This Week in DKE History September 27th - October 3rd

September 27, 1879

Omicron Chapter – The first meeting at the new hall (Shant) was undertaken with C.H. Campbell presiding.  At the meeting, three invitations for membership were offered and the initiation of the three men took place immediately after their acceptance.

September 27, 1916

The “Delta Kappa Epsilon Club” was incorporated pursuant to the Membership Corporation Law of the State of New York, with the following objects:  “... to maintain and operate a clubhouse in the City of New York for the use and benefit of the alumni members of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, to promote the frequent meeting together of the members of said Fraternity and to promote the interests thereof...”.  A number of prominent Dekes signed the Certificate of Incorporation as the first Directors:  James C. Colgate (Mu-Colgate University), a member of the Stock Exchange firm of James B. Colgate & Co.; A. Barton Hepburn (Alpha Alpha-Middlebury College), the United States Comptroller of the Currency and later the President of the Chase National Bank; Ogden Mills Reid (Phi-Yale University), the Editor of the New York Tribune; and Harold S. Swift (Delta Delta-University of Chicago), President of Swift and Company.  In the Spring of 1916, the property of the Yale Club at 30 West 44th Street had been purchased by the DKE Holding Corporation and had been remodelled to be “... equipped and furnished with every modern convenience and comfort ...”.  The Club was incorporated in order to manage the facility of behalf of the Holding Corporation.  At the same time, the Club adopted House Rules, which included that there was to be no “betting or play of any kind for stakes” allowed, that there would be no dogs allowed on the premises , minor children were not to be brought into the Clubhouse, that “Card-playing” was prohibited in the bedrooms, and that an extra charge of 50¢ would be made for any meals served in the bedrooms.

September 27, 1944

Robert J. McMullen (Iota-Centre College) is appointed the President of Centre College.  Brother McMullen served in that capacity until the Fall of 1946.  Brother McMullen had previously served for over 30 years as a missionary and provost and controller of Hangchow Christian College in China.  In 1942, Brother McMullen was detained for seven months in a prison camp by the Japanese.  After serving as President of Centre College,  Brother McMullen returned to China to become the Executive Secretary to the Board of Directors of the Christian Colleges in China.

September 27, 1985

We celebrate the life and long theatrical career of Lloyd Nolan (Sigma Rho-Stanford University) who died this day at age 83.  Brother Nolan was a well-known actor in the 1930s through the 1970s, appearing in such movies as Peyton Place (1957), Ice Station Zebra (1968), Airport (1970), Earthquake (1974), and Hannah and Her Sisters (1985).  Brother Nolan received an Emmy award for portraying Captain Queeg in a television production of The Caine Mutiny.  Brother Nolan also co-starred in the pioneering NBC series Julia, co-starring Diahann Carroll, who was the first African-American to star in a television series.  Brother Nolan founded the J. Nolan Autistic Centre in honor of his son who had autism.  As well, Brother Nolan was the Chair of the annual Save Autistic Children Telethon.

September 27, 1990

We honor the career and the significant contributions to society of Seymour H. Knox II (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 92.  Brother Knox was heir to the F.Y. Woolworth Company cofounder.  Beginning in 1926 when he joined the Board of the Albright Art Gallery, Brother Knox was a leader in the modernism movement and in modern cultural life in Buffalo until his death.  He is best known for the 1962 addition to the Albright Art Gallery which is now known as the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.  Brother Knox became a director of the Marine Midland Bank in 1921 and served as its Chair (1943-1970)  He was Chair of the F.W. Woolworth Board (1943-1971) and Chair of the University of Buffalo Governing Council (1950-1969).  In 1986, Brother Knox was awarded the National Medal of Arts.  At the Yale University Art Gallery, both the Seymour H. Knox Jr. Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and the Seymour H. Knox Jr. Curator of European and Contemporary Art positions bear his name.  The Knox Farm Estate Park which spans 633 acres adjacent to East Aurora, New York is the former country estate of the Knox family.  The 1985 portrait of Brother Knox by Andy Warhol was donated by the families of his two sons to the Albright-Knox Art Gallery to honor Brother Knox for his sixty year contribution as a member of the Buffalo Fine Arts Academy.  

