This Week in DKE History December 6th - December 12th

December 6, 1985

We acknowledge the literary career of Walter Brown Gibson (Mu-Colgate University) who died this day at age 88.  After graduation, Brother Gibson went to work for a number of newspapers and began to submit crime stories for Detective Story Magazine.  Brother Gibson was asked to produce the first printed venture of wealthy playboy Lamont Cranston (“The Shadow”). Over the years, Brother Gibson wrote at least 282 of the 325 Shadow novels.  It is estimated that Brother Gibson wrote in excess of 30 million words in his novels.  Brother Gibson also wrote more than 100 books on magic, psychic phenomena, yoga, hypnotism and games.  He served as the ghost writer for books on magic and spiritualism by Harry Houdini, Howard Thurston, Harry Blackstone Sr. and Joseph Dunninger.  He was a magician himself and, as such, he introduced the “Chinese linking rings” into North America and invented the “nickels to dimes” trick.

December 6, 1912

Omega Chi Chapter is chartered at the University of Texas.  The possibility of a chapter at the University of Texas was first raised at the 1883 Convention when a motion was made to include the University of Texas within the powers of the Council for the establishment of “temporary societies”.  That authorization was ruled out of order.  In the 1902 Message from the DKE Council, it was noted that applications were received from the University of Texas, Bucknell University, Washington and Jefferson College, Lehigh University and the University of Wisconsin, but that the Council:

… informed the applicants in each case that it did not deem it expedient at this time to grant the applications, and in case of the letters looking towards the establishment of the Chapters, it discouraged any application, and in the cases referred to, none has been made.  In denying these applications, the Council does not wish to be understood as opposed to reasonable and proper expansion.  There are, no doubt, institutions now, and there surely will be others, which will develop in the future, worthy of DKE Chapters and in such cases we think that when the time arrives, the field should be occupied.

At the 1902 Convention held in Memphis, a motion to discuss the possibility of a chapter at the University of Texas was tabled.  In 1903, the message from the DKE Council noted that an application from the University of Texas had been received and investigated but that the Council did not deem it “wise at this time to grant the application”.  The attitude of the Council at the time was described as follows:

… lack of sufficient argument for letting down the bars to our conservatism, in which position the Council feels that it is expressing the sentiment of the great majority of the Chapters and Alumni of the Fraternity.  DKE has few favors of this kind to grant, and the Council feels that they should be granted not to each respectable body of students of a credible institution but only in cases where exceptional and peculiar reasons comment them.

The Minutes of the 1903 Convention held at Syracuse, New York, moved that the application of the Clover Club at the University of Texas not be granted.  An informal application from “The Capital Club” was received in 1910, was considered at the 1911 Convention, and received a preliminary vote under the Constitution which required an affirmative vote at two successive conventions to be successful.  By a 29-13 vote at the 1912 Convention, the application of the members of The Capital Club was approved.  Later in the meeting, the vote was made unanimous.

December 6, 1973

After Spiro Agnew resigned, Gerald Ford (Omicron-University of Michigan) was sworn in as the 40th Vice President and the first appointed under the terms of the 25th amendment.

December 6, 1987

Thomas J. Neff (Rho-Lafayette College) is appointed the Chairman of Spencer Stuart U.S., one of the world’s largest executive search firms.  Prior to serving as Chairman of the U.S. division, Brother Neff managed the world-wide firm (1979-1987).  Brother Neff also serves on the Board of Directors of ACE Limited, the Zurich-based insurance company and the Lord Abbett Mutual Funds.  Brother Neff is widely published, including coauthoring “Lessons from the Top – The Search for America’s Best Business Leaders” (1999) and “You’re in Charge – Now What?” (2005).  Brother Neff has also published a number of articles in BusinessWeek.

December 7, 1916

At the 70th Annual Convention is held at Cleveland, Ohio, three applications for new chapters were turned down – Louisiana State University, the University of Nebraska and Washington & Lee University.

December 7, 2000

Philip H. Geier Jr. (Mu-Colgate University) retired as the Chairman and CEO of the Interpublic Group of Companies, the parent company of a number of public relations companies, including McCann-Erickson.  Brother Geier now serves as Chairman Emeritus of the company.  Under his leadership, Interpublic Group grew to have revenues in excess of $5.6 billion, with 50,000 employees.  Brother Geier was the first Chairman of PRO-ADPAC, the political action arm of the advertising industry.  Brother Geier served as the Chairman of the Ad Council and was an active member of the Business Council.  In February 2001, Brother Geier formed The Geier Group LLC to provide consulting/advisory services in the marketing, communications, and venture capital fields.

