This Week in DKE History April 5th - April 11th

April 5, 1851

Beta Chapter is founded at the University of North Carolina as the first fraternity at the University. On January 10, 1851, a petition was presented to the Phi Chapter praying that a chapter be established at the University. The agendas for the early meetings of the Chapter that were held in the residence of John W. Carr included debates as well as the appointments of an orator, essayist and poet for the next meeting.  Because of the greatly diminished attendance at the University, it was thought best to dissolve the Chapter in 1861.  The Chapter was then inactive until it was revived on March 19, 1887.  The 1885 Convention approved the University of North Carolina, the College of South Carolina, and Tulane University as institutions “the status and prospects of which make each a suitable site for a DKE Chapter”.  At the 41st Convention of the Fraternity held in Chicago in October 1887, the question of the naming of the Chapter was the subject matter of a Resolution which rescinded the resolution which had been passed at the 40th Convention which had named  the revived Chapter as the Beta Alpha Chapter because the Beta designation had been provided to the Chapter at Columbia University while the Chapter at North Carolina was inactive.  The title of the Chapter was designated as Beta at the 1888 Convention.  It was noted in the Minutes of the 1913 Boston, Massachusetts Convention that:  “Brother Royall [Kenneth C. Royall ‘1914, who later served as the Secretary of War and the Secretary of the Army], the delegate from Beta, requested that a new Charter be issued to the Chapter in its present name, as the only Charter now in its possession, had been issued to them as Beta Alpha and the name thereafter changed.”

April 5, 1886

The 49th Congress confirmed the nomination of William L. Trenholm (Delta-South Carolina College) as the first Democrat and first Southerner to be appointed Comptroller of the Currency.  Brother Trenholm served in that capacity until 1889.  While in office, Brother Trenholm recommended a number of changes in the banking laws of the United States, including a provision that banks could change name and location without an act of Congress.  In 1889, Brother Trenholm resigned his position in order to become the President of the American Surety Company (1889-1897) and the North American Trust Company (1897-1899).  At the 1887 Convention held in Washington, D.C., Brother Trenholm, as the President of the D.K.E. Alumni Association (Washington D.C.) gave the Convention Oration.

April 5, 1897

A manganese iron oxide mineral is named after Maynard Bixby (Rho-Lafayette College) who discovered the mineral in Utah.  Brother Bixby also discovered and sent the first specimens of red beryl from Utah to the U.S. Geological Survey where the name bixbyite was given to it.  Because of the confusion with bixbyite, the name of the red form of beryl was changed.  As far as we know, the only mineral ever to have been named by a member of a fraternity is bixbyite.  After graduation, Brother Bixby worked for a number of years and, in 1890, settled in Salt Lake City and pursued mining as a profession.  Brother Bixby then became an avid collective of Utah minerals and wrote about minerals and his collection activities:  “The Mineral Collector” (1894) and “A Catalogue of Utah Minerals and Localities” (1902).  Brother Bixby died on February 18, 1935 at age 52.

April 5, 1937

The cover of Time magazine featured H.B. Housser (Alpha Phi-University of Toronto).  Brother Housser was the President of the Toronto Stock Exchange in 1936-1937 and was a Governor of the Exchange for 11 years.  Brother Housser laid the cornerstone for the building which occupied the Toronto Stock Exchange and which is now incorporated into the Toronto-Dominion Centre in Toronto.

April 6, 1909

Robert Peary (Theta-Bowdoin College) was the first person to reach the geographic North Pole.  After Congressional recognition of his achievement, Brother Peary was given a Rear Admiral’s pension and the Thanks of Congress by a special act of March 30, 1911.  The liberty ship SS Robert E. Peary, the destroyer USS Peary, the cargo ship USNS Robert E. Peary, and the Knox-class frigate USS Robert E. Peary were named in his honor. The Peary-McMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin College is named for Peary and fellow Arctic explorer Donald B. MacMillan.  The Deke pin of Brother Peary is prominently displayed at the Museum.  The Deke flag that Brother Peary took to the North Pole is housed in the Smithsonian Museum in Washington D.C.  On May 28, 1986, the U.S. Postal Service issued a 22¢ stamp to honor of Brother Peary and Matthew Henson, who accompanied Peary to the North Pole.  Brother Peary and Matthew Henson had previously been honored by the U.S. Postal Service in 1959.  In the famous picture taken of the flags at the Pole, the fraternity flag is the second from the left, and is held by Ootah.

April 6, 1917

Thomas W. Farnam (Phi-Yale University) is appointed as the Director of the American Red Cross Supply Service in Washington D.C.  In September 1918, Brother Farnam was appointed as the American Red Cross Commissioner to Serbia in charge of relief and hospitals, carrying the assimilated rank of Lieutenant Colonel.  After the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, Brother Farnam returned to New Haven, Connecticut and devoted the remaining years of his life to Yale University administrative affairs as Alumni Fellow of the Yale Corporation (1919-22), Acting Secretary of the University (1920-23), and Associate Treasurer and Comptroller (1921-43).  Brother Farnam died at age 66 in 1943.

