Keeping ZBT “in the Family” from Generation to Generation

By Brian A. Hoffman —

Pop quiz:

  1. Who is the namesake of the Fraternity’s chapter award for Outstanding Participation in Intercollegiate Athletics?
  2. To which school did the Fraternity return in February 2018 with 22 Refounding Fathers?
  3. How are the two questions above connected?

“Brotherhood for a Lifetime” is more than our Fraternity’s tagline; it is our guiding philosophy in experience and engagement across generations. Regardless of the date of our initiation, all brothers from all chapters are treated as equals. We are one ZBT family with 140,000 brothers initiated into Kappa Nu, Phi Alpha, Phi Epsilon Pi, Phi Sigma Delta and Zeta Beta Tau over the last 120 years. None of us know all our ZBT brothers, nor do we know the connections, legacy or otherwise, they have in our brotherhood. As such, we are always fortunate to find unique stories connecting our brothers from the past to the present and future.

Back to our pop quiz. If your answers were “Sid Luckman,” “Epsilon Delta at Binghamton University” and “we initiated his relative,” then you’re correct! On Feb. 25, 2018, the Fraternity welcomed Brother Jared Luckman, one of 22 Refounding Fathers of our Epsilon Delta Chapter at Binghamton University. When the name Luckman came up on our recruitment radar, we were pleasantly surprised to learn Brother Jared Luckman was the great-great-nephew of Brother Sid Luckman, Delta (Columbia University) 1939.

While Brother Jared Luckman is not recognized as a legacy of Brother Sid Luckman, there was a simple, “This is neat,” sentiment permeating from Brother Jared Luckman, and frankly the Fraternity’s professional staff as well. Brother Jared Luckman indicated he, “didn’t know [he] was related to a ZBT until after [he] joined and filled out the registration form.” At that point Jared asked his father about any ZBT associations which is when he learned about his familial connection. Brother Sid Luckman passed away in 1998 and his male descendants did not join ZBT. But, Brother Jared Luckman sees a sort of symbolism – bridging generations and starting anew with the Luckman name.

“It’s all still so new, but it’s been really great working with good people in various ways throughout the Fraternity,” said Brother Jared Luckman.

This is a common sentiment among brothers in expansion groups, but there is another potential meaning to his statement. It isn’t just new and great being a ZBT, but this is also a testament to truly exemplifying our Brotherhood for a Lifetime. Brother Jared Luckman never met his great-great-uncle, yet they now share an inherent bond, even with three generations between them. Both men participated in the ZBT initiation Ritual and took the oath of brotherhood just as each of us has and do at every initiation. This is another example of how we exemplify Brotherhood for a Lifetime.

With Brother Jared Luckman’s familial connection to ZBT realized, his individual decision to join ZBT took on a new form. We are honored to bring the newest generation of the Luckman family back into the Fraternity and look forward to celebrating this story and many others as our commitment to keeping ZBT “in the family” becomes more ingrained among our undergraduate and alumni brothers. Today, as always, it is GREAT to be a ZBT!