, Roy Wilson '71 quickly realized he made a severe mistake. The experience was nothing like what he expected, so Roy sought membership elsewhere. When he met the men of FarmHouse Fraternity, he knew he found what he was looking for. "I met a good group of guys that had a sense of family. The chapter was known for having members who were scholars and leaders on campus. It was a life-changing experience that allowed me to gain enduring friendships and networking connections." Roy positively represented FarmHouse in his leadership positions on campus. He was the only student body president to serve two terms and was voted outstanding senior by the Purdue Grand Prix Foundation in 1973.

Roy earned a bachelor's degree in political science. He and his brother, Roger Wilson '73, own Century 21 Wilson Real Estate. Roy is thankful for the lessons he learned that pushed him to strive to do his best. "Sometimes I feel guilty because other people didn't get this experience." Roy also serves on the FarmHouse International Executive Relations Committee as the international fraternity's executive board liaison to Ceres Fraternity, which he helped found.

Roy served as the international fraternity president from 1982 to 1984. Because of his loyalty and dedication to FarmHouse, he received the Master Builder of Men Award in 1986. "It is the most humbling award I have ever received. It proves that the more you repay FarmHouse for what you received, the more you get back." Roy encourages undergraduates to model their actions after what the fraternity represents.

Roy and his wife, Nancy, have been married for 32 years and live in Greenfield, Ind. They have one daughter who is a surgery resident at Wake Forest University. Roy has participated in every conclave since 1972 and attended seven FarmHouse chapter charterings. He has visited nearly every chapter, including two during his honeymoon. "The FarmHouse members all share one common thing across the country: they are leaders who hold themselves to higher expectations."

Alumni: About Us

Alumnus Honored with Master Builder of Men Award

Ellsworth Christmas '55 Dedicated to Improving Chapter

In 1954, Bill Anderson '52 and Russ Brower '52 of FarmHouse fraternity visited Ellsworth Christmas '55. The fraternity was new on campus and strived to recruit the best and brightest men that Purdue University had to offer. After attending a summer picnic, Ellsworth decided that FarmHouse was the best fraternity for him to join. Ellsworth served in many leadership roles as an undergraduate, including steward, vice president and house manager. "One learns many lessons from living with a group like that. In my officer positions, I had a lot of responsibility and learned how to manage time and money."

After earning a bachelor's degree in agriculture education, Ellsworth taught for two years before returning to graduate school. Following the completion of M.S. and Ph.D. programs, he worked in the agronomy department for five years. He also traveled to Brazil for five years to work on an institution building project for Purdue. Overall, Ellsworth has been a Purdue employee for more than 44 years. Throughout that time, he has served as the treasurer of the Purdue FarmHouse Association. "I made repairs on the chapter house when it had no money and kept records to get and help keep the association out of debt. There were many challenges and it was very time consuming, but I saw it as an opportunity to repay the chapter for what I learned and gained as an undergraduate."

Ellsworth's dedication to the Purdue Chapter earned him the Master Builder of Men Award in 1998, the fraternity's highest award. "It was a total surprise. In order to earn this award, alumni have to examine themselves and think about what they gained from the chapter. Giving back is important, whether through working with the chapter or a monetary contribution."

Ellsworth spends times with his pledge brothers when time allows. "Every time we see each other, the bond is still strong."

Ellsworth and his wife, Nancy, have three sons. They reside in West Lafayette, Ind.

Alumni: About Us
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