July 12th - July 18th

July 12, 1994

The construction of Chelsea Piers Sports and Entertainment Complex began.  Roland W. Betts (Phi-Yale University) is the principal owner of Chelsea Piers, which was originally a passenger ship terminal in the 1890s used by the Lusitania and as the destination for the Titanic.  The complex includes film and television production facilities, including those for CBS College Sports Network and the Food Network, a health club, a day spa, the City’s largest training center for gymnastics, two basketball courts, playing fields for indoor lacrosse and soccer, two full sized ice rinks for skating, and an AMF Bowling Center.  The complex also includes a marina for mooring private boats.  Law & Order and Law & Order: Criminal Intent are filmed in studios located at the Chelsea Piers.  In 1980, Brother Betts was named as the President of International Film Investors, Inc., which produced and financed movies like Gandhi and The Killing Fields.  In 1983, Brother Betts founded Silver Screen Management, Inc. which financed and produced over 75 films with the Walt Disney Company, including Pretty Woman, The Rocketeer, and Three Men and a Baby.  In 1989, the Texas Rangers were purchased by a group of investors assembled by Brother Betts and George W. Bush (Phi-Yale University).  Brother Betts is a Senior Fellow of the Yale Corporation, an Advisory Board member of Yale School of Management, and a Trustee of numerous organizations including the American Museum of Natural History, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia University Law School, and the National Park Foundation.  Brother Betts has recently been appointed as a Trustee and Treasurer of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.  From 2001 to 2005, Brother Betts was one of the appointees of New York Governor George Pataki (Phi-Yale University) (Honorary) to the Board of the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation.  In that capacity, Brother Betts chaired the Site Committee charged with the rebuilding of the World Trade Center site.  Brother Betts made a gift to Yale University of $5 million to renovate the “John M. Davies House” so that it could be home to two newly created programs:  the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization and the World Fellows Program. The House, which was renovated and opened in the Fall of 2002, honors five consecutive generations of the Betts family who have earned degrees at Yale University.  The mansion dates back to 1868 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

July 13, 1989

C. Howard Wilkins (Phi-Yale University) is appointed the United States Ambassador to the Netherlands by President George H.W. Bush (Phi-Yale University).  Brother Wilkins was the founder of Pizza Corporation of America, and served as its Chairman and President until 1975.  Brother Wilkins’s private investments include Pizza Hut restaurants located in Texas and New Mexico.  Brother Wilkins also served as the Chairman of the Board of Maverick Restaurant Corporation which owns and operates restaurants under franchise agreements.  Brother Wilkins founded Amarillo Mesquite Grill Inc. in 1982 and served as its Chairman of the Board until 1989.  Brother Wilkins had purchased the Pizza Hut franchises in 1966 and, when he sold his 16 restaurants to Pizza Hut Inc., he became the Vice President of the company responsible for establishing its international operations.  In 1970, Brother Wilkins established his own company, Pizza Corporation of America, which owns and operates about 270 Pizza Hut restaurants under franchise from the parent company.  Each year, the Netherland-America Foundation presents the Ambassador C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Professional Accomplishments in Corporate Leadership in celebration of Dutch-American heritage and friendship.  The award was endowed by Brother Wilkins in 1998. Brother  Wilkins and his family are also philanthropists, and their activities include a charitable organization, the C. Howard Wilkins Foundation and establishing women's softball and basketball scholarships at Wichita State University

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July 14, 1853

Brothers Moses Dakin Brown and Levi Robinson left Waterville College (Xi Chapter) where they had been Dekes and went to Dartmouth College.  Upon entering their Junior year, they found no Chapter of the Fraternity.  They secured permission from the Mother Chapter at Yale to establish a Chapter at Dartmouth.  A charter was granted and they went to work and obtained the pledges of ten of their fellow students.  While the Charter of the Chapter bears the date of July 14, 1853, it was not until somewhat later that the ten Charter members were initiated.  Brothers Brown and Robinson engaged a room on the third floor of the Pinneo House which stood on the site which is now presently occupied by the President’s House.  The ten men chosen were duly initiated there.  In 1856, the Pinneo House was burned and the only possessions saved were the Pi Chapter Charter and the Chair of the Presiding Officer.  Quarters were then obtained on the second floor of the Tontine Building on Main Street in Hanover.  The meeting hall there was about 30 feet wide and 50 feet long and had an anteroom.

