This Week in DKE History November 8th - November 14th

November 8, 1892

Whitelaw Reid (Kappa-Miami University) was named as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Republican Party.  The election went to former President Grover Cleveland and the new Vice President, Adlai E. Stevenson, when Grover Cleveland became the first former President to recapture the office.  Brother Reid later served as the 28th United States Ambassador to France (March 23, 1889-March 25, 1892) and as the 35th United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (1905-December 15, 1912).  Brother Reid died in England.

November 9, 1903

The Deke Club of New York was dissolved.  There was this description in the 1910 Catalogue of the Fraternity:

“It was found that the colleges from which a large proportion of its membership was drawn maintained in New York, alumni clubs that were able to provide many advantages which a fraternity was not large enough to furnish.  This led to a decrease in membership and a change of quarters in an attempt to economize in expenses.  At last the people who had been most influential in its organization decided that it was better not to attempt to carry on a club under such conditions, so in the Fall of 1903, it was dissolved.”  On January 30, 1904, at a meeting held at the University Club in New York, the DKE Association of New York was organized to take the place of the old club.  Whitelaw Reid (Kappa-Miami University) was elected as President of the new Association.

November 9, 2009

After a short time on the job, the Executive Director, Doug Lanpher (Gamma-Vanderbilt University) presented a Business Plan to revise DKE to the Board of Directors of the Fraternity.  The plan centered on a Return to Financial Stability” and improvement of “Home Office Management and Administrative Practices”, improvement of “Services to Chapters”, improvement of “Services to Alumni”, an improvement to “Communications” and an expansion policy.  Under the leadership of Brother Lanpher, most if not all of the goals that were set out in the Business Plan have been accomplished.


November 9, 2013

The United States Navy christened the USS Gerald Ford with the traditional smashing of a bottle of sparkling wine across the bow of the ship.  The vessel is the most technologically advanced aircraft carrier the United States has built.  It is designed to get more fighter planes in the sky in less time and to be ready to incorporate unmanned aircraft into its air wing.  It is the first carrier redesigned in four decades, and is scheduled to join the fleet in 2016.  The naming of the ship honors former United States President Gerald R. Ford (Omicron-University of Michigan) who was a lieutenant commander aboard an aircraft carrier during World War II.  Brother Ford’s daughter, Susan Ford Bales, is the ship’s sponsor and smashed the wine bottle on to the side of the ship.  In her speech to shipyard workers, Navy personnel and other dignitaries, Ms. Ford-Bales said she hopes future generations of sailors will understand the integrity her father showed during his years of public service – much as the current crew has honored him.  The ship’s motto is “Integrity at the Helm”.  Ms. Ford Bales also stated:  “Dad, your message fills this shipyard.  You kept your promise.  You healed the nation.  You gave the American people a President that was a shining beacon of integrity at the helm.”  “By this mighty carrier, the American people are forever grateful to you.  And Dad, I’ll always be proud.”  Other speakers honoring Brother Ford included former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

November 10, 1859

All Chapters were requested to provide designs for a “pin”.  A form of pin was adopted and the form adopted remained until 1871.  By 1887, the Constitution provided that the pin would be “of diamond shape, with a star at each corner, a gold or jeweled border, and bearing a white enamel scroll having thereon Greek letters DKE”.  The name of the Chapter was to be on the back of the pin but, at the option of any Chapter, the name of its college could be inscribed on the front of the pin.  In an 1890 report to the Council, it was noted that “our badges are of all sizes and almost all shapes”.  The Council was empowered and instructed to adopt a design for an official badge for the Fraternity.  There was extensive discussion at the 51st Convention held in Chicago regarding pins and the choices of pins were described as being between a three-quarter inch long and half inch wide pin or a one inch long and five-eighths inch wide pin, both having a plain gold border without wire twist.  Cost of the pins at that time was between $3.25 and $3.75, not including the cost of engraving the owner’s name on the pin.  A poll was taken at the 51st Convention and the pin being three-quarter inch long by one-half inch wide was favored by 20 of the Chapters present.  On the question of placing the names of colleges or universities under the scroll, 14 Chapters voted in favor of allowing Yale alone to do so, seven Chapters were in favor of allowing all Chapters to do so, and six Chapters opposed any name appearing on the face of the pin.  The following resolution was then passed by a 23‑4 vote:

RESOLVED, that in view of Phi’s ancient custom and her position as our parent Chapter, she alone be permitted to have the name of her college under the scroll upon the badge used by her …

Since 1897, Yale has followed that tradition. As well, Yale has followed the tradition of the scroll on their pins facing left on the pin. Other Chapters retained the use of the college name on the face of their pins for a number of years, but that practice eventually died out.  The 1902 Convention Minutes reflect a resolution that the pin be worn “on the vest, over the heart, on the line between the left shoulder and right hip”, and it was also resolved:

That this Convention earnestly urge upon each Chapter the advisability of placing in its by-laws a section positively prohibiting any undergraduate member of said Chapter to give, to loan or allow to come into the possession of any person, male or female, not a member of the Delta Kappa Epsilon, any pin, badge or other emblem of this fraternity for the purposes of personal adornment.

