This Week in DKE History May 11th - May 17th

May 11, 2004

Robert Speca (Delta Kappa-University of Pennsylvania) published his book “Championship Domino Toppling”.  Brother Speca originated a category of Domino Toppling in the Guinness Book of World Records and has held the world record five times.  Brother Speca has appeared on The Tonight Show twice. Host, Johnny Carson called his work “an art form in motion”.  Brother Speca has also performed on The Late Show with David Letterman and on the Ellen DeGeneres Show.  Brother Speca has created many domino displays to raise money for charities, as well as publicity events for shopping malls, corporate meetings, colleges and high schools.  He has also filmed advertisements for Kellogg’s, General Electric, Domino’s Pizza and IBM.  It is said that he has set up and toppled well over one million dominos in his career!  At Penn, Brother Speca was a competitive swimmer. After graduation, he has trained for and competed in 14 Ironman triathlons. He has competed in  Hawaii and other locations and has appeared on the Wide World of Sports.  Brother Speca has competed in over 150 marathons and has even completed the torturous Western States 100 Mile Trail Run. A model of endurance and athleticism, Brother Speca began his 31st summer as a member of the Ocean City Beach Patrol in 2004.  His web site is

May 12, 1998

Peter Redman (Alpha Alpha-Middlebury College) is appointed as President of Cessna Finance Corporation. Cessna Finance is one of the largest financing companies in general aviation, offering financing and leasing on a full range of aircraft from high performance single engines to corporate jets.  It is a wholly owned subsidiary of Textron Financial Corporation, a division of Textron Inc.

May 13, 1873

A resolution is passed at the 26th Convention calling for the halt of the election of Honorary members. Despite that resolution, the initiation of Honorary members was continued until at least the early 1900s.

May 14, 1935

We salute the outstanding contribution made to astronomy by Edwin B. Frost (Pi-Dartmouth College) who died this day at age 70.  Brother Frost joined the staff of Yerkes Observatory in 1898, became Director in 1905, and served in that capacity until 1932.  Yerkes Observatory is the astronomical observatory operated by the University of Chicago and is located in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. The Observatory once contained the world’s largest telescope.  The research of Brother Frost focused on the  “determination of radial velocity using stellar spectroscopy and spectroscopic binaries”.  Brother Frost was the Editor of Astrophysical Journal from 1902 to 1932.  In 1915, Brother Frost lost the use of his right eye and, in 1921, his left eye.  Despite his blindness, Brother Frost continued working until 1932.  Asteroid 854 Frostia is named in his honor. 

May 15, 1905

Belmont Park Racetrack was opened by August Belmont Jr. (Alpha-Harvard University).  Brother Belmont served as the first President of The Jockey Club and was the Chair of the New York State Racing Commission.  In 1895, he was one of the 9 founding members of the National Steeplechase Association.   Brother Belmont developed an important stud farm in Kentucky.  One of the greatest horses that was bred on the farm was Man o’ War.  The Belmont Stakes were transferred to Belmont Park. Horses from the stable of Brother Belmont won the Belmont Stakes in 1902, 1916 and 1917.  In 1888, Brother Belmont became the American Kennel Club’s 4th President.  Brother Belmont was a sprinter at Harvard and is said to have introduced spiked track shoes to the United States.  Brother Belmont founded and was President and Chair of the Interborough Rapid Transit Company in 1902 which helped finance the construction of and operate New York City’s first underground rapid transit line.  It is said that Brother Belmont held the distinction of owning the world’s only purpose-built private subway car which he named “Mineola”.  The car was used by him to give tours of the I.R.T. system.

May 16, 1881

Chung Mun Yew is initiated into the Phi-Yale University Chapter. While at Yale, Brother Chung was the coxswain in 1881 and 1882 on the Yale Varsity Crew. Brother Chung later became Chair of The Shanghai Telegraph Co., and the Managing Director of a number of Chinese Railway Companies serving as the Managing Director, Shanghai-Nanking Railway (1906-1916), the Managing Director, China Merchants Steam Navigation Co. (1907-1910), the  Managing Director, Shanghai-Hangchow-Ningpo Railway (1914-1916);and the Chairman, Shanghai-Nanking Railway Board of Commissioners (1917-1927).He also served as the Chairman of The Shanghai Telegraph Co. His diplomatic career included service as the Counselor of the Chinese delegation to the World Disarmament Conference, Washington, in 1921. 

