Delta Nu History
by David L. Ruth
It is a real task for anyone to remember details of years gone by and with a good memory not being one of my better attributes, I am sure I will leave out some details while not having others in their proper order.
My apologies to the Brothers if I have failed to mention their names and accomplishments while they were associated with Delta Nu.
If I overlap into someone else’s “chapter” of time, please excuse.
In August 1968 I arrived in Murray, Kentucky. The only student I knew on campus was another ex-University of Kentucky student, Larry Scott of Madisonville, Kentucky. Larry and I had gotten to know each other through the Pershing Rifles at UK. We had both spent too much time doing other things besides studying. Because after two semesters we were both in grade trouble and had decided to transfer to Murray.
Larry and I shared mutual interest in KA, but being new on campus and having transferred with grade problems, we were at a certain disadvantage to “starting a fraternity.” After the first day of looking around the campus, Larry and I went to the Pershing Rifles’ room to get acquainted.
Get acquainted we did, we put much time into ROTC and Pershing Rifles. We found some of the Brotherhood we were looking for in a national fraternity, but this wasn’t exactly what we had in mind. We discussed with some other brother Pershing Riflemen the potential of Murray’s campus for another Kappa Alpha chapter.
Right away two of the most interested were Murray Raines and Jim Goode. As time would pass Murray, Jim, Larry and I would find ourselves talking with great enthusiasm about KA and Old South in Winslow cafeteria, in the Pershing Rifles’ room, in the dorms, after ROTC drill, etc. Anytime we could get an ear we would drop in a few lines about the plans we were trying to make to get an established Southern fraternity, whose spiritual founder was Robert E. Lee, the greatest Southern Gentleman in history, on this campus.
Word began to get around, not only among our friends, but the word was spread around by many we didn’t personally know. The time had come for action! It was the point of no return. We had to lay out a progressive plan of organization or we would be doomed to failure as had so many “big talkers” who had failed before us.
We would meet in semi-secrecy in each others dorm rooms, semi-secrecy in that anyone living in a dorm knows there is no secrecy! As it remained at that particular meeting, the best that I can remember, if we had given a blanket invitation to all the Pershing Riflemen at Murray, then all but a few would have joined us in this endeavor. Alas!! What must we do?
Out of the Pershing Riflemen we recruited the four of us plus Richard Wertz and Mike Funk. Hometown talent was recruited by Murray Raines in the form of Charlie McElya, Dell Romaine, Larry Russell, Gary Coleman, and Bob Page from the Ballard County and Paducah area. Jim, Larry and I hit the dorms hard and convinced Wayne Hartigan, Rush Hunt, Louis Smith, and Sam Williams to join us. Before the end of the fall semester we had a team almost put together.
Recruitment was our most present and obvious problem. When building any team whether management or athletes, a strong willed, common goal oriented team is the most important resource. Finances, physical plant will fall in place later.
This is not to say that while we were recruiting we weren’t doing anything else. From the beginning, Murray was liaison with the other fraternities and Jim Goode acted as secretary, documenting our meetings and progress. We knew if the other fraternities were too strongly opposed to establishing another fraternity then they would “cut our throats, it and somehow we had to get them pulling for us. The strategy worked. Murray made friends on the Inter-Fraternity Council that were instrumental in presenting the case of “more competition among fraternities on campus.” Surely, the large, well established fraternities would not feel “threatened” by such a group of young underclassman. The IFC and the other fraternities sat back and watched on Mount Olympus as we continued on our way.
The other fraternities didn’t feel threatened until we recruited some men who they were also rushing, but by that time it was too late, they had already given us their “blessing.”
Through the moral support of Hunt Smock we met with Mr. Billy Graham that winter. He outlined the progress that we must make in order to be accepted into. KA. We met at the Holiday Inn and spent the better part of a day discussing these things.
It is funny now, looking back, but Jim, Murray and I were scared stiff we were really trying to make a good impression on “the man most responsible for determining our fate.” Billy sensed this uneasiness and tried to put us at ease. You know first name basis, take off our coats, unloosen our ties and collars. Whew! Kappa Alpha “big wigs” are nice as well as being “God-like.
Billy Graham encouraged our diligence. He applauded our enthusiasm. We had our team but no “coaching stuff” and no “cheerleaders.” We had to get the administration on our side, we had to get girl friends or wives and our parents on our side, we had to present an image of ourselves to all others that would be acceptable.
Billy continued that the process of installing a “local fraternity” to national status was long and drawn out.
First, the Order was not in the habit of associating with just any group of young men. These men had to be of action and deed as well as “talk a good line.” The Order had very few failures and he didn’t want us to be one of them. I believe at about that time he told us of the problem the Order had with another group of men who had petitioned KA and it was found that they were just a “social club” and their petition was terminated.
Second, the Order had several prerequisites before actually deciding whether to accept a local chapter into the Order.
A written and photographic general portfolio must be prepared of the school and a detailed biography prepared on each member of our group, including special interests, accomplishments, and grade point standing.
Third, we must get in the habit of meeting routinely and establishing a definite pattern to our meeting Robert’s Rules of Order was immediately agreed upon. Officers must be elected, by-laws written, and a name must be chosen to call ourselves in the interim before we submit our petition.
Fourthly, we must maintain good grades! Kappa Alpha Order looks down on those chapters that weren’t at or near the top as the leaders of academia among the respective campuses and IFC.
This initial meeting with Brother Billy Graham lasted the better part of the afternoon, but I am only able to remember the high-lights. The one attribute of his I remember the most was his encouragement. It would probable take us twelve months or longer to get organized, but he had confidence in us.
After the meeting we felt we had a “road map” of what, where, and how to become a KA chapter.
First, we must gain acceptance by the present school administration. Jim, Murray, and I got an appointment to see Dr. Woods, then President of MSU. Dr. Woods, after being briefed of our plans and our meeting with Billy Graham, was not the least bit impressed. By the way Dr. Woods was an Alpha Gamma Rho. He indicated that he felt there were enough fraternities on campus at the present (Sigma Chi, Sigma Nu, Alpha Tau Omega, Alpha Gamma Rho, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Pi, Tau Kappa Epsilon) and two others in a more advanced stage of colonization. (Beta Sigma was later to become Sigma Phi Epsilon and the colony of Lambda Chi Alpha was to be installed shortly as an active chapter of the same fraternity.)
To say the least, Dr. Woods was antagonistic to our cause. He just couldn’t see why we weren’t like the “other good boys” and not make waves and join one of the existing social fraternities. Our meeting ended with Dr. Woods asking us to reconsider what we were doing not really saying yes or no to our efforts.
During all this time we consulted with Hunt Smock, either at his office in Wilson Hall or at his home. I believe it was through him that we learned that Dr. Blackburn, then Dean of the Science Department, was an alumnus of Beta Delta at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Ky.
I remember the meeting with Dr. Blackburn was almost opposite to the meeting with Dr. Woods. Dean Blackburn was very cooperative and even reminiscent back to his days at Georgetown and discussed some of the “pledge-active functions” they used to have. We finally asked if we could use one of the classrooms in the science building for a fraternity meeting room once a week. After a short hesitation, he agreed. From that day on, we at least had a place to hold business meetings. This was one of many accomplishments we had in our “infancy.”
Shortly, there was an announcement of Dr. Woods’ impending retirement and the most obvious successor was Dr. Harry Sparks, a former KA from Transylvania. (Alpha Theta Chapter.)
We didn’t give Dr. Sparks, now the new President of MSU, much time to get settled in his penthouse office atop the new administration building, before we approached him for support in helping us get KA to Murray. He not only pledged his support, but also volunteered the use of “Oakhurst” during Old South week as the spot for our Mint Julep Party and also a meeting place for our first “official” rush function in the spring semester of 1968.
It appeared that the pieces of the puzzle were fitting together. We had convinced the president, a dean, and an English instructor into giving us support.
We had, to this point, been very lenient in acquiring members. Since we had not been members of IFC prior to this time, we were not governed by their rules of rushing and pledging. Now it was a different matter.
We had gained acceptance from the administration, written and adopted a set of by-laws, elected officers, found a place to hold meetings, and were lobbying for official acceptance into the Inter-Fraternity Council.
With all we had going for us acceptance into IFC was inevitable. This was, however, when we really had to get “our nose to the grindstone.” We had to follow all the same rules on rushing and pledging as all the current national fraternities, but we had so little physically and materially to compete with.
First, the nationals had fraternity rooms with pictures of sweethearts, composite photographs, trophies, and a place to “report to” and lounge.
Second, the nationals also had the most cherished of all “status symbols” the fraternity pin. WOW! A pin made a man at least a foot taller in the eyes of his peers (or so everyone thought)! They also had T-shirts and sweatshirts and no doubt underwear emblazoned with their respective crests, shields, logos, etc.
We didn’t have any of this yet. It was as if we were on the outside looking in. We were able to offer so much for the future, but what tangibles could we offer now? The answer Brotherhood! We could flaunt that all we wanted and no one could say anything.
God only knows someone in our little troupe was a potential marketing genius.
“Brotherhood”, the word alone seemed to be reverent. Thus, we waged a war of rushing men into “Alpha Kappa Alpha”, that was soon to be Kappa Alpha, without wearing pins or T-shirts with crests or Greek letters, but with something much more important we offered “Brotherhood,” the kind that would hold us together until we could become a “national.”
As an; Greek knows, you can cut down and make fun of other fraternities’ crests, badges, etc. But you don’t fool around with their Brotherhood therefore, the lack of physical evidence of our existence which we thought would impair our rushing, became an advantage. We could prove in our day to day lives what brotherhood was all about. We preached to the rushees, WE didn’t have to have fraternity rooms, pins, etc. WE HAD EACH OTHER! WE HAD BROTHERHOOD!!
That might have been a little melodramatic but it was the truth. We capitalized on the fact that we offered a true brotherhood of an Order not just a fraternity. Before the spring rush, I believe we had around fourteen members actively participating. With such a small membership we didn’t have to worry, as some larger fraternities with memberships of 75 to 100, about recognizing other brothers in classes and on the sidewalks. We also did not have the problems of cliques developing. Hell ol pete when you are as small as we were, there just weren’t enough of us to divide into cliques! I heard many times from talking to rushees how they would be invited to other fraternity’s functions and see the brothers “move in” on each others girlfriends, “cut” the other brother down behind his back, etc.
It sometimes appeared that what people were seeing in us was what they couldn’t find in the other fraternities. We were unified, or at least much more so than everyone else. We were not stereotypes. We were individuals who had something in common before we became AKA’S. Whether the common denominator was the love and romanticism of the South or the fellowship we found with each other, or the fact that we wanted to emulate Robert E. Lee and the principles of a Southern Gentleman whatever the motivation, it worked.
It seemed that after awhile not having pins didn’t matter as far as advertisement, but they did pose strong motivation as a reward to ourselves that we had completed what we had set out to do establish Kappa Alpha Order on our campus. The first pins and,badges could not be cherished as much by anyone as those first few men in AKA cherished theirs.
The fellowship mentioned earlier carried over into all social events. Some of my fondest memories of social life were centered on the midnight walks some of us (actives) made on the scenic, but desolate, roads of Calloway and Marshall counties. I believe back then they were called “Goat Rides.”
The Alpha pledge class “asked” Murray Raines and myself to join them on such an occasion one very chilly early spring evening. Although they were warned of retaliation, the goats insisted that the invitation be accepted. Unfortunately, the goats outnumbered us and we bid our ugly, but warm, abode farewell and found ourselves with the choice of riding in the trunk or the floorboard of the back seat. We chose not to freeze in the trunk and we were rather harshly positioned on the floorboard amid curses, screams, and threats of blackball and retaliation.
I can’t remember whether we were blindfolded or not, but the result was the same, we didn’t have any idea where we were going.
After driving what seemed like an eternity, the goats turned us loose on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. We had no socks, twenty cents, and a desire to blackball some goats. We began walking and we didn’t stop walking for several hours and blisters later. We did feel slightly relieved when we intercepted a blacktop road civilization at last! but where? Which direction do we go? The direction we took was very scenic and enjoyable. We saw a lot of dogs, fog, old farm houses (all with their lights off and “beware of the dog” and “posted keep out this means you” signs on their fences and gates.) To make a long story short we finally came to the intersection with the road that goes to Fulton. At this particular intersection there were two general store and service station combinations, both closed. It must have been one or two in the morning. The first station had a pay phone outside which we sprinted to immediately! In desperation we inserted one of our two dimes and got a wrong number. We were trying to reach Brother Buel Stalls to rescue us. By now you can imagine the frustrations of the situation one dime left and we had better make it count. Second try Eureka! we hit pay dirt. We described where we were and Buel knew exactly the spot. He was there in 15 or 20 of the longest minutes I ever had. the displeasure of shivering through. My “well broken in” Bass Weejuns, I remember, looked like about the same condition as combat boots after World War II and I’m sure my feet felt worse than my shoes looked.
Alas! Buel took us by the trailer and we immediately began calling our goats for a little “pledge meeting” A.S.A.P. at our trailer. They were really good sports. I thoroughly enjoyed watching them the rest of the night take toothbrushes and scrub the ground in dirt out of the cracks in the floor tile. Nothing could cause me more happiness than to watch my dilapidated Weejuns being “spit shined” to a brilliant luster.
