This week in DKE History December 22nd - December 28th

December 22, 1906

The 17 Charter members of the Rho Delta Chapter at the University of Wisconsin are initiated.  The Charter for the Chapter was granted at the November 1906 Convention.  The 17 new brothers had been members of the local society, Rho Delta Phi, which had petitioned for a Charter for two years.  A Petition had been referred by the November 8-10, 1905 Convention held at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York to the Deke Council.  The Sixtieth Convention was held at Cooley House, Springfield, Massachusetts on November 14-16, 1906, with Epsilon and Sigma Chapters as hosts.  The Charter was unanimously granted to the local Society.  Conventions in 1860, 1897, 1898 and 1902 had considered the possibility of a chapter at the University of Wisconsin but it was not until two trips had been made to Madison, Wisconsin to investigate more thoroughly the possibility of establishing a chapter that the Council in his 1905 Message recommended that a Charter be granted.  The 1905 Message from the Council contained the following:  “The standing of Wisconsin University among the great institutions of our country will not be questioned, while its beautiful surroundings give it advantages possessed by few.  Student life approaches more nearly that of our large Eastern Universities than that of most of the State Universities of the Middle West.  The members of Rho Delta Phi not only hold high positions in the various departments of the University life, but are moreover of that type of manhood in which DKE takes pride.  The DKE Alumni upon the University Faculty and in the City of Madison have shown great interest in this application, and have been of great assistance in selecting and organizing the applicants and will be of still greater influence, should a charter of DKE be granted, and training the new members in those traditions and principles which go so far towards constituting a true chapter of our Fraternity.”


December 22, 1988

The Bixby Ranch House on La Linda Drive in Bixby Knolls was named as a local historical landmark by the Long Beach, California City Council.  Construction on the house started in 1890. It was built for George H. Bixby (Phi-Yale University). The nine bedroom, five bathroom ranch house was completed in 1919, serving as the headquarters of the Bixby Branch operations.  . The house originally sat on 10 acres and contained various farm buildings, as well as landscaped gardens.  In 1910, the ranch operations were discontinued.  Brother Bixby remained in the house until his death in 1920. The historical and architectural value of the home has also been recognized by the State of California.  The Ranch House is in Bixby Knolls which is a small neighbourhood in North Long Beach that is named to honor Brother Bixby.  The home of Brother Bixby is located at 11 La Linda Drive in Long Beach which extends off of Bixby Road. Brother Bixby was appointed Vice President and Manager of the Bixby Land Company and the Palos Verdes Land Company which developed the Long Beach area of California.  Brother Bixby also served as Director of the Los Angeles Dock and Terminal Company which developed the Long Beach Inner Harbor, Director of the Seaside Investment Company which owned and operated the Hotel Virginia, the Vice President of the National Bank of Long Beach, and the President of the Long Beach Savings Bank & Trust Company.  Brother Bixby was the Chair of the Los Angeles County Highway Commission up until August 1911 and also served as the Highway Commissioner for four years. There is an urban legend surrounding Bixby Calaifornia.The legend holds that, with the success of the 1939 musical The Wizard of Oz, many of the “little people” who had acquired their wealth by playing the roles of the munchkins purchased lots and built homes sized to suit their needs. In fact, La Linda, one of Long Beach's oldest gated communities and originally the home of Brother  Bixby, was subdivided in 1922 and most of the homes were built before 1938

December 23, 1846

The first Convention of the Fraternity was held at Yale College in New Haven, Connecticut.  There were members from Phi, Theta, Xi and Sigma Chapters in attendance.  The provision in the Constitution limiting the membership of a Chapter to 22 members was removed from the Constitution.  The limitation on numbers flowed from the limitations which were in effect at Yale relating to the selection of members to the existing Junior Societies, being 14 at the time that Delta Kappa Epsilon was founded and 18 later. In October 1845, Mother Phi had agreed to a change in the Constitution to increase the limit to 22 members.  In the 1887 Constitution, Article V (section 5) provided:  “The number of active members in each Chapter may be limited by its own bylaws”.  .  The Minutes of the first Convention indicated that:  “The Initiation Ritual was enlarged and improved.”  Initially, the initiation procedure was set out in the Constitution of the Fraternity so that the preservation of the secrecy surrounding the Constitution was paramount.  The delegates to the 1860 Convention passed the following motion:

That a Committee … be appointed to report at a next convention some plans for which the most secret portions of our provisions may be transmitted to Chapters so that they shall never be transcribed.  And furthermore that we request all Chapters to leave Section 4, Article V blank until the proposed amendment shall have been ratified.  And also that the report of the proceedings of this Convention be transmitted to different Chapters by express and that the Chapters be requested to destroy these reports after transcribing all except the aforesaid section which is recommended to be transcribed in the heads and hearts of the members.

