Alumni News

Delta Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu, the Battle Born Fraternity, Celebrates 100 Years at the University of Nevada

Delta Xi House

By Milton Sharp (Nevada)

Delta Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity celebrated 100 years at the University of Nevada and as a chapter of Sigma Nu with two days of festivities and renewal of brotherhood on April 25 and 26, 2014. A committee chaired by Jay Sprow (Delta Xi 1483) spent two years organizing and planning the centennial celebration events. Programming focused on the rich history and tradition of Delta Xi.

The celebration festivi­ties began with a reception on Friday, April 25, 2014, at the Delta Xi Chapter House in Reno, attended by at least 300 active members, alum­ni and guests. The reception provided time for renewal of brotherhood among alumni members, many who trav­eled long distances to be in attendance. The reception featured an exhibit illus­trating 100 years of Delta Xi that was prepared by Carl Fuetsch (Delta Xi 865). On the morning of April 26, the University of Nevada Alumni Association spon­sored a reception and con­tinental breakfast at the University Quadrangle for Delta Xi members and their guests. They were greeted and welcomed by University of Nevada President Marc Johnson.

The centennial commemorative dinner and program was conducted during the evening of April 26 at the Peppermill Resort Hotel Casino in Reno. The dinner was attended by more than 400 members of Delta Xi, their wives and other guests, including Sigma Nu Regent Charlie Eitel (Oklahoma State), Grand Historian Robert McCully (San Diego State), and Spen­cer Montgomery (South Florida) of the Sigma Nu Educational Foundation. Delta Xi Chapter received congratulatory mes­sages from Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval, Reno Mayor Bob Cashell, Regent Eitel and other officials and dignitaries.

Sam being recognized

Former Vice Regent Sam Dibitonto recognized for his contributions at Delta Xi’s 100th anniversary celebration.

In his remarks during the program, Regent Eitel noted that the total attendance for the event was likely a record for any chapter anniver­sary celebration in Sigma Nu history, and referred to Delta Xi as one of the “Flagship Chapters” of the Fraternity.

During the dinner, Delta Xi Chapter presented a special award to Brother Sam Dibitonto (Delta Xi 525) for a lifetime of exemplary service and commitment to Delta Xi and to Sigma Nu. Brother Dibitonto is the only Delta Xi member to serve as Vice Regent on the High Council of Sigma Nu. Dibitonto also served for more than 20 years as a Division Commander.

Janice Crumley Pine, daughter of Newton Crumley (Delta Xi 165) was present at the dinner as a special guest and received recognition and thanks for the Crumley Family’s annual sponsorship of the Crumley holiday dinner, a tradition that has continued annually since its inception in 1928.

The program of the Delta Xi Centennial Celebration Dinner celebrated the rich history and traditions of the chapter, and the culmination of the dinner was the viewing of a 25 minute video produced by Dean Richard (Delta Xi 1397). The video provided a capsulated summary of the 100 years of Delta Xi at the University of Nevada, using interviews and vintage photographs, all stitched together by Brother Richard’s narration.

The story of Delta Xi began in 1911, when six University of Nevada male students formed the Nevada Club as a local fraternal organization dedicated to the promotion of brother­hood with honor. By 1913, membership had expanded to 15, and the club had rented a two-story residence on University Avenue in Reno, just outside the gates of the university.

The Nevada Club considered affiliating with several different national fraternities, settling on Sigma Nu, then a national fraternity of about 80 chapters. The Nevada Club members petitioned Sigma Nu to charter the Nevada Club as a chapter and the petition was approved in April 1914. The official induction ceremonies were conducted by members of the University of California and Stanford University chap­ters on August 22, 1914, at the Odd Fellows Lodge in Reno. The induction was followed by a celebratory banquet at the Riverside Hotel on the banks of the Truckee River in down­town Reno. The Nevada Club had become Delta Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu, the first nationally affiliated fraternity at the University of Nevada.

As Delta Xi was being chartered, the “Guns of August” were thundering in Europe, announcing the start of World War I. Nevada had been granted statehood by proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, as the Civil War raged, and had been designated as the “Battle Born” State. In keeping with Nevada tradition, Delta Xi became a “Battle Born” chap­ter: of the first 50 Delta Xi initiates, 60 percent served in the military, and one Brother, Ferney Snare (Delta Xi 39) lost his life. By 1918, Delta Xi almost disappeared as there were only two members left at the university, and they had been forced to give up the lease on the chapter house.

