Learn about members making a $1 million donation that will help build a new theater in downtown San Diego, performing with Elton John, publishing a book on cheating in baseball, producing a billion-dollar movie series, and coaching a state champion tennis team.
Fra David Guggenheim (Purdue, ’66) and his wife, Claire, made a $1,000,000 donation to have “The Guggenheim Theatre” named after them at a brand new University of California San Diego building called Park & Market in downtown San Diego. This state-of-the-art 225 seat black box facility will be used to present diverse cultural events as it can be configured for music, theatre, lectures and conferences. The above photo of the Guggenheim family is from the UC San Diego Park & Market community building grand opening in downtown San Diego last spring with a VIP Celebration & Concert in the new Guggenheim Theatre. The multipurpose four-story venue stands on a full city block at Park Boulevard and Market Street in East Village, near the Blue Line Trolley. Fra Guggenheim’s donation in the Park & Market will serve the entire San Diego community as a social and intellectual hub for civic engagement, learning and collaboration.
Fra Daniel Levitt (Wisconsin, ’83) recently released his fifth book on baseball, Intentional Balk: Baseball’s Thin Line Between Innovation and Cheating, published with Clyde Hill Publishing. With coauthor Mark Armour, Dan provides the definitive history of cheating in baseball and delivers an engrossing chronicle of America’s pastime and the players, coaches, and front office executives who have sought any advantage. Baseball and cheating have a long history together, and the evolving views and the widely differing reactions to different kinds of cheating provides and interesting lens on American society. Tyler Kepner, author of A History of Baseball in Ten Pitches, reviewed their book sharing, “From fake foul tips to dugout disguises, sign stealing to sticky stuff, Mark Armour and Daniel Levitt don’t miss a trick — and that’s saying something when the subject is baseball, where rule-bending has always been part of the game. Armour and Levitt teamed up for the definitive history of the baseball front office with In Pursuit of Pennants, and now they’ve written the definitive history of cheating in our national pastime.”
Fra Jon Landau (USC, ‘79), the renowned producer of Titanic and Avatar, collaborated with Director James Cameron on the sci-fi franchise and shared news of film production beginning on the fourth movie in the Avatar Series. Fra Landau shared with Variety magazine, “We’ve completed most of the first act of ‘Avatar 4’ and there were logistical reasons why we needed to do that.” For the second and third sequel to Avatar, Jon explained that technological advances needed to be made before a sequel could come to fruition. At the Busan International Film Festival, Jon shared, “We could not have delivered what people saw, five years ago, eight years ago, nine years ago. We needed the time to take it to the level that we’re able to deliver to people today.” Jon’s film, ‘Avatar’ broke box office records when it was released in 2009 and a long-awaited sequel, ‘Avatar: The Way of Water’, is set to hit cinemas this December.
Last spring, Fra Fredo Weiland (Ohio State, ‘80) coached his Ponte Vedra High School Sharks Varsity Tennis team to the Florida 3A State Championship and received the USA Today Northeast Florida HS Tennis Coach of the Year. One of Fredo’s five seniors, Adam Logan, battled back from trailing two match points early in a tiebreaker to win. For Coach Weiland’s senior star, the victory will always hold a special place in his heart after his dad’s passing earlier in the year. After a long career as a tennis pro in New York, Fredo decided to give back as a volunteer head coach and mentor at the area high school. In youth athletics, Coach Weiland serves as the Director of the Ryland-Weiland Tennis alongside USTA-Midwest Hall of Fame Inductee, Bob Ryland. Weiland also serves as the Executive Director of the Pinstripes Sports Dreams Foundation, which offers financial support and guidance to youth baseball teams and players in communities where there are limited resources. Coach Fredo’s high school tennis team won the high school’s first state championship in tennis. “Our goal was to win it all every year,” stated Coach Weiland. “Our Sharks had the same goal. Believe in yourself. Believe in your teammates. Together, we can do this.”
Fra Conrey & Fra Kleppel
On Veterans Day weekend, Past Supreme Prior Jerry Conrey (Cal. State-Fullerton, ‘84), Supreme Prior Dave Kleppel (Washington, ‘82) and their wives met in Las Vegas, NV to celebrate their wedding anniversaries together. Jerry met with a casino employee at the lounge desk to arrange the delivery of a special package to the restaurant where the four would be dining that evening. While making arrangements, Jerry sat down with the young man who briefly halted the conversation asking, “Aren’t you the Supreme Prior of Sigma Alpha Mu?” Jerry replied, “I was, but this man sitting next to me took over that role a few months ago.” That is how Jerry and Dave unexpectedly met another fellow frater and MGM employee Michael Ryan (UNLV, ‘15). After a heartfelt conversation and happenstance run-in, Dave wanted to again wish the young man gratitude sharing, “Thanks for your help Michael, and good luck on your transfer to casino marketing!”
Sammy alumnus Adam Chester (USC, ‘82) who recently performed on-stage at Dodger Stadium during Elton John’s final performance in the United States. Since 2005, Adam’s earned the title of the “Surrogate Elton John,” working exclusively with Sir Elton and his band as Elton’s only “stand-in” on the piano and vocals for various rehearsals, sound checks, and concert appearances. As a Sammy volunteer, Adam shared his performing talents at the 2020 and 2021 Virtual
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