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Historical Phi Delta Theta Gatherings – Anniversary Gatherings


The Fraternity loves to share the significant events of our chapters. Founded on November 26, 1870, the Missouri Alpha Chapter recently celebrated its sesquicentennial anniversary.

Excerpted from an email written by Ed Travis (on behalf of John Hammond, both from the initiated class of March 1953), the following is a report of the planning and celebration.

Planning and executing Missouri Alpha’s 150th birthday was not an easy undertaking. Special thanks to the following contributors:

  • Bruce Beckett: master of ceremonies
  • Matt Beckett and Travis Condict: memorial committee
  • Brad Boswell: Friday night host
  • John Clark: honored hero and guest speaker
  • Chris Crocker: chapter adviser during re-charter
  • Mike Ruesler: 150th birthday brochure, flagpole, and memorial construction
  • Josh Tagtmeyer: ROTC color guard and Sunday program
  • Chris Widmer: dedication director and veterans memorial committee
  • Paul Hobbs: American Legion Post, color guard

Friday night, Brad and Martha Boswell hosted Missouri Alpha back in their magnificent home overlooking a lighted Jesse Hall Dome with warm hospitality and delicious food.

After Saturday’s football game, the group met atop the bank’s rooftop bar hosted by Matt Beckett and his wife.

Bruce Beckett masterfully emceed Sunday’s banquet and memorial unveiling and delicately guided us through one emotional moment after another. Nearly one hundred Missouri Alpha undergraduates were in the mass welcoming brigade.

According to alumnus Ed Travis, “Nothing was overlooked, absolutely NOTHING: presentation of colors by the ROTC color guard; the national anthem, sung by undergrad Phi Jack Graham; invocation by the chapter chaplain Matt Boyer; and special introduction of guests including Phi Delta Theta’s General Headquarters Executive Vice President and CEO Sean Wagner and General Council President Moe Stephens. Also represented were the parents of one of our fallen Phis. Finally, each fallen veteran’s name was read during the somber and respectful ceremony.”

As would be consistent with most military events, the morning ended with a three-round rifle volley by a local American Legion Post #202 and a moving rendition of “Taps.”

Nineteen Missouri Alpha Phis have died while on active duty protecting our country and the freedoms enjoyed therein. Hundreds more managed to avoid the Chapter Grand while serving. One of them was our honored speaker, Colonel John W. Clark, USAF. When this man spoke, everyone listened. A HERO in every sense of the word, Brother John was a Vietnam RF-4C Phantom jet pilot with over eighty combat missions before being shot down in the jungles, captured and imprisoned for six years. A ‘guest’ in the infamous Hanoi Hilton known for its torture and brutality, he endured, survived, and returned to MIZZOU to receive his MBA. There was dead silence, and a tear or two shed with riveted attention while Brother John related personal experiences endured during captivity.

PS: My grandson, Jack Travis Kavanaugh, Bond Number 2926, is a current Phi senior who wears my sapphire and diamond badge. During initiation ceremonies, I surprised and presented my badge to him, after which we hugged and cried and became brothers in the bond.

Chapters with scheduled events and celebrating special anniversaries spring 2022 include:

  • Georgia Gamma Chapter at Mercer University is one hundred fifty years old
  • Texas Delta Chapter at Southern Methodist University is one hundred years old
  • Oklahoma Beta Chapter at Oklahoma State University is seventy-five years old
  • Maryland Beta Chapter at McDaniel College is fifty years old
  • Virginia Eta Chapter at Virginia Tech University is fifty years old

If you would like to read about the many anniversary celebrations in past issues of The Scroll, visit the archives.