Only three years from its chartering, Delta Xi had begun its Battle Born legacy of service and sacrifice during wartime. Charter member Albert M. Jackson (Delta Xi 7) remained in the US Army after the war and served with distinction during fighting in France in World War II. Following the leadership of Albert Jackson, Delta Xi brothers responded to the call to fight for freedom, starting first with Brother Robert Merriman (Delta Xi 179) who lost his life as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade fighting in the Spanish Civil War against fascism.

Delta Xi continued its service with the entry of the United States in WWII. Brother Eric Young (Delta Xi 251) perished on the Arizona, on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor; and later, Brother Deane Quilici (Delta Xi 318) died during the fighting at Normandy in 1944. Dozens of Delta Xi members served in WWII, including Jack Streeter (Delta Xi 320) who became the most decorated Nevadan while fighting in Europe, and Olinto Barsanti (Delta Xi 375). Wounded numerous times and highly decorated in WWII, he later commanded the Army’s 101st “Screaming Eagles” airborne division. Innumerable other brothers served their country during subsequent wars in Ko­rea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In April 1921, Delta Xi alumni organized the housing corporation, and after years of leasing, were able to purchase a house on University Avenue, next door to the original 1914 leased house. Then in 1950, under the leadership of Hugo Quilici (Delta Xi 44) the housing corporation became aware of a 25 minute video produced by Dean Richard (Delta Xi 1397). The video provided a capsulated summary of the 100 years of Delta Xi at the University of Nevada, using interviews and vintage photographs, all stitched together by Brother Richard’s narration.

The story of Delta Xi began in 1911, when six University of Nevada male students formed the Nevada Club as a local fraternal organization dedicated to the promotion of brother­hood with honor. By 1913, membership had expanded to 15, and the club had rented a two-story residence on University Avenue in Reno, just outside the gates of the university.

Bob McCully and Milt

Bob McCully (San Diego State) (left) and Milt Sharp in attendance at the alumni reception.

The Nevada Club considered affiliating with several different national fraternities, settling on Sigma Nu, then a national fraternity of about 80 chapters. The Nevada Club members petitioned Sigma Nu to charter the Nevada Club as a chapter and the petition was approved in April 1914. The official induction ceremonies were conducted by members of the University of California and Stanford University chap­ters on August 22, 1914, at the Odd Fellows Lodge in Reno. The induction was followed by a celebratory banquet at the Riverside Hotel on the banks of the Truckee River in down­town Reno. The Nevada Club had become Delta Xi Chapter of Sigma Nu, the first nationally affiliated fraternity at the University of Nevada.

As Delta Xi was being chartered, the “Guns of August” were thundering in Europe, announcing the start of World War I. Nevada had been granted statehood by proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1864, as the Civil War raged, and had been designated as the “Battle Born” State. In keeping with Nevada tradition, Delta Xi became a “Battle Born” chap­ter: of the first 50 Delta Xi initiates, 60 percent served in the military, and one Brother, Ferney Snare (Delta Xi 39) lost his life. By 1918, Delta Xi almost disappeared as there were only two members left at the university, and they had been forced to give up the lease on the chapter house.

Only three years from its chartering, Delta Xi had begun its Battle Born legacy of service and sacrifice during wartime. Charter member Albert M. Jackson (Delta Xi 7) remained in the U.S. Army after the war and served with distinction during fighting in France in World War II. Following the leadership of Albert Jackson, Delta Xi brothers responded to the call to fight for freedom, starting first with Brother Robert Merriman (Delta Xi 179) who lost his life as part of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade fighting in the Spanish Civil War against fascism.

