Delta Tau Delta Epsilon Mu Charter Member Reflections
Jim Nelson ’67
“Of the many recollections as president of Pi Delta Gamma, receiving the Delta Tau Delta Epsilon Mu charter on behalf of the fraternity from Supreme Court Justice Thomas C. Clark on November 12, 1966, is among the most cherished memories. Thus, I became not only the final Pi Delta Gamma president but also the inaugural Epsilon Mu president.”
Dennis Hockney ’65
“Fall of 1963 was the beginning of serious discussion of formalizing the Goovna organization into a fraternity. The catalyst for the discussion was a meeting place in the storage closet under the slanted roof on the fourth floor of Elliott Hall, which provided a meeting place for the somewhat loosely organized Goovnas. What began as a social gathering place, decorated with empty cigarette packages stapled to the slanted wall, became a place where serious discussion began. Because the group was known to travel to Miami, Ohio, the national fraternity initially sought was Pi Delta Theta, one of the Miami Triad, and the other two being Sigma Chi and Beta Theta Pi, both already on the BSU campus. Hence the name Pi Delta Gamma. At some point, the group decided to investigate the possibilities of organizing into a fraternity. As the year evolved, the group became solely interested in becoming a colony of Delta Tau Delta. A relationship was formed and we became a colony. As a result, I was invited to attend the 1964 Karnea in Cincinnati.”
Dan Hockney ’65
“Three freshmen—naïve Elliott Hall residents—fall of 1961. Who could have imagined that five years hence, these three men along with 33 others would have their names scribed on a Delta Tau Delta Epsilon Mu charter signed by the Delta Tau Delta Fraternity president and United States Supreme Court justice, Tom Clark. Those three men? Me, Tom Seffrin ’66, and Bill Pfenninger ’65. What followed after the 1961-62 school year at Ball State Teachers College I relate to a ‘perfect storm.’ From guys participating in intramurals, hall government, and generally doing what college guys did in the early 1960s, a more restricted dorm and college environment evolved into a congealed group of men who organized as a campus club (Goovna, 1962), a local fraternity (Pi Delta Gamma, 1963-64), national fraternity colonization (DTD, 1965), and chartered chapter (Epsilon Mu, 1966). I am humbled and extremely proud to be one of 36.”
An updated 36-page “Early History” can be found on the Delta Tau Delta website, www.emdtd.org, under the history tab, then bottom left of the page. If you wish to see a PDF copy of the “Early History,” request a copy from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Seffrin ’65
“The whole time we were organized as an intramural team and in the early days of forming a local fraternity, I never took too much attention to the group as having any real purpose and had very little bonding with the group. Once we selected affiliation with DTD, I realized that this affiliation is for real. I started going to the library (no Internet) to obtain information about the history of DTD. I had read just enough to carry on a conversation with Darryl Moore from the national office. He had been assigned to visit with us undergraduates and get to know us. At my first meeting with him, I quickly realized that this was a long-term, well-established, and professional organization.
I chatted with Mr. Moore about the fact that I would graduate prior to our official charter. He assured me that current seniors would be extended the invitation to come back and activate. This was a big motivator for me and I remained active with the group. I remember the Hockneys coming to my wife’s parent’s house, as they too were graduated prior, as we dressed in our tux for the big day.”
Carl St. Myer ’67
“Just some memories of Pi Delta Gamma: I remember the all-weekend bridge games, usually in Murray’s room. Also, just the hanging out together on snowy days because we had nothing better, including studying, to do…how many paper napkins did we stuff into chicken wire for Homecoming floats? The rewards were wonderful; Homecoming parades and seeing all the students along the route. I also remember some of the pledge parties like the funeral party. It was in a park out on South Madison, but my memory can’t recall the name of the park. I remember the nights we were waiting to see who was going to show up as new pledges, as well as the night we were brought in as Delts. Out of all of this is just remembering all the good friends I made. I was so backward when I went to college; had it not been for Pi Delta Gamma, I would have never had so many of the experiences I had throughout my life. Even though I am no longer able to get back to Ball State, I still feel I have many of those friends and think of them often. I can no longer travel. I lost my right leg a year ago to MRSA. I will remember all of my brothers as they gather for the reunion.”
Louis Robin Russell ’67
“What got to me most was that we were willing to shake up the status quo by not going through recruitment and joining an established fraternity. We undertook the daunting task of doing it on our own until we found a national organization that fit what we wanted. I’m not quite sure we really understood the amount of work that was ahead of us, but nonetheless, we plowed onward until we reached our goal.
Along the way, there were so many memorable times and events that brought us so much closer: the summer outing at Louie Abraham’s in Seymour, the party at Lyle Thompson’s and driving his ’vette, all of the intramural activities, the late-night walks to the donut shop, which required uphill both ways through three feet of snow, and just hanging in somebody’s room talking. I could go on and on because it was these kind of things that brought us to that goal, and they are things that I will remember forever! Not because of the event, but because of who we shared them with!”