There are many tales that have been handed down from pledge class to pledge class over the years at Delta Nu. Some are based on fact and most are basically true and are changed only a little bit to make them more interesting. The above story is true to the best of my memory.
The Alpha pledge class was also taken on a “goat ride” by the active brothers one night. I can’t remember if that occurred before or after Murray’s and my “sight seeing tour” of Calloway County. The fact is, we did get retaliation; however token it was.
The main event of that spring (168) was our first Old South Ball the climax of Old South week. We held a hint Julep party on Wednesday evening at “Oakhurst”. Actives, pledges, and their dates all attended as well as our supporters. Several days during that week actives and pledges alike would fill cars and head for the “Fez Club,” which Brother Stalls rented for the Old South Ball, and decorate into the night.
The first Old South still remains in my mind as being the best. I guess the primary reason lies in the amount of work we all put into it. A bridge was built by the Brothers to resemble the crossing of a stream. After walking across the bridge one would enter the mansion. The mansion was a painted facsimile of a real Georgian home. One of the Brothers had “commissioned” some art students to paint the scene and by adding columns it gave the entrance a realistic look.
After entering the mansion we had draped crepe paper stringers from the ceiling. After a few drinks at several “pre-tuners”, our dates were really impressed with the decorating; however, the restrooms posed somewhat of a problem as they were labeled “Goose” and “Gander” which was which?
The Ball itself was the finale of Old South Week. Maybe I should have begun with our successors. The first Old South was the only time since the “war” that Murray had succeeded from the state and county. Old South morning we marched from Oakhurst, where our Southern Belles were summoned to attend the Ball, to the town square. There, while standing at attention, the American flag was lowered and the “stars and stripes of the Confederacy” was raised where it flew all day. The local citizenry seemed rather impressed by all this. We then marched back to Oakhurst and several of us loaded into convertibles and paraded through campus flying the Confederate flag. This was much to the dismay of some of the Black radicals on campus who took such a display as a racial slur. From that day forward raising the Confederate flag at the court square would be practically impossible.
Thus Old South came and went. Everyone was very pleased with its success. This was the first attempt of AKA to hold a formal dance.
Returning from summer vacation we packed into the Fraternity House at 505 North 16th Street. The house had been acquired from Gene Diamond and would become our first real home and one of the first fraternity houses at MSU until then most of the fraternities had “rooms” in Wilson Hall. It had a living room, family room, kitchen, and dining area, meeting room and bathroom downstairs. Upstairs had three bedrooms and a bath. The house itself wasn’t much compared to what Delta Nu has now, but coming from a class room in the science building it seemed like “Tara.”
This house was the scene of much activity. Besides the conducting of chapter business, the meeting room was also used by the “Southern Belles”, our women’s auxiliary, for their meetings.
The house was too small for many social events, but occasionally the Brothers would bring their “Southern Belles” by for a little drink of “corn squeezing” before a ball game. Cocktail parties were limited to the first floor only, for obvious reasons, and all were chaperoned by our House Mother, Mrs. Carter. Unfortunately, someone would forget to invite her part of the time. We were blessed by having Dr. Hogancamp, then the Dean of the School of Business, living beside us and President Emeritus, Dr. Ralph Woods, across the street from us. Therefore, most social functions, whether chaperoned or not, remained fairly quiet.
One exception occurred when the goats took over the house and locked the actives outside. Afterward it looked as if Sherman’s Army had just passed through. The skirmish lasted up through the night with the actives ultimately the victors. With the victory comes the spoils and I must admit, those goats really had everything ship-shape by the next day.
It was also the pleasure of the “old house” to have as tenants a very famous duo. This team was composed of the ‘’Masked Marauder” and the “Caped Crusader” alias the “Dynamic Duo” alias Danny Sullenger, Bob Bowles, and sometimes Danny Grimes.
The Crusader and Marauder were the protectors of everything good. They would appear almost every evening during study hours and see to it that each brother was entertained and not bored by studying too hard. They would run around like idiots from room to room in their undershorts, with silly towels on their backs (capes were too expensive) usually wearing cowboy boots and hat and sometimes donning a mask, as not to disclose their true identity. This duo no doubt kept more people from studying that the TV did. You know, not every fraternity house was as lucky as ours. Not only did we ha4a the “dynamic duo”, but we also had an oversize, overweight mascot named “Dutch.” Dutch was about the biggest Great Dane any of us had ever seen. He was cute, at first, as a pup. When he matured it took someone the size of Wayne Hartigan or Louie Smith to control him. Dutch had a bad habit of jumping up on people this was particularly bad when you were bringing dates by the house for the first time. Needless to say, Dutch had to go after the spring semester of 1969.
Over the fall semester of 168 we were able to raise our grades considerably. This was due mainly to Murray, Rush Hunt, Jim Goode, and several others who were able to carry those of us not doing so well.
The next order of business in the fall was the actual preparation of all AKA’s for the transformation to KAs. With the petition having been already compiled and sent in by Brother Rush Hunt, we now got down to the “metamorphosis.”
We got much help on this from Brother Cam Love who was initiated at Lambeth and transferred to MSU to be with Patsy, who also served as KA Rose our first year. We all studied the KA pledge manual more than we ever studied for a final exam.
Before the actual initiation in March, we all took tests, similar to today’s pledge test and, of course, we had to pass in order to go through initiation.
The charter members were initiated by a team from Lambeth and Vanderbilt. Even to this day, I believe that initiation was one of the most moving experiences of my life. After the initiation I remember how happy and excited we all were. Many wanted to go down South to the Cotton Club, Chiefs, or the 641 Club to celebrate, but decided to wait until the next weekend.
We reserved the dining room at the Holiday Inn and held an “initiation banquet.” All of the “higher echelon” of the Order were present, including Giles Patterson, Billy Graham, and I believe William Forrester.
After that day, the crimson and gold flag of KA replaced the Confederate flag at the house and sporting events and the KA pledge pin replaced the miniature Confederate flag pin of the AKA pledges.
Each brother had actively or passively participated in developing AKA into Delta Nu of Kappa Alpha Order.
I have not tried to memorialize the charters, but have tried to indicate that they were a strongly motivated group of men, like most KAs, who worked hard to build Delta Nu into what it is today. Our success as an active KA chapter now and in succeeding years can only be measured by the quality of men we rush, pledge and initiate today.
Some Brothers, like Danny Hatcher and Wayne Hartigan were able to participate in KA even though they were married and held down part or full time jobs. Regardless of the background of the individual, and regardless of the part of the country he is from, or how old he is when he pledges he will only get out of Kappa Alpha Order just what he puts into it and hopefully his activity will continue into the Alumni Association.
by James T. Goode
As an afterthought, the organizing of a fraternity such as KAPPA ALPHA from the ground floor seems almost an impossibility. However from the humble beginning of four people in a dorm room and $25 each, KA was started. Of all the names we could have selected to call our organization, we selected Alpha Kappa Alpha, which later turned out to be a national Black sorority that was in final stages of installation on campus. To say the least, we were relieved to finally shed the AKA letters and assume the Crimson and Gold of Kappa Alpha Order.
Brother Ruth halt given a vivid description of the trials and tribulations that we faced as a colony of KA, but as it turned out, these were only the beginning of many more difficult times to come in the infancy of our new chapter.
Even after we received our charter, we were still not taken very seriously by the Big 4 on campus. KA was the token entry in everything – from football to grades competition. The only thing that we were consensus champions at was raising HELL. I think this “quickly gained reputation” was one of our strong points at rush, right up there with a strong brotherhood.
With great anticipation, we prepared our first rush and pledge class as a bonified Kappa Alpha Chapter. The Brothers were preaching brotherhood, quality (not quantity), and a good time as selling points of our chapter while the competition was generally giving us the put-down as the new bunch with not much future. You can imagine the difficulty we had trying to persuade the rushees that we could offer them more with our 20-man chapter, no trophies, no reputation, very little money, and hardly any campus recognition then say could the Pikes with their 100-man chapter, shiny fire truck, campus tradition, and with every other jock on campus as a member. It seemed like an almost impossible task. Some of us even considered trying to make our saying of “peanuts, popcorn, Pike pledge pins” a reality by taking out an ad in the school newspaper stating that anyone wanting to be a Pike need only pay his money and report directly to the fraternity room for an instant pledge ceremony. this idea really never got off the ground because (a) we were afraid the plan might backfire and actually be good for the Pikes, and (b) the newspaper editor was a Pike and there was a 50/50 chance he could read and figure out that the ad was not legitimate and refuse to print it.
The brothers launched into Rush with vigor and were we surprised when some pretty good prospects showed up to functions and seemed to be seriously considering KA, while being rushed hard by the seasoned professionals of the other fraternities. From the outset, the Chapter strived for quality in the men selected to receive a KA bid. There were some real cat fights between the more liberal brothers and those that wanted to blackball a guy because he didn’t go South but three times a week instead of like a normal person who went every night. However, a sense of fairness did prevail; and in most cases, petty faults were overlooked.
After the fight we had just been through to get a charter, you can bet we weren’t about to compromise our standards and let just anyone pledge. As a result, our first pledge class was, in our opinion, an outstanding crop–not great in number, but strong in quality. This first pledge class was to produce eventual #1’s in Darcy Ashby and Ike Saylor and other chapter officers and leaders such as Tom Murray, Steve Graham, Dave Balch, Phil Hayden and Terry Stevens. You notice I said leaders. Terry Stevens could lead you South as quick as anybody in the whole chapter, and Louie Smith was usually there to help lead you back in case the road got too crooked. At this point I should add that ALL the jocks on campus didn’t go Pike as we landed our own version of Boog Powell in Phil Hayden, who was a star on the Murray baseball team and who later recruited other ball players into the chapter.
After a very difficult pledgeship with a considerable amount of hazing administered by the remnants of old Pershing Rifle recruits and brothers who had never been through an actual pledgeship themselves, the Goats (after surviving various attempts at blackball) were initiated. The Active chapter performed admirably in the first of many initiations to come and impressed ourselves as much as the initiated by the manner in which the whole ceremony was performed.
With renewed vigor instilled by the new actives, we immediately began to plan and work for the next pledge class. With the theme of “Quality not Quantity” still our motto, new prospects were selected and the Rush began all over again. Some rushees like Bob Thompson became such fixtures at the house as a rushee that he was almost considered a member before he pledged. Imagine the shock when at the last minute Bob almost pledged Pike. The brothers took it personal when a rushee that we selected didn’t jump at the opportunity to be a KA. It wasn’t just a missed pledge, it was a tragedy that was not soon forgotten. I hope this same tradition of Quality is never forgotten by Delta Nu and that each lost rushee is considered as a lost brother.
Beta pledge class was upon Delta Nu in what seemed like record time. Beta was the first pledge class to pledge under brothers who themselves had pledged. You can imagine the revenge the Alphas had in mind to compensate for the injustice they had suffered during their pledgeship.
Thus was reborn the old adage of “Do unto others as was Done unto you” or something like that. Anyway, if not for the level heads of certain actives like Wayne Hartigan, Nim Aldrich, and John Whitfield, there may not have even been a Beta pledge class. Actually it wasn’t really that bad, but Delta Nu first began to consider stricter rules on hazing at that time, encouraged, of course, by nationals threat to pull the charter of any offending chapter.
Luckily for Delta Nu, the Betas did get through pledgeship as we initiated an instant boost to our grades chase with the likes of Bob Thompson and Roger “4-point” Perry.
The leadership that was initiated in the Alpha and Beta pled-e classes was a strong foundation toward the ultimate goal of building a top-notch chapter of Kappa Alpha order and deserve part of the credit along with the charter members of establishing the roots of an organization destined to be among the elite at Murray State University.
Events and actual facts have become vague over the last 11 years, and I may have neglected some specifics or left unsaid things that should have been mentioned. However, the events and feelings as I recall them are printed with apologies extended to those not mentioned and condolences to those incriminated.
by David Travis
When I pledged KA in the spring of 1970, it was a direct result of the “hometown” rushing of David Balch and Ike Saylor. These two were Frankfort’s first contribution to the Order. At this point there were roughly twenty-five actives and thirteen pledges in the Gamma class. KA was not the sharpest group of guys ever assembled, but they did have several excellent qualities: loyalty, a desire to succeed, brotherhood, and some “good ole boys”. In 1970 frats, for the most part, were easily stereotyped. The Sigma Chi’s wore ties and white shoes, the TKE’s were all Yankees from New Jersey, the Lambda Chi’s all tried to look alike, the Sig Ep’s were always doing cheers, the Sigma Pi’s always had roller skating parties, and the Pikes were basically football players and other assorted jocks. The KA’s were very much individuals and did not try to mold you into a certain type of person. They accepted you for who you were and wanted to help make you the most you could be.
Seven years is a long time to try to recall events and exactly when they occurred. I am going to try to remember some of the highlights of Kappa Alpha, as well as, some of the dubious events that took place.
