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Bob Dylan and Philip Roth Were Frat Brothers?

Apparently…same house, different chapters

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I get a lot of weird press releases and e-mails. But today, my mind was blown. Along came word about the birthday of the Jewish fraternity Sigma Alpha Mu, better known as Sammy, also known at many schools as “those guys.”

Perversely curious, I hopped on Wikipedia to take a look at their notable members and found something that stunned me. The Jewish fraternity that sustained the expected likes of NBA Commish David Stern, Steve Wynn, and Michael Milken, had also given bro-rise to Philip Roth and Bob Dylan.

Dylan, before flunking out, apparently pledged the Sammy house at the University of Minnesota. He lived in the frat house on 5th Street and performed at local coffee shops.

Philip Roth, had a more illustrious college experience at Bucknell, where in addition to being one of “those guys,” Roth was a member of Cap and Dagger, the Bucknell drama club.

I can only imagine what it would have been like to be hazed by Roth.

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Michael says:

I don’t know about Philip Roth, but I can confirm that Bob Dylan spent time at the Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at the University of Minnesota his first year there. He needed a place to stay while at school and joined the fraternity for the housing, not so much for the fraternal activities.
The episode is remarked about in the Bob biography “Down The Highway: The Life of Bob Dylan” by Howard Sounes.

Lynne T says:

Did Dylan flunk out or drop out because he was more interested in a music career than pursuing a BA in whatever?

Jacob Arnon says:

And why is this important? Did the fraternity have anything to do with the persons they were? Did it help them develop into the artists they became?

Michael says:


Dylan kind of dropped out. He wasn’t very interested in going to university in the first place but his parent’s made a deal with him to try it out before he set out on a full blown musical career. In the end he chose his music, thank goodness.

as noted by others- Dylan didn’t flunk out- he left and hitchhiked to NYC and his date with destiny. Also it is my understanding that BD never actually pledged- he just stayed there. His cousin was a member of the frat and part of the deal with his parents was he go for a year and stay with his cousin…

Thank God he chose to get the hell out of there!


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Bob Dylan and Philip Roth Were Frat Brothers?

Apparently…same house, different chapters

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