For The Tribune
It’s not every day that someone’s classmate/fraternity brother becomes governor, and then four years later vice president. But in some ways, I’m not surprised by Mike Pence’s career path.
Mike and I lived in Crowe Hall, which was an all-boys dormitory at Hanover College. We were only allowed visitors a few hours on the weekends. We joined the fraternity of Phi Gamma Delta (Fiji) later our freshman year.
Toward the end of our freshman year, we were walking over from Crowe Hall, and Mike mentioned he’d be running for president of our fraternity. He seemed to want the position, and I thought he’d be good at it.
He would have to campaign some and defeat upperclassmen to become president, and he did. Up to that point in time, Mike was our youngest president. Eric Holcomb, our current governor, would come along and become a two-term president of our fraternity a few years later.
Considering Mike’s outstanding attributes, some of which I’ve outlined below, it was no surprise that he was picked to be the commencement speaker at Hanover College at graduation.
Mike is a born leader, and he has never shied from running for leadership positions, and he has a positive attitude and doesn’t get discouraged easily.
He has a great sense of humor. He kept us laughing.
This is a side of him that people don’t get to see in the media. One example of his humor is that when asked if he’d do something, he’d say, “Definitely … for sure … maybe …”
He is a good speaker and debater. In fact, he was on debate teams at Columbus North High School. As our fraternity’s president, he displayed these skills.
He perseveres. He could often be seen during festivals in Columbus and other district towns just greeting people. He worked hard to be noticed in the early years. Also, his radio show helped people learn about him. He lost his first two attempts at office (state representative) but never gave up. He learned from his mistakes during those campaigns and kept going.
He has an extensive vocabulary. The first time I heard the word “rebuttal” was when Mike asked if he could rebut a fraternity brother’s comments. Mike has the ability to employ the written and spoken word to communicate his message well.
He would stay away from parties where alcohol was served, and still today, he tries and prefers to stay away from events where alcohol is served.
He became a Christian in college. We had several upperclassman fraternity brothers who were Christians. These role models helped lead Mike to Christ our sophomore year. He even has mentioned the event on national television.
He is loyal. He stayed true to his political party even as the winds of change were blowing. As a result, he won the ultimate “apprentice job” when Donald Trump observed him and a couple of other candidates and selected Mike as his vice presidential running mate.
As I teach macroeconomics at Ivy Tech starting next week, I wonder how many national policies we’ll cover that my classmate/fraternity brother was a key player in implementing. He already has been given a huge role as leader of Trump’s transition team.
Lenny Hauersperger is a sports correspondent for The Tribune. Send comments to email@example.com.