Our pledge period started out being eight weeks, but we were doing such an excellent job that it continued for a total of thirteen. We took our walkout to Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for their Old South. There was a shortage of girls, so Bob Foote and Sandy Fitzgerald ended up taking the same girl to the Old South Ball! Our pledge class was known as the Gamma Goats (in those days KA pledges were called Goats!).
You must realize that Kappa Alpha was not a dominate force in intramural sports. We were better than average in basketball, excellent in swimming, good in volleyball, and very mediocre in football and softball. One of the more notable football games came when John Mark Hale dropped a sink on Greg Laird’s foot (Greg was a former number one and a standout defensive end).
The KA’s were not easily motivated in participating in Greek events and the Alpha Delta Pi 500 was no exception. The Alpha Delta Pi 500 is a series of races, contests, and games for fraternities to compete in to determine the Alpha Delta Pi Winner. All of the other fraternities practiced and trained for two weeks to try to win. We could not figure out what good it was to win and thus did most of our conditioning in the Cotton Club. During the afternoon of competition we used Brother Mike Dill’s Volkswagen to carry our kegs and proceeded to see how much beer we could drink. I don’t remember scoring any points in the games in fact I’m sure we didn’t, but we did win the spirit award for most spirits consumed
Pledge Bob Foote was the highlight of my first old South. You really have to know Bob to appreciate his unusual behavior. He was a golden gloves boxer in Cincinnati and a very intelligent pre-dental student. Bob’s only drawback was his inability to control himself in a state of intoxication. He got a little too fired up Friday night of Old South and chased a young girl completely through the house, then around the front yard, and finally through the parking lot. I guess every KA has done that once or twice. What sets Foote apart from the rest of us is that all he had on was a pair of socks and shoes Bob completed his show by riding across town in a car clothed in the same manner.
In my opinion David Ruth, a charter member, was one of the main stays of the chapter and really typified what a Kappa Alpha should be. He was a very dedicated active and participated in nearly every type of activity there was. “Root” as he was commonly known, never needed an excuse to have a drink. (He used to start pre-tuning for the upcoming weekend on Tuesday.) If you ever needed someone to stay with you while you studied, David was always available. He has attempted more all-nighters studying Rebel Yell than Scott Barker has attended classes.
Living in the house was a real experience. My roommate was a pledge brother Gary Rogers. We called Gary “TV” Rogers because he watched the tube twenty-four hours a day. He had his own reserved seat on the couch in “his room” (the TV room) and sat there from 9 a.m. until whenever the networks went off at night. Gary was like a walking TV Guide, he knew every show on every station at any time. His idea of going out to dinner was walking up to the Palace for a hamburger between the game shows. He usually helped Howard Cosell with local color for the Monday Night Football games.
Brother Phil Barnett provided us with some excitement on a dull night by diving head first out the window in the TV room and landing on the sidewalk.
One of the most enjoyable ways to spend spring afternoons was sitting in a chair on the peak of the roof with some cold refreshments. Tom Turner used to always consider two people and a six pack as a party. Often times he didn’t even need the second person.
The KA’s, under the leadership of Tom Murray, constructed a float for the Homecoming Parade with the help of the Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority. The float was a train that had moving parts and sake from the stack. It was good enough that we were asked to enter it in the Paducah Christmas parade. Brothers Murray, Steve Graham, and Steve Knight got up in the train operating it and keeping warm with a little Maker’s Mark. Brothers Laird, Robert Wermuth and myself walked along side handing candy to the children. We spent most of the time before the parade posing as parade officials directing traffic and interviewing bands and majorettes for newspapers that did not exist. Greg Laird took several pictures (with no film in the camera). There were no bathroom facilities for the three brothers under the float. The more these guys drank the more of a trail the train left. One observant spectator yelled “hey your train is leaking!” We did do well enough to finish second (to a local Paducah float).
This bit of information should not be included in this chapter, because James Levinson did not pledge the Order until the spring of 1971. To make sure his contributions do not go unnoticed, Jim Levinson was “The Pride” of Delta Nu Chapter. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, Jim was a man among men. Please contact Michael A. Jones (Epsilon pledge class) for further details.
Kappa Alpha was at an all time low when we took the Delta pledge class. Not only did we fail to get quality in pledges, but we also missed the boat in quantity. Instead of taking a large number of sharp pledges we got Dirty Ed Kubale, Mike Magee, Skip Hamra, Charles Clark, and Steve Abell. Seriously, we did not get quite the number of men we wanted, but the five we took made excellent KA’s. Our favorite past time was taking two or three of them on “goat-rides”. We would blindfold them and drive out to Kentucky Lake or even to remote parts in Tennessee (usually only thirty miles or less) and let them out. These rides usually occurred around one or two in the morning so that they would have plenty of time to get back for their morning classes. You will find that over the years, KA’s have always considered early morning classes a priority and strived to maintain perfect attendance.
The time that I remember as being the Delta pledge class greatest hour was during their outstanding performance on Dance Party. For those of you who do not remember Dance Party, it was an imitation of Dick Clark’s American Bandstand, was sponsored by a local Paducah television station, and featured a different high school each week on Friday afternoon. Every now and then when the high school kids would wise up and not appear on this show, the Dance Party crew would solicit fraternities and sororities and offer to pay them. The moderator of this circus was a cute little fellow named Tom Silor, who with high heels and a hat barely stood five feet. Most males age thirteen or older would find dancing on TV in this atmosphere very humiliating and even down right degrading. Not our Delta Pledge Class. They seized this as a golden opportunity to have a good time. The show was live on Friday afternoon at four. By three o’clock the TV room was packed. This show draw a better crowd than the UK – Western KY basketball game, Ali fights, or even the World Series. In fact it was the only time that I can recall TV Rogers not having his usual seat reserved! Our five representatives managed to stay in front of the roving cameras the entire hour. It is a wonder that they didn’t do the commercials. Instead of dancing as most people do on this show, the Deltas would stand and wave, give unusual gestures, and make funny faces at the camera. The highlight of the show (and also the producer’s biggest mistake) was interviewing these maniacs. Abell and Kubale took turns scratching little Tom’s head (he had a flat top haircut) and resting their elbows on it. I might also add that their answers were most amusing and brought rounds of applause back at the KA House. Needless to say we were never again asked to appear on Dance Party.
Pledgeship for the Gamma and Delta pledge classes was fairly rough and time consuming. We could be called at any time during the night and were expected to be there. I can remember walking from White Hall to the House at three in the morning to “turn out the lights” or to get an active a drink of water before he went to bed. Several of the actives were big on making us push a penny with our nose in races from one end of the room to the other. Demonstrating how a cock roach dies was another favorite “goat game”. We were also required to carry lunch and dinner trays in the cafeteria as a waiter does. Several actives enjoyed watching pledges do pushups, situps and other forms of exercise.
During the spring semester of 1971, Greg Laird, Steve Graham, Ike Saylor, and I lived in what became known as “the ranch.” It was a three bedroom house located a little over six miles from campus on Highway 280. The bathroom worked well enough that our back yard received half of our business. Several cows were always within twenty yards of the back door. We had a grey-headed landlord who collected rent on Saturday nights (he always just happened to be in the neighborhood and thought he would drop by). Despite these drawbacks, the ranch was the site of numerous KA parties. Our side yard was frequently used for a football field. All of these good times ended in tragedy during spring break. Laird was in New Jersey, Saylor was in Frankfort, and Graham and I were touring Daytona Beach. When we returned the Rench had burned to the ground. We each lost absolutely everything that we owned. The cause of the fire was never determined.
Ike Saylor, who was one of the most well-liked brothers, had college all figured out. We lived together for three years, and I cannot once remember Ike getting uptight over an exam, worrying about a paper being completed on time, or really caring about what his final grades were. His primary purpose in coming to college was to have a good time and that he did. He would register fifteen hours of classes each semester and then drop the class that he didn’t like so that he could reduce his load to twelve. This way he would not be over burdened and would have time for the more important phases of college life parties, going south, water skiing, and getting enough sleep. He scheduled his classes from 9:30 to 12:30 and had at least an hour for lunch. Graduating was not high on Ike’s priority list. He spread his classes out on the “six year plan”. Saylor came to college as well prepared as anyone I have ever known. He had all the essentials a new Jaguar, ski boat, color television stereos and portable bar. His philosophy of studying was “If I can’t get it on my past experiences, it’s not worth it”. Ike was interested in Kappa Alpha and was an excellent active and president.
My years as an active Kappa Alpha were some of the best and most rewarding times of my life. It was during this period that I developed several lasting friendships. It was always a secure feeling knowing that the other brothers cared and were there to help when you needed it. It is also very exciting to watch the new pledges and actives go through their own personal experiences as a Kappa Alpha.
Thank you for allowing me to share a few of the experiences that I remember as a KA.
by Jeff Chase
Once upon a time there came into being the Epsilon Pledge Class of Delta Nu Chapter. This group of fine upstanding young men kept the chapter alive in the depression years of 1971-1974. They came from all walks of life; farmers, auctioneers, weight lifters, trolls, pushers, rapists and pickpockets.
Our pledge class consisted of eighteen men. Within this group was a click notoriously known as the “Ballard County Boys”. Fun for these guys meant going back to the farm to be with their stump-broke ponies. They did teach the fraternity a new dance though — The Ballard County Double Butthole Roll. Very few of us fraternity men could keep up with the Ballard County Boys. I would also like to make it known that our pledge class started the “dying cockroach” routine, which many a pledge has had the privilege of doing.
There is an incident which happened to an Epsilon “Illinois Boy” that I would like to share. Mike Jones, a scrawny-looking lad of 200 pounds, who could bench press Ordway Hall, was forcibly taken to the Cotton Club by two older KA’s. The three of them proceeded to get commode-hugging drunk. On the way back to Murray they had a minor one-car accident. Leaving the scene of the crime, a patrolling police car noticed them stumbling all over other. Thinking. fast, Jones started running like hell. The Policeman had little trouble rounding up the other two KA’s, but Jones was long gone. The cops called out the National Guard, the State Militia, the FBI and the CIA to track down this wanted criminal. They almost had him behind the Holiday Inn when he got underneath a semi and crawled up under the axle. He walked down creeks to take the dogs off his trail. He was never captured and is still at large.
There were several of us KA brothers who branched off the main body and settled into a house commonly known as the KA House – East. It is now a historical landmark of Murray. If you would care to tour the old mansion, the address is 1000 Olive Street. Admission is $1.50. All proceeds go to the Kappa Alpha Illegitimate Children Fund.
Let me tell you about the six of us. First, there was Gary (TV) Rogers. He could tell you what show was on at anytime and what it was about. When he became an alumnus, the chapter dedicated a section of the house to him. They called it the TV Room. (I bet you wondered how it got it’s name.) Rooming with TV was Dirty Ed Kubale. He was the only person I know who could look perfect when he left for school (when he went to school, that is) and that afternoon look like he had spent four years castrating pigs.
Then there was Steve Knight; a Dr. Jeckyl – Mr. Hyde type of person. He was a peaceable guy when sober, but when he got juiced up — look out. He was Mr. Destruction.
Dr. Jimmy Harlan abided in the downstairs suite. They called him Doc Harlan because he always had something (mostly illegal) for whatever ailed you. He is now continuing his profession as a pharmacist. (Really!)
And, of course, there was good ole Dennis Arndt. We very rarely saw Dennis. He was always in his room with his girl, Janice. To get to his room, you had to go through the bathroom. Ed Kubale knows all too well about the traffic through the bathroom.
Finally, there’s myself — old “Car Daddy”. I can’t really say anything about myself because it couldn’t be printed.
I guess I could write a book about the experiences we all had as a pledge class, like Levenson and Jones doing their queer routine, or Jeff Heber taking a shower in the KA House with Mike Miller’s girlfriend. I hope I haven’t offended anyone by writing this, but if I have, just remember an old saying from Southern Russia: “Tough Shitski, Ya’ll!”
Zeta, Eta, Theta
by Dennis Arndt
In the fall semester of 1971, six Epsilons filled the basement of the Kappa Alpha Mansion. The basement of the KA House had a fine reputation. It was also known as the dungeon, the pit or as the party room. The Epsilon pledge class was the biggest pledge class in chapter history at that time, so it was only fitting that the newest actives should get the best. So, Jeff Chase, Mike Miller, Jeff Heber, Mike Jones, Jim (super Jew) Levenson and I were very privileged. We moved right in with the mice, crickets, and other assorted bugs.
At that time, the basement had only three rooms. Although space was limited, there was still enough room for a juke box, a make-out couch, a coke machine, a candy machine, an antique television, and a condemned bar. House parties were much smaller then.
Chapter meetings were held in the upstairs attic, and the meeting room also doubled as a study (about once each semester). The office was the walk-in closet upstairs. There wasn’t any rear addition and one half of the present livingroom was the kitchen. A screened in porch also existed where the present office is, but the porch was never used except as a place to keep an occasional pet.
My pledge class was responsible for the puke green bathroom, but we thought that the color was an improvement over flaming red. The awful color didn’t do much for hangovers and it probably created more commode hugging than it cured. In spite of all the complaints, (and a lack of ambition to repaint the bathroom) that glorious green lasted many years.
