David Ladov ‘75 today
Beta Sigma Beta has been foundational for David Ladov ’75 from a young age. His older brother, Donald, who graduated in 1970, brought him into contact with the fraternity long before his own college career. While Donald was at the house, David witnessed the support and connections that come with being a member of Beta Sigma. When it came time for David to enroll at Penn State and decide where to live, the decision was simple. “I went to see a few other places, but knowing that my brother had these wonderful friends, joining Beta Sigma was easy.”
Ladov recalls that when he was at Beta Sigma Beta, it was one of only two Jewish fraternities, along with Alpha Epsilon Pi. “I think there was a great deal of affinity with Beta Sig. I wanted to be with people I felt comfortable with, and they certainly made me feel that way.”
One of his best memories from the fraternity was being able to share first-rate rooms with good friends in his senior year. “I was a chancellor at the house during my junior year. After being chancellor, you get priority in picking a room. I had the first pick after that. During my senior year, there weren’t a lot of seniors. Basically, Sam Becker ‘75 and I had the first two or three room picks. Four of us shared two different rooms: Sam Becker, myself, Dave Maritec ‘76, and Stu Lessin ’77. It was really nice to spend time with new and different people. To this day, Stu Lessin is still one of my best friends.”
“Stu was a pre-med major and I was an IFS major. I was touchy-feely and Stu was more of a hard science guy. During my last semester, I made him take a course with me—women’s studies. We had a ball. It kind of showed Stu a different perspective from all of his hard science courses. That last year had some of my fondest memories.”
Ladov was actively involved with Beta Sigma Beta and the campus as a whole and he is appreciative of the abilities the fraternity gave him. “There were amazing leadership opportunities in the house and outside the house. I was president of the alumni association for a number of years and Sam Becker was my treasurer. Economics is a big part of running the house. There is no one I would trust more, then or now, than Sam.”
“I also was very involved outside of the house. I was the vice president of the Penn State Interfraternity Council (IFC), so I spent a lot of time dealing with other fraternities and fraternity issues. I also helped to run a food co-op through the Organization of Town-Independent Students (OTIS), I was on the board of directors for the Penn State Daily Collegian and I was on the concert committee as an IFC rep. I had many great experiences in the University.”
Toward the end of his undergraduate degree, Ladov determined that law school was the next step in his career, so he and Sam Becker took a road trip to look at different schools. “Starting at Washington, we went down I-95 and saw schools in the South, ending up in Atlanta. We both wanted to see Emory University, which is where I ended up. It was very different to go to school in the South — it was less competitive, more collaborative, and the weather was a lot better!”
During law school, Ladov began working at a law firm with Marty Sobel, his brother’s fraternity brother. “They had lived together during law school in Pittsburgh. It was the perfect example of why this fraternity was so important in my life. I would never have gotten my entry as a law clerk without my Beta Sig brothers. After law school, I had opportunities to stay in Atlanta, but felt I needed to come back home. The ties that I had with my brothers and my parents (who were aging) brought me back to the area that I grew up in — Norristown. I have lived here since then.”
“Without Beta Sigma, I wouldn’t have had as much fun attending Penn State as I did. Beta Sig was my primary source of entertainment. We had tremendous parties during my tenure at the house. We had a great social environment that I would not have had in an apartment. It was just a lot of fun. When you are an eighteen- to twenty-two-year-old, fun is an important factor.”
“I got a lot out of the fraternity, and not just while I was there. I have ongoing relationships with dozens of brothers. I’ve had the ‘pleasure’ of representing a bunch of them in their divorces. My wife has often said, ‘when I married my husband, I didn’t realize I was marrying the Beta Sig fraternity as well!’”
Even now, Ladov experiences the bonds that his fraternity family has left him. “For me, it’s been an amazing, positive experience in my life. I hope as many other people get out of it what I got out of it — the same kind of lifetime friendships. My brother, Donald, had these amazing relationships until he died in 2007 at the age of 59. To this day, I could call on any of my brother’s Beta Sig brothers. Getting together with his brothers who knew him so well is comforting.”
“At my wedding, I had brothers in the wedding party and even more in attendance. They’ve come to the kids’ bat mitzvahs and when my daughter was married, they were at the wedding. It’s not like my friendships with my fraternity brothers stopped when I graduated. Far from it —we’ve remained close friends to this day.”
“Why do I give back to Beta Sig? I want to give whatever I can to continue the fraternity experience. It takes money to run anything. An alumni association is a nonprofit that needs money to send out newsletters. You get out of something what you put into it. It’s not just giving it and not getting back — you get it back double or triple fold!”
David, his brother Donald, also a Beta Sig brother, and their mother at David’s daughter’s bat mitzvah in 2000.
David Ladov ‘75 in his senior photo in La Vie yearbook.