The Founding Fathers
On November 4, 1834, in the Freshmen Recitation Room of Old West College, a building still standing today at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, 30 men quietly gathered to discuss a new idea. The men, all earnest, hardworking gentlemen, had come to college not to have a good time, but to prepare for the active duties of life. They came together to discuss the impact that secret organizations were having on the lives of college students through the monopoly of the student government. The result of this meeting between ten men from each of the freshmen, sophomore, and junior classes was the creation of The Social Fraternity, the organization that would eventually become Delta Upsilon.
The Social Fraternity devoted itself to dispelling the idea of secret societies, and promoted open and free discussion of ideas and values. Within three years, more than two-thirds of the Williams campus had joined The Social Fraternity to combat the unjust practices of secret societies. At the time, the word ‘social’ had a much different meaning from today‘s vocabulary. Social (as our founders used it) meant a commitment to societal betterment through honest and unencumbered group interaction.
The Social Fraternity at Williams College soon realized that it was the first collegiate group to support the idea of anti-secrecy. However, there were other men on nearby campuses facing the same struggle. In fact, The Equitable Union society at nearby Union College was involved in the same challenge, but was younger than the Williams‘ Social Fraternity by a few years. In 1945, The Equitable Union made overtures asking for cooperation and unification as a branch of the Social Fraternity. Soon joining Williams and Union were groups from Middlebury, Hamilton, Amherst, Wesleyan, Western Reserve, Vermont and Colby. The early years were very impressive in the growth and size of the Fraternity. At the Troy Convention in 1847, the chapters in attendance voted to take the name ‘The Anti-Secret Confederation.’
Over the years, Delta Upsilon has adapted to a changing world; and while at times, the challenge has been difficult, the Fraternity has weathered the storms and will thrive again in this coming centuries. From the modification of the Fraternity‘s stance on secrecy to the creation of the Delta Upsilon Educational Foundation, the years have treated DU well.
A History Given by Esteemed Alumnus Monroe Edwards
The air was crisp, and the chilling breeze was stripping the few remaining leaves from the stubborn oaks that surround the administration building at Georgia Tech. Students paused to speculate about the expected success of the football team and then hurried off to class.
Inside the picture-lined office of the Dean of Students, two men were chatting with Dean George C. Griffin. Jay Grimes, then the General Secretary, and Rick Green, from the Atlanta Alumni, had come to enlist the aid of Dean Griffin in establishing a chapter of Delta Upsilon at Georgia Tech. He was for it, and suggested that some of the alumni group meet with the Faculty Advisory Committee to discuss the means of organizing a colony.
On the 17th of November, 1955, at Dean Griffin‘s invitation, a committee consisting of Pete Dewees, Alex Wilkie, Earl Schooley, and Rick Green met at Georgia Tech to discuss plans for establishing a colony. Dean Griffin presented a list of students who might be interested in becoming members of the colony. He had also given the story of the effort of the Technique, Tech‘s student weekly newspaper.
The Technique invited anyone interested in becoming a member of the colony to contact Walter C. Gummere for further information. A meeting time was set, but the initial drive for membership was disrupted untimely arrival of a torrential rainstorm.
However, five students met that day for what was to become the first meeting of 1834 Club at Georgia Tech. Those meeting were: Dave Tucker, Jim Gassaway, Robert Mulherin, John Baker, and Paul Arnold. Dinner meetings continued throughout the spring quarter, and the membership in the 1834 Club was growing.
By the beginning of the Fall Quarter of 1956-57, the colony had 20 members and plans were being made for the colony to take part in the interfraternity activities at Georgia Tech offers competition in fund raising activities for charity, sports, scholarship, homecoming displays, Ramblin‘ Wreck parade(a display of wrecked automobiles), and other contests. Not having a house the 1834 Club was ineligible for the homecoming display and because of a lack of space in which a wreck could be built, it had no Ramblin‘ Wreck entry. Members took an active part in the fundraising campaigns, and an effort was made to enter as many of the sports as was possible. Despite the poor overall record made in sports, there was some bring moments. For example, when Buck James won the bicycle race, and thereby picked up the club‘s first trophy in sports.
