Chi Psi has a rich history here at the University of Georgia. Since 1890 Chi Psi has produced many prominent Alumni from the University of Georgia. Furthermore, nationally Chi Psi has produced many Alumni that have helped shape America into what it is today.
A Few Notable Alumni in Chi Psi:
John S. Pillsbury – Co-founder of Pillsbury Bakery/8th Governor of Minnesota
Herbert Fisk Johnson Sr. – Former President of S.C. Johnson and Co.
Samuel Curtis Johnson Jr.– Former Chair of S.C. Johnson and Co.
Dr. Herbert Fisk Johnson Jr. – Current President of S.C. Johnson and Co.
Prince Albert of Monaco – Ruler of Monaco
Charles Merrill – Founder of Merrill Lynch/ Former National President of Chi Psi
Edmund C. Lynch Jr. – Former Vice President of Merrill Lynch
Bill Belichick – Head Coach of the New England Patriots
Stephen Ambrose – Author/Historian- “America’s Historian”
Hugh Hodgson – Hodgson School of Music at UGA.
Clarence Birdseye – Inventor of frozen foods
Leonard Herring – Former President and CEO of Lowe’s
However, it is not the promise of success that sustains our Alumni and Undergraduates alike. The relationships one builds within a fraternity last far beyond ones collegiate years. With every Alumni gathering we are reminded of why we joined to begin with; relationships that will outlast the test of time.
A Thing of the Spirit
“Chi Psi is an ideal, a thing of the spirit. It has no embodiment: it has expression only in the fellowship of its Bonds, begun when life is young and not broken in old age.
Your love of Alpha is not for a Lodge, for brick or stone. It is for handclasps, for song. The Lodge you build to shelter memory and keep tradition green.
From 1841, it has been our boast that our Badge loses no luster when its wearer goes out into the world, but rather that his experience only makes him realize more fully what Chi Psi means to him.”
– John W Anderson, Psi 1889, Epsilon 1890
Stuart Cofer, class of ’81, began his college career in pursuit of a business degree. Knowing he would one day return to the family business, Cofer’s Home and Garden in Athens, he decided to focus his attention on learning how to stay in business before he would learn what he could about horticulture and gardening.
Obtaining his degree allowed the newly graduated Cofer to move to California, where he chose to prove his abilities in business. Thinking family businesses rarely, if ever, let go of family employees, he decided to find a starting career. During his stint in California Cofer worked as a door-to-door cable television salesman, a delivery truck driver, and eventually he found a way to Enterprise Rental cars. His first attempt to obtain employment at Enterprise ended without success. California required a minimum time of six-months state residence before hiring, and Cofer was a few months shy. However, on the second attempt the hiring manager did not question the residency time and Cofer quickly accepted a new career.
Within six months of his start at Enterprise he became an Assistant Manager and within the year he became Manager. In ’84, Cofer opened an office in Fullerton and shortly after transferred to Atlanta to open an office in Roswell. To this day some of his trainees are working with Enterprise national office and helping run the company.
Cofer eventually returned to Athens to help with the family business. Cofer’s Home and Garden is the oldest original, family owned garden center in the state of Georgia. The garden center has changed throughout the years to fit the changing times. Originally, when the store opened in 1922 in downtown Athens on Lumpkin St. just down from the Georgia Theatre, it focused on farming in Athens. It is now geared towards small farming and private gardening with the ability to assist in large projects. In 1997 Cofer’s Home and Garden won Georgia Trend Magazine’s Small Family Business of the Year and Family Business of the Year from the Small Business Administration.
Cofer has a passion for plants and history. He is a recognized plant expert, a Georgia Green Industry Certified Plant Professional. His office is filled with posters and memorabilia and a few special bricks. One brick is from the old Chi Psi Lodge on Lumpkin and another from the Bavarian summer home of Field Marshal Hermann Goering, the Nazi military leader. He obtained that brick on his honeymoon when he searched for the remains of Goering’s demolished home.
In his line of work Cofer has to stay in the know when it comes to new varieties of plants to make sure he can offer what big-box sellers don’t have or to make sure he knows about the product to help with purchases and questions customers have.
