Don Meck ’71
A Lifelong Journey with ΣAE
By Don Meck ’71
Pledging ΣAE, becoming an active and then an alumnus was the beginning of a journey that has never ended. After graduating from Purdue and joining the U.S. Air Force, I found myself in Texas. I graduated with a master’s degree from St. Mary’s University and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University. While completing my Ph.D. in psychology, a fellow SAE graduate student and I helped start the process of establishing an ΣAE chapter at Texas A&M (Texas Tau). That chapter is thriving, much like ours does today.
From Texas, I made my way to Georgia and a tour of duty as a USAF clinical psychologist at Robins Air Force Base. I left the military after eight years of active duty to establish a private practice in clinical psychology and neuropsychology. I transferred to the USAF Reserves, served an additional 16 years, and was recalled to active duty for Desert Storm and Desert Shield. I eventually retired from the USAF Reserves as a Lt. Colonel. In addition to being a licensed psychologist, I graduated from John Marshall Law School (this was my mid-life crisis) and today maintain a private practice as a licensed psychologist and attorney in Warner Robins, Georgia. It is interesting to note that I attended law school with two other SAE brothers from Georgia Sigma whom I had never met before. We’re now close family, as well as professional friends.
My journey to Georgia enhanced my interest in politics, so I ran and was elected to the local board of education. I learned quickly that people elect you to do what they want you to do, not necessarily what is right. That was enough for me and I served only one term. However, I did not leave politics altogether and was appointed to four terms (20 years) by four different Georgia governors to the Georgia Board of Examiners of Psychologists.
More recently, I was elected to the Board of Directors for the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards, the professional organization that monitors and regulates psychology licensure in the United States and Canada. That position brought me to Chicago for a meeting where the Levere Memorial Temple is located. That experience was a lot different than I remembered as a pledge member, but it brought back the memories of our walkout and shared experiences, both before and after we left the house. It made me reflect on the importance of our fraternity to the general history of our country, as well as our own personal histories. That’s why I have enjoyed the resurgence of our chapter as a leader at Purdue and look forward to the opportunities to reunite with alumni and those who share our house at this time.
My wife and I are blessed with three sons and nine grandchildren. We have lived in Georgia since 1978 and consider this our home. We spend our leisure time playing golf, enjoying weekends hunting on our farm, vacationing in Florida, and attending the sports and other recreational activities of our grandchildren. All of our family lives in Georgia and we see each other frequently.
As I get older, family becomes more important to me, and I have started to expand my immediate family to include many of the SAE brothers. I’ve had the opportunity to reunite with many brothers during visits to our house. I attended many national and international professional meetings and vacations where I met other SAE brothers. The bond was immediate. We became instant friends and realized the importance and benefits of being an ΣAE, not just professionally, but also personally.