Counting on Each Other

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Counting on Each Other
Kern and DU Brothers at the 2014 Blue-White Game in Happy Valley.

Sean Kern, ’90, recalls how the support within Delta Upsilon altered his college experience

On a campus as large as Penn State, it can be easy for a student to feel like a small fish in a big pond. But for Sean Kern ’90, joining Delta Upsilon made him much more at ease in the collegiate environment. “One of the benefits of being a Delta Upsilon Brother is that it makes a big school like Penn State seem small,” he shares. “I know that I could count on my Brothers if I needed support and they knew they can count on me too.”

Being part of such a close-knit group, Sean valued the diversity that he found within Delta Upsilon. That diversity was one of the reasons he was drawn to the fraternity in the first place. “I chose DU because it had a mix of all types,” he explains. “From preppy-dressed Brothers to headbangers!” He also felt that the diversity made them even closer. “I liked that all the Brothers genuinely enjoyed spending time with each other.”

Spending time together meant Sean was actively involved in the on goings of the house, as well as the events the Brothers participated. Fully immersing himself into the fraternity meant Sean created special memories that he cherishes to this day. “I will never forget the Egan Room, Tubs-to-Go, Penn State football games, Foosball, fraternity intramurals, the Earthtones concert in the party room, Toy Memory playing at Phi Tau for our initiation, and many others!” he exclaims.

While the social aspect of fraternity life certainly kept Sean and his Brothers busy, he also made sure to focus on the reason he was there in the first place. “Like many, I changed majors several times,” he recalls. “I started in Chemistry, switched to Chemical Engineering, and finally Food Science.” And as willing as Sean found his Brothers to join him socially, he also found them to be a valuable resource academically. “If I was having issues in a class, it was easy to find another Brother who had taken the class already that could give me support.”

Sean’s time at Delta Upsilon didn’t just benefit him during those years, but he continues to reap the rewards of being part of such Brotherhood today. “My time at DU taught me how to work in a diverse environment with many opinions and priorities,” he states. “It taught me how to prioritize my time and focus on my goals.”

These are key lessons that have served him well throughout his career, currently serving his 27th year as a cyberspace operations officer for the Air Force. Sean is married to his wife of 25 years and has two adult children and one granddaughter, whom he hopes is a future Penn Stater. When not working, Sean can be found running ultramarathons (anything over 26.2 miles, as well as hanging with his DU Brothers, tailgating at the Penn State football games.

Keeping the brotherhood alive is important to Sean and he sees many of his Brothers regularly, including John Delsignore '92, Gerrit VanBurk '91, Tom Gause '91, and Bill Mackey '92. Often reuniting at the football games and alumni board meetings, Sean truly enjoys going back. “It always feels like I’m going home,” he claims. “In fact, I will likely retire there after my military career.”

As an active alum, Sean takes pride in his support for the chapter and doing his part to ensure his legacy. “I donate because I consider our house and our undergraduate Brothers our legacy,” he states. “Legacies should be nurtured and cherished!”

Sean is hopeful that the legacy he is part of continues to thrive for each of his Brothers long after graduation. “Being an undergraduate Delta Upsilon is just the first step in your lifelong experience of brotherhood. Think about how you intend to transition as an alumnus and how you can give back so that DU can continue at Penn State for another 100 years,” he advises.

As for his fellow alumni and undergraduate Brothers, Sean would like to see the connection between the two develop further and he is willing to do his part to make it happen. “Let’s think of ways we can deepen relations between undergraduates and alumni, making it less of a transactional relationship and more cooperative and collaborative,” he encourages. “If there is anything an undergraduate brother needs and I can help, please reach out to me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

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