July 14, 1913

President Gerald Ford (Omicron-University of Michigan) is born.

July 14, 1965

The B.F. Avery Physical Education Centre is located on the campus of Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.  The building is named to honor Benjamin Franklin Avery (Phi-Yale University). The center houses a gymnasium and an Olympic-sized pool, in addition to its outdoor track and field area.  While at Yale, Brother Avery was the captain of the wrestling team and made two All-American football teams.  In 1915, Brother Avery came to Canada and was employed by the Spanish River Pulp and Paper Company.  In 1951, Brother Avery was appointed the President of the KVP Company and, when he retired in May 1959, was serving as Chairman of the Board of that Company.  It was said that Brother Avery originated the concept of tree farms and was one of the first in the forest industry to recognize the need for change in methods of cutting and reforestation to ensure the forests remain a sustainable resource.  In addition to serving on the Board of Governors of Laurentian University, Brother Avery was also the Chairman of the Founders Fund which raised money for the initial construction and development of the campus of Laurentian University.

July 15, 1900

Irving Baxter (Alpha Chi-Trinity and Delta Kappa-University of Pennsylvania) won the Olympic medal in the men’s high jump in the 1900 Summer Olympics by clearing a height of 1.90 meters.  Brother Baxter also won the Gold Medal at the Olympics for the men’s pole vault when he cleared 3.30 meters.  At the same Olympics, Brother Baxter won a silver medal in each of three other events – the standing long jump, the standing triple jump and the standing high jump.  After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania in 1901, Brother Baxter was admitted to the New York Bar and, in 1903, was chosen as a special City judge on the Democratic ticket.  After serving in World War I, Brother Baxter continued to practice law until 1921 when he was appointed Commissioner of the Northern District of New York.  In 1925, Brother Baxter resigned that position and returned to private practice.  Brother Baxter died on June 13, 1957 at the age of 81.

July 15, 1917

Reverend Dr. Arthur C. McGiffert (Beta Chi-Western Reserve University) became the President of the Union Theological Seminary in New York City.  Brother McGiffert graduated from Union Theological Seminary in 1885 and became its eighth President.  His best-known publication is a “History of Christianity in the Apostolic Age” (1897).  Its independent criticism and departures from traditionalism aroused the opposition of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church and, although charges were brought against Brother McGiffert, they were dismissed by the Presbytery of New York to which they had been referred.  A trial for heresy seemed inevitable.  Accordingly, Brother McGiffert retired from the Presbyterian Ministry while retaining his credentialed status from the Congregational Church.  Brother McGiffert was succeeded as President of the Seminary by Dr. Henry Sloane Coffin (Phi-Yale University) in 1926.

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July 15, 1960

John H. Slater (Delta Kappa-University of Pennsylvania) is awarded the Horatio Alger Award.  The Award has been given yearly since 1947 to distinguished Americans whose tale of overcoming adversity through unyielding perseverance and basic moral principles remind Americans of the limitless possibilities that exist through the free-enterprise system.  The description of Brother Slater when the Award was made sets out the following:  “John Slater was the son of a minister.  He put himself through the University of Pennsylvania selling souvenirs at football games, selling magazine subscriptions, and working as a railroad track walker.  While still an undergraduate, he joined the University faculty as an instructor in English, worked on his Master’s degree, ran on the track team, sang in the Glee Club, and wrote for campus publications.  After graduation, he taught composition, public speaking, poetry and drama at Muhlenberg College, where he also coached the track team.  He lived weekends at the Deke House on the Pennsylvania campus and took over its food service in 1926.  Within two years, he was serving 39 fraternities at three Philadelphia universities.  Slater abandoned his teaching career and expanded his service to industry, schools, colleges, hospitals and public restaurants from coast to coast.  His company eventually had 7,000 employees and annual sales of $50 million.  Slater Food Service Management serves 150 educational institutions in the United States and Puerto Rico, as well as managing more than 250 employee food services and 50 hospitals dietary departments.”  Brother Slater served as President of his own company until October 4, 1960, when he became Chairman of the Board.

