While away at college at the University of Oregon, Atiyeh wrote often to his parents, on topics such as his classes, his brothers, and, of course, football. This letter, from December 11, 1941 -- just days after Pearl Harbor -- shows that for the time being, college life was still normal for Atiyeh. He often signed these letters with flair: "The Brain," "Your favorite," and, here, "your dynamic politician-voiced son."
Atiyeh joined the Epsilon Omicron chapter of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. He embraced fraternity life, and remained in touch with many of his pledge brothers throughout the war and after leaving school. The "Fijis" produced a newsletter, one issue of which is shown here.
Atiyeh had won a football scholarship to play as guard with the Ducks. The coaches wanted to save his varsity eligibilty, so he came on as a junior varsity player. After the war began, many players joined the armed forces. Atiyeh, who had a bone graft for an injury over the winter of 1942-43, was rated 4-F and had to stay behind in Eugene. After he healed, several professional football teams showed interest in recruiting him. The Green Bay Packers offered him a contract to play as a guard, but Atiyeh turned them down. He wanted to finish up a law degree, but unfortunately, other events would prevent him from continuing. Atiyeh's father passed away suddenly in July, 1944, and Victor was called home to take over the family business. He was never able to complete his degree.