1966 -Founding Brothers
by Bruce Howard, ’70
As a freshman, I wandered through parts of Rush with a high school friend with no intention of joining a fraternity. In the spring of my Freshman year the same friend noticed an ad in the Daily Aztec regarding the formation of a new fraternity Colony at SDSU. I had never heard of DU, but the ad was intriguing in that it referenced that DU was a “non secret fraternity” which really appealed to me. In addition I was drawn to the idea of being a part of starting something new; frankly I was not excited about the idea of going through the “hell weeks” that I had heard other fraternities imposed on their pledges.
The first meeting soliciting interest on campus was held at Aztec Center and I think about 60 guys showed up. We were told that it was the fraternity’s intent to pick 10 men to form the DU Colony at SDSU. Two DU’s who had recently graduated from San Jose State were there to represent DU. Ray Carpenter, who was raised in Coronado , was the lead DU in the colonization project and was a charasmatic guy who was enjoyable to be around. In summary, Ray and a couple of other guys held several meetings and a couple of parties to get to know all the interested guys. They then invited a number of us for interviews and selected 10 of us to begin DU at SDSU. When I shared my intentions with my dad and uncle, who were members of Phi Kappa Sigma (University of British Columbia) they (in particular, my uncle) suggested that I help colonize their fraternity at SDSU, but I was too far along with DU and it sounded like even more work that what I thought I knew lay ahead with DU!
The beginning was exiting, but of course it was not easy……we did not have a House and began our meetings in a garage behind Gary Gollehon’s mom’s house near SDSU. As you can imagine, competition for new members was a little difficult under our circumstances but we knew we had a good group and the appeal of a new type of fraternity. I believe Ray Carpenter had an “in” or two (so to speak) with the Alpha Phi Chapter and we were able to hold our first Rush at the Alpha Phi House on College Avenue and actually got a large number of interested prospects. In fact, Snap…was our official first pledge, as he likes to say…..it kills him that he was not a Founder! It was a tremendous pledge class (think there were 12, but Snap will correct me if that is wrong) and it literally launched our new Colony toward becoming a DU Chapter. One reason I say that is because of the first 10 founders, several had already dropped out for different reasons and only several of us remained active……we really needed an energetic group to help recruit other members and we really got what we wanted. We were indebted to the Alpha Phi House for our beginning and we got some dates in the bargain! At least during the early years, the sororities really seemed to like us and needless to say, that helped our growth I think the sororities correctly perceived us as good guys who were the fun loving people we seemed to be……but I am ahead of myself……..we do not have House yet.
The next step was to find a house to hang our DU letters on and needless to say we were not sure where to begin. Fortunately for us, several DU alums in their mid 30’s who lived in SD and were DU’s from different chapters” rolled up their sleeves” to help us get started —— Bob Gage, John Adleman, Dick Hartley and Stan Menas are the ones I remember. One or two of the alums would always be at our early Colony/Chapter meetings and they agreed to sign a repayment note if we could find a house for DU on campus. This would never happen again today, but I am still grateful for the risk they took on our behalf. I must say, they were not easy on us. They expected us to run our house like a small business and they put checks and balances in place to make sure that was the case.
Dick Williams, our first President had been told that a business professor (Dr. E.P. Brown) had a house at 5606 Hardy that he was interested in selling. Dick and I (I think I was the Chapter Relations Officer at that time) went up to the door one day and Dr. Brown answered. We told him our interest and he was very engaging and said he would like to sell his property to our fraternity, but, looking at the two of us, he asked, “Exactly who will be buying my property.” We explained we had strong alumni behind us and the rest is history. Before long we were moving into a beautiful house and Dr. Brown carried the first trust deed….. I think the purchase was about $76,000 and the note was about $66,000 over 30 years……..he just wanted a retirement annuity. Our second Rush was from our new “digs” and it was at least as successful as the first, although I am sure Snap will dispute this fact. We had a balcony overlooking Aztec Bowl (now Cox Arena) where we successfully competed in intramural football games (I will let Snap tell you about HIS and our athletic prowess as a fraternity) and a large backyard for T.G.I. F.’s every Friday, adding to our recruitment successes!
Speaking of Snap, I will copy him with this e-mail and (knowing him, as I do), he will embellish, correct, change…… and add profusely (and perhaps somewhat creatively) to what I have stated, but the good news is that you will get more and better history…….. including the SDSU origin of the DU Duck which other DU chapters and subsequently, national, “borrowed” from us!
The last part of history I will share with you (and then let Snap take over) is my recollection when we formally became a DU Chapter on May 11, 1968 and received our Charter. You may have seen the picture of all of us in the back of our house in our white tuxedos for the raising of the colors and our DU Chapter Flag. We were all very proud and excited with our accomplishment and our membership in the brotherhood of Delta Upsilon and I can clearly remember a lot of details that day………..it just does not seem like over 37 years ago………….. what endures is the DU Brotherhood we began in 1966.