PDT house winter
   Alumni Association of the 
   Michigan Alpha Chapter
   Phi Delta Theta
 
   Sword & Shield
   E-newsletter
 
Volume VII, No. I
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Winter 2014
February 8
Alumni Association President's Report

Dear Michigan Alpha Alumni Brothers,

I hope this e-newsletter finds you in good spirits and health. I want to briefly update you on the state of the fraternity as well as the Alumni Association's plans for 2014.

At the conclusion of the 2013 Fall Term, the annual changing of the guard in the leadership of the active chapter took place. The actives elected new officers who show much promise for continuing the impressive momentum of Michigan Alpha. I congratulate these new leaders on their election, and look forward to working with them on matters of mutual interest.

Thanks to a very strong 2013 Fall Rush that culminated in the recent initiation of 21 new Phis, the active chapter membership of Michigan Alpha now stands at 90 men. This is the largest active membership roster in decades. The chapter also gained 10 pledges from the 2014 Winter Rush, so the growth trend is continuing.

The chapter house is currently close to its capacity with 27 residents, and the outlook for a full house next year is very positive thanks to the fruitful recruitment efforts.

I would like to recognize the successful leadership that immediate past President Patrick O'Conner '15, Internal Vice President Drew Nikolai '15, Social Chair Matt Wiess '15, Treasurer Jordan Liebowitz '15, Secretary Despot Djuric '15 and the balance of the Executive Council (EC) provided during the last year. They have set an outstanding example for the new EC members.

Celebrating Fraternity Milestones

The active chapter membership is building on ten years of progress since Michigan Alpha's refounding in December of 2004 as well as 150 years of history since our original founding in November of 1864. These are definitely landmark dates in our past, but 2014 will be no less significant to the future of the fraternity.

This year will feature new and improved programs undertaken by the active chapter; upkeep to our chapter house; active members and alumni opportunities to network and grow together; active members adding their energy and ideas to continue Phi Delt and U of M's commitment to be the leaders and best.

Moreover, this is a year for celebration of our rich heritage and plans to ensure Michigan Alpha's greatest days are yet to come. We are planning a special celebration of the 150th anniversary of chartering and 10 year anniversary of refounding during Homecoming (Michigan vs. Indiana) weekend that starts on October 31.

Please plan on joining us, and encourage brothers from your era to do the same. This weekend would be the perfect time for alums to plan reunions with their old friends in the fraternity. If you have suggestions for the commemoration, please contact me at jtbuck@infinitelearning.com.

Planning for the Future

Responsible active chapter leaders and generous alums have made it possible for the Alumni Association to make significant improvements to the chapter house during the last several years. These upgrades have enhanced the living environment for active members and maintained the chapter house as a focal point for alumni visitation to campus. The chapter house is a place where both actives and alums can share their brotherhood in PDT.

Building on the triumphs of renovating the North Porch, laying new driveways and installing new main floor windows among numerous other improvements, our chapter house is a leading, if not the best, fraternity residence on campus. But, we cannot rest on our laurels as other U of M fraternities are planning to make major improvements to their houses.

Upcoming Michigan Alpha projects for consideration include renovating the South Porch, replacing carpet on the main floor, continuing to work on handicap accessibility of the property, and improving the appearance of the chapter house's exterior and yard. We are also examining ideas for enhancing safety and security systems to protect both the physical structure and its residents.

We are also strengthening the governance of the Alumni Association. I am pleased to report that we have added two new members to the Alumni Association Board of Directors: Joe "Rocco" Fattore '80 (rejoining) and Patrick Moore '09. We look forward to their participation, and the wisdom they each bring to the deliberations of our eight member Board.

Recognizing a Winning Team Effort

I want to thank the Alumni Association Board, Chapter Advisory Board, and all alums who support the fraternity with energy or financial donations to the Annual Fund. It is truly a team effort to keep our 110 year old chapter house and soon-to-be 150 year old active chapter in great shape. It is a spot-on demonstration of the fraternity's open motto, "One man is no man."

When I consider the high character of the young men in the active chapter, and the achievements of the alums who have graduated since the refounding, I believe our collective investment in Michigan Alpha is well worthwhile.

Yours in the Bond,

JT 'Tom" Buck '77
President
Phi Delta Theta Michigan Alpha Alumni Association
  
Michigan Alpha Sesquicentennial Planning, Centennial Remembered

150th Anniversary to be Celebrated in November

The Alumni Association Board of Directors and active chapter leadership are working together to plan the sesquicentennial celebration for the Michigan Alpha chapter. The 150th anniversary will occur on November 28, 2014, but the milestone will be celebrated in conjunction with the Homecoming football weekend that starts on October 31.

During the fall, the Alumni Association sent a survey to all Michigan Alpha alums to obtain feedback about the sesquicentennial celebration and other topics. The response of alums indicates that there is significant interest in attending an event to mark the 150th anniversary.

