(Pictured left to right – Dan Haslag, Westminster College Executive Director of Plant Operations, Scott Wilson, Phil Kliewer, Joe Bliss, Alan Henderson, Westminster College President Barney Forsythe)
Alumni Weekend was a cause for celebration as Phase I of the Campaign for Missouri Beta came to a conclusion. Construction began during the summer of 2013, and the members moved in to the renovated chapter house this past January. Some construction continued into the semester, but all was complete by Alumni Weekend.
The focus of the celebration was the renovated chapter house. This construction was the first comprehensive renovation since the house was built in 1926. In addition, the renovation marked the culmination of ten years of fundraising by two difference Capital Campaign Committees. The new and improved chapter house includes many upgrades such as central air, a sprinkler and alarm system, new fire escape, new doors and windows, ADA access, complete landscape upgrade, and many other smaller improvements including new furniture in the living room. Phase I also brought some major changes to the basement structure. The Missouri Beta Chapter room and the lounge have now switched locations. The new lounge has provided active brothers a more modernized place to entertain and to relax in between classes. The new chapter room allows to chapter to maintain its adherence to the ritual which binds us all together. In addition to the lounge and the chapter room, the basement renovations added a laundry room and a refurbished “Scoop.”
Throughout the construction process, several key players ensured the success of the refurbished chapter house. First and foremost, Brother Scott Wilson ’74 and his construction company, S. M. Wilson Construction, took on the general contract management side of the project, ensuring that all construction was done in a timely and efficient manner. Westminster College was also an important player in fundraising and in the construction process. College President Barney Forsythe always took the lead and was willing to coordinate communication between all parties while Dan Haslag, Westminster’s Director of Facilities, was involved daily in the actual coordination with S. M. Wilson and Reinhart Construction.
The celebration brought together a group of loyal alumni that will probably never be equaled at Missouri Beta. Notable legacy attendees included: Brother Robert Morrison III ’44 (Grandson of Robert Morrison-Founder of the Fraternity, Brother Bill Morrison (Great-Grandson of Robert Morrison), Tim Lamkin ’74 (Grandson of “Dog” Lamkin – Past President of the General Fraternity), Brother Alan Henderson ’68 (Grandson of “Slick” Henderson, Sr. – Past President of the General Fraternity), Brother David Vaughn ’55 (Son of General Harry “Pug” Vaughn who influenced President Truman’s decision to bring Churchill to Westminster), Brother Art Hoge ’74 (Past President of the General Fraternity), and Brother Bill Whitlow (Grandson of Brewer “Fat” Whitlow and Son of W. C. “Bill” Whitlow who were chapter advisers for almost 50 years). Many other groups of alumni also made the trip to Fulton and we saw many brothers who have returned home to the chapter house for many years.
At the banquet scheduled to celebrate the renovations of the chapter house, replacement portraits were presented for previously stolen portraits of “Slick” Henderson and W. C. Whitlow. In addition loyal alumni commissioned the portrait of Brother Art Hoge so that now all Missouri Beta Phis that have served as President of the International Fraternity’s General Council will have a portrait in the chapter living room. Finally, a portrait of Brother Alan Henderson was also commissioned in recognition of his donations of both time and money throughout the capital campaign.
Outside of celebrating the newly renovated chapter house, Alumni Weekend 2014 was also a time to celebrate two other distinguished alumni. On Thursday night a benefit concert was held by Brother Grady Yates ’80. The concert was a huge success as it raised money for Phi Delt’s International Philanthropy, The ALS Association. Also, on Saturday morning, Brother Jim Spriggs ’89 received a Westminster Alumni Achievement award from Westminster College.
A special thanks to all who donated time and money to the campaign and to making the weekend a great success. The chapter now once again has a proper home and we believe that the house (structurally and operationally) will remain strong for many more years to come.