At the 1863 Convention held in New York City, a resolution was passed that the Fraternity have “three degrees into which every member shall be eligible”.  The first degree would be available upon initiation, the second degree would be conferred by a three-quarters vote of a chapter on its members who shall have “specifically distinguished themselves for scholarship, literary excellence in their respect classes or college societies, and who shall have gained honor or prizes at any Public College exhibitions”, and the third degree would be conferred by a three-quarter vote of the Convention on such graduate members of the second degree “who shall have attained public honor, distinctions in their respective professions, or otherwise reflect a particular credit on the Fraternity”.  The 1864 Convention passed a motion that “the whole matter of degrees be dropped” and the motion passed.

The Minutes of the 21st Convention held in New York City contained an amendment to the Fraternity “Grip” and also the further notation that a committee be appointed “… with full power to change signification of the letters Delta Kappa Epsilon rendered necessary by the fact that the Psi Upsilon Fraternity have obtained a copy of our Constitution …”.

At the 1868 Convention, the motto of the Fraternity was changed with a new motto as the secret motto and the former motto becoming the public motto.

The 1874 Minutes of the Convention reflect a report from the Committee relating to “secret sign of recognition” and each delegate was instructed to advise the members of his Chapter regarding the new secret sign of recognition.  Although the secret sign of recognition is known, it is now rarely used.

December 24, 1959

We applaud the accomplishments of William Cameron Forbes (Alpha-Harvard University) who died this day at age 89.  Brother Forbes was the Governor General of the Philippines (1909-1913) and served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan (1930-1932).  In 1932, Brother Forbes built a home as a winter resort.  That building now houses the administration and athletic offices of Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia. 

December 26, 1898

Tau Lambda Chapter is installed at Tulane University by a group of local alumni at 8:00 p.m. at the Denegre Building on campus. The Charter was the first to be granted by the Fraternity in nine years.  The Tulane Club had been organized by two Deke Alumni, T.L. Bayne (Phi-Yale University) and Leonard Keiffer (Delta Chi -Cornell University).  A delegation went to the 1897 Convention and was advised of the procedure to be followed.  The January 25, 1898 application was forwarded and was endorsed by 19 alumni, including the President of Tulane University, W.P. Johnston (Phi-Yale University).  At the 1898 Convention held in Detroit on November 17, 1898, the application was successful and the following “Message of Victory” telegram was sent to the Petitioners:  “Prepare the Fatted Calf; I have succeeded.”


December 26, 1920

The New York Times, under the headline “DKE Men off for Cuba” reported that 150 members and officers of Delta Kappa Epsilon left Pennsylvania Station in New York in a special train to visit Cuba to attend the 76th Annual Convention of the Fraternity.  The article also stated:  “All the trains will meet at Savannah, where there will be a reunion of members as guests of Mayor M.M. Stuart [Stewart] and other City officials.  Part of the entertainment for the visitors an old-fashioned barbeque.  President Menocal of Cuba is a graduate member of the Cornell Chapter of the Fraternity.  He heads the committee arranging for the visit of the Americans [and Canadians], and will provide a Cuban warship to convey the delegates and officers from Key West to Havana.  Steamers are to be provided for others and airplanes are to make round trips with passengers.  The convention banquet and the President’s annual ball and reception at the palace are to conclude the visit.” Arrangements had also been made for a train to travel from Chicago to Savannah with stops along the way to pick up Dekes at Indianapolis, Louisville, Cincinnati, Chattanooga, and Atlanta. The cost of travel to and from New York to attend the Convention was $171.00 and the from Chicago was $170.00.  Arrangements had been made to fly delegates to Havana. Hotel cost in Havana ranged from $3.00 a day to $7.00 a day. The cost of the banquet in Havana was $5.00.

December 26, 1951

In a resolution passed by the Executive Committee of the Council of the Fraternity, Robert Lehman (Phi-Yale University), E. Jansen Hunt (Upsilon-Brown University) and William R. Crawford (Kappa Epsilon-University of Washington) were appointed as Trustees of newly formed Deke Foundation.  At its October 4, 1951 meeting, the Executive Committee of the Council accepted the report of the Special Committee on the Endowment Fund and General Finances that the initiation fee be increased by $15, with the increase to be deposited into the Deke Foundation, and that contributions to the Foundation would be solicited by alumni in the future.