Brother Geier serves as Trustee for the Boards of Autism Speaks, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Save the Children Federation, and the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Brother Geier also serves on the Board of Overseers for Columbia University Business School and the Board of International Tennis Hall of Fame.  Brother Geier is the author of the book “Survive to Thrive”.

December 7, 1925

Nicholas Longworth IV (Alpha-Harvard University) becomes the 43rd Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.  While Speaker, Brother Longworth used an ebony gavel bearing the inscription “To Nicholas Longworth, December 7, 1925, from DKE”. His wife, Alice Roosevelt Longworth was noted for her wit but Brother Longworth was also no slouch in that regard. He was at his seat in the House one day when one of his political adversaries thought he would belittle him for his baldness so he ran his hand over Brother Longworth’s head and declared loudly “Feels just like my wife’s behind”. Brother Longworth reached back, felt his head, and commented “why, yes, it does”

December 7, 1993

We salute the accomplishments of Robert Taft Jr. (Phi-Yale University) who served as a Republican member of the United States House of Representatives from Ohio’s At Large Congressional District (1963-1965), a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Ohio’s 1st Congressional District (1967-1971), and as a United States Senator from Ohio (1971-1976).  Brother Taft is the son of Senator Robert Taft, the grandson of President William Howard Taft, and the great-grandson of Secretary of War Alphonso Taft.

December 7, 2011

A Colony at Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, was approved by the Board of Directors of the Fraternity.

December 8, 1876

The Charter class of Theta Zeta Chapter of the University of California (Berkeley) is initiated as the 4th fraternity there.  The initiation of the nine Charter members took place in a suite at the Grand Central Hotel, in Oakland.  The ceremonies were conducted by Brother George L. Beaver (Phi-Yale University) assisted by Brother J.W.O. Breckenridge (Eta Alpha -Washington and Lee).  The Chapter was the first Deke Chapter established west of the Mississippi. In the 1910 Catalogue, there is this description of why the Chapter was established at Berkeley:  “The only interpretation that can be placed upon this action, establishing a chapter at an institution so far removed from the rest, is that DKE had determined to make good her claim to the title of a national fraternity, and the success of Theta Zeta has fully established the wisdom of such a course.”A number of alumni encouraged the efforts to obtain a Chapter. They included Martin Kellogg (Phi-Yale University) who later became the President of the University, and Edward Sill (Phi-Yale University).  The first pins of the Chapter, with pearl and diamond border, arrived from Phi early the following Spring.  The Grand Central Hotel continued to be the meeting place of the Chapter until February 19, 1878 when meetings were held in a room in the incomplete Odd Fellows’ Hall on Shattuck Avenue and Addison Street, Berkeley.

December 8, 1906

President Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University) issues Presidential Proclamation No. 695, establishing El Morro National Monument in New Mexico.  The Monument is located on an ancient east-west trail in Western New Mexico and features a great sandstone promontory with a pool of water at its base.  The Spanish explorers called it El Morro and the local Zuni Native Americans called it “A‑TS‑INI”( the “Place of Writings on the Rock”).  Early American explorers called it “Inspiration Rock” as travellers left signatures, names, dates, and stories of their treks through the area.  There are numerous petroglyphs and carvings made by early native inhabitants of the area.

December 8, 1906

President Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University) issued Presidential Proclamation No. 697, establishing Petrified Forest National Monument in Arizona.  Named for the large deposits of petrified wood, the Monument is also noted for its fossils, especially fallen trees that lived in the late Triassic era, about 250 million years ago.

December 8, 1906

President Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University) issued Presidential Proclamation No. 696, establishing Montezuma Castle National Monument in Arizona.  Montezuma Castle is near the top of Verde Valley Cliff, and is one of the best-preserved cliff dwellings in North America.  It was built and used by pre-Columbian Sinagua people around 700 A.D.  The structure is five storeys high and took about five centuries to complete.  It was occupied from approximately 1100 to 1425 A.D. and occupation peaked around 1300 A.D.

December 8, 1952

A Petition was received from the Rho Lambda Local Fraternity at the University of Oklahoma.  That Petition had the support of the President of the University, the Dean of Students of the University, the Counselor of Men of the University, and the President of the Interfraternity Council.  The faculty sponsor for the group was Donnell M. Owings (Psi Phi-DePauw University).  In his letter of support, Brother Owings advised that he was the faculty sponsor of the Local Fraternity and that:

“Moreover, I am most favorably impressed with the young men who propose to establish our chapter, and I am sure you will be too when you meet them.  On the strength of my personal acquaintance with them, I am prepared to say that they are excellent Deke material and that they will build here a chapter all of us can be proud of”.

