Fall student

These families share Greek life at Emory among siblings and across generations.

by Adrienne S. Harris, Contributing Writer, Campus Life

Many people who belong to a fraternity or sorority say that their affiliation with a Greek letter organization is an important part of college life. Some also say that it is an important part of family life – a tradition of building caring communities and forming lifelong friendships that is passed from generation to generation. For the following students and alumni, Greek life at Emory has truly proved to be a family affair.

Family members find their sorority and fraternity homes at different houses

Kristan Goldfein 90C, a member of Alpha Delta Pi, and her husband, Adam Goldfein 90C, a member of Sigma Chi, had very positive experiences of Greek life at Emory.

“A sorority or fraternity is a home away from home, a place to gather and form relationships, to create bonds and shared experiences that transcend the college experience,” said Kristan, a stay-at-home mom.

Goldfein Family
The Goldfein Family: From left, Adam, Harrison, Sam, and Kristen. Photo: Tina Chang.

Given their fondness for Greek life, the couple encouraged their four children to think about joining a sorority or fraternity – but emphasized that they should choose organizations that were right for them.

As it turns out, the three oldest Goldfein children found their Greek homes at different houses from their parents – and each other. Ben C18 pledged Sigma Phi Epsilon. Shaina, a 2019 graduate of the University of Southern California, pledged Kappa Alpha Theta. And Harrison 22C pledged Delta Tau Delta.

Sam, a senior in high school, is in the process of applying to colleges, including Emory.

“I feel fairly confident that wherever Sam goes, he will join a fraternity, too. But I wouldn’t be surprised if it is a different one,” said Harrison, a psychology major who lives in the DTD house and plans to run for an executive position in his chapter next year.

“Greek life is a place where people can discover who they are,” he said. “What’s important is finding your people, finding your community.”

Brothers learn about Emory and Greek life from their sister’s example

When it came to learning about the value of an Emory education and the benefits of Greek life, Justin Harlow 10C and his twin brother, Jason Harlow 10BBA 14MBA, had the perfect teacher: their sister, Tiffany Harlow 01C.

Tiffany, who is nine years older than her brothers, earned a full-tuition Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship to attend Emory. In her sophomore year, she pledged Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., the same sorority her mom had pledged.

The Harlow family
The Harlow Family: From left, Justin, Tiffany, and Jason. Photo: Moses Robinson.

“We saw how being at Emory elevated Tiffany to other places,” said Justin, a dentist in Charlotte, NC. “We also saw how involved she was with her sorority – that her friends were Deltas and that she had a large social and professional network – and we thought pledging a fraternity might be something worthwhile.”

The Harlow brothers, who also were King scholars, pledged Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.—Justin in spring 2007 and Jason in fall 2007. “Not pledging at the same time is one of the few things we have not done together,” said Justin. “That is unique for us.”

Also unique for the brothers: They both married women who pledged Delta and were line sisters at Emory. Tiffany, an attorney in Atlanta, has a simple explanation for their choice of spouses. “Their mother and sister are Deltas,” she said. “What else would they have done?”

Son carries on the traditions of his father’s fraternity

Max Abramson 20C heard lots of great stories growing up about Sigma Nu, the fraternity his father, Peter Abramson 87C 91M, pledged at Emory. Still, Max was not sure at first that he wanted to join a Greek letter organization.

Abramson FamilyHe changed his mind when he realized that by being a part of Sigma Nu, he could influence the chapter to carry on the traditions his father had told him so much about.

“It felt vitally important to me to help revive this historic chapter,” said Max, an international studies major who pledged in fall 2018 and became chapter commander this year.

“Forty years later, my dad and his friends are still talking about the things they did together in the fraternity. I wanted to make sure that new members could also experience making lifelong bonds.”

Peter has enjoyed seeing his son getting so involved in his – now their – fraternity.

“From him not being interested to being president – it’s very cool,” said Peter, an ear, nose and throat surgeon in Atlanta. “He is experiencing a lot of the same things I did when I was a student. I think that being a part of a social and community service organization has opened Max’s eyes to what a group of people working together can accomplish.” (Above, the Abramson family: From left, Max and Peter.)

Focus on achievement attracts twin brothers to the same fraternity

Although they are twins, Courtney Black 11C and Kyle Black 11C never made a pact to attend the same college. “It just kind of happened,” said Kyle, an attorney in Pittsburgh. “We were both checking out schools and realized that Emory was a good place to be.”

Courtney and Kyle also did not plan to be part of the same Greek letter organization, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. They knew about the fraternity because it is the one their father pledged. But it was meeting other fraternity members that had the greatest influence on the brothers’ decisions to join.

Thw Black family“I learned about the Kappas at Emory and got to know them, the career paths they were on, and what they had accomplished,” said Kyle, who pledged in Fall 2009. “I saw good examples of the kind of person I wanted to be.”

“I knew Kappas had a diversity of achievements in business, education, nonprofits, medicine and other fields,” said Courtney, a marketing manager in New York who pledged in Fall 2010. “Their style fit my personality. I could see myself being close to them and in a community with them long term.”

Sharing a fraternity affiliation reinforces a key personal value Courtney and Kyle also share. “It’s important to keep achieving, to keep doing well,” said Kyle. “We always have a desire to be better.” (Above, the Black Family: From left, Courtney and Kyle.)

Learn more at the website of the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life: http://osfl.emory.edu/