September 28, 2009

We honor the life and the business career of Donald Fisher (Theta Zeta-Berkeley) who died this day at age 81.  Brother Fisher founded The Gap clothing stores.  Brother Fisher had what has been described as a “robust” experience at Berkeley where his nickname was “Horny Fish”.  Later in life, Brother Fisher was active in several public education causes, including being a major contributor to KIPP Charter Schools, a national network of low income, high achieving college preparatory public charter schools.  He was also a contributor to Teach for America, and EdVoice, a statewide coalition of the California business leaders and others who support educational reform.  The Fisher Hall Dormitory at Whitman College at Princeton University is named in his honor.  In 2007, Brother Fisher was named the Alumnus of the Year by the California Alumni Association at the University of, California, Berkeley.

September 29, 1856

The Minutes of Mother Phi on this date note the following:  “Upon the complaint of one of the Southern Chapters that our grip was known to the general Public, a Committee … was appointed to get up a New Grip”.  There were further difficulties which were then reflected in the February 2, 1857 minutes of Mother Phi:  “Information was rec’d from sources that the secret signs of recognition and the ritual of the Fraternity had become known in some manner to Outsiders and letters from other chapters express concern at that fact.  To remedy this and also to convey out the provisions of the General Convention, a Committee was formed.  The Society noted that a Committee be appointed by the Chair to devise new signs.”



September 29, 1966

George Skakel Jr. (Sigma-Amherst College) dies in an airplane accident in Idaho at age 44.  Brother Skakel assumed the position of President of Great Lakes Carbon Corporation upon the death of his father who also died in a plane wreck.  Brother Skakel was the brother of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, the wife of United States Senator Robert F. Kennedy.  In a column entitled “End of a Total American”, William F. Buckley Jr. described Brother Skakel’s “lust for life” and his “phenomenal” range of interests.  Buckley recounted two stories about Brother Skakel.  When he and John Kennedy were racing on Kennedy’s sailboat, Brother Skakel was adjusting the sails according to the “autocratic winds of his competitive friend”.  Brother Skakel:  “... reflected suddenly on an irony, namely, that he was just now adjusting a sail in a way which, he knew, would make the racing boat lose, rather than gain, speed he turned to Kennedy and said in the tough-talk accents that came so naturally: ‘Look, Jack, you are going to keep screaming at me how to trim the sail, when I know damned well better that you do how it ought to be trimmed.’  Kennedy told him to shut up and do as he was told.  Whereupon, George Skakel Jr. rose up in the cockpit and dived off the boat to swim two miles to shore, leaving the skipper breathless with impotent rage and, incidentally, crew-less.  After the inauguration ceremonies in 1961, Skakel concluded that the young president’s staff was behaving a little pompously in the Capitol reception room where the Presidential party to have repaired.  Prior to going to the reviewing stand, whereupon he took the sitting pass of an august Cabinet member and conferred it ceremoniously on a Negro porter, throwing protocol into utter panic.  He liked that sort of thing, and it was tolerated by servants and presidents because it was a part of a personality of someone worth knowing, a man of enormous competence, curiosity and charm.”  At the time of his death, Great Lakes Carbon Corporation was one of the largest family-controlled companies in the United States.

September 30, 1986

Dr. Edward H. Hobbs (Beta-University of North Carolina) retires as the Dean of the College of Liberal Arts  (later the School of Arts and Sciences) at Auburn University.  Brother Hobbs served as the Dean from 1967.  During the same period, Brother Hobbs was a Professor of Political Science.  While at Auburn, Brother Hobbs was the co-chair of the Art Museum Building Fund, which saw the completion of the Art Museum Building in the Summer of 1999.  Brother Hobbs was made an honorary member of the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa when it was first formed at Auburn on March 19, 2001.

October 1, 1880

Burwell Boykin Lewis (Psi-University of Alabama) is named as the President of the University of Alabama.  Brother Lewis served in that capacity until his death on October 11, 1885. The accounts for the University in 1879 indicated assets of $28,835.26, disbursements of $26,666.35, and a balance of $2,168.95.  At the time, the salary of the President was $2,500 a year. Professors were paid $1,800 a year.  There were twelve men nominated for the position of President in September 1879 and, after several ballots, Brother Lewis was elected at the September 29, 1879 meeting of Board of Trustees of the University.  At the same meeting, the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws was confirmed on Brother Lewis.  Prior to his appointment, Brother Lewis served in the Confederate Army and attained the rank of Captain of the 2nd Alabama Calvary.  Brother Lewis was a member of the State House of Representatives (1870-1872) and was elected as a Democrat to the 44th Congress (March 4, 1875-March 3, 1977) and the 46th Congress (March 4, 1879-October, 1, 1880).  Lewis Hall on campus is named in his honor

October 1, 1916

In the 1916 edition of the Deke Quarterly, the “midday lunch at the Club and dinner” was advertised, with lunch being served for 60¢ and dinner being served at 75¢.