One of the most durable traces of the “Big El’ is painted on the east bedroom wall in the KA House basement. The Mickey Mouse was painted by one Fin Loesch who later dropped the fraternity at his girlfriend’s insistence. Shortly thereafter, she dropped Fin.
Actually several Epsilons deserve honorable mention as having left a permanent impression in Delta Nu History.
Jerry Pace eventually became a No :M several years later and was largely responsible for molding the Kappa Pledge class into what it is today. (And we will never forgive him!) Jerry was also elected as Alumni Assoc. President after Buel Stalls.
Mike Keller, a member of the now famous Keller Family, was one of the Epsilon’s most shining examples. Mike became No T in the fall of 171 and from then on, the Keller house was the only place for outdoor dances, barbecue parties, midnight swims, and misc. orgies. We could always tell first time travelers at a Keller House Party. They were the people who came least prepared to swim and left wet. And when the all sports trophy is mentioned, Mike Keller was also know as the swim team.
Mike Miller (Mills) is best known as a card player whose unique talent supported his college education. His training eventually came in handy in the real world as Mike is presently a probation officer in a small town near Louisville.
Mike Stalls’ claim to fame was being elected as dildo pledge. But he managed to top that award the following semester by obtaining the distinction of dildo active.
Mike Jones could best be described as a gorilla in a man-suit.
If you haven’t guessed by now, Jeff Chase was most well know as the best all-round bull shit artist. Following this same line of reasoning, he was also selected as our pledge class president. (Car daddy) Chase was named by the car he drove and was also in close competition for chapter stud. His car was a neat blue 165 Chevy: 327 CID, 4 barrel carb, 4 on the floor. He tried to keep the car in the family and pawned it off on Mike Ryan, another KA, and now Jeff’s brother-in-law. By the time Mike rot the car, it was a bucket of bolts and there wasn’t enough of it left to do Mike’s image any Rood. –
In later years I became most famous as the chapter bootlegger. At that time, I was living in Murray and worked in Paducah. Given the KA’s consumption capacity, I could have become a millionaire by charging a bootlegger’s price.
Anyway, Jeff Chase and I do share good taste in women. We both married a Rose.
My first encounter with KA came in the fall of 1970 although I did not pledge until the spring of 171. I happened to catch the local “Dance Party” show on TV. Dance Party was Paducah television’s answer to American Bandstand and any local group or organization could appear on the Friday afternoon program.
The KAs were on TV along with several Pershing Rifle brothers who I instantly recognized. The KAs were not the usual dull, straight crowd who always appeared on this show. At least the KAs didn’t have to act like they were having a good time. When the show’s host asked some of the brothers their names, he received replies like “Chucky Oats”, “Reggie Potts”, etc.
Besides the normal clowning, Dance Party was hosted by Tom Silar. And Tom Thumb was tall compared to Tom Silar. He was so short… that he couldn’t pass minimum munchkin height requirements for a part in the Wizard of Oz.
The Kappa Alphas were Probably not responsible for Dance Party’s demise, but shortly after the KA appearance, Tom Silar took a position in Nashville as channel 5’s weather wizard, where he is today.
The KA smoker was my first real encounter with the chapter. Carroll Hubbard was the guest speaker, but I think Greg Laird was more impressive. Greg was a little different because he was from Illinois. Even for a damn yankee like me, he was a “good ole boy”.
We all know there are no racists in KA. But would you believe that an all black band played at Old South 171??? A black bartender too!!! The dance was held at Cherokee Park on Ken Lake and it was very southern anyway. There was a mansion background, complete with 4 white pillars. Yes, the band even played “Dixie”.
This particular bartender was about the closest to being an artist as I’ve ever found. He was so fast that there was never a waiting line. And after a couple of his specialties, the whole evening went better. It was quite a show for a bunch of “JAs”.
In 1971 and 1972 beer could be obtained for 890 a six pack. When placed in the Coke machine, beer profits of $600. per semester allowed the chapter to remain very solvent (in more ways than one). The money also helped provide 2 or 3 dances every semester.
Rose Ball in the fall of 71 was held at the Hotel Irving Cobb in Paducah. Myra Sachleban was elected Rose for 1972. The dance was like any other except a professional photographer was there to take pictures. We could never figure out if that was done for later identification in a line-up or if it was to help the brothers to remember who their dates were.
While the KA’s were probably not responsible, the Irving Cobb was closed a few months later and then condemned.
Several actives were highly visible standouts when the Epsilon pledge class was initiated.
Darcy Ashby was best remembered for his “bad ass” active impression. Darcy had a facial expression that could chill the godfather. The only time he smiled was when he saw pledges bleed.
Dennis Brown thought that he was God’s Rift to women. Unfortunately so did most women. Dennis also had a nice motorcycle and became known as Murray’s answer to “Easy Rider”. Rumors were that he wore leather underwear.
The KA’s best entry in the annual She-Male contest was Sandy Fitzgerald. Sandy didn’t have the figure or the legs, but he was one of the most colorful KA’s in the chapter. He was an excellent showman and would do just about anything for shock value.
Sandy was also a sure win in one particular entry in the ADPI 500 which was known as the baby bottle chug. In fact, he would fight to be in that event. He would attack that nipple like the bottle was full of beer. We always wondered where he gained such experience.
A number of KA’s lived in a house out of town, known as “The Ranch”. Greg Laird, Steve Graham, Ike Saylor, and Dave Travis. Travis was the most colorful. Dave was a PE major and could only carry on a normal conversation if the subject was about sports. He had an oratory skill matched only by Howard Cossell. Which is probably why he is such a successful insurance agent.
Dave was once interviewed on Murray’s local radio station concerning our fraternity rush program. The whole interview proceeded like an Abbot & Costello routine, but I cannot remember everything that was said. On the subject of rush spending, something was stated to the effect that we spent money on handcuffs, leg irons, and 3 kegs of beer per pledge. But here was his finest statement: When the announcer asked Travis how we managed to attract our rushees, Dave replied “We lie a lot”.
Ike Saylor had the singular honor of being Murray State’s first 7 semester freshman. Ike was also the only man on campus with a brand new Jaguar XKE and he did an excellent job as a No I.
The chapter inventor and engineer was Lionel T. Davis. (or L.T. for short) Although Lionel did collect and build toy trains, he also built several large ship models complete with riggings a sails. I always thought that it was a little foolish to keep such delicate objects in the KA House. (like building a fraternity house of glass) Lionel just about had a heart attack when Jim Levenson, LT’s little brother, took one of his ships in the traditional big brother “rip off”.
King Kong was a tame little puppy when compared to Bob Foote. Bob probably karate kicked more doors down than Bruce Lee. Brother Foote was also known to chase girls around the house in his undershorts, climb flag poles in the nude, and shot a telephone booth dead with a shot gun. There are more stories to tell about Bob Foote than any other active in Delta Nus History.
As far as activities are concerned, no one would dream of the KA’s winning the all sports trophy back in Y71 and 172. Basketball was a joke, football didn’t exist, the all campus sing was done by threats of fines for non-participation. The ADPI 50b was the KA’s best excuse for public intoxication. But if “How you play the game” was worth more than winning, the Kappa Alphas did it best.
Zetas became active in December of 1971. Zeta was a very small pledge class, but there were a few outstanding young men in it.
Bobby Brantley was a slightly over-weight PE major who eventually lost about 30 pounds. He has also managed to keep the weight off and was one hell of a good brother to everyone.
Rick Bockelman was a good ole boy from Louisville and had been a Pershing Rifle before becoming a KA. Rick could dance circles around John Travolta.
My favorite was Scott Barker who is presently working on a Guinness World Record for spending the most years in college to obtain a B.S. He will probably retire as a college students but I know he will enjoy each year!
As one of the six roommates who shared 1000 Olive Street, (otherwise known as the KA House East) Jimmy “Doc” Harlan was another Ballard County Blunder. “Doc” Harlan was one of the most friendly brothers of all. Also the highest most of the time. “Doc always had a little something to give a person a lift. Little did we know that he was preparing for his life’s work; as he recently graduated from Pharmacy School in Louisiana.
Sometime during the fall of 1971, the KA’s had a big brother-little brother dance just outside of Murray in a small warehouse type of building. The best little brother snatch of all happened at this dance. All the big brothers were relieved of their usual personal effects: glasses, mattresses, model boats, clothes, toilet seats, etc. John Mark Hale really lost an important possession – Kay Fox. Kay (now Mrs. Hale) was kidnapped by John Mark’s little brother. John Mark never did say whether he was relieved or disappointed to get her back.
I do remember that Kay was involved in an automobile accident once. It happened just outside of Murray a few miles. Bro’ Hale ran into the TV room like the world was coming to an end and wanted someone to drive him out to the accident. I didn’t have a fast car but I volunteered to take him. The police wouldn’t have got us for speeding, but the FAA could have nabbed us for flying too low! Anyway, Kay [email protected] hurt; John Mark aged a couple of years though.
The Eta Pledge class was initiated in the spring of ‘72. Most of the members of this pledge class were upper class students. Larry Alderson, Randy Cunningham, Bill Aycock, and Ed “Chic” Bellow were all “over the hill”, but they did provide a lot of leadership, diversion,’ and perversion while they were active. The rest of the pledge class really lacked social redeeming value.
Chic Bellow became one of the wildest of this bunch. He was known to swim in the frigid Kentucky Lake water at Rick Fox’s cottage party. One of my favorite’s was the strip he did on top of one of the tables at a KA Old South at the Ken Bar Inn. Chic also deserted a date and a beer party on the beach at Murray’s biological station on Ken-Lake. He managed to loose himself for 12 or more hours. Although his disappearance was not earth shattering, we did worry a little. He was gone just long enough to be a pain in the ass but not long enough for any of us to be mad at him. Denny Hite and I spent hours looking for him.
Which reminds me. Denny Mike Hite can be remembered by the worn out hit tune of “Denny Mike Hite and I don’t care”. The song was probably put together by the same musical genius who created this one: Every party needs a pooper, that’s why we invited you – Barney Cooper.
The Theta pledge class only matched the Zetas’ record for smallness. Of all the members of that pledge class, Nick Dixon (honest, that’s his name) was the biggest standout. Nick was a hard worker and a good time person. Nick was from the East Coast as was Chic Bellow. Nick Dixon and Chic Bellow were great brothers to everyone who knew them. They both pledged late in their college careers and were great assets to the chapter, while they were active. These two brothers were great talkers, good drinkers, and excellent card players. Both were largely responsible for popularizing the casino party at the KA House. Rush was their specialty.
Randy Cunningham pledged late in his college career also. Many of the present fixtures in the KA House were obtained through Randy’s procurement skills. His philosophy was “why pay for something that can obtained for free”. His best donation to the chapter came in the form of a white flocked $30. Christmas tree. The Chapter would have had a fine deal if the local tree merchant had not recognized his missing property all lit up to the whole world in the KA living room window. A fake receipt only made matters worse.
Anyway, the K4’s might have escaped that call, if they hadn’t insisted that Santa Claus had brought the tree. If Randy Cunningham had pledged KA as a freshman, the KA’s would either have a complete house by now or the whole chapter would be in jail or on wanted posters.
The only closer call came in the summer of 174 when the Kappa Alphas were busted for selling booze along with the Sigma Chis and the Lamb Chops. One of Murray’s best under cover cops bought a can of beer out of the drink machine in the Frat House In the end, all three fraternities pleaded guilty and each paid a $50. fine.
AB previously stated, the three pledge classes following Epsilon provided some very lean times for KA. Small pledge classes and a lack of freshman blood did hurt the Chapter.
In early spring of 172, there were campus rumblings about some possible racial trouble with blacks over Old South. There was one particular “hippie” type girl at Murray who felt that it was her duty to take up the blacks cause for them. She decided she could convince the whole chapter to drop old South by attending one of our meetings. Now the Kappa Alphas had fine reputations at MSU, but this girl was taking No chances; so she brought a reverend with her to the meeting.
After she presented all of her arguments and the KA side was also debated, all she could say was that we were “disturbing the entire black student population”. The reverend never said a word. (He was probably on our side) After the two left, someone commented that the entire male student Population was being disturbed by braless hippie girls too. And no one was complaining about them!
We had Old South anyway.
The IFC had a great Greek Week that spring. A massive tug-o-war between all the fraternities and all the sororities was held at the Calloway County Fairgrounds on the last day of Greek Week. A long thick rope was stretched over the biggest, muddiest, nastiest, mud puddle in Calloway County. The girls competed against each other and so did the guys. The losers always ended up looking like human mud pies. The AGRs wiped out every fraternity, but the KA’s gave them the biggest fight. Alpha Grabba Hoe had a strong consistent method going for them and it was said that they practiced against a tractor all week.
The highlight of this circus was Jim Levenson’s involuntary belly flop into the mud. Jim had the audacity to go to the fair grounds looking like he just stepped out of a men’s shop display window. The brothers just couldn’t leave anybody squeaky white clean — especially Jim Levenson in his “Pat Boone outfit. Lead by none other than dirty Ed Kubale, several brothers ambushed the super Jew and threw him in the puddle with a thunderous SPLAT. Jim later submitted a bill to the chapter for a new pair of shoes and a dry cleaning bill. I don’t think he ever collected. It was a cruel trick, but funny.