May 16, 1911

The following notice was set out in the Delta Kappa Epsilon Quarterly relating to the pins of the Fraternity:  “The attention of the Fraternity, both the active chapters and graduate members, is called to the fact that, by the Convention rules, all pins must be ordered through the Council, which is only authorized to order the regulation pin as adopted by the Convention.  Exception was only made to this rule, passed several years ago, in the case of the Phi Chapter, which was allowed to retain the pin always used by them since the foundation of the Fraternity, including the name of the college, which only can be ordered through Ford & Co. of New Haven.  No pins larger or smaller than those made up, with any jewels or in any way different from the regulation pin adopted by this Fraternity, can or should be worn by any member, or ordered by anyone for his own use, or to give or dispose of in any way to any other.  While other firms in different parts of the country do make DKE pins, it is strictly against our rule, and it is a hope that every member of the Fraternity will not only observe the law established by his Fraternity, necessary in order to establish regularity of pin and some dignified method to control acts which have been injurious to the good name of our Fraternity in the past, but, by ordering all pins through the Council, will assist us financially under the above arrangement.  A high grade of pin is guaranteed, and, including the cost of postage or express, the price of each pin, with the name, chapter and class engraved thereon, is $3.00, payable to the order of the Council.  It is earnestly hoped that this notice will be kept in mind, for the above reasons.”

At that point, Messrs. Dieges & Clust of New York City was named as the Official Jeweler of the Fraternity.In the February 1912 edition of the DKE Quarterly, it was noted that the price of the pin was now $4.00 (including engraving and express charges).

May 17, 1911

In the Vol. 29, No. 2 edition of the Deke Quarterly contained this remnant of style:

“The use of fraternity hat bands has, during the last few years, greatly increased, and at colleges where once it was as not looked upon as quite good form, the use of these hat bands is now widespread.  The bright colors certainly add to the picturesque aspect of the campus, and at summer watering places, and, in fact, all over the country, the fraternity and club hat bands have now come into general use.  The new DKE hat band is not only very effective, but is quiet and simple, consisting of a broad blue band with very narrow borders of the crimson and gold at the top and bottom.  These hat bands are made by Jacob Reed’s Sons. Philadelphia, Pa., and E. M. Youmans, of New York, is agent for New York City and adjoining sections.  Orders can he sent to either, or will be forwarded through the Council.  The price of the hat bands is 65 cents each, and while the Council has never formally recommended the use of these hat bands, the custom has during the last two years become so widespread and seems to have met with such general approval, that we appreciate the fact that this desire exists, and call attention to these hat bands as a dignified and effective means of showing one’s sentiment, as well as an attractive custom.”

At the 1906 Convention, Brother Spence of Gamma Beta [Columbia University] recommended that the Fraternity adopt a “national hatband”, and that it be in “exactly similar to the band now in use by the Delta Kappa Chapter” which has been exhibited to the Convention.  It will be left entirely optional with each Chapter whether they will use the hatband or not, but in the event any hatband is to be worn at all, that it must be the band adopted by the Convention.  Motion was made by Brother Pincoffs, Delta Delta[ University of Chicago], that no Fraternity hatband shall be worn, but that motion was lost. At a motion by Brother Perry of Beta[University of North Carolina], the Council was authorized to make arrangements with the dealer (Jacob Reid & Sons, Philadelphia) “as they see fit in regard to the matter”.

At the 1914 Convention, the Chair of the Hat-Band Committee reported as follows:  “Your Committee on the Fraternity Hat-Band recommends the hat-band of the following description:  black background, with a narrow red, blue and gold stripes close together in the center.”

On motion, the report was accepted and ordered on file, and the hat-bad submitted “declared the official and regulation Fraternity hat-band”. 

May 17, 1968

Delta Pi Chapter at the University of Illinois is reactivated after an absence of 10 years.