The Petition was also supported by Howard Taber (Phi-Yale University) and Oppie Watson (Omega Chi-University of Texas).  The petitioning members were George Dooley, Morris Dunlap, Riley Goldsmith, Roger Hansen, Ronald Holcomb, Cleo Maddox, Howard McMillan, Byron Parker, Charles Sanders, Malcolm Sandlin, Bob Scott, George Scott, Brady Stewart, O.A. Thomas, Preston Trimble, and John Woody.

The Petitioning group described their history as follows:“At the beginning of the spring semester of 1951, after a group of independent men from Whitehead Hall won the University Sing, the motivating desire of our group began.  This group of men went on to make a fine showing in the Varsity Show and to win the Sooner Scandals in the same year.  This was the first time any independent group had placed in this type of activity.  Witnessing what the group had accomplished, led us to cast off the hindrances of being a part of a dormitory organization.  This was when the idea of establishing ourselves as a social fraternity began to grow.Knowing at that time the standards and merit of Delta Kappa Epsilon and the fact that it was not represented on the O.U. campus, led us to seek information from the National Headquarters.  Through this and other sources, we then began to contact alumni of Delta Kappa Epsilon who reside in this state.  This was no easy task, but since we knew what we were after, there was nothing to stop us.  After finding these alumni and seeking their opinion of a Deke Chapter for O.U., we began really to organize.It was about this time that the spring semester ended, and there arose the problem of how to keep the group organized.  This was the job of Howard Byars, who not only kept the members posted but also traveled over the state seeking out more Deke alumni.  When the fall semester rolled around and roll was called, only about half the original group remained due entirely to graduation and induction into the service.  Plans were made to get new members who wanted the same thing that the group did in the way of a fraternity.  It was at this time that another group sprang up on campus that aimed at this goal.  After recognizing each other, the two groups merged and formed the Charter Club.Now with a more stable group, we made an all-out effort to be recognized as a local fraternity on campus.  This meant petitioning the Interfraternity Council which represents the twenty-four national fraternities on campus.  After being recognized by this body, our next move was to have our Constitution approved by the Student Senate.  This was not easy either, because the University does not generally recognize a local group.  But when it was learned that Rho Lambda sought recognition for the sole purpose of petitioning Delta Kappa Epsilon, the local charter was granted.The Interfraternity Council created a position of associate membership in their counsel, thus the Greek name: Rho Lambda was adopted.  These events were followed in rapid succession by Smokers, Banquets, and other social functions in order to knit the organization closer.  In the course of this semester, Rho Lambda visited the Texas chapter several times and also the chapter at SMU.  Their approval of the petitioning group was sought, but did not receive it until October of 1953.In the Spring of 1953 a commodious house on campus was acquired.  Adding to this a very wonderful house mother who has seen us through.Coming back to school in the fall, the fraternity was asked to participate in Rush by the Interfraternity Council.  This was done for experience more than new members.  One thing that did not alter from the beginning was that we did not sacrifice quality for quantity.  Scholastically, the group ranked twelfth among the other fraternities the first semester of last year and held down sixteenth place the second semester.  The associate members won the campus honors the second semester with a 2.836 on a 4 point system.  This was far above the all-campus average.  Our group is now making plans to participate in intramural sports.

When the approval of the Omega Chi chapter and the Lambda Delta chapter was learned, plans were immediately made for an investigation of the University and the petitioning group.  Mr. Bill Henderson, National Assistant Secretary and Editor of the Deke Quarterly, made the trip.  Bill talked with alumni in the state, University officials, and officers of the fraternities.  After the four-day tour, he returned to New York for an expansion committee meeting and a National Executive Council meeting.  Our faculty sponsor, Dr. Donald M. Owings, Psi Phi-’34, Mr. Howard Taber, Phi-’49, Active Deke Alumni in the state, and Mr. O.P. Watson, Omega Chi-’28, represented the petitioning group at these meetings.  The outcome was received back on the Oklahoma campus joyfully.  Another hurdle had been made with the vote of 41-1.With each passing day, the high purpose and splendid ideals set forth by the founders have constantly been our goal, and that our organization has promulgated certain praiseworthy principles toward which its members have strived with varying success.  The members of the past and present have built a strong local fraternity, founded on good principles, which is held in high esteem by students, other fraternities, and officials at the University of Oklahoma.It is our desire, through the medium of this petition, to fulfill the ultimate goal of the founders and that every member since the founding of Delta Kappa Epsilon.”

December 9, 1854

Phi Chapter received a petition from Lafayette College students but the petition for a charter was denied.