Delta Xi continued its service with the entry of the United State in WWII. Brother Eric Young (Delta Xi 251) perished on the Arizona, on December 7, 1941, at Pearl Harbor; and later, Brother Deane Quilici (Delta Xi 318) died during the fighting at Normandy in 1944. Dozens of Delta Xi members served in WWII, including Jack Streeter (Delta Xi 320) who became the most decorated Nevadan while fighting in Europe, and Olinto Barsanti (Delta Xi 375). Wounded numerous times and highly decorated in WWII, he later commanded the Army’s 101st “Screaming Eagles” airborne division. Innumerable other brothers served their country during subsequent wars in Ko­rea, Vietnam, Kuwait, Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

In April 1921, Delta Xi alumni organized the housing corporation, and after years of leasing, were able to purchase a house on University Avenue, next door to the original 1914 leased house. Then in 1950, under the leadership of Hugo Quilici (Delta Xi 44) the housing corporation became aware of the availability through an estate liquidation of The Graham Mansion at 1075 Ralston Street, a few blocks west of the university. The housing corporation recognizing that the mansion would be an ideal fraternity house — after appropriate interior remodeling — purchased the property for $65,000. The historic mansion, known to the brothers as “The Castle,” continues today, 64 years later, as the most im­pressive fraternity house at the University of Nevada.

In 1928, Delta Xi hosted the first “Crumley” a holiday din­ner sponsored by the parents of Newt Crumley (Delta Xi 165) for the benefit of fraternity brothers who couldn’t afford to go home for the holidays. The Crumley family still sponsors the annual dinner, which has grown in tradition for all Delta Xi brothers as the foundation of brotherhood and loyalty to each other and the Fraternity. The Crumley remains the oldest, annual tradition in the State of Nevada.

The Sigma Nu Alumni Club Scholarship Endowment was established with the University of Nevada, Reno Foundation in 1984 and has awarded more than $85,000 to more than 100 Delta Xi students and has an endowment of close to $100,000.

Delta Xi is proud of its 100 year history at the University of Nevada and as part of Sigma Nu, but equally proud of the character and accomplishments of its alumni. In 1959, Delta Xi established the Delta Xi Legion of Honor, which recognizes alumni for significant service to the fraternity and for profes­sional and community accomplishments. In addition to the military heroes, Legion of Honor members include two Reno mayors, Hugo Quilici and Sam Dibitonto, and one governor of Nevada, Jim Gibbons (Delta Xi 895). Other members of the Legion of Honor include Glen “Jake” Lawlor (Delta Xi 157), legendary coach and athletic director at Nevada, Dan Klaich (Delta Xi 1044), current chancellor for the Nevada system of Higher Education, and numerous University of Nevada Board of Regents members. Dr. Tyrus Cobb (Delta Xi 730) was the last US combat soldier to leave Vietnam in 1979 and later served as an advisor to President Ronald Reagan

Prominent journalists and writers who are Delta Xi members include Frank McCulloch (Delta Xi 289), nationally acclaimed journalist formerly with The Los Angeles Times and Time Magazine, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and UNR faculty member Warren Lerude (Delta Xi 636), and award winning journalist Tyrus Cobb (Delta Xi 237). A total of 80 distinguished alumni have been inducted into the Delta Xi Legion of Honor.

Hartford Celebrates 20th Anniversary

Chris Winn

Alumnus Brother Christopher Winn reads The Creed at the opening of the evening.

By Rich Hoover (Hartford)

Brothers from the active and alumni chapters gath­ered the weekend of April 26, 2014, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the chartering of the Mu Iota Chapter at the University of Hart­ford. The chapter was chartered April 17, 1994, and has initiated 247 brothers since then. The 20th anniversary White Rose Formal was held at the Hartford Marriott Downtown and welcomed 131 attendees, 78 of which are initiated brothers of the Mu Iota Chapter.

The event was held in the Marriott’s brand new Capital Room ballroom and had enter­tainment provided by Premier Source Live entertainment. Three Sigma Nu flags were signed by each brother in attendance and were then given in a raffle to two winners, with the final flag being donated to the active chapter. Graduating seniors Nick Flynn, Tim Scalzi, and Mike Williams were commemorated with personal keep­sakes that the active and alumni members were able to sign.

During the evening, several addresses were given by special alumni and brothers of the chapter. The evening was opened by Alumnus Brother Christopher Winn who recited the long creed. Following The Creed, Worthy Commander of the alumni chapter Christopher Padilla welcomed all alumni to join the alumni chapter and described the various activities and benefits of membership as they continue to carry out the mission of the Fraternity.