December 26, 1977

We salute the considerable contributions made to Hollywood and movies by Howard Hawks (Delta Chi-Cornell University) who died this day at age 81.  Brother Hawks was a director, producer and screen writer of a number of movies in the classic Hollywood era, including Scarface (1932), Bringing Up Baby (1938), Only Angels Have Wings (1939), His Girl Friday (1940), Sergeant York (1941), The Big Sleep (1946), Red River (1948), Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953), Rio Bravo (1959), and El Dorado (1967).  In 1975, Brother Hawks was awarded an Honorary Academy Award as a “Master American Filmmaker, whose creative efforts hold a distinguished place in world cinema”.

December 26, 2006

We salute the contributions and longevity of Gerald Ford (Omicron-University of Michigan) who died this day at Rancho Mirage, California.  Brother Ford lived longer than any other United States President, dying at 93 years and 165 days.  Throughout his lifetime, Brother Ford was an active and enthusiastic promoter of the interests of the Fraternity, including his long-time service and devotion as the Honorary Chair of the Rampant Lion Foundation.

December 26, 2009

Bill Hatfield (Epsilon Rho-Duke University) became the producer of the “NBC NEWS TODAY” program in the NBC News Washington Bureau.  Brother Hatfield also served as the producer of the “Chris Matthews Show” on NBC between December 2004 and August 2011.


December 27, 1891

In an article of a speculative nature, The New York Times published the following description of the Harvard initiation:

“The D.K.E., or, as it is known in college parlance, the “Dickey”, is controlled by the sophomore class.  About fifty men from each class are elected in their sophomore year, each ten nominating the following ten, the election being strictly unanimous in every case.  The initiation has always been conducted with much secrecy, but the Faculty long ago refused to recognize the organization.  To this society only those are admitted who have distinguished themselves in some manner, or are distinctly fortunate in their social standing.  Although it has always been considered a high honor to be chosen to the “Dickey”, and some of the greatest men who have ever been in Harvard have been elected to it, its management has not in late years been sanctioned either by the student body or college authorities.  The initiation, it was well known, was severe and almost everybody was familiar with the last degree, when terminated with the candidate’s arm being burnt six times with a lighted cigar.  Those who were elected to the society were not obliged to accept, but the refusals have been few.  The candidate had always been informed in advance of his election, and in most cases that election was directly solicited.  The form of the initiation and the large fee for the same were well known about college, so that it can readily be seen that the candidate had a free choice.”

December 27, 1922

After the Friars Club at Louisiana State University had petitioned for a Charter for 14 years, the Charter was granted and Zeta Zeta Chapter was founded at Louisiana State University.  After the Zeta Chapter at Princeton University had become inactive in 1857, the designation of Zeta was granted on January 30, 1858 to Centenary College of Louisiana at Jackson, Louisiana as the second fraternity at that College.  After the policy of the Fraternity changed, the Zeta Zeta designation was given to the new chapter at L.S.U.

December 27, 1923

The First Convention of the Fraternity held in Canada was held in Montreal at the Mount Royal Hotel.  The Convention introduced a Fraternity Initiation Fee which was set at $10 and which was to be collected by the Chapters and paid to the Council of the Fraternity.

December 27, 1947

Since the 100th Anniversary of the Fraternity occurred on June 22, 1944 in the midst of World War II, the Centennial celebration was postponed until the December 1947 Convention held in New York City at the Biltmore Hotel.  The Centennial Dinner featured fruit supreme Maraschino, minestrone, celery, salted nuts, olives, roasted stuffed turkey, new peas, potatoes Macaire, salade chiffonade, pave de glace, fraisette, assorted cakes and coffee.  The program listed George Maurice Morris (Pi-Dartmouth College), as the toastmaster, the Invocation being read by The Reverend Arthur Lee Kinsolving, (Eta-The University of Virginia), The Honorable Justice P.J. Montague, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.C., M.C. (Alpha Phi-The University of Toronto) presenting a talk on “Delta Kappa Epsilon in Canada”, Merrill B. Sands (Phi-Yale University) presenting a discussion on “Mother Phi”, and Dr. Everett Moore Baker (Pi-Dartmouth College) presenting his views on “The Future of the Fraternity”.  At the end of the Convention, delegates and alumni travelled by train to New Haven, Connecticut to hold memorial services on December 28, 1947 for “Members of Delta Kappa Epsilon Who Gave Their Lives in World War II”

