Dennis Miriani, E’87

Trustee, Epsilon Trustee Corporation

“We’re part of something bigger than ourselves”

Dennis Miriani, E’87, Alumni Advisor for Alpha Epsilon, knew that he wanted to be a Chi Psi before he even went to Michigan. “I was attending Michigan State when my lifelong friend David Di Rita, E’86 took me through the Lodge,” he says. “I saw The Lodge, met some of the Brothers, and knew right away that it was something that I really wanted to be a part of.”

“The building was beautiful, but it was the people who stood out. A lot of fraternities that I’d seen had an ‘Animal House’ kind of feel, and that wasn’t my schtick. I could tell right away that Chi Psi was different. There was a love that the Brothers had for the building, and a set of ideals that everyone followed. It was old school, and it really attracted me.”

He transferred to the University of Michigan his sophomore year and pledged to Alpha Epsilon. “As soon as you walked into the Lodge, you were walking into a different world,” he remembers. “I mean, it was held together with bubblegum and twine at the time, but it was just so beautiful. We really took care of the place, and all the Brothers had a place in maintaining the standard.”

He says that everyone in the Lodge had something in common. “We all had similar beliefs about what Brotherhood is: being part of one thing, together. The building was just an outward manifestation of our bond. We were part of something bigger than ourselves, we respected traditions, treated people with respect and were gentlemen.”

Today, Dennis is a data architect for a tier-one automotive supplier and is also part of the Detroit Historic District Commission with purview over historic districts in the city. He says that his time in the Lodge made an ‘immense’ impact on his current success. “Being part of Chi Psi has been one of the guiding experiences of my life,” he says. “And remaining involved with Chi Psi, both at Epsilon and at the national level, has provided me with friends all over the country. These are very important friends to me.”

Miriani says that he started volunteering, initially by being part of the Epsilon Trustee Corporation, because he wanted “other young men to have the experience that I did.” Later, he transitioned to become the alumni advisor and worked with undergraduates in the Lodge to guide them to live up to True Gentleman standards. He was the advisor when the wrenching decision for dormancy was made. “It was not a decision made lightly,” he says. “But it was very clearly the right thing to do.”

This next chapter in Chi Psi’s story is one that he’s looking forward to telling. “We’ve been around for 176 years, and I want us to be here for another 176. Chi Psi guided my life in such a positive way, and that opportunity is there for new undergrads.”

He says, “The Lodge is the common thread that is holding all of us together, whether we graduated in 1950 or 2000. That, along with our shared values, is our common experience. The maintenance of it is so important. There’s nothing more gratifying than to have an alumnus come back to a place where he lived 50 years ago and say, ‘It’s just like I remember.’”

Without Chi Psi, I wouldn’t be the man I am today or be as successful as I am. It was a place where everyone pushed everyone else to be their best, and that’s helped me to become the person I am today.