July 15, 1964

Merrille Shoup (Pi-Dartmouth College) died at age 65.  Brother Shoup was the Chairman of the Board of Holly Sugar Corporation, the second-largest beet sugar company in the United States.  After graduation, Brother Shoup taught banking and business at Dartmouth College and Brown University and then studied law at Harvard.  He became a Director of Holly in 1938 and was President from 1949 to 1963, when he resigned to become Chairman of the Board.  Brother Shoup was also President of the Golden Cycle Corporation which had wide interests in gold mining, oil and other fields, and was President and a Director of Cresson Consolidated Gold Mining and Milling Company and the First National Bank of Canon City, Colorado.

July 15, 1976

We salute the contribution to investment banking made by Dean Witter Jr. (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 54.  Brother Witter headed Dean Witter & Co., the firm founded by his father.  The Company which merged with Reynolds & Co. in 1978 to form Dean Witter Reynolds Organization Inc. would have a large presence in the World Trade Centre disaster on September 11, 2001.

July 15, 1981

Paul H. Robinson Jr. (Delta Pi-University of Illinois) is appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the United States Ambassador to Canada.  Brother Robinson served in that capacity until September 9, 1985.  While Ambassador, he began discussions about easing trade restrictions between the U.S. and Canada.  Those discussions eventually led to the signing of the Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement on October 4, 1988.

July 16, 1899

We salute the military and education career of William Preston Johnston (Phi-Yale University) who died this day at age 88.  Brother Johnston practiced law in Louisville prior to the Civil War.  During the War, he served as an Aide-de-Camp to President Jefferson Davis, with the rank of Colonel.  At the request of Robert E. Lee in 1867, Brother Johnston became the Chair of History and English Literature at Washington College (now Washington & Lee University).  He served in that capacity until 1877.  In 1880, Brother Johnston accepted the Presidency of Louisiana State University.  In 1883, he left L.S.U. to become the first President of Tulane University, which was originally the Medical College of Louisiana (1834-1847) and then the University of Louisiana (1847-1884).  In 1884, the Louisiana State Legislature transferred control of the University to the Tulane Educational fund and, at the same time, created Tulane University of Louisiana.  Tulane is the only American University to have been converted from a state public institution to a private one.  At Tulane, the William Preston Johnston Society honors those who have made a “planned” gift to the University as well as to inspire others to do so.

July 16, 1846

Nathanial Hawthorne was made an Honorary member of Delta Kappa Epsilon by the Theta (Bowdoin College) Chapter.  Brother Hawthorne had entered Bowdoin College in 1821 and had graduated in 1825.  While at Bowdoin, Brother Hawthorne met the future poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and future Congressman Jonathan Cilley.  Brother Hawthorne and Jonathan Cilley formed a secret society which they named the [Pot]-8-0 Club.  Brother Hawthorne’s most famous publications were The Scarlet Letter (1850) and The House of the Seven Gables (1851).  Brother Hawthorne’s son, Julian, was a member of the Fraternity at Harvard College.  It is said that, when Brother Hawthorne died in his sleep on May 19, 1864, Brother Julian Hawthorne was being initiated into the Fraternity “by being placed blindfolded into a coffin”.  Brother Julian Hawthorne described his initiation as follows in his memoires:  “I was initiated into a college secret society, a couple of hours of grotesque and good-humor rodomontade and horseplay, in which I cooperated as in a kind of pleasant nightmare, confident, even when branded with a red-hot iron or doused head-over heels in boiling oil, that it would somehow turn out alright  The neophyte is effectively blindfolded during the proceedings, and at last, still sightless, I was led down flights of steps into a silent crypt, and helped into a coffin, where I was to stay until the Resurrection.”  Brother Hawthorn was then visited by an older classmate and then “after a while, he went away and I lay at peace: until a bevy of roistering friends arrived, hoisted me out, hurried me up the steps, snatched off bandages, and lo! I was in a brightly lighted room filled with jolly fellows who were shaking hands with me, giving me the ‘grip’, leading me to a large bowl brimmed with claret punch”.  He then wrote in his memoirs:  “Thus it was that just as my father passed from this earth, I was lying in a coffin during my initiation into Delta Kappa Epsilon.”

July 17, 1844

Thomas Jefferson Worcester Pray (Theta-Bowdoin) became the first Brother of Delta Kappa Epsilon to graduate from college.  Brother Pray was initiated into the chapter as an Honorary Member, although he is listed as an active member in 1890 Catalogue of the Fraternity.