December 27, 1960

Mike Pyle (Phi-Yale University) is picked by the Chicago Bears in the annual NFL draft.  Brother Pyle played center for the Yale Bulldogs and was Captain of the undefeated 1960 team.  Brother Pyle played nine seasons with the Chicago Bears (1961-1969) and, in 1963, earned a Pro-Bowl berth.  Brother Pyle served as the offensive team captain of the Chicago Bears from 1963 to his retirement.  Brother Pyle was named to the Sporting News First Team – All Conference and the UPI Second Team – All NFL in 1963, and to the New York Daily News All NFL Team in 1965.  After his retirement as a player, Brother Pyle was a broadcaster for WGN Radio, where he was the pre- and post-game program host for the Chicago Bears, as well as a host of a Sunday sports talk show.  He later co-hosted the “Mike Ditka Show” when Mike Ditka coached the Chicago Bears.

December 27, 1986

We salute the diplomatic career and accomplishments of Albert W. Scherer Jr. (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 70.  Brother Scherer joined the United States State Department in 1946 and served in that Department for 33 years.  At various times, he served in Morocco, Hungary, Czechoslovakia and Poland.  Brother Scherer served as the Ambassador to Togo between September 13, 1967 and March 5, 1970, was the first United States Ambassador to Equatorial Guinea serving between September 13, 1967 and March 5, 1970, was the fifth United States Ambassador to Guinea serving between March 31, 1970 and December 21, 1971, and the 21st United States Ambassador to Czechoslovakia, serving between February 15, 1972 and July 29, 1975.   Between 1975 and 1977, Brother Scherer was the Deputy Representative of the United States to the Security Council of the United Nations. In 1974-75, Brother Scherer headed the United States delegation that went to Helsinki for the 35 nation European Security Conference which, after 30 months of negotiation, led to the Charter recognizing a European map changed by Soviet annexation and pledging that Soviet-bloc countries would allow a freer flow of information and people across borders. Brother Scherer is credited as being the architect of the human rights provisions which are incorporated within the Helsinki Accords signed by the heads of state at a summit conference in Helsinki in 1975. In 1975, he served as Alternate United States Representative to the Seventh Special Session and the Thirtieth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. In 1976, Brother Scherer served as Alternate United States Representative to the Thirty-First Session of the General Assembly.  


December 27, 2002

We salute the considerable accomplishments in Hollywood of George Roy Hill (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 81.  Brother Hill directed a number of award-winning movies, including The World of Henry Orient (1964), Hawaii (1966), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969), Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), The Sting (1973), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), Slap Shot (1977), The World According to Garp (1982), and The Little Drummer Girl (1984).  For Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, Brother Hill was nominated for Best Director but lost to the director of Midnight Cowboy.  However, the movie did win five Oscars.  His movie, The Sting, won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.  In 1989, Brother Hill retired from filmmaking to teach drama at Yale University.

December 28, 1947

The “Memorial Services for Members of Delta Kappa Epsilon Who Gave Their Lives in World War II” were held in Dwight Chapel at Yale University to honor members of Delta Kappa Epsilon who gave their lives during World War II.  An opening prayer and a poem written for the memorial service was  given by Dr. Earl B. Marlatt (Psi Phi-DePauw University), in the presence of Lt. Gen. Price J. Montague, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.C., M.C. (Alpha Phi-University of Toronto), who was the highest ranking Deke during World War II and the Honorable Kenneth C. Royall (Beta-University of North Carolina), United States Secretary of the Army.  The hymn “We Hail Thee, Holy Goddess” written by Wesley U. Pearne, (Gamma Phi - Wesleyan College) was played by the organist at the service.

December 28, 1995

We acknowledge the journalistic contributions of Virginius Dabney (Eta-University of Virginia) who died this day at age 94.  Brother Dabney was the long-time editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch (1936-1969) and the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 1948.  Brother Dabney was the President of the American Society of Newspaper Editors (1957-1958) and the author of a number of books including “Mr. Jefferson’s University” and “The Jefferson Scandals:  A Rebuttal”.  He was considered to have a progressive and at times liberal voice opposing the Ku Klux Klan and the poll tax.