The new DKE Club was opened at the 34th Street address.  In the December 1918 of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Quarterly, the following description was set out:

“The building has twelve storeys and has sixty-eight bedrooms (many with bath), dining room seating for four hundred (now used only for banquets etc.), private dining rooms (for Chapter dinners etc.), lounge, grill room (where all meals are now served), a billiard and poolroom, card room, and a squash court and small gymnasium on the roof.  In the building are also located the office of the Council, General Secretary of the Fraternity, and the Quarterly.  Sleeping rooms are unusually comfortable and quiet.  The prices are lower than hotel prices.  Many out-of-town members speak of saving the cost of their membership by staying at the Club instead of the hotel when in New York.  The food is unusually good.  Simoni, the chef, was the old Yale Club chef and went with them when they left.  He was persuaded to return, however.  Prices are much under hotel prices.  Club is, of course, not a money-making proposition.  The idea is only two clear expenses.  All the facilities of a hotel are supplied:- barber, valet service, theatre tickets secured, taxi cabs secured, etc.”  In all, there were 68 sleeping rooms.

October 1, 1948

George A. Drew (Alpha Phi-University of Toronto) is elected as the Leader of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada, defeating later Prime Minister Diefenbaker (827 votes to 311 votes).  Once elected to the Canadian House of Parliament, Brother Drew became the Leader of the Opposition.  Brother Drew was unsuccessful in the 1949 and 1953 federal elections, although the Progressive Conservative Party that he led remained as the Official Opposition.  In poor health following a near-fatal attack of meningitis, Brother Drew resigned as Progressive Conservative leader in 1956.  From 1957 to 1964, Brother Drew served as Canadian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom.

October 1, 1951

An indenture was entered into between the Council of Delta Kappa Epsilon and Robert Lehman (Phi-Yale University), E. Jansen Hunt (Upsilon-Brown University) and William R. Crawford Jr. (Delta Kappa-University of Washington) as Trustees, thereby creating the Deke Foundation.

October 1, 1987

Bide L. Thomas (Phi-Yale University) is elected as the President of Commonwealth Edison Co.  Brother Thomas served in that capacity until December 1992.  Brother Thomas has been an independent Director of R.R. Donnelley & Sons Company since 1987 and is also a Trustee of Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke’s Medical Center at DePaul University and an Honorary Trustee of the Illinois Institute of Technology.

October 1, 1983

The Fred C. Yager Stadium in Miami University is opened as the home of the Miami University Red Hawks football team.  The Stadium is named for Brother Yager (Kappa-Miami University, Class of 1914), who was the lead benefactor in the project to build the Stadium.  As part of the “For Love and Honor” fundraising campaign of the University, funds are currently being raised for an indoor practice facility to be constructed beneath the north end zone seats.

October 1, 1990

William W. Boeschenstein (Phi-Yale University) stepped down as Chair of Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corporation.  Brother Boeschenstein served as President and Chief Operating Officer (1971-1973), as Chief Executive Officer (1973-1981) and Chairman of the Board (1981-1990).  Brother Boeschenstein was also a Honorary Board Member of the Toledo Museum of Art and an Emeritus Director of the Phillips Academy.

October 1, 2009

We honour the considerable accomplishments of Robert M. Murdock (Alpha Chi-Trinity College) who died this day at age 67.  After earning a M.A. in Art History from Yale University in 1965, Brother Murdock was the curator of the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo for three years before becoming the first curator of contemporary art at the Dallas Museum of Art.  Brother Murdock was the director of the Grand Rapids Art Museum (1978-1983) and was involved with the founding and operation of the IBM Gallery of Science and Art in New York (1985-1994) first as a consultant and then as program director.  After 1994, Brother Murdock worked as an independent curator, writer and consultant, including organizing exhibits for his alma mater, Trinity College.