Given that alumni attendance for the Homecoming event hosted by the Alumni Association and active chapter has been steadily increasing during recent years, we believe that it makes most sense to combine the sesquicentennial celebration with popular annual event.

150th Anniversary Plans to Date

The draft plan is to host a semi-formal attire dinner to celebrate the sesquicentennial on the Friday night of Homecoming at a campus venue such of the Michigan League or Michigan Union. On Saturday, an open house at 1437 Washtenaw would be held before the kickoff for the Wolverines vs. Indiana football game.

Saturday night would be left open for individual classes, or more likely eras, to hold their own reunions in town. The final event would be a brunch and brief ceremony at the chapter house to send Michigan Alpha off in good stead toward the 175th anniversary in 2039.

The Alumni Association is planning meet with the active chapter leadership in coming months to finalize the itinerary for the sesquicentennial celebration.

In addition to events, the Alumni Association is planning to publish an all-time membership directory that would include the roster of every man who has signed the Bond of Phi Delta Theta. We would also like to include in the directory a historical timeline with pictures of the chapter.

If you have memories or pictures that could be included in the directory, please contact the Alumni Association.

Centennial 1964 Memories, 150th Anniversary Input Wanted

The initial itinerary for the sesquicentennial celebration is similar to how Michigan Alpha marked its 100th anniversary in 1964. We recently found pictures of the chapter's centennial celebration in the archives of the General Headquarters that are posted on our web site. If you can identify the men in the pictures, please let us know.

Moreover, if you have memories or other pictures from the 100th anniversary celebration, please share them with the Alumni Association. We would also appreciate knowing any suggestions you may have about celebrating the sesquicentennial.

The Alumni Association can be reached by e-mail at pdtumich@gmail.com. You can also reach the Alumni Association Secretary Greg Karmazin '87 by regular mail at 38310 Saddle Lane, Clinton Township, MI 48036.
  
Michigan Alpha Initiates 21, Total Active Membership at 90 Men

Highest Total Active Membership Since the 1990s
 


On the night of January 29, Michigan Alpha activated the 21 member 2013 Fall Pledge Class during a formal initiation ceremony at 1437 Washtenaw. The signing of the Bond of Phi Delta Theta (PDT) by these new brothers brings the total active chapter membership to 90 men.

This is the largest active chapter roster since the 1990s, and a higher amount than the long-term annual membership average. The activation of this class increases the total number of men initiated in Michigan Alpha since its founding to 2,073 (the current High Bond Number).

Building the Fraternity While Maintaining High Standards

More than 250 men visited or contacted the PDT during Fall Rush. Active chapter leaders have reported that the number of rushees visiting Michigan Alpha has steadily increased during the last several rush cycles.

They attributed the rising interest in the fraternity to aggressive recruitment efforts by the active members as well as increased awareness on campus about PDT's reputation for positive achievement and strong brotherhood. The great condition of Michigan Alpha's historic chapter house has also been an important contributing factor for rush success.

Being mindful of Michigan Alpha's tradition of selectivity and desire not to be so large that the active membership's fraternity experience is diminished by crowding the chapter house, fewer opportunities for participation in activities, being unable to get to know everyone, etc.., bids were extended to fewer than 15% of the rushees.

Ultimately, 21 men completed the pledge education program which emphasizes learning the history and values of the fraternity while building brotherhood. Michigan Alpha fully complies with the PDT General Headquarters' policies for conducting a positive pledge experience. As a result, new initiates are immediately encouraged to play key roles in the leadership of the chapter and live in the house during their sophomore year.

The large size and high quality of the 2013 Fall Pledge Class bodes well for the future of Michigan Alpha. These men are expected to comprise the vast majority of an expected 28 actives living in the chapter house during the 2013-2014 school year. The diversity and high motivation of this class will undoubtedly produce dynamic leaders who will build on the solid foundation of the fraternity that they inherit.

Alumni Support Can Accelerate Rush

While rush is rightly the main responsibility of the active chapter, Michigan Alpha alums can help to keep the recruitment momentum going in two ways.

First and foremost, alums are strongly encouraged to provide recommendations for prospective rushees. There were two legacies in the most recent pledge class which continues Michigan Alpha's long tradition of making the fraternity a family experience. If you know of a man who is attending, or will be attending, U of M and believe he may have an interest in fraternity rush, please contact the Alumni Association at pdtumich@gmail.com.

Second, alums' contributions to the Annual Fund managed by the Alumni Association are critically important to maintaining and improving the living experience in the chapter house. Any alum who has contributed to the Annual Fund can take pride in knowing that he has helped to make the now 110 year old "Red Brick Barn" attractive to a new generation of Phis.