That provision was added as an amendment to the Constitution at the November 1903 Convention.

November 10, 1909

William T. Purdy (Tau-Hamilton College) had composed “On, Wisconsin” and the song was first performed by the University of Wisconsin’s Glee Club on this day. The song was adopted as the Official State Song of Wisconsin on July 11, 1959. 

On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Grand old Badger State!
We, your loyal sons and daughters,
Hail thee, good and great .
On, Wisconsin! On, Wisconsin! Champion of the right,
"Forward", our motto, God will give thee might

Brother Purdy also composed songs for the University of Chicago (The March of the Maroons), and for his college, Hamilton (“Oh You Grand Buff and Blue”).

November 10, 1930

We honor the memory and the significant business contributions of Sidney Colgate (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 64.  Brother Colgate was the Chair of the Board of Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company and a member of the family from which Colgate University took its name.  He was one of the founders of the Colgate Company.  In 1873, the company introduced toothpaste in jars and, in 1896, the company introduced toothpaste in collapsible tubes.  Palmolive soap was introduced in 1898.  The company established its first international subsidiary (Canada) in 1914 and, in 1928, the company merged with Palmolive-Peet to become Colgate-Palmolive-Peet Company.

November 10, 2010

Christopher (Chris) Coons (Sigma-Amherst College) assumed office as the United States Senator from Delaware.  Brother Coons won a 2010 Special Election.  After graduating from Amherst in 1985, Brother Coons earned an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School and a J.D. from Yale Law School.  Brother Coons also studied abroad at the University of Nairobi in Kenya.  Brother Coons clerked for the United States Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, worked for the National “I Have a Dream” Foundation in New York, worked as in-house counsel for W.L. Gore & Associates, Inc., before serving on the New Castle County Council in Delaware for six years, starting in 2000. In 1999, Brother Coons was awarded a Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award for his work with the “I Have a Dream” Foundation, the Governor’s Mentoring Council, and the United Way of Delaware. Brother Coons was sworn in as a Senator by Vice President Biden, the former occupant of the Senate seat now occupied by Brother Coons.  Since his election, Brother Coons has served on the Budget, Foreign Relations, Judiciary and Energy and Natural Resources Committees.  

November 11, 1896

The semi-centennial annual convention began in Nashville, Tennessee at Duncan House.  In the 1910 Catalogue, there was this description of the November 12, 1896 event:  “On Thursday evening, a reception given by the ladies of Nashville at the University Club was a most brilliant success, and it is said that on the next morning Cupid found his quiver so sadly depleted of arrows, that, as he had no jackknife in his trousers pocket with which to whittle out some new ones, he obliged to refrain from indulging in his particular sport for a whole week, while waiting a fresh supply.”  On the following day, the delegates were taken to Vanderbilt University in “tally-ho” coaches.

November 11, 1909

The 62nd Convention of the Fraternity started in New Haven, continued in Hartford on November 12-13, and finished in New York on November 13.  A special railcar from New York brought about 50 alumni to join the undergraduates already assembled at the Phi Chapter House in New Haven.  After midnight, the entire party went to Hartford which they reached at 3:30 a.m. Thursday morning.  Applications had been received from students at Stevens Institute of Technology, New York University, the University of Washington, and New Hampshire College of Mechanical Arts but no application received favorable consideration.  The principal business before the Convention related to the publication of a new Catalogue.  A tax was imposed upon the Chapters for the preliminary work of collecting data and the Council was authorized to employ an editor to carry out the work.  Aldice G. Warren (Beta Phi-University of Rochester) was appointed as the Editor.  At the dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel (seen in a vintage postcard of the era) on Friday evening , nearly 800 members were present.  Regrets were read from President Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University), Ambassador Whitelaw Reid (Kappa-Miami University), Secretary of the Navy George von Langerke Meyer (Phi-Yale University), Solicitor-General Henry M. Hoyt (Phi-Yale University), and Senators Henry Cabot Lodge (Alpha-Harvard University) and Albert J. Beveridge (Psi Phi-DePauw University).

