2015 True Gentleman Award Winner – Peter G. Heylin ’65

Peter Griscom Heylin ’65 was the first and only unsolicited addition to the original board formed after Hillcrest was turned over to Cornell University in the 1980s.

Our primary responsibilities at the time were raising money to pay off the debt and communicating with alumni about what was going on through the NY Alpha News to encourage donations. Bob Dean ’49 had resigned as chapter advisor and had no intention of staying on in any capacity after the transfer of Hillcrest was completed.

In his longtime service to NY Alpha, Peter has focused primarily on specific projects. He’s a man who gets things done, so it’s best to get out of his way. Through it all, Peter’s ideas and his ambition are fueled by his enduring passion for NY Alpha.

Peter is responsible for the Robert Crosby ’65 memorial that graces the wall in the dining room when the chapter is in residence. He geared up for that because he felt it was long overdue. Bob was killed during the Vietnam war, and Peter felt that the story of his classmate and brother deserved to be told. Peter continues to work on this project and has other ideas about enhancing its presentation.

At the time of Peter’s 40th reunion, he raised nearly $50,000 for the Development Fund, primarily from his classmates. No class had ever raised that much for a single reunion year. He also helped pay for and then arranged to move a new piano to the house because of his love of music and the tradition of brothers singing, a tradition he wants to rekindle.

A few years later, in 2010, Peter and his wife, Linda, purchased new lion statues (which he affectionately named “Harris” and “Hal”) to replace the ones that had been destroyed by vandals a few years earlier. Not wanting that to happen again, he had these built with aluminum and filled solid with cement. Growing frustrated waiting for a formalized purchase that was going nowhere fast, Peter simply bought them outright and had them shipped to Ithaca and installed at Hillcrest’s front door.

After the lions were installed, his daughter, Tera, went to Ithaca while on an East Coast trip and made sure to have her picture taken sitting on one. You might have seen this in the NY Alpha News or on the website.

As a board member, Peter Heylin served on the Strategic Plan team, working closely with Gus Noojin ’69 and others planning for reinstatement. He has every intention of working on the campaign team when the time comes for our major fundraising effort to finish renovating Hillcrest. Be prepared to step up when Peter asks for your participation!

Peter has also been active on both the facilities and fundraising committees. He is deeply committed to both.

Our 2015 True Gentleman, Peter Heylin set an excellent example for NY Alpha brothers by investing in NY Alpha through his many gifts, decades of service, and lifelong commitment. It is as simple as that!

If you look through the website, you will see lots written about Peter’s efforts over the years. We would love to have him come back to Ithaca for his 50th reunion in June 2015. Of course, he has been helping organizing the event for his class, so count on a good group for the occasion—and related funds to be raised!

One simply cannot have a better friend and a more devoted brother than Peter Heylin.

Peter G. Heylin ’65, a True Gentleman of New York Alpha.