October 2, 1867

At the Annual Convention, it was decided to appoint committees to change the signification of the letters D.K.E. rendered necessary by the fact that some members of  Psi Upsilon had obtained a copy of the Deke Constitution.  At the same time, the “simultaneous use of a special password with the grip was changed”.  At the October 30, 1868 Amherst Convention, the secret and public mottos were changed, with the public motto in Greek to translate “A Heart Bound the Noblest” adopted.  Whether the Greek has changed or not, the public open motto is now “Friends From the Heart Forever”.  At the October 14, 1874 Convention at Charlottesville, a secret sign of recognition was adopted.  That sign of recognition is rarely used, and is presently unknown to all but a few members of the Fraternity.


October 2, 1884

Samuel E. Pingree (Pi-Dartmouth College) took office as the 40th Governor of Vermont.  In the Fall of 1882, Brother Pingree was elected Lieutenant Governor of Vermont and, in 1884, Governor.  Brother Pingree was a recipient of the Medal of Honor for his gallantry as part of Company F, 3rd Vermont Infantry.  The citation reads:  “Gallantly led his company across a wide, deep creek, drove the enemy from the rifle pits, which were within 2 yards of the farther bank, and remained at the head of his men until a second time severely wounded.”  After the War, Brother Pingree returned to Hartford and his law practice.  Brother Pingree was a trustee of Vermont Academy from 1885 to 1910, served as a Judge Advocate of the Medal Honor Legion, an organization established in 1890 to protect the reputation of the Medal of Honor.  Brother Pingree was awarded an honorary doctorate of laws degree from Norwich University in 1898.

October 2, 1894

Stephen B.L. Penrose (Epsilon-Williams College) begins his 40-year tenure as the third President of Whitman College, Walla Walla, Washington.  After attending Yale Divinity School, Brother Penrose was ordained as a Congregational Minister and, with five of his Yale classmates, signed on with the American Home Missionary Society to go to the new Washington State.  In 1892, Brother Penrose was elected to the Whitman College Board of Trustees and became a member of its Executive Committee.  As a result of his fundraising efforts, a sizable amount of money for the College’s endowment and first buildings were available. Penrose Library on campus is named in his honor.

October 2, 1969

The Council approved Delta Sigma Tau Local Fraternity at Worcester Polytechnic Institute as a colony of the Fraternity and President Fowler (Iota–Centre College) was authorized to extend colony status to the local fraternity upon completion satisfactory to him of our investigations of the said local fraternity. The group did not become a colony and subsequently became a chapter of Alpha Chi Rho Fraternity.

October 2, 1979

The building housing the Faculty of Law at Louisiana State University was renamed the Paul M. Hebert Law Centre, to honor Paul M. Hebert (Zeta Zeta-L.S.U.).  Brother Herbert  was the longest serving dean of the L.S.U. Law School (1937-1977).  Brother Hebert also served as a judge of the U.S. Military Tribunals in Nuremberg (1947-1948). 

October 3, 1911

Larz Anderson (Alpha-Harvard) is appointed as the Ambassador for the United States to Belgium.  Brother Anderson served in that capacity until September 1912 when he was appointed Ambassador to Japan.  Brother Anderson held that post for only ten weeks after his arrival in Tokyo on December 18, 1912. He left Japan to return to the United States on March 16, 1913 as a result of his resignation when the Republican administration of William Howard Taft was replaced by the Democratic administration of Woodrow Wilson.  Brother Anderson and his wife donated 64 acres near the outskirts of Boston.  The property was willed to the Town of Brookline after the death of Mrs. Anderson in 1948 and is now known as Larz Anderson Park.  Brother Anderson and his wife had assembled an extraordinary collection of horse-drawn carriages, sleighs and vintage motor cars, and many of them are still on display as part of the Larz Anderson Auto Museum.  The gilded bronze eagle sculpture which had stood in front of their home in Tokyo was donated in 1954 to Boston College and installed on the lawn in front of the Alumni House of the University.  The sculpture is now considered synonymous with the “BC Eagle” the mascot for Boston College.  Anderson House in Washington D.C. was the winter residence of the Andersons “during the Washington social season”.  After her death, Mrs. Anderson donated Anderson House to the Society of the Cincinnati, of which Mrs. Anderson was a member.  Anderson House now serves as the National Headquarters of the Society of the Cincinnati.  Founded in 1783, the Society preserves the ideals of fellowship of the American Revolutionary War officers.