The keynote speakers of the evening were Rob Thorne (MI 1) and Scott Lambert (MI 2). Rob and Scott were the two original founders of the Mu Iota Chapter and gave a brief history of the creation of the chapter at the University of Hartford. Rob (also an initiate of Stevens Institute of Technology and Trinity College) described to Scott how his previous experience with Sigma Nu at other universities was a positive one. He showed Scott a candidate manual and encouraged him to begin a chapter at the University of Hartford. After Rob’s graduation, Scott took charge of colonizing and chartering the Mu Iota Chapter.

Speaking about the event, Alumnus Brother Jack Lutz commented, “I couldn’t have been more proud to be an initiate of the Mu Iota Chapter of Sigma Nu Fraternity the evening of the 20th Anniversary White Rose… Twenty years of an undeniable brotherhood was evident in a night filled with an electric buzz of fond memories and a glimpse of what the next generation of the chapter has in store … So here’s to brothers old and new, near and far, from #1 to #247, and all those future Knights … thank you all for helping me remember that, if nothing else, ‘we’ve got each other … and that’s a lot for Love, Truth, and Honor.’”

Maury Gaston: Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Alumnus

Vice Regent Maury Gaston (Auburn) receiving the Outstanding Mechanical Engineering Alumnus Award. Gaston was presented the award by Auburn Engineer­ing Dean Chris Roberts. Brother Gaston currently serves as the Chair of the Auburn Alumni Engineering Council.

maury gaston

Maury Gaston (on right) with Engineering Dean Chris Roberts (left).

San Diego State Hosts 51st Anniversary Breakfast

Eta Kappa Chapter at San Diego State held its 51st annual Brother’s Breakfast last February at Tom Ham’s Lighthouse at nearby Harbor Island. After partaking in a breakfast buffet, master of ceremonies, and primary breakfast organizer, David Nastri began his remarks by welcoming the sixty brothers in attendance to the 51st anniversary of the chartering of the Eta Kappa Chapter at San Diego State University.

Brother Nastri extended a warm welcome to several individuals in attendance including, General Fraternity staff member Josh Green (Arizona) and Grand Historian Bob McCully (San Diego State). Nastri was especially appreciative of McCully’s service at the national level and for his role in organizing the 50th anniversary celebration.

Brother Don Bonney, who served two terms as Commander in the late sixties, delivered the keynote address. Brother Bonney’s comments reminded the group of the vows they took as young men becoming Knights of the Legion of Honor. “[The founders’] choices guided the choices we made to subscribe to these ideals when we joined,” remarked Bonney. Following his remarks, everyone was challenged to live up to the commitments that were made upon initiation.

Taking the stage after Bonney, Worthy Commander Nick Volchok recognized the first 34 initiates of the Eta Kappa Chapter. Brother Volchok thanked these brothers for their “vision, dedication, and need for something better in a fraternal organization.” Following his recognition of this group, Volchok gave an update on the activities of the alumni chapter.

The state of the alumni chapter was reviewed with particular attention to its reorganization in 2011 — Brother Jeff Giarde initiated the reorganization — and the progress made since that time. The resurgence of the alumni chapter marks the first time since the mid-1970s that the alumni chapter has been an active presence.

There was recognition for Alumni Chapter Lt. Commander Jim Stark who previously served as alumni chapter Commander. “None of this would be what it is today without the leadership of Jim Stark,” remarked Volchok.

“It is my opinion that nothing is more important to our alumni chapter than to foster brotherhood amongst our members, build our membership, and to bring back a solid Sigma Nu chapter to SDSU. Please join us in that effort,” Volchok said in concluding his remarks.

Bob McCully spoke on behalf of the Eta Kappa Alumni Scholarship Fund that was established in 2008 in conjunction with Sigma Nu’s Educational Foundation. The fund was started in anticipation of Eta Kappa’s 50th anniversary that took place in 2013. Since 2008, over $110,000 has been raised for the scholarship fund. McCully noted that this was one of the highest amounts of all scholarship accounts started with the Educational Foundation.

Brother David Nastri gave an update on the house corporation and invited all attendees to the housing meeting that followed the breakfast. In conclusion, Brother Nastri led the group in

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