July 17, 1924

James Stillman Rockefeller (Phi-Yale University) was part of the United States Men’s Eights Crew that won the Gold Medal at the 1924 Paris Summer Olympics.  Brother Rockefeller appeared on the cover of Time Magazine on July 7, 1924.  After spending six years with the Wall Street banking firm of Brown Bros. & Co., Brother Rockefeller joined the National City Bank in New York in 1930 and was its President from 1952 to 1959 and its Chair from 1959 to 1967.  Prior to his death on August 10, 2004, Brother Rockefeller was the oldest living Olympic champion and the oldest living cover subject of Time Magazine.  At his death, Brother Rockefeller was 102.

July 17, 1931

Thomas B. Wells (Phi-Yale University) is appointed as the Editor of Harper’s Magazine.  Brother Wells served in that capacity until November 1941.Brother Wells is credited with saving Harper’s from extinction—unlike the competitors The Century, The World’s Work, Scribner’s, The Forum, and The Review of Reviews. In September 1925, Brother Wells changed the typology and typography of Harper’s identity in order to appeal to the evolving intellectual-reader. His politics for survival were to remove illustrations from the cover of the magazine and replace it with a burnt orange cover displaying only the text of content and removing the cover art because Harper’s could not compete with the new “slick” magazines. Also, Well’s chose to enhance the sense of identity within Harper’s in order to reflect the nation’s changing identity after WWI. He chose to humanize the fiction articles placed within the magazine; therefore, all articles took on a more humanistic nature

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July 17, 1984

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was created by an Act of the Parliament of Canada.  The Service is responsible for collecting, analyzing, reporting and disseminating intelligence on threats to the National Security Council of Canada and conducting both covert and overt operations within Canada and abroad.  Mark McClung (Delta Phi-University of Alberta) was appointed as the first Director of CSIS.  Brother McClung was the son of the famous writer and suffragette Nellie McClung.  He had headed the civilian group of analysts in the Special Branch of the R.C.M.P.  Brother McClung was asked by the Commissioner of the R.C.M.P. to prepare a report which proposed the establishment of a civilian organization to assume control over counterespionage and research.  The report of Brother McClung was not immediately accepted.  It was not until 1984 that CSIS was formed.

July 18, 1959

Thomas C. Mendenhall (Phi-Yale University) became the 6th President of Smith College.  Brother Mendenhall was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship and attended Balliol College, Oxford, where he captained the Balliol Boats.  Brother Mendenhall obtained his Ph.D. in History from Yale and taught in the History department at Yale University until 1959, when he was named Professor of History and President of Smith College, a post he retained until his retirement in 1975.  Brother Mendenhall also became a leading authority on the history of collegiate rowing in the United States, serving between 1937 and 1959 on the Rowing Committee of Yale and for 30 years as a reporter on rowing events for the Yale Alumni Magazine.  The Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts at Smith is named in his honor.

July 18, 2006

The last of the acquisitions to the Doug and Hazel Anderson Storer Collection was received this day by The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  The Collection consists of the materials accumulated by Douglas F. Storer (Pi-Dartmouth College) who was a radio producer, talent agent, and writer responsible for creating and producing radio programs in the 1930s through 1960s, including Ripley’s Believe It or Not.  After the death of Robert Ripley in 1949, Brother Storer became President of Believe It or Not, Inc., and continued to oversee production of radio programs, television shows, and other projects in the Believe It or Not franchise.  In 1960, Brother Storer sold his interest in Believe It or Not and started a similar franchise entitled “Amazing But True”, which included books, radio shows, newspaper columns, and films, all featuring “tales of strange people, weird occurrences, and the killer animals and places”.  Brother Storer died in 1985 at age 86, and his wife died in 2005. Brother Storer published a number of books over the years, including his “Stories about the Presidents”, “Amazing But True!  – Stories behind the Stamp”, “Encyclopedia of Amazing But True Facts”, “Amazing But True!  – Stories about People, Places and Things”, “The Most Amazing But True”, “Amazing But True Mysteries”, “Sports Around the World (Amazing But True!)”, Ripley’s 35th Anniversary Believe It or Not!” and “Amazing But True Animals”.