“Dirty Ed” Kubale was on the receiving end only once that I know of. When six of us KA’s were living at 1000 Olive, we had two phones — one upstairs and one downstairs. Jeff Chase and I put shavings cream on the receiver of the phone downstairs and then called Ed from-the phone on the top floor. There was a ring, then a hello, then a scream, and then Ed stampeding up the stairway. Ed probably stuck the phone in his ear hard enough to push the shaving cream out his other ear. And was he mad! I imagine it took him several days to clean out all that empty space that act filled with shave cream.
But I think he got even, although I never did prove it. For a short while I kept a Shepherd-Collie pup at 1000 Olive. One day I returned from class and the dog was gone. Someone probably let the dog go, but the trick on Ed was almost worth it.
Many changes seemed to be taking place on campus during 1971 and 1972. Smoking pot was becoming more popular than drinking beer. Funny little smells were coming from the house that used to reek like a brewery. Even the critters caught on to this one. The mice began stealing left over roaches. Rats were running around all glassy eyed. -Water bugs were dancing in the shower when there wasn’t any water; and we even discovered that the cockroaches could walk on the ceiling.
More brothers started taking part time jobs for their tuition money. The brothers who were working with food were always greeted by the late night gathering of vultures who waited for left over goodies like chicken, pizza, or burgers.
And the house rules took a severe beating for a short time. Not just for smoking and joking, but women in the KA Rouse shattered many nerves. The brothers were locking themselves in their rooms with their girlfriends, and a lot of roommates were falling out over these late night escapades. In a couple of instances, brothers were taking their girls into the shower with them. Eventually, females had to be out of the rooms after 10:00 PM.
Another cycle of changes began with the installation of the Iota and Kappa Pledge classes in 1973 and 1974. Chapter membership increased. They brought a lot of leadership with them into 1975. Beer was back. KA House rules act stronger. Kappa Alphas ran for and won student government offices and the IFC had two KA presidents in a row.
Quality and quantity increased in the following years. Other stories and chapters in this book will reflect bigger and better trends.
by David Keller
The following few pages of history you may find hard to believe, understand or even accept., But I feel I must inform, enlighten, or maybe warn the future generations of Kappa Alpha Order of their ancestors. Of course this novel will only cover a short period of time and the memories are those remembered by my brain. The same brain that roomed with Steve “Stretch” Swager and Mike Ryan. The brain that challenged Ed “Chick” Bello and John “Klem” Klemencic to a drinking contest. And finally, the same brain which lived in the frat house for 2� years. So you can see I’m of sound mind and body.
Let me start by telling you that the crew I pledged with met in the freshman dorms. First, there is Charles Brandt from Illinois better known as “Bad Charlie.” Kent Brost, also an Illinois boy joined the Iota pledge class. Kent had a way of getting stranded in strange places around the country. Gary Childs joined us from Virginia. Gary was a little older than most, but he could get just as rowdy. Next came Tim Eaton who moved down from Illinois and followed his brother Mike into Kappa Alpha. Bill Miracle, a Louisville boy met the KA’s in the dorms. Greg Moyers, the bearded wonder from Paducah and Aaron Ruark (Red) were a couple of oldies. Randy Seymour from Illinios, John (Phil) Sanders, Ohio, and Steve Swager from Washington round out our pledge class. The IOTA PLEDGE CLASS.
The KAPPA ALPHA spring rush of 1973 could be called the traditional KA rush. Let it not be said that we didn’t have a lot of beer. We drank Monday nights down South, Wednesday and Saturday nights after basketball games, and Tuesday, Thursday and Friday just because it seemed like a good thing to do. There was the Casino Party, where everyone could get drunk and lose a million dollars without a care in the world. The Casino Party really looked authentic with guys like Ed Bello rolling dice (something he knew well), Terry Vinson dealing five card stud (you always had to keep two eyes on Terry. Rumor had it he dealt from the bottom), and of course Cashie White spinning the roulette wheel (his auctioneer’s voice fit the game perfectly).
Then there was the roller skating party we had. The skating party always started with couples skating smoothly around and beginners hanging on the walls. But as the night went on, fellows like Dennis Arndt, Mike Stalls and Mike Miller started what one might call Roller Derby. If you couldn’t move fast and fall softly, you’d better get of the floor. Finally, there was the rush dance at the country club. The dancing was led by Tricky Rick Bockelman and Sandy Fitzgerald who amazed everyone with his military shuffle and his sleeping in bath tubs.
I don’t know if it was the dancing, roller skating or what, but in Feb. 1973, the IOTA pledge class was born. Personally, I think it was the beer (we didn’t sober up till after we pledged).
Before I go on, let me tell you about the KA’s at the time of my pledging. Most of the KA’s were juniors and seniors. There were only a few sophomores and no freshman. Ike Saylor was the #1. Ike was one of the first KA’s and probably did more than almost anyone for Delta Nu. Ike never missed a Monday night down south. Ed “Chick” Bello was pledge trainer. Chick came from New York and could sit and down a quart of 90-proof in a few hours. As pledge trainer, Ed was something else. His pledge meetings lasted for hours on end. It usually took Ed 2 hours to say “I thought.” When we failed a pledge test (which was often) we had to come to the house every morning at 6:00 and have coffee ready. I spent a lot of time making coffee.
The IOTA pledge was a crazy bunch. We would tree anyone and everyone possible. Once we took over the house and the actives didn’t even want it back. They all went to an actives trailer and partied leaving us with a house nobody wanted. Water balloon fights were an everyday occurrence. As a pledge class, we weren’t big, but we were noisy.
In the spring of 73 the frat house didn’t have the back room. All the parties were in the basement. It was very crowded, but when we had mixers with the sororities, it was so crowded you were forced to (Ha! Ha!) get very close to the girls.
The summer of 1973 was construction time. Kappa Alpha was expanding. First thing we had to do was clear the back yard of two trees. Now KA’s cut trees different from other people. Picture these 10 guys pulling on a rope tied to the top of the tree. When the tree was cut we tried to pull it away from the house and fence. We missed the house, but the fence took two direct hits.
The back room was no easy task. First, what should have taken one or two months took six to complete although all the KA’s, alumni as well as active, pitched in to build the back room. There were three who I would credit as making the dream come true Mike Stalls, Mike Jones and Denny Dziadus. These three lived in the house that summer, jumped on the builders, worked everyday and pushed till the house was completed.
With the new back room and the house redone, the KA’s were the envy of all the frats. The fall of 1973 was the changing point for Delta Nu. The men who started the Delta Nu chapter and built it through the first rough years were going or gone. There were no freshman and only seven sophomores, all Iotas. The chapter needed new young blood. What we wanted was a crazy bunch of freshmen.
Rush that fall was overwhelming. Every party was crowded. We could party every night in the back room and we did.
Let me say something about the guys that lived in the house that fall. In Heaven, Vinson and Miller. Bello, Travis and Alexander lived on the main floor and in the basement, Brost, Severns, Barker, Saylor, Swager and me (Keller). What a crew. Well, let me say the grade point average of those men nose dived. This is the truth; we partied every night Sunday through Sunday. During rush, we kept every rushee dancing, drunk, and dazed. it wouldn’t have been so bad, but we didn’t stop when rush ended. We partied till Christmas.
Well, the pledges we got were just what we needed. We got 15 fantastic men. Most were freshmen and all were dedicated to KA. Kappa Pledge Class was born.
The Kappa’s had one big advantage. There were more of them than actives. I won’t go into detail about each member because our next author, Sleepy Morris will cover that. But, let me say this much. Out of that pledge class came 2 number ones, a couple number twos and a few threes. The Kappas (I’ll name a few) Sleepy Morris, Griz Graham, Moke Lobstein, Red Ed Duvall and Chief Kyle. With names like that they can’t be all good. They were a great bunch.
Well all good things come to an end. So I must sign off now and let some other author lead you through KA history.
As a final note, let me say this. The traditions, ideals and dreams of Kappa Alpha will always mean so much to me. I believe in KA and the people of Delta Nu are the greatest mean I’ve ever met. I wish Delta Nu the best and I know you will maintain the high standard of Kappa Alpha Order for years to come.
by Jerry L. Morris
As a prelude to writing on this chapter of Delta Nu history, I must point out to the reader that I have been asked to log the ups and downs of the KA’s at Murray from about the Fall of 1973 through the Fall of 1974, and concentrate primarily on the Kappa pledge class. These Kappas were my pledge brothers. Naturally, my account will be somewhat prejudiced, because I grew up in college with this group of men, spending the entire four years at Murray with many of them. Over this span, strong bonds have developed between us all; ties that will never be broken. This may be hard to comprehend unless you yourself are a KA. Then, it is much easier to understand.
When the fall semester began in 1973 at Murray, Delta Nu chapter readied itself for another rough, and highly competitive three weeks of rushing, or trying to gain new-members. There was a new addition to the KA house, the back room.” This new party room was a great acquisition for the brothers of Delta Nu. It gave them more room to expand, and it also provided them with a large party area attached to the house. At this time, it was unparalleled in fraternity houses at Murray.
In the tradition of KA, the brothers threw some great rush parties. I know. I, along with the rest of the Kappas to be, enjoyed just about all of them. There were keggers, dances, a casino party, and cocktail parties after the football games, just to name a few. As always , the parties were a blast for rushees, brothers and dates.
However, it was not just the parties or the new party room on the house, or all of the booze–consumed during those three weeks that turned a bunch of male college undergraduates into Kappa Alphas. At the rush parties, in classes, or just around campus, the KA’s showed us a realism that was not to be found at the other fraternity houses we visited. The KA brothers put on no act, but were just themselves. Friendships formed before the brotherhood did.
Finally, when rush was over, the day came for -the fraternities at Murray State to accept pledges. In the fall of 1973, the University relaxed its rules concerning the pledging of freshmen. Thus, the Kappa pledge class was the first pledge class in Delta Nu history that included first semester freshmen. On that night in September, Delta Nu accepted seventeen young men of diverse backgrounds, abilities, and personalities. Many brothers think that this was a pivotal point in the chapter’s existence, and that the Kappa pledge class could well make or break the chapter. Well, the fraternity is still going and seems to be prospering.
Out of the initial seventeen Kappas, thirteen were first semester freshmen. I suppose this was taken with pride and apprehension by the older active brothers. It was good to take so many pledges, but how many of them would make it? Well, sixteen of these pledges were initiated, the other left school. A high initiation rate is a characteristic of KA and especially Delta Nu.
Who were the men of the Kappa pledge class? I have provided here a roll of what the sixteen initiates were called(complete with appropriate nicknames that have become well-known in KA circles).
The KAPPAS were: Barney “Stonehands” Cooper, Marvin Edward “Red Ed” Duvall, Steve “Farkle” Finkle, Mark “Popsicle Sticks or “Griz” Graham, Keith “Bandana” Graves, Denny “Mike” Hite (and I don’t care), Jeff “Ho-ho” Hohman, Wesley “Butch” Kyle, Mark “Moke” or “Tiny Tim” Lobstein, Frank “Get on the floor” Manganiello, Jerry “Sleepy” Morris, Gary “Nanny-goat” Nanny, David “the Rush” Rushing, Michael “Pete” Ryan, Doug “Whopper” Weil, and Brad “Freight train” Whistle. This crew came primarily from Kentucky (10), with three from Illinois, one from Indiana, and one transfer from Tennessee. The names, backgrounds, and sizes made them look more like a traveling zoo than a pledge class.
Well, now that rush was over there was a whole semester to get through. That meant almost an entire semester of pledgeship, also. For the pledges, it was a lot of work mixed with fun. The actives enjoyed the better part of it, but they had some moments that were not so much fun for them either.
The active chapter was led by Ike Saylor, I. Edward “Chick” Bello, II and pledge trainer, and Billy Alexander, III, the three elected officers of the chapter. They were amply supported by Donny Lamb, IV, Dale Taylor, V, Michael Stalls, VI, Jeff Chase, VII, Cashie White, VIII, and Terry Vinson, IX, the appointed officers of the chapter. These men did much of the work required to keep the fraternity functioning, as do the leaders in a business. Perhaps Brother Bello had the hardest job of all, trying to mold the Kappa pledge class into hardworking KA’s.
However, some of the other actives had their moments, also. Such was the time the President, Ike Saylor, and the “Bird”, Tom Turner, got a close-up look at the area around Murray State’s new football stadium. The Kappas captured these two actives and tied them up, face down in the mud outside of Roy Stewart Stadium. Despite their position Brother Saylor, confident of his rescue, with his ear to the ground much like an Indian scout, announced “I hear the actives coming.” Well, he was incorrect, at least for awhile, and spent quite some time there.
The actives were to eventually get even, though, as they sent the Kappas on a hunt in the local graveyard for some dates on various tombstones. The pledges were given only matches with which to do this in the middle of the night. Of course, the active chapter awaited behind every stone, bush, and fence with what seemed to be an unlimited number of water balloons. Thus, it was the Kappas who were this night wet-and muddy. But it brought us all closer together.
Brother Jeff Chase got a taste of the singing ability of the new pledge class early one morning at about three o’clock. It was then he awakened to the tune of “Dixie”, the song of the South, as he and his wife Jan (who was later to become KA Rose) tried to get some sleep. Events like this were not uncommon throughout the fall of 1973 as the pledges and the actives had fun together.
