Nathaniel Blackman alpha delta, #178

When were you initiated into our chapter? Are you originally from the Chicago area?

I was initiated into the chapter in 1978. Yes, I was born and raised in Chicago.

What brought you to UW-Platteville?

A map, literally a map. My father had a friend whose name was Silas Parnell and he ran an agency called Ada S McKinley. He asked me what I liked and what I thought I might want to do. He opened the book and put a pin on it. Next thing you know, I'm headed to Platteville, Wisconsin.

That is a great story! What did you study at UWP?

Pre-med, I wanted to be a doctor. That had always been my dream since I was 16. But I found out quickly I really wasn't equipped to be away from home and on my own at college.

Did you move back home?

After my first year, yes. Believe it or not the fraternity was one of the things that helped turn my life around. I was pledging Alpha Phi Alpha, a black fraternity on campus at the time. I wasn't having a good time pledging. Pat Kelley was one of the guys who pulled me aside one day and asked me if I was enjoying my experience with the fraternity and what I was getting out of it. I had no good answers and he asked me to come check out TKE. I knew some of the guys already and Wayne Powers, AKA Steamy, was my next door roommate. From the very first meeting it felt like family, a brotherhood.

What is one memorable experience from your time with TKE as a UWP undergrad?

Some of the most memorable times were hanging out at the house and the annual Streak-A-Thon.

What is the annual Streak-A-Thon?!

If memory serves me correctly, it took place in January in the quad near Dobson Hall. All of the women would gather in Dobson and watch the guys run naked to music across the quad and through the dorm. I wore see-through shorts.

Did you enroll in another school when you moved back home?

I bounced around to a few different schools and finally finished up at North Park University with a BA in Organizational Management.

Polar Plunge in Chicago with his company team
Where did life take you after finishing your degree?

When I got back to Chicago, I was all over the place. I was trying to figure out who I was and where I fit in. I was always one of those people that never really fit in and I had to grow into who I was as a person. I got married at 23, which was too young when I look back but the past is the past. I have 5 wonderful children and three grandchildren. I divorced after 22 years of marriage and remarried two years ago. I started working for Peoples Gas in 1983 and right now I have 33 years with the company in various positions. I had no intention of staying with the company this long but I started a family and they became a priority. But I must say the company Peoples Gas has been very good to me. I am currently the Supervisor for Emergency Response and my job is to send personnel and resources out into the field. We manage the entire Chicago area along with some of the northern suburbs.

Nathaniel with his wife Karen
What is one of your proudest moments thus far?

Being able to see all of my children grow up has been my proudest moment. My three sons all went to college. One graduated this year and the other two will be coming out next year. My oldest daughter is a stay-at-home mom raising three children and my youngest daughter is 12.

Frater Nathaniel with his youngest daughter and grandchildren
  1. Bears or Packers? Packers
  2. Beach or mountains? Mountains
  3. Snow or sun? Snow for hiking and climbing, sun for cycling and swimming
  4. Coffee or tea? Both, imported
  5. Soda or pop? Neither
  6. Fast or slow? Depends on what I'm doing


Nathaniel Blackman

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