November 11, 1925

Jonathan Winters (Lambda-Kenyon College) is born.  Brother Winters appeared in nearly 50 movies and starred in the fourth and last season of the TV comedy, Mork & Mindy, alongside Robin Williams. Brother Winters also made 20 recordings of his humor.  His most famous movies include appearances in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963), The Loved One (1965), The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming (1966), The Flintstones (1994), and The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle (2000).  Brother Winters was also part of the cast in the 2011 film, The Smurfs.  In 1999, Brother Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, which is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to American humor.  Brother Winters was the second recipient of that prize. In 1987, Brother Winters published “Winters’ Tales:  Stories and Observations for the Unusual.” In 1991, Brother Winters won the Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor – Comedy Series for his role in Davis Rules. Rumor has it that Brother Winters was asked to leave Kenyon after he was observed painted entirely in green and riding naked on a bicycle around campus on St. Patrick’s Day

November 12, 1890

Council Publishing Company was formed with capital of $15,000.  The company was organized under the laws of the State of New York for “the purpose of conducting a general publishing business. The Council of the Fraternity contracted with the company to publish the 1890 Catalogue.  3,000 copies of the 1700 page Catalogue were published and were available to subscribers at $3.00 per copy, to non-subscribers at $4 per copy and, after November 12, 1891, at $5 per copy.  The 1890 Catalogue is the largest and most complete catalogue ever published by a fraternity. The Catalogue contained details about every member, an extensive history of the War Record of members of the Fraternity, the geographical distribution of members, a chart of “Kinship”, and a listing of various Alumni Associations.  The 1890 Catalogue was followed by a number of less ambitious catalogues.  1,005 copies of the 1900 Catalogue were published and were available at $2.50 each.  3,000 copies of the 1910 Catalogue were published and available at $6 per copy, and 3,000 copies of the 1926 Catalogue were printed and available at a cost of $2.50 each.  The 1926 Catalogue was the last one published until the early 1980s.  Catalogues listing only the chapters and members were published by the Phi-Yale Chapter in 1855, 1857, 1863 and 1874.

November 12, 1916

We salute the accomplishments and the contribution to planetary studies made by Percival Lowell (Alpha-Harvard University) who died this day at age 61.  Beginning in the Winter of 1893-94, Brother Lowell founded the observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona that bears his name.  The observatory is one of the oldest in the U.S. and was designated as a national history landmark in 1965.  The original 24” telescope installed in the Observatory is still in use today.  Brother Lowell’s three books:  Mars (1895); Mars and Its Canals (1906); and Mars as the Abode of Life (1908) popularized a long-held belief that the “canal” markings on Mars showed that Mars could once sustain intelligent life forms.  The greatest contribution to planetary studies made by Brother Lowell came in the last decade of his life, which he devoted to the search for “Planet X”, a hypothetical planet beyond Neptune.  Although Brother Lowell did not discovery it, Lowell Observatory did photograph the planet Pluto in March and April 1915.  Partly in recognition of the efforts of Brother Lowell, his initials were used as the first two letters of the new planet’s name.  Brother Lowell has been described by other planetary scientists as the “most influential popularizer of planetary science in America before Carl Sagan”.  The mausoleum of Brother Lowell is located on Mars Hill near the Lowell Observatory.

November 12, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved the Colony application of students at the University of Arizona. When the Colony ultimately obtains Chapter status, it will be the revival of the Omega Omega Chapter at that University.

November 12, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved the Colony application at the University of Edinburgh.  When the Colony becomes a Chapter of the Fraternity, it will be the first Chapter of the Fraternity outside North America. Founded in 1583, it is the sixth oldest University in the English speaking world and it has consistently ranked in the top 20 universities in the World.

November 12, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved the Colony application at the University of Warwick. If ultimately the Colony becomes a Chapter of the Fraternity, it will mark the first time that a Chapter is approved for outside North America. The University was founded in 1965 and has consistently been ranked in the top ten universities in the United Kingdom. It is ranked 50th overall in the QS World University rankings.

November 12, 2013

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved the Colony application of students at the University of Tennessee. Founded in 1794 two years before Tennessee became a State, the University has consistently ranked in the top 100 U.S. universities

November 13, 1890

The Charter of the Alpha Chapter at Harvard is withdrawn when the Chapter could not be convinced to become a Junior Society at Harvard.  The Chapter had existed as a Sophomore Society which meant that Brothers of Delta Kappa Epsilon could then join other Junior Societies such as Alpha Delta Phi or Zeta Psi.  After the Charter was withdrawn, members of the “Dickey Club” were initiated into that Club using the initiation of Delta Kappa Epsilon.  After 1890, members did not receive pins but received medals with the Alpha crest on one side and the name and the year of the member on the other side.  On April 19, 1991, an attempt was made to revive the Chapter when a number of men were initiated.  The attempt was short lived as less than 30 members were initiated.