Moving into October, the chapter prepared itself for Homecoming, a time when everyone at school has a good time, and the alumni return to see old friends, make new friends, go to the football game, and have an enjoyable weekend. The entire chapter, along with the Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, began work on the homecoming float. Preparations began early, but, as usual, very little work was done until the Wednesday before the Saturday game. That is when the master at float building took over, John Mark Hale. With the design in hand and the theme in mind, John Mark began directing people around the KA parking lot and the 40 foot truck bed like a traffic cop. Eventually the float seemed to take shape. It took a lot of hard work and an uncountable number of kegs of beer, but at last, about 5:00 A.M.. Saturday, the float was finished. Stuffed primarily with blue and gold “pomps”, it was ready to roll. Then, it began to rain. Naturally, very much rain at all would destroy the pomps and the float would be a total wreck. Brother Mike Ryan came to the rescue. He headed for a local lumber yard and returned speedily with a large roll of plastic. The tarp was spread over the float and held in place by several brothers so that the rain would run off without damaging the float. At this time, it was 6:00 A.M. The parade was not to begin till 9:30 A.M. But the KA brothers, actives and pledges, preserved-the float, often standing past ankle-deep in water. And you know what? That float, entitled “Murray Gives Birth to the New Racers”, in honor of the new football stadium, won first prize in float competition and all of the KA’s were very proud.
Then came the football game, and everyone thought it would be sort of anti-climatic, since we had already won the float honors. It did not turn out that way. Murray had a hard-fought game with Eastern Kentucky, and pulled it out 21-20. Best remembered by old KAs, though, was Ed Duvall’s acquaintance with the University’s new president, Deno Curris. To get the full story, you had better ask Brother Duvall.
As the semester moved along, the Kappas continued to work toward initiation. The pledge class sponsored a Halloween jukebox dance, open to the campus. It was one of the best Halloween parties on campus that year. It got the brothers in the dancing mood as they started to look forward to the annual fall dance, Rose Ball. Rose Ball was held that year at the Kenbar Inn. It was a typical KA dance: a lot of dancing, a lot of drinking, and a lot of fun.
That Rose Ball saw the crowning of a new KA Rose, Lyn Reagan, who replaced Mary Kay Pryor. It was also our last big dance for the semester as we readied ourselves for initiation and the election of new officers.
Finally, as the semester neared its close and final exams drew near, it became time for the chapter to select new leaders. The new elected officers were: Tim Sigman, I, Steve Swager, II, and Steve Finkle, III. Brother Sigman later appointed Brothers Bill Miracle, IV, Mark Graham, V, Phil Sanders, VI, Tim Eaton, VII, Chuck Brandt, VIII . and Gary Nanney, IX. Three of these new officers were new Kappas, eager to give it a shot. Time would eventually tell that the Kappas would accept responsibility if it came their way. That pledge class produced two presidents, two pledge trainers, two recording secretaries, one treasurer, one parliamentarian, two doorkeepers, two historians, and three initiation directors; not to mention countless committee chairmen and other hard workers.
The Kappas were also an impulsive bunch of guys, but so was the entire chapter. Several KA’s took a weekend trip to Florida that year to see pledge brother Frank Manganiello get married. If you don’t think a weekend trip to Florida is tiring, you try it. Then, there was the moment in Murray State football history that will ever be preserved in the 1974 school annual in the Greek section. If you look closely at the KA picture, you will notice Ed Bello holding a football. It seems that during Murray’s game that year at the University of Tennessee at Martin, two or three fights broke out among the players during the game. During one of these fights, Brother Bello, who was not quite himself at the time, decided-that he would like to have the game ball. “Chick” made a mad dash onto the field, grabbed ;he ball. ran around end, and back into the stands. Brother Bello had his football. Naturally, the administration demanded that the ball be returned, but Chick held out till he had his picture made. I guess he’s still got the ball.
Beginning with the spring of 1974, the chapter got ready for another big rush. even on a somewhat restricted budget, the rush was a good one and the end result was the Lambda pledge class, a good spring class ten men strong. I will not go into the Lambda’s activities as they are to be covered in the next chapter. They were to be a lively bunch, though.
Eventually, the chapter prepared for the big event of 1974: Old South. For a KA, there is nothing like a week of parties with his fraternity brothers during Old South Week. There were all-night card games, all-night drinking parties, and all-week fun. This special week was consummated with the dance being held at the Kenbar Inn. For many of us, it was our first Old South. It was the best time we had ever had.
The summer came and the campus became a little deserted as most of the students headed for home. The KA’s would be back in the fall, though, ready again.
That fall, another large pledge class joined the ranks of KA. The Mu pledge class had fourteen members. It was another proud day for Kappa Alpha when these men joined. Later in the semester, there was another Rose Ball at Paris Landing State Park, (Brother Kevin Floyd extinguished that dance with his famous fire extinguisher routine), a new Rose, Jan Chase, and another election. The three elected officers were all Kappas: Jerry Morris, I. Keith Graves, II, and Jeff Hohman, III. Thus the fall of 1974 came to an end, and so does my chapter of KA history. Even though I cut the last part of it rather short so as to avoid overlapping with my co-authors, I hope you have found it worth your while to read it.
As a footnote, I would like to tell you about the current status of the Kappas. Brother Barney Cooper, after some time in Arizona, is married and living in Frankfort. Eddie Duvall graduated on time, (some of the Kappas didn’t make it) and is working in Frankfort in his father’s business. Steve Finkle successfully completed his degree with a double major, and is working-in Hopkinsville as a counselor in a local school. Mark Graham, past no. I. and narrowly defeated in a bid to become Student Government President while in school, is married and living in Hopkinsville employed as an assistant city planner. Keith Graves graduated and is farming in Ballard County, Ky. Dennis Hite graduated and is doing student teaching in Murray. Butch Kyle is still at Murray doing work in fisheries and wildlife biology. Mark Lobstein gave up on old Murray State and joined the Air Force. He has recently gotten married. Frank Manganiello is married and living in Florida. Jerry Morris graduated and is living in Owensboro employed as an auditor For Texas Gas Corp. He is engaged to be married next year. Gary Nanney left Murray to work above ground in the coal mining industry in Ohio County. He is still there getting filthy rich. David Rushing is married. The last time I saw him he was in Murray. Mike Ryan has recently gotten married. He works part-time, and attends school part-time. Doug Weil transferred to the University of Nebraska and graduated. Brad Whistle left Murray to attend a different type of school. Brother Whistle is studying to be a priest. Jeff Hohman is still doing some work at Murray in fisheries and wildlife biology. He will soon graduate.
So, as you can see, the Kappas are as mixed up on their way out as they were on their way in. But they are all Knights of the Kappa Alpha Order
by Mark Lobstein
But do you remember the time…
Well, the Spring of ‘74, my first semester as an active. I couldn’t believe it, I was a KA JA!! Well, I didn’t know quite how to act, and it showed.
Into the big Spring rush and well on my way to becoming a real Brother, I was told that we (JA’s) didn’t know how to rush. “Who, us?” So. we had the older fellas teach us. Good job guys. I guess it helped really, considering the pledge class we got that semester. But I still think we could have made it okay, and we did.
It was the JA’s that kept that pledge class in line and molded them into the actives they were to become. I can remember times that we really tried to keep them separated and couldn’t. They did their share in keeping us off guard though. For instance, I wouldn’t have Imagined Ernie Mikesell to pick Marvin (“Red Ed”) Duvall for a big brother. The contrast was unreal, but the “brotherhood” we shared… All that we did for our “little” brothers, and what they did to us. For instance, we taught Tim Whelan and Kevin Floyd how to sing “Dixie” while wearing underwear over their heads! Dennis Lakner, in retaliation, took all the beans from Chuck Brandt’s bean bag chair. Real sharing!!!
Don’t get me wrong now, we learned a lot about each other also. Mark Graham learned from Jeff Hohman and myself that a lot of girls have “…maybe heard of him…”. Mark and I also learned how to drink Vodka and play volleyball in two easy lessons. It seems Mark & I drank a quart of Vodka (with a half gallon of orange juice) just before a big KA REBEL Volleyball game. Needless to say, we didn’t do very well. As I recall, I don’t even think we stood up very long. But coach Gary Childs understood and was only upset for a short time.
The pledges did teach us a lot though. I can remember Hark Morrison teaching us all what a good pledge really is. Mark did a lot to get all of us actives together. He would wake us all up early Saturday morning and serve us pancakes straight from Mama’s kitchen. Why Mark even taught us how to swing 8, sing in the 50’s. He spent many a night outside dorm room doors with his guitar singing us to sleep (at 2:00 AM). Real brotherly, I thought.
When I think back on this time, I think of a lot of new things that happened to KA. I give a lot of credit for this to David Keller. Dave did a lot for Delta Nu and we have been stuck quite a few times had it not been for him. His enthusiasm and willingness to get things done carried over to all of us in some way. I think especially in the manner in which we took on obligations of the future.
I recall one of David’s brightest moments when he was social chairman. The chapter was still in a bit of a financial spot to have parties for just the brothers. Well, David brought us the “Back Room Brawl”, and brought it right. He kept us in suspense for so long that when the night had finally come, brothers were banging on the door to get in. It was a pledge-active night, brothers only. It seemed Keller rigged the machines in the back room so we could all play for “free”. It was simple. All we had to do was drink a little of David’s “Magic Brew” and we got a quarter to put in the machine. Sounds easy you say. Wrong! The Magic Brew just so happened to be grain alcohol and Hawaiian Punch. If that wasn’t bad enough, each game had it’s own rules. In pool, for instance, one had to take a drink to get the quarter for the table, then take a drink for every shot you took. Plus, if you didn’t sink a ball in a pocket, you had to take another drink. I don’t have to tell you that most guys were averaging two drinks per shot!!! David also provided us with food that night, hot dogs. Now, another reason for the large turn out that night was because everything was free. The hot dogs too. To get one, all one had to do was, take three drinks of the Magic Brew. Quite a few guys had quite a few hot dogs. Chuck Brandt did for one, but couldn’t get any mustard for them, as he later told his mother. He went on to protest by streaking the front of KA Mansion.
In mentioning streaking, I recall a few instances of that happening that year. And for Delta Nu, we had some fine streakers. As a matter of fact, we had the first streakers on Murray’s campus. Doug Weil and I were two of the instigators of the fad on Murray’s grounds. It was a misty night in late February, early March and Doug and I were joined by about ten other guys from various organizations on campus. Now this was during the time when girls had to be in the dorm by midnight and there was no tolerance of rule breakers. As it happened, it was pretty near 12 o’clock when we struck. We appeared at the South end of Cutchin Field and ran right test Wood’s Hall. Very much noticed I might add by the occupants bidding their boy friends good night. What a feeling! And if that wasn’t enough, we commandeered a pick-up truck, hopped aboard and proceeded to give the entire campus an eyeful. Southern Gentlemen indeed! It was still enjoyable and no harm was done, even the next night when there were more than 100 streakers on campus. I’m proud to say that KA was Number 1!!
I thought that was going to be that for the semester too. Was I wrong! My very first “Old South” was still to come. As I recall, card games were the big event during the week, with the climax coming on Friday with the softball game out at Smock’s. All went well there and with the parade of the “Stare and Bars” at the campus on Saturday. After the parade, however, things began to happen. On his way to Mr. Smock’s after the parade, Butch Kyle tried to rid himself of his assessment by turning in front of an ambulance. Right in front of the entrance to Smock’s driveway. At Smock’s house, in the meantime, Doug Weil has beaten Chick Bello in a game of pool (a rare feat even if Chick were smashed).
AT the dance, things got even wilder. I remember Chick Bello doing a strip routine on top of a couple of tables while the people were still sitting there. Shades of “Heaven Lee” no doubt!! The management was none too happy with his behavior, but were even more disturbed at his going swimming in the pool when no one was ever sure as to whether there was water in it or not.
The best thing about Old South that year, as every year, was the stories that followed, one of which I’d like to pass on to you now. Chuck Brandt and Doug Weil (both of earlier fame) neither one had gotten dates that year and decided to “stag” it together to the dance. Well I don’t have to tell you that they both left a little tipsy. As can be expected, they were stopped by the local officials on their way back to Murray that evening. On being stopped, Chuck tipped his hat to the gentleman as he approached the car and Doug fell out of the car. The officer then suggested that Chuck step out of the car. Upon doing so, the policeman began questioning Chuck as to how many beers Chuck had drank. To which Chuck replied, “Almost one”” The gentleman was in disbelief of his response and began to test his reflexes. Seeing this, Doug decided to join the pair in touching the tip of their noses with the extended forefinger of their right hands. The officer was satisfied with his results that Chuck was all but dead with intoxication and suggested that he have his car towed in or else let his partner (Doug) drive. To which Chuck exclaimed, “He (Doug) can’t drive my car, he’s drunk!!” As it ended up, they let Chuck drive home anyway but under clods supervision from their squad car at the rear.