April 6, 1959

The United States Postal Service issued a 4¢ stamp to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the arrival of Robert E. Peary (Theta-Bowdoin College) at the North Pole, as well as the first under the sea crossing at the North Pole of the “Nautilus” of the United States Navy.

April 7, 1899

We salute the extraordinary public service of John Walker Fearn (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 67.  Brother Fearn was a resident of Mobile, Alabama, where he practiced law until he was appointed in 1853 as the Secretary to the United States Minister to Belgium, later serving as the Secretary of the legation in Mexico until 1859.  Subsequently, Brother Fearn was appointed as Consul General (Romania), (Yugoslavia), (Greece) on April 18, 1885, and served in that capacity until October 24, 1899.

April 7, 1923

The Zeta Chapter originally established at Centenary College of Louisiana, Jackson, Louisiana which had been chartered on January 20, 1858 and which had been inactive as a result of the Civil War, was revived at Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana as the Zeta Zeta Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon.  Members of the Friars Club had petitioned the Fraternity for 14 years, and were ultimately successful.  The Minutes of the 77th Convention held December 1&2, 1921 at Chicago, Illinois reported that the Council of the Fraternity “... considered all the terms of the preliminary requirements had been met, that this institution was located within the recognized geographic limits or zone of influence of the D.K.E., and that its future was now established because of a recent vote in the state creating an endowment under the state constitution”.  The Council had voted 32-2 to recommend the favorable acceptance of the Petition of the Friars although:  “... such action should not be construed as any expression directly or indirectly of dissent from the policy of D.K.E. upon non-extension; neither does such action constitute a departure from the policy in question nor is it in conflict therewith”.  The application on behalf of the Friars was presented by Brother James E. Edmonds (Chi-University of Mississippi).  At the Convention, several of the delegates opposed the granted of the Charter on grounds of “general policy, and that it would be extension, not a revival”.  A roll call vote was taken and the vote was 29 in favor and 12 opposed.

The December 28-29, 1922 Minutes of the 78th Stated Annual Convention of the Fraternity held at Washington, D.C. again reflect that the Council favorably recommended the application of the Friars while, at the same time, reaffirming the policy of the Fraternity in respect to extension as announced at the Boston Convention of 1913.  After 14 years, the resolution to grant a revival of the “war-lapsed chapter of Zeta Zeta Chapter” was passed by a vote of 38 Chapters in favor in 5 Chapters opposed.  However, that was not the last step.  Pursuant to the Constitution, it was then necessary to mail a “proper ballot” to each of the Chapters who were required to affirm the action of the Convention by a 3/4 vote of the Active Chapters.  The Minutes of 79th Stated Annual Convention of the Fraternity held on December 27&28, 1923 in Montreal reflect that:

Council certifies that pursuant to Article XV of the Constitution that the action of the 78th Stated Annual Convention recommending the revival of the Zeta Zeta Chapter was duly ratified and approved by the Chapters, and Zeta Zeta Chapter of Delta Kappa Epsilon was duly revived April 7, 1923, at Louisiana State University, and the Chapter is in full standing with the other Chapters of Delta Kappa Epsilon.

April 7, 1972

The Council of the Fraternity authorized the granting of a Charter to the group at the University of Western Ontario which would then be known as Phi Delta Chapter. That designation followed the practice in Canada of having all chapters reflecting the reverse designation of another Chapter so Phi Delta mirrored Delta Phi at the University of Alberta.

April 7, 1985

We salute the contributions to government and photography made by Yoichi Okamoto (Mu-Colgate University) who died this day at age 69.  Brother Okamoto was the first official United States Presidential photographer. Brother Okamoto served President Johnson for a number of years.  Known as “Oke”, Brother Okamato was given unprecedented access to the Oval Office and captured images of the President more candidly than had previously been available and acceptable.  It is said that only Brother Okamoto and the Appointment Secretary for the President were given unlimited access and could enter the Oval Office without appointments.

April 8, 1901

We salute the contributions to education made by Solomon Pool (Beta-University of North Carolina) who died this day at age 69.  Brother Pool was the fourth President of the University of North Carolina.  In 1869, Brother Pool was hired as the President at $1,500 per year.  In January 1871, Brother Pool addressed alumni and friends at the University pleading for money to pay off the debts of the University but the Trustees of the University decided to close the institution.  On February 1, 1871, the University was closed and the title of President was taken away from Brother Pool by court order.

April 8, 1930

We salute the career in finances of Sigmund Mayer Lehman (Delta Chi-Cornell University) who died this day at age 71.  Brother Lehman was one of the founders of the Montefiore Hospital in New York, and was one of the partners of Lehman Bros. before he retired in 1908 to “sail around the world” and devote his time to travel.  When he started with the firm founded by his father and his uncles, Brother Lehman received a salary of $25 per week which was a substantial sum in 1878.  Brother Lehman donated a stained glass window for the Deke House at Cornell.

April 8, 1976

Pi Beta Chapter is founded at Troy University at Troy, Alabama. It was the first Chapter of the Fraternity to be named to honor an individual (Oliver W. "Pi" Brantley, Psi '38, an early supporter of the Chapter).

