Richard Burns, E’68
Trustee, Epsilon Trustee Corporation
“Without Chi Psi, I wouldn’t have accomplished all that I have”
Richard Burns, E’68, Chi Psi Educational Trust Trustee, has spent nearly fifty years practicing law and is currently Vice
President of Business Affairs and General Counsel of family-owned Morgan Murphy Media, an operator of affiliated television stations in six smaller markets and 11 radio stations in four states. He’s also chairman of the Desert Foothills Land Trust; a founder of the Duluth Superior Area Community Foundation; a leader with the University of Michigan Law School Development Committee; and for many years served on the Dean’s Advisory Council. He credits much of his success to his time in the Lodge.
“Alpha Epsilon gave me significant opportunities for leadership that I’ve carried through most of my career.”
He says he joined the Lodge for one important reason. “That’s easy. My brother Bill, E’65, was there.” While his brother was #2 at the Lodge, he went home to Minnesota on break and took John Fisher, E’65 (#1 at the time), and Tom Sweeney, E’65, with him. After spending some time with the Chi Psi Brothers, Richard knew that the Lodge was the place for
him. “I’d always tried to do things differently from him, but Chi Psi just felt like the right place to be. In fact, we both ultimately ended up going to Michigan, joining Chi Psi, and then becoming lawyers.”
Burns liked that Chi Psi stood out among other fraternities. It was purposely smaller than other fraternities, and wholly devoted to “Brother helping Brother.” “Plus, we were never involved with hazing — at all. We were gentlemen and had respect for each other. We had each other’s backs.”
He says a favorite memory is of football Saturdays. “We wore coats and ties to the football games. Today, I still share a suite with one of my Brothers and come to a few games a year. I am pretty sure I’m the only person living in Carefree, Arizona who has season tickets to Michigan games.”
As an active, Burns served as #1, #2, Rush Chairman and Editor. Today, he is a Trustee of Chi Psi Educational Trust. He says that he gives back because he had such a great experience in the Lodge, and wants to provide that to a new generation. “We have a somewhat unique situation. Our Central Office is very involved in supporting undergrads,
leadership and educational opportunities as well as fostering gentlemanly behavior. We also have a very strong program that offers assistance with mental health and substance abuse. We practice no hazing. We take that very seriously.”
He says that the Alpha Epsilon of Chi Psi Re-Founding Capital Campaign is key for the next generation.
I want to give current undergrads a similar experience to what we had. It meant a lot to me and my career and I’d like to give that opportunity to new Chi Psis.