Matt Goldsmith

Ashland '09

I joined Phi Kappa Psi my sophomore year of college and since that time, I have had only one regret about my decision—that I waited a year before joining. Because of joining, I was honored with holding office numerous times in my chapter, became involved in student government (eventually becoming Student Body President), branched out on campus, became a facilitator in our Greek Leadership retreats, an officer on my Interfraternity council, was selected by my chapter to attend national conferences as our representative, and became a member of the staff of Phi Kappa Psi National Headquarters. I spent a year as a traveling consultant, visiting and speaking with numerous chapters, undergraduates and alumni across the country, and even had the opportunity to help bring back our Noble Fraternity to another campus. I gave of my knowledge and experience to others and gained knowledge myself. 

The idea that I am connected through our strong band to men from all of walks of life—scholars, statesmen, actors, business innovators, industry tycoons, blue collar and white collar and liberals and conservatives—is awesome in the most literal sense of the word: inspiring of awe, “an emotion variously combining dread, veneration, and wonder that is inspired by authority or by the sacred or sublime.” I am part of an organization that was formed in a time when the question of natural rights for all men (and women) was still being debated, a time before our nation almost split in two before being solidified by the blood of her own sons and by chapters of this Fraternity; a time before we had 50 states, let alone instantaneous communication among those states and the world; before the advent of the automobile, before the plane; before the typewriter, the computer, the internet, the iPod; before we could not only see the distant corners of our galaxy and galaxies innumerable but also before we could even break the hold of Mother Earth and travel amongst the stars. Over 161 years have passed since two men gathered in a house during a snowstorm and founded our Fraternity and here it still stands, a testament to the values and hard work of over 123,000 men (and spouses and volunteers) who have dedicated hours beyond counting to ensuring that our Brotherhood stands the test of time. 

The Phi Psi experience, to me, helps emphasize the idea that it is not “I was a Phi Psi.” It is “I am a Phi Psi.” Brotherhood, involvement in the community, education, and service do not end at graduation. The Creed, the oath, the Ritual are not four-year promises, but lifelong commitments. Our history has illustrated that, our advisors and volunteers reinforce it, and our peers recognize it. 

The Experience of being a member of Phi Kappa Psi is so all-encompassing, so multi-faceted, that it is almost hard to narrow down a particular concept that stands out as the defining virtue it has instilled in me. I am a better person for having joined, but I am not the best me I can be yet. I am always learning, always striving to be a better man, a better scholar, even over a year out of school and through all of my travels.  And I think that is the best way to describe my Phi Psi Experience—perpetual.  I am ever-striving to live up to the standards of this Fraternity and the trust reposed in me by the mantle of history and my Brothers.