April 8, 1999

Dan Quayle (Psi Phi-DePauw University) is appointed Chairman of the Global Investments Division of Cerberus Management, a multibillion-dollar private equity firm.  Brother Quayle is also an Honorary Trustee Emeritus of the Hudson Institute and is a member of the Board of Directors of Heckmann Corporation, a water sector company, and a Director of Aozora Bank of Tokyo.

April 9,1918

Thomas F. Kane (Psi Phi-DePauw University) becomes the 5th President of the University of North Dakota.  Brother Kane had become the President of the University of Washington on January 1, 1912.  His presidency came to an end after the Board of Regents of the University issued his dismissal after he refused to resign. .  Brother Kane was the President of the University of Washington (1902-1914) and the President of the University of North Dakota (1918-1933).  In 1913, Brother Kane was elected as the President of the National Association of State Universities. Brother Kane became the President of Olivet College in Michigan in 1916. In 1971, Kane Hall, a classroom-auditorium building at the University of Washington was completed and named in his honor .

April 10, 1892

Hugh A. Bayne (Yale University) composes the music to what would later become the Phi Marching Song.  Subsequently, the words were arranged by William G. Harris (Gamma Phi-Wesleyan University) and the Phi Marching Song was then published. The words of our most revered song have changed over the years as different versions were used.  These are the words of the chorus which were set out in the 53rd Annual Convention held in Springfield, Massachusetts, November 15-18, 1899 :

            So merrily sing we all to DKE,
            The mother of jollity,
            Whose children are light and free.
            We’ll sing to Amherst and to Sigma,
            Our dear old Delta Kappa Epsilon.

The present chorus which first appeared in 1887 is:

            So merrily sing we all to DKE,
            The mother of jollity,
            Whose children are gay and free.
            We’ll sing to Phi,
            And then we’ll sing,
            To dear old Delta Kappa Epsilon .

The relationship of Hugh A. Bayne to Delta Kappa Epsilon is not certain.  Although he is listed as an 1892 graduate of Yale, he is not listed as a member of the Fraternity in either the 1890 or the 1910 Deke Catalogues.  Mr. Bayne was on the 1891 football team and was probably related to Thomas Livingston Bayne Jr. who was a member of the Phi Chapter class of 1887.  Brother Bayne was the first coach of the Tulane University football team in 1893 and, along with his brother Hugh, helped arrange the first of many football contests between Tulane and L.S.U.

April 10, 1896

Thomas Curtis (Sigma Tau-M.I.T.) won the Gold Medal in the men’s 110 meter hurdles at the first modern Olympiad which was held in Athens, Greece.  Brother Curtis won with a time of 17.6 seconds.  While he had the second fastest time in the heats leading up to the men’s 100 meter spring event, Brother Curtis did not compete in the final as he withdrew in order that he could “save himself” for the 110 meter hurdles.  After the Olympics, Brother Curtis served as a captain in the Massachusetts National Guard and was a military aide to Massachusetts Governor Calvin Coolidge in World War I.  Brother Curtis subsequently published his memories about the first modern Olympic Games in 1932 (“High Hurdles and White Gloves”).  Brother Curtis died at age 71 on May 23, 1944.

April 11, 1966

The Atlanta Braves played their first home game.  William C. Bartholomay (Delta Epsilon-Northwestern University) was the President of the insurance firm, Willis Group Holdings Ltd.  However, Brother Bartholomay is better known as the leader of the consortium that bought the Milwaukee Braves from the previous owners and, after an extended legal battle with Milwaukee that kept the Braves in Milwaukee through the 1965 season, was successful in moving the team to Atlanta.  In 1976, Brother Bartholomay was approached by his friend, Ted Turner, and agreed to sell his controlling interest in the Atlanta Braves to Turner Broadcasting System Inc.  Brother Bartholomay remains the Chair of the Atlanta Braves.

April 11, 1989

The 133-foot gaff-rigged schooner Adventurous is listed as a National Historic Landmark by the United States.  Launched in 1913, the schooner was designed by Bowdoin Bradlee Crowninshield (Alpha-Harvard University), who was one of the most respected yacht designers during the period which is now regarded as the “Golden Age of American Wooden Yacht Design”.  Brother Crowninshield is best remembered for his working schooners and for the America’s Cup contender Independence.  Brother Crowninshield died at age 81 in 1948.

April 11, 2013

Jonathan Winters (Lambda-Kenyon College) passes away at age 87.  Brother Winters was a giant of American comedy who was not just about telling jokes but was about inhabiting characters.  On television, he was Mearth to Mork played by Robin Williams.  In movies, he starred in “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” and “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming”.  The final feature film of Brother Winters was “The Smurfs 2, which will be dedicated in his memory.  In 1999, Brother Winters was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  In 2008, Brother Winters was presented with a Pioneer TV Land Award by Robin Williams.  On retirement, Brother Winters spent time painting and presenting his art in many gallery shows.  Brother Winters lived near Santa Barbara, California, and was often seen browsing or hamming it up for the crowd of fans around him.  Brother Winters appeared in 34 television or film features, produced or participated in 24 comedy albums, and wrote a number of books including Winters’ Tales (1988) which made the best sellers list.