Now the way I remember, there wasn’t much else to tell about that Spring or even that Summer. The brothers came & went in their usual manner except toward the end of the summer when Bobby Brantley got married. It seems that was the drawing card for everyone that year. I guess we all wanted to see if held really go through with it.
Returning for the Fall semester, we found a few of our brothers not returning with us. Brad Whistle for one, left Murray and Delta Nu for the priesthood. Mark Graham for another, stayed at home and attended the University of Missouri at St. Louis, but only for that semester. I believe everyone else returned and was ready to put on one of the biggest rushes Delta Nu ever saw.
Before everyone was even settled in, I seem to remember a small party taking place up in Heaven one evening. It seems someone had gone South and brought back five bottles of Tequila, some salt and some lemons. I could not believe some of the things that happened as a result. Jerry Morris passed out on the pinball machine, Doug Weil got lost in his bathroom in the dorm, and someone had ended up sleeping under the Illinois state flag in the back room. What a return!!
Well, rush came and went, and as I had promised, a good pledge class was inducted. Fifteen good brothers-to-be were now in the chapter. And brothers -to be they were. It didn’t take them long to catch on to the way things were done around there. Just after picking big brothers (and robbing them of everything they had) the Mu pledges staged a quite takeover of Hart Hall. All the actives that were living in Hart Hall at the time were captured, tied together and marched to the North side of Roy Stewart stadium.
The actives finally got the Pledges on their side when Brother Mark Graham came for a visit one weekend. It seems that Mark was involved with a girl back home and rumor had it that he was engaged (although it was never established as to whether it was true or not). Well, that being the case, a treeing was in order, and so was it done. Pretty nicely I might add too. This was just the first of many to be held that semester, both pledge and active.
Homecoming that year was held at Cherokee Lodge. I really don’t think that needs mentioning except for the fact that I hope it is never held there again!! It was so cold there, you didn’t need ice for your drinks. I hope the chapter learned that cheapest doesn’t always necessarily mean the best. As was learned at Rose Ball that year.
Ah, yes, Rose Ball ‘74. It was held at the beautiful and fulfilled Paris Landing Resort. A number of brothers were unable to attend that year for being suspended. It seems that we wanted to get out of debt so bad, that suspensions were in order for those delinquent in their dues. and you know what? It worked. People paid on time so they could go to the different functions, and we started to make a dent inward in the debt column.
Yes, that was the big turning point when I was an active in Delta Nu. Jerry Morris was elected No. I and saw through a very productive year as KA’s new leader. He not only led us that year but made a name for the Greek system and later when on to become the President of the Interfraternity Council.
So. those were the “good old days”. the good times of that time. You may wonder what happened to those days sometime, and think they are lost. Lost, that is, until you hear those echoes in the distant. . . “Wheat, barley, alfalfa, Give ‘em Hell Kappa Alpha. Wheat, barley, hay, Give ‘am Hell KA!!
by Mike Wilson
I came down to Murray from the Midwestern metropolis of Bloomington, Illinois in the fall semester of 1974. Not knowing anyone at all, it became very easy for me to get to know the brothers of Kappa Alpha during rush. These guys all seemed to be down to earth, well, most of them anyway, and they all knew how to get together and have a good time. Since Steve York and I were in the same boat, being from the same general area, both he and I liked to go there for the rush parties, and decided to give pledging a shot.
My first of many mistakes as a KA was becoming president of the pledge class. While I say this with a high amount of sarcasm, there is some truth to that fact. I realized that with such outstanding diplomats as Walt Mehr, Frankie Sellers, Bobby Padgett, and Mike “Let’s spend the pledge class money on a fifty dollar hooker” Furnas to work with, it should have been an easy job. But it took a while for us to get organized and get things going, however, to this day I don’t think Eddie Duvall thinks we EVER got off the ground.
Pledging was something that I had never experienced. It was, to say the least, unique. I had heard so many rumors about eating things like a tasty Gillette Foamy pie, downing it with a chaser of Brut 33. So I was ready the first night that “Grace Week” ended. About 1:00 in the morning, I heard a rapping on my Franklin Hall door, and three burly laughs outside in the hall. It was Dave Rushing, Keith Graves and Mark Morrison. York and I had filled three trash cans with water, but then he left me by myself, promising to return in case of attack. Now York may be six foot five, but his courage at that time couldn’t have been over two feet tall. Anyway, I opened the door and tossed the water on the three, not doing a REAL good job of soaking them, but enough to make them drip pretty well. I think they were in shock for about five seconds because all they wanted to do was get us all over to the house as a pledge class, something we hadn’t been able to do all week. That was funny when I think about it, mainly because at the time I was so paranoid about everything.
But for the most part, pledgeship was a very rewarding experience. I kept hearing actives saying that you’ll talk about your pledgeship more than anything once you are an active and they were right about that. The Mu’s did turn out OK though. We had two future presidents in York and Padgett, a future number two and three in Kent Jackson, and a future number three in myself. And as we continued through the semester, I think we gained a lot of confidence against the actives. It figured though. When you have guys to stand behind like Joe Ellis, Steve Hillyard, Al Whitlock, and even sometimes York, that’s a pretty good front four. And we could always stand Tony Martin, Frankie Sellers, and Phil Grubbs on each others shoulders and hide them behind Padgett. I always tried to hide behind the light socket hair of Barry Briscoe, or the ‘mad egyptian’ hair of Ross Moore.
It wouldn’t be right to talk about pledging and leave out the walkout. We went to Murfreesboro, Tennessee, then headed to Nashville. I believe there were five cars in the whole group, and by 10:00 the first night we were in 5 different cities. We lost each other in the big city, and we each had a good time in the different places. But if it weren’t for Jerry Pace, I think Mike Furnas would be in jail to this day. Furnas was the class treasurer, which is a little bit like loaning a thousand dollars to Al Capone in hopes that you will get it back. Anyway, Furnas tried to smooth talk a ‘massage parlor worker’ into a ‘massage’. He talked to smooth that he lost all of our money, and Pace, who was probably the best trainer a pledge class could hope for, had to back and retrieve the lost items. When we got back to Murray, we asked each other how their own walkouts were.
Even with all that, after we became active, I noticed we had started with fifteen pledges and ended up with fourteen being initiated. So I guess the actives weren’t that bad. Not as bad as my typing, anyway.
My first active semester was Spring of 1975. A small pledge class included the infamous John Scott, who we thought was a cross between the tin man and the entire front four of the Los Angeles Rams. But John was a hard worker from the word go, and he will always be as long as there is KA, because even after he leaves Murray in 1987, I know he’ll come back for dances.
If I had to be the head of a large fraternity, which we were turning into, I’d want to do exactly as Mark Graham did for us. There’s something Mark had that I never could quite figure out. Maybe it was his smile, good nature, or his ROTC haircut. You wouldn’t want to meet a nicer guy, and he pulled us from the red financially to way over into the black. And he did this within the space of about a semester. He never quit having ideas for projects, and even though some of the guys though he was nuts, it all paid off in the long run. With Mark at the helm, people around campus were slowly turning their heads in the direction of the KA House. The only time they looked the other way was when Steve York took off his shoes!
I believed we finished third in the all-sports standings that year, but better things were to come. When the Xi pledge class was installed in the Fall of 1975, we had jumped off to a three and 0 start in softball. After we beat the Pikes by one run and a sensational play by yours truly (I like being modest) there was no stopping us. We all contributed in our own way. When someone wasn’t hitting, we all said not to worry about it and someone else would pick up the slack. We walked through the Greek League undefeated that year, and except for the Pike game, nobody even came near beating us. I think the greatest sight was after we beat the Sigma Chi’s to take over first by two games, I looked up from the pitchers mound and saw about nine thousand KA shirts coming down the hill to do a “Wheat-Barley”. That’s when I started to realized what KA was all about.
We won the all-sports trophy that year by a landslide. I think we finished ahead of whoever was in second by about 25 points. We also had the president of the IFC, Jerry “Sleepy” Morris, my big brother, so I couldn’t let him down and I took it over after his term expired. As long as I live, I’ll never meet anyone with a nickname so suited for anyone as Jerry has for him. He could attract girls as much as anyone, and sometimes I often wonder why his dates were also calling him sleepy. I’ll leave it at that.
We had a lot of fun that year, winning the all-sports, and I sincerely believe that our chapter was closer than ever after that season. The Xi’s were a pretty good class. There were some pretty classy guys, Chuck Thurman, Randy Rodewald, Bill Russell, Stewart Young, Jim Chambers to name a few. They didn’t work real hard but for most of them it changed when they became actives. There was also Harris Bowers. He’d do anything for anyone, and if you were lucky, sometimes he wouldn’t even charge you. When he was House Manager he did a lot of things some people thought were dumb, but they always turned out to be effective. If you knew Harris, he always tried to do them for the good of the chapter. That was the first thing on his mind, and he worked on a lot of great things that a lot of guys overlooked.
We were shaping up. Even the girls at our parties were looking better. I remember Steve York’s love affair with a girl named Bridgett, or as we called her, “Bridgett the Midgett”. This girl was big, and she wanted York. I really felt sorry for Steve, but then my mind wandered back to the first night of pledging when he abandoned me, and I wished him luck and ordered a pizza. Anyway, Steve faked being tired, and went up to his room to lay in bed. Mistake! Bridgett’s all seeing eyes caught York going to his quarters, and she ran up the stairs after him. I heard cries of HELP and I thought that Kevin Floyd had just met another girl. Actually, it was York. The poor guy was being smothered by this girl, and I saw him try to come up for air. When he did, John Scott and I suggested that we go get a pizza, and York jumped up and said, “Great idea”. To this day, Steve still claims that John and I saved his life.
My years at Delta Nu also enabled me to meet such outstanding KA’s as Knight Commander Reynolds Cheney, Province Commander Bob McLean, and one of my favorites, former Knight Commander Richard T. Feller. These three men really impressed all of the brothers. What got my attention was the fact that Mr. Chaney and Mr. Feller were able to relate so well with the younger brothers. But they still had some great stories about their ‘good old days’ and you wonder how distinguished men like that could ever in the world do some of the things you did yourself as an active. I always thought that when one of these guys would talk to you, they would be critical of the way things were at Delta Nu. But they offered some of the best advice for finances and chapter projects that I had ever heard of. And I can’t help but think that the chapter never would have come this far if it hadn’t been for the help of some of the national officers. As thrilled as I was to meet them, I think that they got an even bigger thrill out of sitting back and seeing the chapter grow, and become one of the finest in the Order.
And we weren’t without our fun during the summer. Every year Dale Gerstenecker had an Illinois party at his home, located on the Illinois side of St. Louis. One summer Steve Becker and I decided we’d go down and see who would show for the party. Well, it turned out, the only guys that could make it were myself, Becker, Gerst, Frankie Sellers, and Eli Alexander. Gerst had purchased a keg, so we all sat around drank for most of the afternoon. Then we decided to have a cook out, so we went to the store to buy some stuff to cook with. As I was walking through the produce section, I looked up and spied a ham flying through the air and headed my way. I caught the thing, looked back, and saw Becker and Eli playing baseball with a three foot long piece of Polish sausage. These guys were almost 21? So after we left the store in a shambles, we cooked out some kind of pork steaks. I think the one I had must have had leprosy as a pig, because it literally made me sick. The cookies were being tossed right after dinner. And that night we went to a German beer festival, where the beer is even served in buckets. This is not the thing to do right after you’ve been sick. But what the heck. I remember going up to the dunk tank, drunk as a louse, and dunking that idiot up there three times in a row, just one shy of picking up myself fifty bucks. And then Becker tried to get my autograph and some of the baseballs to sign it on, and sell them to the people. This was also the first time I had seen girls wear bib overalls with no shirt on underneath. I think that those girls were in thigh school, I mean high school. At any rate, the old eyes were really popping right out of the head. We all got very drunk that night, and the four of us slept in a trailer next to Gerstenecker’s house. They had some roosters next to the trailer, and they were crowing all night long. Pretty soon, Eli got tired of all the noise they were making, and started to answer them with some ‘cock-a-doodle-doos’ of his own. He must have said something mean, because pretty soon they really started to crow loud and mean back at him. Well, Eli got scared and said “I was only kidding” and soon things were quiet again. In the morning, as we were all hung over and the last thing we wanted to see was more beer, Gerst came in to the trailer with a big smile on his face, a 12 foot stack of pancakes, and, yes, a bucket filled to the top with beer. Then he stated that it was time for breakfast, making all of us bury our heads in a pillow, and almost get sick again. I’m really surprised that Dale is still alive today.
Then there’s Butch Kyle. Don’t ever get “The Chief” mad at you, or you’re a marked man. Butch pretty well does what he wants, and isn’t afraid of too many people, the least of which is me. I loaned him a pan to cook something in one day, and about two weeks later I asked him if I could have it back because I needed it. He goes, “Oh, sure, Mike, I’m sorry, I forgot I even had it”. Well, he came down to my room with a smug look on his face, and I saw it still had some king of nasty soup in it, and I asked him if he could clean it out. He said, “I can’t”, and turned the thing upside down. But nothing fell out, the soup was hard as a rock, and molded into the pan. I couldn’t believe it. By this time Butch was on the floor laughing, and I saw visions of Butch spending the rest of his life walking around with a pan in his backside. But he took the pan and cleaned it out. I think he used some kind of industrial strength acid, because half of the pan was gone by the time he had the whole thing cleaned. I don’t think it’s possible to have another person like Butch Kyle in the world, so I’m glad I’m good friends with the one and only.
