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For Roda, There’s No Place Like Lancaster
BY MICHAEL CALLAHAN
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SMALL TOWN FOLK
Joe Roda, L’74
Ruthanne Beighley, L’76
Pasco Schiavo, L’62
Joe Sensenbrenner, L’73,
Joe Roda
In his 1940 novel “You Can’t Go Home Again,” Thomas Wolfe explores the fate of George Webber, who writes a book about the people of his small Carolina hometown, only to face their enmity when he returns. Disillusioned, he flees, vowing never to come back. For a while, it looked like Joe Roda, L’74 was destined to mirror Webber’s destiny.

Raised in bucolic Lancaster, Pa., Roda was blessed with an Ozzie-and-Harriet upbringing, a big family with seven siblings that enjoyed road trips, faithful churchgoing, and Rockwellian Thanksgivings. Roda won a football scholarship to Villanova, transferring his sophomore year to Harvard; from there it was on to Penn Law. His future was set: He would join the Lancaster law practice of his father, Frank. “Penn was an excellent school and it was also in Pennsylvania, so at the time it offered me the chance to see my father in action,” Roda recalls of his dad, a successful attorney, who had a large practice in Philadelphia as well as one in Lancaster.
 
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