In his personal life Cofer is philanthropic, having many ties to organizations that better the community of individuals within the community. Some include – past Chairman of the American Cancer Society, the Board of Directors of Athens Chamber of Commerce, board member of the Oconee County Rotary Club, and he serves on the Oconee County Land Use and Transportation Committee. Cofer has also mentored a young man for the past 6 years in the Clarke County school system.
He left me with the quotation, “I’m nothing more than a cotton farmer. There’s good weather – there’s good business. Bad weather-bad business. The economy plays second fiddle.”
Eric Brown, class of ’97, started out as a Political Science Major with dreams of going to Law School. Earning his degree in Political Science he decided to take some time to himself before jumping feet first into another stretch of schooling. Brown waited tables for a small stretch of time where he found a love of wine. (Even after being at UGA. And you all know what and how we drink). Deciding to move to Atlanta and become a certified computer engineer he was able to learn more about some of the things he loved. Wine is Brown’s passion, even collecting many bottles today.
Le Caveau is the Wine shop Brown is in charge of. Walking into the store was an experience all on its own. Being immediately greeted and talked to like long-lost brothers and immediately picking his brain for wine qualities made the experience.
Le Caveau is French for “The Vault” but truly means a “Small Cellar.” When you walk inside you know exactly what it means. The walls are lined with some of the best wines and champagnes in the world. Brown specializes in Old World Wines but he does carry domestic products and wines from around the world. One of the things he enjoys best about his wine selection is that most of them are organic, meaning the wine he sells is the true fermented grape taste that wine is supposed to carry. Le Caveau is expanding its own horizons shortly as well. They will soon be receiving holiday beers.
One of the main attractions for wine-drinkers and non-wine drinkers alike is the wine club of Le Caveau. Brown introduces people to less-recognizable wine to promote new flavors and expand the horizons of his clients. The wine club has made Le Caveau a loyal following, after starting up 8 months ago.
And for some of the tips we received while we were there: “Pair your sweet wines with spicy food. Dry wine goes with anything.” “Food wines have a high acidity to compliment the food.”
If you are ever in the Atlanta area and you want to get an expert opinion on wine check out Le Caveau and say hello to Eric Brown.
For the full address 5256 Peachtree Road, Suite 102 Atlanta, GA, 30341
H. Leon Farmer III
H. Leon Farmer III, class of ’92, pledged Chi Psi at the University of Georgia in 1986 as an undergraduate student pursuing a degree in Political Science. His leadership skills showed early in his time at Chi Psi considering he was the president of his pledge class. As a brother, he ran for #1 in 1990 after returning from the Marine Corps. At this time, Alpha Alpha Delta of Chi Psi was nearing 100 members and was fortunate enough to host national convention. He told me that his leadership position in Chi Psi helped him with his problem solving, group dynamics, and public speaking skills. After graduating, Brother Farmer was the Alumni Advisor during the removal of fraternities from Lumpkin Street and received the Alumni of the Year award.
Brother Farmer married his wife Rebecca, who is also a University of Georgia graduate, in 1998. The Farmers have two young children who enjoy participating in martial arts with their father. These familial ties are very important to him and martial arts is a fun way to stay connected and active. In fact, Brother Farmer is the reason for the Leon Farmer Strength and Conditioning Award, which is earned through dedication to strength and conditioning to benefit the results of the UGA football team.
All together, Brother Farmer spent eight years of his life in the Marine Corps and was called to active duty during Operation Desert Storm. He was trained as a logistics specialist and, as a Corporal, he received the Marine Corps Commendation during Operation Desert Storm. His background in logistics helped him to become the successful president of Leon Farmer & Company that he is today.
Leon Farmer & Company is a three generation-old, family owned corporation that was chartered over sixty years ago. Brother Farmer’s great grandfather (H. Leon Farmer) was the president of the company at this time, though he later passed it down to his son (H. Leon Farmer jr), who finally relinquished it to H. Leon Farmer III (Brother Farmer). Today, he deals with anywhere from 800-1000 cases and manages 27 counties. To stay in touch with the demographic of the beer scene, he personally handles all social media relations. In 2005 he became the chairman of Anheuser-Busch Wholesale Advisory. To emphasize the previously mentioned strong familial relations, Brother Farmer told me that believes that “helping beer crafters keeps the spirit of his grandfather alive.”