December 9, 1862

George Anderson Gordon (Phi-Yale University) delivered a speech in the Senate of the State of Georgia on the Constitutionality of the Conscription Laws.  Brother Gordon served for a number of years in the Congress of the Confederate States.

December 9, 1865

It is reported in the October 1911 of the Delta Kappa Epsilon Quarterly (Vol. 29, no. 3) that Hugh R. Garden (Delta-South Carolina) met with others on this day to attempt to reorganize the Eta-University of Virginia Chapter.  The following poem is recorded in the Quarterly:


Ah, Captain Garden, Captain Garden!
It was at Gettysburg you heard the cry for water from that wounded man and saw his DKE pin!

Another Empty-Sleeved, told us he found a “brother”,
Under the Southern guns, in sore distress,
After the slaughter at the Wilderness;
Bending above him, saw that blood-stained pin –
And moonlight on the letters made them kin.

Brother Garden was commander of the Palmetto (South Carolina) Light Artillery at the Battle of Gettysburg.

December 9, 1936

Lawrence M. “Larry” Kelley (Phi-Yale University) was the second winner of the Trophy awarded annually to the player deemed the most outstanding player in collegiate football.  The first award was presented in 1935 by the Downtown Athletic Club and was simply known as the DAC Trophy.  In 1936, John Heisman died and the trophy was renamed in his honor.  While brother Kelly was the second winner of the award, he was the first man to win it as the “Heisman Trophy”.  Brother Kelley was an All-American end and the Captain of the Yale football team.  Brother Kelley later played for the Boston Shamrocks of the American Football League.  Brother Kelley is a member of the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame.  To benefit his nieces and nephews, Brother Kelley sold his Heisman Trophy at an auction in December 1999 for $328,110 to the owner of The Stadium Museum Restaurant & Bar in Garrison, New York.

December 9, 2011

Pete Mangurian (Zeta Zeta-Louisiana State University) is appointed as the Head Football Coach at Columbia University.  Previously, Brother Mangurin coached at Southern Methodist University (1979-1980), New Mexico State (1981), Stanford University (1982–1983); L.S.U. (1984-1987), and Cornell University (1998–2000).  Brother Mangurian also coached with the Denver Broncos (1988-1992), the New York Giants (1993-1996), the Atlanta Falcons (1997 and 2001-2003), the New England Patriots (2005-2008), and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2009-2010).  While at L.S.U., Brother Mangurian played football as a defensive tackle.

December 9, 2011

After more than three decades of service on the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees, including fifteen years as Chairman, Samuel Heffner Jr. (Psi Omega-Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute) retired from the Board.  To honor his service, members of the Rensselaer community and special guests gathered for an evening of celebration at the Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Centre for a celebration of music, tributes and skits.  The tributes from the members of the Rensselaer community included two from Fraternity Brothers, Trustee John Broadbent (’59) and Peter Goetz (’56).  In her remarks, President Shirley Ann Jackson stated in part:

Leader, Partner, Builder, Philanthropist ... In your program, you will see in some detail the many accomplishments and contributions of Samuel F. Heffner Jr., Rensselaer Class of 1956, but I can tell you that there were other words I would use to describe Mr. Heffner:  Visionary.  Doer.  Reliable supporter.  And most important :  Friend.

The Board of Trustees honored the service of Brother Heffner to Rensselaer by granting him the titles of Honorary Trustee and Honorary Chairman and presented him with a special Trustee Medallion.  Brother Heffner is the founder and President of Dickinson-Heffner, Inc. of Baltimore, a building and land development firm in the Baltimore-Washington area.  Through his leadership, the Samuel F. Heffner Jr. ’56 Alumni House fully designed, constructed and funded by Rensselaer alumni, was possible.  Brother Heffner now brings his considerable talents and energy to serving as a Director and Chair of the Board of Delta Kappa Epsilon. 

December 10, 1906

President Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University) is awarded The Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts as a mediator between Russia and Japan in 1905.  After convening meetings in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and after weeks of difficult negotiations arranged by Brother Roosevelt, Russia and Japan concluded a peace treaty in September 1905.  The Treaty of Portsmouth then ended the Russo-Japanese War.  In delivering his acceptance speech, Brother Roosevelt called for “a league of peace within international police power”.  Brother Roosevelt did not accept the Prize money.  Rather, he donated the money to Congress for the funding of a permanent Industrial Peace Committee which would address “fair dealings between classes of society”.  That Committee was never organized and Brother Roosevelt petitioned Congress to return the funds to him so that he could distribute the money to war relief efforts and various charities.

