Jerry Reid never enrolled in college in the 1960s—he was more of a type to crash Chi Phi parties in Charlottesville. But today, the 67-year-old dude is not only enrolled in school at Virginia, he's become a fixture at basketball games, joined Chi Phi, AND built up a rep as the No. 1 chaser of Cavalier tail. (What's that? He's happily married? Ah.)
The New York Times featured the retiree today, and they managed to ask Reid six whole questions before finally bringing up his similarities to Blue Palasky. That's why they're the paper of record, folks. We would have started the interview with "YOU'RE MY BOY, BLUE."
A few highlights:
He knew the national president of Chi Phi, which was helpful.
I didn’t have to pledge. I simply initiated, thanks to a very good friend, Jim Soderquist, he’s the Grand Alpha of Chi Phi — the top guy in the national organization.
Q. You had friends in high places.
A. Yes, I did.
He doesn't want to be known as "the grandfather."
I want to be known as a brother and they allow me to do that. Many of my young friends in the fraternity tell me they view me as a 20-year-old with 48 years of extra experience. What I’ve done is put myself in a position to know who to refer them to if they have issues with honor and issues with drinking. I take very, very special care to not be judgmental, but to be able to introduce them to the place they need to go to get help that’s available within the university.
And about that Blue thing...
Q. How often do classmates mention “Old School,” the film in which an octogenarian named Blue Palasky joins a fraternity?
A. They tried to put me in Blue Palasky’s shoes, and I’ve said that’s absolutely a falsehood. Blue Palasky sits around and sucks down brew, and tries to be a part of a fraternity, and he doesn’t really get it done. I have become fully engaged. I am a brother eternal of all of the young men in Chi Phi.
In all seriousness, congrats on the opportunity, Mr. Reid. As long as you aren't dampering the experience for your new buddies—and, seriously, be careful about that—this is a cool, cool story.