Where the Greek alumni go
By Matt Mitterhoff ‘16
Published: Thursday, February 21, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 21, 2013 14:02
Alumni of defunct Greek chapters are seeing to it that their fraternities thrive elsewhere—even at Lehigh.
At the beginning of the spring semester, Lehigh University added a chapter of Phi Delta Theta, which once had a chapter at Lafayette. Founded in 1873, the Lafayette chapter was removed in 1993 due to an alcohol violation.
Lehigh shares two other fraternity chapters with Lafayette: Chi Phi, present from 1874-2005, and Delta Upsilon, which is currently residing in the PT Farinon house. Lehigh has 22 active fraternities to Lafayette’s four.
Bill Messick ‘68, a DU alum, said he not only donates to DU’s Lafayette chapter but also to the National Fraternity of Delta Upsilon. The national in turn gives funds to all local fraternities.
“The brotherhood was more important to me [than my alma mater],” Messick said. “We had four years together. We ate meals together. We lived together for two of the four years. There was no off campus housing and no [study abroad].”
Though the DU chapter at Lafayette is still active, Messick has also donated to Lehigh’s chapter of DU.
“Two years ago, the Delta Upsilon chapter at Lehigh went through a transformation,” he said. “I was asked, along with other alumni, to go up there and help. We spent a bit of time working with the college and helping reestablish the chapter.”
Messick has also reached out to chapters at Bucknell University, University of Pennsylvania, and Swarthmore College, all of which have DU chapters close to Lafayette and Lehigh.
Director of Fraternity and Sorority Life Stuart Umberger, a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and member of the Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity, said donations to chapters on other campuses are not uncommon for fraternity alumni.
“I might move to Minneapolis, Minnesota,” Umberger said. “I’m not from there, but I know there’s a [TKE] chapter there, and I might give and get involved with helping that group there.”
These donations are sought out by Area Alumni Associations, groups at different college campuses who look for chapter members who have recently moved to the campus area, Umberger said.
Fraternity alumni remain hopeful about the future of Greek Life at Lafayette. Umberger said that he has received phone calls from alumni about bringing fraternities back when the three-year implementation and assessment period ends in 2014. Alumni are looking forward to discussing the possible return of six fraternities.
“It’s just a matter of when, where, and how,” Umberger said. “I’ve heard nothing but positives from the [administration]. There’s obviously going to be room for groups to come back if they want to.”