December 10, 1980

Vernon R. Loucks Jr. (Phi-Yale University) became the President and Chief Executive Officer of Baxter International Inc., the world’s largest manufacturer and distributor of hospital supplies and medical specialty products.  Brother Loucks served in that capacity until 1987 when he became Chairman of the Board of Directors. Brother Loucks held that position until 1999. Brother Loucks also served as a senior fellow of the Yale Corporation, as well as serving on the Board of Directors of a number of companies including MedAssets, Inc.  Brother Loucks received the William McCormick Blair Award from Yale University (1989), the Distinguished Humanitarian Award from the St. Barnabas Burn Foundation (1992), the Industrialist of the Year Award from the American Israel Chamber of Commerce (1996), the Yale Medal from Yale University (1997), the National American Heritage Award from the Anti-Defamation League (1999), and induction into the Modern Healthcare American College of Health Care Executives Hall of Fame (2006).

December 11, 1860

At the 1860 Convention sponsored by the Nu Chapter (which was then listed as being at the Free Academy in New York City), Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution was added in order to set out the secret grip for the fraternity.

December 11-13, 1901

The 55th Convention was held in The New Willard Hotel in Washington, D.C.  Single rooms without bath ranged from $2 to $2.50 per day and with bath from $3.50 to $4.50 per day.  Brother John D. Long (Alpha-Harvard College), the Secretary of the Navy, gave a reception for the delegates at his office.  At the Convention, the Charter was granted to Stanford University and the election of honorary members was forbidden by an amendment to the Constitution.

December 11, 2011

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved Colony status for a group of men at Manhattan College. Established in 1853, the College.U.S. News and World Report lists the College as one of the top 20 colleges in the Regional Universities North category. Once chartered, the group will be the second fraternity at the school.

December 11, 2011

The Board of Directors of the Fraternity approved Colony status for a group of men at North Carolina State University

December 12, 1901

Sigma Rho Chapter is chartered at Stanford University.  The Petitioners were members of the local society, Sigma Rho Eta, members of which had been part of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.  The Charter had been surrendered to the national convention of Phi Gamma Delta in 1896 and the local organization was then formed.  Charter Members were initiated on February 8, 1902.  The initiation of the new Sigma Rho members was under the direction of the Theta Zeta Chapter at Berkeley.  The undergraduate members of Berkeley went to Stanford and transformed the house of Sigma Phi Eta into a Deke Chapter.  Professor Martin Kellogg (Phi-Yale University ’50), the ex-President of the University of California, delivered a charge to the new Chapter and gave the Charter to the Chapter. The 1902 Message from the Council stated that the Chapter had chosen Sigma Rho as its Chapter name and that this name had been approved by the Council.

December 12, 1906

Victor H. Metcalf (Phi-Yale University) is appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt (Alpha-Harvard University) as Secretary of the Navy.  Brother Metcalf was elected and served as a Republican to the United States Congress (1899-1994).  In the Congress, Brother Metcalf served on the Naval Affairs and the Ways and Means Committees.  On July 1, 1904, Brother Metcalf was appointed by President Theodore Roosevelt as Secretary of Commerce and Labor.  Brother Metcalf served in that capacity until he was appointed Secretary of the Navy.  Brother Metcalf served in that capacity to November 13, 1908.  After leaving the Cabinet, Brother Metcalf returned to the practice of law in Oakland, California.

December 12, 1940

The Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive Committee of the Council record that William Mercer (“Bill”) Henderson (Zeta Zeta-Louisiana State University) be employed in the capacity of Assistant Secretary.  The salary approved for Brother Henderson was $125 per month.  Brother Henderson served in that capacity in 1941 and then again between 1946 and 1955.  Effective April 1, 1946, Brother Henderson’s salary as Assistant Secretary was increased to $200 per month.  In 1955, Brother Henderson became the Secretary of the Council and the Executive Director of the Fraternity.  Brother Henderson served the Fraternity as Executive Director until he retired in November 1973 after serving the Fraternity for 29 years.

December 12, 2012

Centre College Trustee David Grissom (Iota-Centre College) and his wife Marlene gave $500,000 to create an endowment named the Susan Roach Campus Beautification Fund to honor the efforts of the first lady of Centre College, Susan Roach, and her devotion to making the campus a beautiful place.  The income from the Fund will be used to enhance landscaping, with special emphasis on acquiring and maintaining deciduous trees throughout the campus.  Brother Grissom is the Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Glenview Trust Company, the Chairman of Mayfair Capital, Chairman of the Executive Committee of Churchill Downs Inc., and a Life Trustee of the Board of the Trustees, Centre College, where he served as Chairman for more than 20 years.