Dan Guio ’68
“Because of Pi Delta Gamma, I have been forever thankful I depledged Beta Theta Pi. It was very difficult to give it up as the Betas had a great reputation on campus. But I couldn’t agree with some of the actions that were doled out by my future ‘brothers.’ I could handle it physically and mentally, but somehow I knew there must be something better; something with a truer and deeper meaning of brotherhood. As Pi Delta Gamma grew and strengthened and eventually became the Epsilon Mu Chapter of Delta Tau Delta, I realized that decision was one of the most important of my life.
A very special recollection for me was standing on the sidewalk in front of the Muncie Holiday Inn. I couldn’t take my eyes away from a brightly lighted neon sign way up in the air. The big black letters across the white background spelled out ‘Welcome Supreme Court Justice Thomas C. Clark.’ Back then, especially in a town the size of Muncie, this was a BIG deal. And this magical night came about because a bunch of dedicated men had the guts and perseverance to make it happen.”
Doug Siebert ’68
“As time passes, memories of earlier years tend to become fuzzy and blend together, but the emotions and feelings created through those experiences tend to strengthen those experiences, make them memorable, and serve a purpose in life.
A group of education majors from Williams Hall gambled not to pledge an established fraternity but rather pledged the only local fraternity, Pi Delta Gamma. We then were determined to let the campus know we were a group to be DELT with by winning the Spring Sing with ‘Mira’ and ‘Hello Dolly.’
Being a charter member inducted into DTD with Justice Tom Clark present not only impressed me, but also my dad and other parents present. Imagine, Tom Clark!
My pledge class was part of the brotherhood to move into the Riverside Shelter, where cherubs or angels were painted on the upstairs walls. Then, those walks from the Shelter to class became memorable as a time to reflect on the wise decision made on pledge night.”
Doug Laslie ’69
“One of the most special recollections I have centers on the Shelter. We were so thrilled to finally take possession of the Parson property that nothing could dampen our spirits. Shortly after taking possession, we needed a sign. This is especially meaningful to me because my dad designed, built, and paid for the first sign. It was his way of letting me know that he recognized and appreciated how important this fraternity was to me. Our pride couldn’t have been matched as we stood around our newly erected sign, singing ‘Delta Shelter’ among the people who were so important in our lives. Then, sometime during the first night after it was installed, someone decided that our pride needed to be dampened and a culprit doused the sign with gray paint. We discovered the damage shortly after it happened and naturally we were enraged! We dismantled the sign and took it to the basement where we cleaned and repainted it. We had the sign reinstalled before dawn the next morning amidst much cheering and back-slapping. We definitely took the wind out of the vandals’ sails. The sign has undergone numerous evolutions over the last 50 years, but that first sign will always have a special spot in ‘the old guard’s’ collective memories!”
Cliff Cochran ’69
The big lighter, the pledge book, the Pi Delt cap, the really huge lighter! Respect, line-ups, Beaver Patrol sweatshirts, and making Guio start losing his hair. Thanks for the quarter system (I know if were not for the fraternity, I most likely would have left school and gone back to work in Detroit); special Pi Delt ritual in the fall; and the Delt ritual in November; pledge trainer; Guio’s whole wall stereo system and his Lincolns with their suicide doors; Zeke’s washing machine key that we all seemed to use; TC’s piranhas; Wagnon’s Chevy; our first big trophy because of Ricky Hawthorne banging on us for Spring Sing; the donut shop; green jalapeños at JJ’s and Witt’s; recruitment parties; Delt winter coats; walk-outs; the Shelter, finally, the Shelter! Rozelle, Cain, Richards, Cochran, all in Jim’s Opal, riding around on a rainy Saturday morning listening to ‘Buffalo Springfield’; Dave Koehler’s innate ability to make bodily function sounds on call; McGuire’s great movies; a bunch of us at the pig farm in 1969 watching Namath shock the crap out of the NFL; all of us in the original dining room glued to the TV watching The Lottery; the University Ave. apartment with Beck and McGuire, where we shot at rats in the basement and killed ‘old’ green and amber Ball jars instead; getting pissed because I couldn’t go with Cain and Whittington to Woodstock; and so much more.”
To read past alumni spotlights, click the links below.
Spring 2016: Scott Wise ’95
Spring 2015: Cliff Cochran ’69
Fall 2014: Brian Moldt ’84
Spring 2014: Chad Folkening ’95
Fall 2013: Terry L. Hunsucker ’71
Spring 2013: Chris Baker ’87
Fall 2012: Kelly McCray ’82
Spring 2010: Brad Wagnon ’68