November 13th

Every year since the end of World War I, Brothers of the Alpha Phi-University of Toronto Chapter have taken part in the Canadian Remembrance Day ceremonies which are held in the spire of the University of Toronto’s Cenotaph where the war dead of the Chapter are highlighted under the banner of Delta Kappa Epsilon.  It is an honor that is not bestowed in any other fraternity at the University.  Every year, a contingent of active, pledges and alumni go to the Cenotaph and lay a wreath to the memory of the service of fallen Brothers.

November 14, 1846

The Phi Chapter at what was then Yale College passed a resolution as follows:  “That we do consider it expedient to hold a general convention of the Fraternity in New Haven, on or before the 25th of December next, for the purpose of promoting the more intimate acquaintance between the members of different chapters and to consult upon other interests.”  At that time, there were only four Chapters of the Fraternity: Phi (Yale College), Theta (Bowdoin College), Xi (Colby College), Zeta (College of New Jersey, later Princeton), and Sigma (Amherst College).

November 14, 1851

The Herman Melville novel, Moby Dick, Or The Whale, is first published in the United States by Harper & Brothers, New York.  The novel was dedicated to Nathanial Hawthorne (Theta-Bowdoin College) (Honorary), a long-time friend of Melville.  The dedication reads:  “In token of my admiration for his genius, this book is inscribed to Nathanial Hawthorne”.  In a brilliant play on words, a rotund member of Delta Kappa Epsilon is often referred to as “Moby Deke”.

November 14, 1867

Psi Omega Chapter is chartered at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.  The original Petition was signed by nine members – one left the Institute before the Charter was granted and most had turned down every fraternity at the Institute at the time.  The Charter was granted to the Institute on the following conditions set out in the Minutes of the 21st Convention in 1876 which was held at New York City:  “Such Charter shall not be granted until a suitable and permanent lodge shall be provided, and that such lodge shall be secured on or before 1st of Jan. 1868 in default of which this action shall be considered null and void.”  On that basis, the application of Messrs. Briggs, Bogue, Stevens, Pierpont, Starr and Heyl was allowed.  Foremost in the drive to obtain a Charter was Brother Virgil G. Bogue, the class of 1868 and Grand Marshall of the student body.  The existence of the new Chapter was kept secret for some time and it was not until they felt confident of their position at the Institute that their existence as Chapter was announced.  This was done at a ball game.  While Brother Bogue as Grand Marshall was leading the cheering, his coat was blown open revealing his Deke pin.  In the 1910 Catalogue of the Fraternity, there is this quote:  “This caused a great sensation, for the other fraternities had not, up to this point, given up hope of getting some of the men who now wore the diamond pin.”  The Chapter started to meet in several rooms at 271 River Street, and these rooms were occupied by the Chapter for over 20 years.

November 14, 1890

Sigma Tau Chapter is chartered at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  The Charter was granted to Alpha Gamma Kappa Society which had been established two years before with the object of securing a Deke Charter.  The Charter members had the encouragement of General Francis A. Walker (Sigma-Amherst College), the President of M.I.T. at the time. An application was originally presented to the 1889 Convention held in Boston where the following was recorded:  “An application for a charter from the Institute of Technology was presented.  The Council does not recommend the application, at the present time, although it recommends that the Institute be kept in view as a possible field for DKE.”  The minutes of the November 15, 1890 session of the 44th Convention of the Fraternity held at the DKE Club in New York passed this resolution and authorized the issuance of a Charter to the petitioning group “… under such name as shall be approved by the Council and the applicants”.  In the 1910 Catalogue of the Fraternity, there is this explanation why the Petition was deferred at the 1889 Convention:  “The application was favorably received, but as previously no chapter had ever been organized outside the classical colleges and it was establishing a precedent to found a chapter at a technical institution, action was deferred until the following year.”  Sigma Tau was selected as the Greek letter designation for the new Chapter in recognition of the support and encouragement given by President Walker of the Sigma Chapter and by Professor Livermore of the Tau Chapter.  The Greek words for “wisdom and skill” were chosen as the motto for the Chapter and the installation of the new Chapter took place on December 6, 1890 at the old Tremont House when 14 Charter members were initiated.  In the early days of the Chapter, there was no attempt to maintain a Chapter house, but a room for meeting was obtained in Union Park at the South End, and initiations were conducted usually at the Parker House.