Alumni Corner

Bob Defoor '91



Why did you join Kappa Alpha as an undergraduate?


When I came down from Kentucky to start college at Georgia Tech, I didn’t know many students ahead of time.  Several of my father’s friends were KA’s in our town and had written letters of recommendation for me so I went by the House during Rush Week.  My initial plan was to defer joining a fraternity until after I had been in school for a while (not knowing how difficult the classes would be), but I met a couple of Brothers from Kentucky, Rick Muse and Jeff Cunningham, on the first night and felt very comfortable with everyone.  
 
What is the funniest memory from your Kappa Alpha days?
 
As retribution for the “pledge picture” debacle in the courtyard when we all got dressed up in coat and tie and then got pelted from the upper floors with slop from the kitchen, the pledges led a raid on the house one night and thoroughly soaked the guys, causing many of the rooms on the first floor to flood – I’d never seen them so mad!  

What is the single fondest memory you have shared/will share with your children and grandchildren?
 
It’s hard to single out one fond memory over all others but contenders would be when I got my bid from KA and heard the cannon, initiation night in Winter quarter 1987, getting tapped into ANAK my junior year, and finally graduation from Tech in 1991.  Of course all the road trips, mixers, football games, Old South weeks, and band parties would be close seconds.

How do you stay connected with your brothers as an alum?


I try to come by the House at football games and Homecoming when my schedule allows me to get down to Atlanta.  I also regularly keep up with Jeff Holley, Thomas Duttera, and Mark Seeley by email, text, and phone.  I check the alumni updates on the KA website every now and then to see what people have been up to and where Mike Hopkins has been traveling lately.
 
What about your membership in Kappa Alpha makes you the most proud?

Growing up together through very formative and impressionable years prepared us for all our future endeavors.  I’m proud to see my fraternity brothers and friends become outstanding career men, husbands, and fathers.  Congratulations to Thomas and Elizabeth Duttera who just had their second!
 
How would your life be different today if you had never joined Kappa Alpha?


It’s hard to imagine what would be different but I would have certainly missed out on knowing some incredible people in the Chapter.
 
If you could go back and relive one moment from your Kappa Alpha years, what would it be and why?

I will always remember the intense and awe-inspiring initiation in the winter quarter of my freshman year.  My big brother Glenn Couper drove me to the church and was such a good friend through the whole process.  Tom Nolan was an outstanding president and role model that year and did a phenomenal job in the ceremony.  For some reason, perhaps because of the weather, we did the entire ceremony in one night instead of two – a long night but truly memorable!

What is your advice for future generations of brothers?


Confronting problems with another brother (or colleague later in the working world) head-on without delay is an important skill to learn as you make your way through college and start your career.  One of the greatest lessons that living in the KA house taught me was how to deal with conflict and differing opinions.  We didn’t always agree with each other in our affairs and how to fun the fraternity, but we ultimately bonded together to make decisions for the good of the Chapter.  I particularly remember an interaction with another Brother one day that didn’t go well, and later that night he came to my room and we discussed our issues in private and things got resolved without grudges.  
 
Where has life taken you since graduation? What's new in your life today?

After college, I won a Fulbright Fellowship to France to do research at a medical school in Paris.   After a great year living and traveling in Europe, I came back to start medical school at the University of Kentucky.  I married my college girlfriend, the former Cathy Alexander, after my second year and her first year.  After four years in Lexington, we moved to Charleston, South Carolina, where I did a surgical internship and urology residency and Cathy did a pediatrics residency at the Medical University of South Carolina.  I decided to sub-specialize in pediatric urology so we moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to do a fellowship at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.  I stayed on as staff (first job at age 35!) and have been there since.  We’re raising three healthy children and Cathy is still in private practice part-time as a pediatrician in Northern Kentucky.

Why do you financially support the chapter in your alumni years?
 
I think having a strong Alumni influence is important to the current Chapter members, who are just starting to figure out what they want to do in their careers as well as in life.  Since I don’t live in Atlanta and cannot directly participate in most Alumni affairs, I try to do my part financially.

Who do you stay connected with in your alumni years? Are there any brothers you've lost touch with who you'd like to reconnect with?

I keep in touch with Jeff Holley (lives and works in Cincinnati at Proctor and Gamble) as well as Thomas Duttera and Mark Seeley in Atlanta.  Unfortunately, I’ve lost touch with two of my little brothers, Jack Lowrey and Matt Lisenby, as well as Rick Muse, Pete Andersen, Glenn Couper, and Jeff Cunningham that were seniors when I started at KA.
 
Why would you encourage other brothers to engage with Kappa Alpha in their alumni years?
 
It’s important for the current brothers to feel supported by the Alumni as well our being a helpful resource for them as they start their careers.
 
What is the best thing about your alumni experience?
 
Touching base with old friends who I haven’t been able to see very often in the past twenty years.

How does who you are reflect the values that you learned in Kappa Alpha?


A difficult question but I will always remember Lee’s Definition of a Gentlemen that a Brother had me memorize for his signature.  This inspirational memorandum was found in Lee’s papers after his death and values humility and empathy in the use of knowledge and power in relating to others.  These are skills that I must use every day when a parent trusts me to take care of their infant or young child both at the bedside as well as in the operating room.  


To reconnect with Bob, e-mail him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.!

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