Roster of the New Initiates of the 2013 Fall Pledge Class:

Peter Andrew Borowsky '17, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Dalton Lee Dondero '17, Romeo, Michigan
Maxwell Sergio Gomez '17, Birmingham, Michigan
Samuel Hunter Gomez '17, Birmingham, Michigan
David William Granadier '17, Birmingham, Michigan
Kevin Patrick Kelly '17, Park Ridge, IL
Andrew David Lehr '17, Philadelphia, PA
Patrick O'Brien Lelich '17, Minneapolis, MN
Collin Jeffrey Macdonald '17, Omaha, NE
Devin Patrick McDonald '17, Woodbridge, VA
Frank Andrew Morton '17, Denver, CO
Chris Lee Naubert '17, Livonia, Michigan
John Thomas Orban '17, Joliet, IL
Joshua Peter Redlinger '17, Brighton, Michigan
Reid Fulton Rossberger '17, Cedar Rapids, IA
Jacob Cole Schreiman '17, Fairfax, VA
Greyson Paul Schultz '17, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Jake Michael Sprintz '17, Nashville, TN
Eric Tang '17, Northville, Michigan
Charles Cameron Taylor '17, Tulsa, OK
William Sergeant Watkins '17, Asheville, NC
 
Active Chapter Forms Team for 2014 U of M Dance Marathon

Phis Join Successful Campus Philanthropy Event
 
Michigan Alpha is expanding its impressive commitment to philanthropy by forming an eight member team to participate in the 2014 Dance Marathon at U of M (DMUM). This is the first time PDT has participated in this extremely popular U of M student-run charity event that features 30 hours of non-stop dancing by participating teams.
 
DMUM, which is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Ann Arbor, facilitates partnerships between students and families with disabled children who have special therapy care needs not currently covered through health insurance or government assistance.

This year's dance marathon will be held on February 15 at the U of M Track and Field Building. It is one of the University's most respected and high energy philanthropy efforts as it brings to hundreds of U of M student to raise financial donations in conjunction with the event.

All donations raised by student teams are used to pay for children with severe disabilities to receive non-traditional physical and social therapy from the C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at U of M or Beaumont Children's Hospital in Royal Oak.
 
Significant Donations Raised by DMUM, Michigan Alpha's Goal

During the 2013 DMUM, student teams raised the record amount of $516,707. Since its establishment in 1997, DMUM has raised more than $4.6 million that has benefited hundreds of children as well as the therapy programs at the hospitals.
 
Michigan Alpha's 2014 dance team is partnered with the Duggins family in Ann Arbor who has a little girl with Down Syndrome and Autism. The chapter's goal is to raise $2,500 that will pay for this girl to receive special therapy from C.S. Mott Children's Hospital at U of M.

Alumni Association Encourages Alums to Support the Actives' Team
 
The actives are very enthusiastic to help the Duggins Family's young girl while making a proud showing for PDT in this high profile campus charity activity, but they would benefit from assistance from alums to achieve their fundraising goal.
 
It is worth noting that donations to DMUM are tax deductible. Also, corporate sponsorship packages -- more than 50 local businesses and several national corporations are currently sponsors -- are available through DMUM.

The Alumni Association encourages alums to make contributions through DMUM's secure online donation processing web site that credits Michigan Alpha's fundraising for the event (https://dmum.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donate.start&destination=P&eventID=554&participantID=7271).

Every dollar raised helps! The deadline to donate is February 15, so please consider donating today to help the active chapter make a big difference for a local family in need while further demonstrating Michigan Alpha's strong dedication to philanthropy.

If you have any questions or want information about corporate sponsorship opportunities, please contact Michigan Alpha's 2014 DMUM team leader Connor Gibney at cgibney@umich.edu.
 
110 Years Photo Flashback: Chapter House in Winter of 1904

Old Images of the Michigan Alpha Sought by Alumni Association



The Alumni Association recently found this picture of 1437 Washtenaw in the 1904 edition of the Michiganensian yearbook. This view from the front lawn shows that the chapter house -- just months old after its opening in the fall of 1903 -- and yard looked much like it does today.

The most noticeable differences are that the base of the front porch was rebuilt with a solid brick design, and the front wooden steps and railing were replaced with concrete steps and a metal railing behind a brick retaining wall. In addition, the South Porch's original railing made of wooden spindles was replaced with brick capped with stone.

If you have old pictures of the chapter house or active members back in the day, please share copies of them with the Alumni Association. We are planning to publish an all-time membership directory in conjunction with the 150th anniversary that will include a photo history of Michigan Alpha. Your pictures could help us to illustrate the fraternity's rich heritage on campus.

PDT Michigan Alpha Web Links
  
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Michigan Alpha Alumni Association Linked-in Page

Phi Delta Theta Michigan Alpha Active Chapter Web Site