James Van Dyke, E’01

Trustee, Epsilon Educational Endowment

“Chi Psi became my center at the University”

James Van Dyke, E’01, Epsilon Educational Endowment Trustee and Chairman of Spencer Properties, says that he gives back to Alpha Epsilon because he wants others to have the same amazing experience that he had. “It’s partly altruistic and partly selfish,” he says. “I want to help preserve the environment I discovered as an undergraduate those cultivated strong, lifelong friendships while ensuring the Lodge is a place we can all call home at Michigan for years to come.”

James was #1 of the Lodge, and after graduation, he went on to serve on the Epsilon Trustee Corporation, national Executive Council, which he has chaired, and now the Epsilon Educational Endowment. He credits his strong commitment to Chi Psi to his uncle, David Di Rita, E’86. “I never actually participated in the rush process,” he said.

“Chi Psi reached out to me, and I made very quick connections with the actives.”

During a time when the undergraduates in the Lodge had dwindled to a mere 11 members, James joined a cohort of pledges that numbered 17. “It was a really large class, and very much a mini-re-founding,” he said. “My pledge Brothers formed very strong bonds that endure to this day.”

He says a lot of his college years memories revolve around the Lodge. “We were a very close-knit group of friends. We had a wonderful time socializing in the building – we didn’t have much reason to venture into Ann Arbor. The Lodge was home to us.”

He says that being part of Alpha Epsilon had a lasting impact on his life. “Being #1 was great training. Serving in that role taught me true leadership and advocacy. I learned that I really had to sell the outcome, and that’s been such a beneficial experience for me in my career.” 

Today, Van Dyke is the executive vice president of The Roxbury Group, a real estate development company. He maintains his connections not only to Alpha Epsilon, but also to the Chi Psi Central Office. “Even before I was involved in national leadership, I would go to the national convention every year with some of my pledge Brothers. I’ve made a lot of friends through those events. It’s great to be able to travel to other Alphas and meet Brothers across the county. It started when I was single with no kids, and now I’m married with three kids. It’s something that our family participates in, and there are a lot of other families who also join in. That’s very reinforcing for me to see.”