But not all the contests were lost. Starting with the fall quarter, the club took first place in scholarship among the fraternities at Tech. A repeat performance in the winter quarter cinched the scholarship award for the 1834 Club for the year 1956-57.
During the 1956-57 school year the 1834 Club held meetings each week, usually Wednesday night, at the Tech YMCA. From room 6 in the basement of the YMCA , the business of the club was conducted, the parties planned, and most of the social activities conducted.
Of course there were the parties held at the Snapfinger Farms with the inimitable music of Harmonica Jack and the House Rockers. And there was the problem of finding the way there. Snapfinger Farm is located just outside of Atlanta. No one seems to know exactly where, and so the party that was to start at eight o‘clock usually got underway about nine-thirty.
In the spring of 1957, the club applied to the General Fraternity for a charter. The charter was approved later in the spring quarter, and the installation date was set for the fall quarter of 1957. In June, Max DeArmond, who was a member of the 1834 Club then, graduated and became the first alumnus of what was to become the Georgia Tech Chapter.
During the summer of 1957, the members of 1957, the members of the club who were in Atlanta planned the rush season for the fall quarter. Parties were planned; letters were written to prospective Associate Members; plans were made for contacting the rushees as soon as school started and other arrangements for a successful rush season were made. Two smokers (barbeques) were held at the homes of alumni, one at the home of Pete Dewee, and the other at D.K. Vannemaa’s. A rush girl’s tea and a casino party were scheduled at the Decatur Women‘s Club and the Atlanta Women‘s Club was used for an informal dance that rounded out fall rush.
The fall rush season was highly successful; thirteen rushee‘s pledged. Since the date for the installation of the club had been set for October 26, 1957, the active membership of the club voted to accelerate the Associate Member training so that the Associate Members could become charter members. “Pledge-master” Sam Tatum carried out the accelerated program, as the installation date grew closer.
Plans for the installation began to crystallize with the arrival of the General Secretary, Bud Hill. Details were worked out and the final plans for the installation were made. Anticipation of the installation was heightened with the arrival of the delegates from the General Fraternity. On one plane from New York came Frank Miesse; joined minutes later from another flight by Warren DuBois and Doc Jones. Orville Read had flown in earlier, and Clark Davis was to fly in later in a private plane. Meanwhile, a rehearsal of the installation was underway and the roll book was signed by each member. After the completion of this part of the installation, final plans were completed for the installation proper, to take place the next morning in the Wilby Room of the Price Gilbert Library at Georgia Tech.
Day came, but it was a cloudy, misty day. Last minute details were hastily taken care of, and at 10:30 the installation began. Orville Read was Master of Ceremonies. The charge was given by William F. Jones, with Henry A. Hoffman acting as chief examiner, and Howard K. Dewees as Chief marshal. Chaplain Alex Wilkie offered the prayer for the ceremony. At the end of the installation, the right hand of fellowship was offered to each one of the 39 new brothers by the older brothers.
Following the 10:30 installation, a luncheon was held in the ODK Room of the Bradley Dining Hall. The Chapter was welcomed to the college by Dr. Paul Weber, Dean of Faculties, Georgia Tech and R.P. Green of the Atlanta Alumni Club. Chapter President Dave Tucker gave the response from the Chapter, D.K Vannemann gave the toast.
The ceremonies were concluded with a banquet at the Peachtree Golf Club, at which M.H Markwood was Toastmaster. The speaker at the banquet was Warren C. DuBois, who spoke about the brotherhood and the responsibility of the brothers in and to Delta Upsilon, a most fitting climax to a day that we at Tech will always remember.
As the banquet drew to a close the Georgia Tech Chapter had been born. The 27th national fraternity at Georgia Tech; and the 75th Chapter of Delta Upsilon; the Tech chapter became the newest chapter of the oldest fraternity on campus.