By Marc Mores
As a past staff member of Phi Delta Theta and current Alumni Advisory Board member for the Colorado Gamma Chapter, I have been blessed to have many positive fraternity experiences but none more meaningful and inspirational than sharing the Ritual with a group of new initiates. I have had the privilege of hearing or personally reading The Bond of the Phi Delta Theta well over 100 times. This experience is vastly different than that of a typical undergraduate brother who would be fortunate to hear The Bond read more than three times during his entire membership.
I credit much of my own personal value system to my parents and how they raised me in a home where church and family were staples in our lives. My undergraduate days at Iowa State University and then my time as a staff member helped me solidify and hold values such as loyalty, trust and respect for others near and dear to my heart.
Given it is National Ritual Celebration Week, I am reminded of an article entitled “Secret Thoughts of a Ritual” by Sigma Chi member Edward M. King. Taking the personality of a fraternity ritual, Ed wrote, “Never has the time been so ripe as this period in our history when the young people of today on our college campuses are crying out for the kind of message, guidance, value and leadership that has been so long hidden in my pages.”
I could not agree more as the static presented from recent headlines provide a stark contrast to the principles of our great Fraternity. Take for example, ESPN’s report about an NFL team’s “bounty program”, a radio personality’s choice of words describing a law student’s behavior, and a recent top rated TV comedy’s episode entitled “Sips, Sonnets and Sodomy.” Box office dollars outweigh decorum as Hollywood serves up movies like “The Hangover” and “Project X”. Even in the backyard of where our members are attending school, athletic programs are publicly coping with alleged sexual misconduct by their staffs. And as the Presidential nomination process crawls forward, our brothers, many of whom are voting for the first time, witness the future leaders of our country grapple with the concepts of bailouts and entitlements.
We are bombarded over and over with examples of poor behavior and poor choices that serve as “static” often causing any worthwhile messages of how to act, how to lead, or how to serve to be lost. Fortunately fraternity creates an environment that has the potential for brothers to have meaningful conversation where sharing their innermost feelings and thoughts about their lives is not ridiculed but celebrated. While I firmly believe our brothers have the best intentions, they crave for guidance often not readily found in today’s college environment. Therefore, I feel it is my duty in working with the brothers of Colorado Gamma and with those members in attendance at leadership events to relay how emulating the ideals outlined in our Ritual will serve as a springboard for long-term success and satisfaction with who they will become.
In reading an old history of Phi Delta Theta written by Walter B. Palmer, I came across a tribute by then President of the United States, Brother Benjamin Harrison who spoke at a Phi Delta Theta banquet held in Galesburg, Illinois in 1890. He addressed those in attendance with these timeless words:
“I feel the greatest sympathy with young men who are now disciplining their minds for the work of life. If I were to select a watchword, which I would have every young man write above his door and on his heart, it would be that good word “Fidelity.” I know of no better. The man who meets every obligation to his family, to society, to the State, to his country and his God, to the very best measure of his strength and ability, can not fail of that reward which comes of a good conscience, and will seldom fail of the approval of his fellow-men.”
Please ignore the static, encourage fidelity among your fellow brothers while personally striving to embody the tenants of The Bond, and become the greatest version of yourself.
Yours in the Bond,
Brother Mores is the Executive Vice President of James R. Favor & Company, the Fraternity’s insurance broker. Following graduation from Iowa State University (IA Gamma), Marc spent 13 years on the GHQ staff. After completing his Masters work at Xavier University, he became a Certified Association Executive and recently earned the Certified Insurance Counselor designation. Volunteering with the Colorado State chapter and the ISU Cyclone Club keep him busy. Marc and his wife Jennifer live in Parker, Colorado with their two daughters.