Getting back to Gerstenecker, I don’t think that I’ve seen anyone work any harder in my life than Dale. The guy knows his industrial ed, and he put it to good use around the house. He was always fixing things up, giving us tables for the front room and other home furnishings. Not only that, he was easy to talk to, and a good rusher. He was basically a quiet person, except when he could get his hands on some beer, in which case he turned into a werewolf. He was smart, and had a lot of respect from all the brothers. He worked his tail off for the chapter, and if I had worked half as hard, I’d be a lot better off for it.
The improvement at Delta Nu has been unbelievable. We came so far in so little time that it took all of us a while to get used to being number one. I think that the chapter spirit spoke for itself when about 20 brothers travel to Murfreesboro for Province Council. This was even more than the host school, Middle Tennessee, had at the meetings. We got a lot of good ideas about rush at this, and it paid off.
The Fall of 1976 brought the Pi pledge class to KA. All 26 of them. It was the second largest on campus, but by the time initiation rolled around, we had the largest. That’s what makes our pledge program so good. I think the pledges can learn something about what type of person he should strive to be, and why we try to pattern our lives after Robert E. Lee. So the program is not one to demean them, but to teach them something that should benefit them through the rest of their lives.
If I had to sum up the time between 1975 and 1976, it would have to be the amount with which we improved our Chapter and ourselves, both personally and financially. We came so far in that time, and I think that other chapters noticed this as well as the top officers of the Order. We hosted a walkout for the University of Missouri at Rolla, and they couldn’t believe some of the parties we had. I think that even the parties show a lot of brotherhood because you have to work together to put one on, and that’s something we do very well.
And I wouldn’t be a true KA if I didn’t talk about Old South. Is it possible for a fraternity to throw a week long party? Only if you’re a KA. When Sleepy and Keith Graves told me about Old South when I was rushing, I couldn’t even imagine something like that could exist. Of course, it became better with age because I knew more of the alumni. It was great seeing them come in at all times during the week. A lot of the alumni came in on the last two days of the week, because of work. But some guys, like Dave Kellar, planned their vacation around the week, and showed up on Monday for every party. That’s something I’d like to do some year, get off of work for Old South week and pretend I was in college again by partying with all of the actives and pledges the entire week. The only trouble with doing everything like that is that it has to end some time, and when it’s over, the last thing in the world you want to do is leave.
I remember on time Dennis Arndt told me that you don’t really appreciate the chapter to its fullest until you become an alumni. At the time, I just listened to him and nodded my head, half believing him and half not. But now that I’m in the same boat he is, I see what he means. Sometimes, I just sit back and think about those days, because I want them to be a part of me again so bad. When you live up here, not many guys get to see you because all of their roots are in the south. But I do look at the old yearbooks and wonder what everyone is up to back at Delta Nu. I learned so much down there, and I saw the chapter come so far that I can’t believe it was one something I was involved in every day, not just at special functions. It’s something I’ll never forget, and certainly a part of me I’ll never regret.
To close my part of the book, I’d like to quote a television commercial. I believe it was for a telephone company, and the basic message or point was “Good friends are for keeps”, and I think, in my case, that quote is an understatement. Thanks, Delta Nu, for being a giant part in my life.
Mu Pledge Class (Fall, 1974)
by Bobby Padgett
In 1976, when the nation was celebrating 200 years, Delta Nu was experiencing the growing pains of a short history of seven years. The Spring semester that year was one in a long line of “typical” Springs. Murray got record rains, and we had a small pledge class, with an apathetic chapter. In the Fall, we made the usual comeback, but in a way that will continue to influence the chapter for many years to come.
Now don’t get me wrong about the Spring. There were many dedicated members who were willing to pitch in. But on the whole, we were divided into about four “clics” that got together to eat in the cafeteria and argue at meetings on Sunday nights. Of course, we did shine big in some areas. One of the biggest triumphs that Spring was to clinch the ’75-76 school year Interfraternity Council All-Sports Trophy. The pride of the sports that semester was the bowling teams. We had three or four separate teams. Two of them brought home trophies for First and Fourth place. We were actually quite good. The brothers partied before and after, and we always had a fair crowd at the alley cheering us on. Brothers won over seven individual trophies throughout the bowling season.
We did do one other thing well that semester. We partied like crazy. One real strange party was a joint effort, with of al people, the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter on campus. We booked a hall in Calvert City, and split all cost with the other chapter. It started with the band being late. No sweat! A Sig Ep just drove his car in, and we listened to the radio. One crew of our brothers, headed by David Saylor, Jeff Craig, and John Scott brought two kegs for only ten people. That party went from moderately wild to raving lunacy. Even mild mannered chuck Thurman let loose. It seems that Chuck didn’t care for the decor in the bathrooms. All night we caught him trying to change it to early WW II.
We had several hardcore partiers that Spring. I remember that Brothers John Klemencic and Eddie Duvall used to “occasionally” give great demonstrations of how to drink to excess. But they had totally different styles. “Klem” would get drunk, and then get hungry. But he mostly ate light bulbs, menus, money and an occasional beer mug. Then he would sing the Fight Song, and go out to try and find his motorcycle that he lost the previous semester while in an “embalmed” state. On the other hand, “Red Ed” was more subtle, He would slouch around the house, with a cigarette barely hanging in his mouth, mumbling something about University of KY basketball and try to get the eternal student, Scott Barker, to go South and help molest women.
We had several brothers who were involved in campus activities. Brother Jerry Morris, whom I succeeded as #1 in January, was elected President of the MSU Interfraternity Council. As President, he instituted programs that would bring the Greeks together on campus, most of which are still in effect. Many brothers were working with the Student Government Association. Much of this involvement resulted from the work of Brother Mark A. Graham. “Grizz” was very involved in all levels of campus activity. That Spring he was narrowly defeated in a bid for President of the SGA. The contest was so close that the first ballot was thrown out and a second was held. Mark went on to become and employee of the University with even greater responsibilities. He was responsible for a needed boost in KA’s image with the Administration.
Many of the parties that Spring were attempts to draw the brothers closer together. The hero of two of those events was Chuck “Bad Charlie” Brandt. Chuck won the official pledge class drink off. Each pledge class represented in the active chapter at that time entered. Each pledge class saved the empty cans that it’s members drank. At the end of the night, that number was divided by the number doing the drinking. Chuck won with a solo entry for the Iota pledge class. His average was better than 28 beers. Later that night, he was seen depositing all 28 plus in the bushes out back.
Chuck’s next big party was named in his honor, BCB Truck Party. Chuck volunteered his Pickup, to haul kegs and people out to the lake. At the appointed night, we loaded about four pickups with brothers. Each truck was supplied with sufficient beer to make the journey. Our destination was the Blood River Cemetery, where a Confederate Soldier is buried. After a suitable bonfire was lit, all of the brothers began to get lit. We then divided into two teams. Our team took to the woods, the had the bonfire. The bonfire team had to try to “capture” men of the other team. It ended up that every one was so drunk that they kept switching teams, and we just chased each other around the woods all night.
It was sometime during that summer that a change came over the chapter. It was the beginning of a lot of hard work, work that paid off. Sometime after John Scott, Greg Todd and I returned from the National Leadership Institute, a renovation of the house and property began. It started with Brothers Graham, Jeff Hohman, and Keith Graves. They built an outdoor, brick bar on the back patio. Out in the yard they built a large Bar B Q pit. This opened up the back yard as another place for parties.
Then alumni Brother Gary Case rolled into town. He had come to Murray, of all places, for his yearly vacation. When he saw the work going on, he just naturally volunteered his services. With Gary’s wallpapering experience and assistance from Brother Steve York, the living room got a badly needed change. They expertly repapered the room in record time. Well, by this time, the work was getting contagious. As brothers returned for the fall term, they were caught up in the effort. In the short week before Fall rush started, we gave the house one hell of a face lift.
A new ceiling was installed in the living room. All of the woodwork and halls on the main floor were painted. A welcome sign for the freshman was made. The yard was manicured. We put in new, wall to wall shag carpeting. I am proud to say that the cost for all of this work was paid for by donations from the brothers who did the work. And Gary Case, who was on vacation, paid for all of the entire job. Then Brother Lynn “Woody” Adamson donated a large trophy case. It looked great with our new All-Sports Trophy in it. The parents of Janice Savidge, a Southern Belle, lavaliered to Brother Harris Bowers, overwhelmed us by donating nearly new, matching living room furniture.
The change was incredible. We finished just hours before the first rush party began. All of the work and brotherhood carried on into the rush program. We had a new rush calendar that year, with new ideas. It was the first time that a fraternity charged for all rush events that were open to the campus. The hole thing ended with one big party that everyone celebrated our work at. We converted the entire house into the classiest nightclub in Western Kentucky. We had indoor and outdoor bars with a live band inside and the juke box outside. The “Rebel Pub” was definitely the party on campus that Fall.
However, the best accomplishment of the rush was the pledge class it produced. For the Pi Pledge Class was 28 men strong when we inducted them. It was an unheard of feat for us. It is hard to convey the joy and shock that we felt. It was total chaos for days. Man did we celebrate. But it didn’t stop! The pledge class helped bring another first. The elected #II would no longer be the Pledge Director. This task was to fall to two men. That fall it was Brothers Jeff Hohman and Mark Graham. Jeff and Mark, or “Hoho” and “Grizz” were the perfect pair for the job. They met when they pledged together their first semester at Murray, as a part of the Kappa Pledge Class. Ever since, they have been inseparable and unbeatable. The program was left entirely up to them. They moved our system forward with leaps and bounds.
You can’t imagine what it was like to have pledge class of this size. When they decided that it was time to play “games” with the actives, you know it. One time, I was at the house when they decided that they were going to take it over. I was most unceremoniously tossed out the front door. We couldn’t get enough actives out of bed to even put up a good showing. Luckily they got bored after several hours and went home when nobody came to counter attack. The Pi Pledge Class holds another record in the chapter. It was made when we initiated 22 of them as brothers of Kappa Alpha Order. Two of these pledges deserve special recognition. That semester, while having to pledge, they finished the semester with perfect 4.0 grade point averages. I would like to mention that Brother David Keller, later to become Alumni Advisor, lost a $50 bet when we pledged the Pi’s.
Still another goal we achieved that semester, was to clean up the chapter’s ailing financial status. For years we had labored under a debt of long standing. The brothers again pulled together and raised the monthly dues to $22, the summer dues had been raised to $15 the previous Spring. The chapter officers took a harder stand on the timely payment of dues and the brothers backed it. This war on red ink brought many changes and cutbacks. That Fall we became one of the first major fraternities not to build a homecoming float. Now that might seem sacrilegious to the old school spirit, but there were just reasons. Spiraling material cost had made even a simple float cost in the hundreds. After local businesses turned down a request for financial support, we decided not to enter. We did, however, have a pickup full of brothers to throw candy to the kids in the parade. Because others have since followed suit, there is now partial aid for Greek organizations participating in the homecoming festivities.
Another big cost cutting decision by the brothers was to cancel the Fall Rose Ball. Instead, we had a combination Christmas Party and Rose Ball in the back room. The brotherhood behind that move made it one hell of a party. John Scott brewed up some Christmas Red Jungle Juice and we all exchanged presents and sang every Christmas carol known to man three times. I played Santa Claus and believe me, with the Jungle Juice, Santa was never jollier!
All of the budget trimming, combined with a Christmas vacation candy sale by the brothers, brought the chapter firmly out of debt before the beginning of the Spring semester. To me that was the cream on the milk, we had come a long way since the Spring. As I reflect on it now, I am even prouder of the devotion, hard work, unselfishness, and sacrifice that the brothers showed that fall. It was an inspiration to every one involved.
We also established an award within the chapter that semester. The KA of the Year was to be awarded only at such time that the active chapter should deem that it was deserved. It was to salute outstanding work, not only within the chapter, but also in campus affairs, while maintaining the high standards of the Order in his life. The first recipient of the award was Mark A. Graham, voted KA of the Year, 1976. His work in student government, student activities and his devotion to the chapter was an example for us all to strive for. In December, he succeeded me as #I of the chapter.
I am glad to have had this chance to recall all of these accounts. I wish that I had the time to relate all of the little crazy things that went on around the house. Things like Jeff Craig’s “activities” in the basement, or what being initiated into living at the house was, or why they once sang “Shine on Padgett’s Moon” or some of “Moke” Lobstein’s war stories about the sororities will have to wait till another time. On the whole, 1976 was a very good year for Kappa Alpha at Murray State. We accomplished things that used to be only dreams. I hope that we were successful in laying a foundation from which our future goals can be reached. I believe that we were, and am proud to have been a part of it.
Robert B. Padgett
by Harris Bowers
Many events, episodes, altercations, and accomplishments took place at Delta Nu during the year of 1977, which as I write this is almost five years ago. Since having been asked to write this chapter, I’ve written down many thoughts, notes, and ideas. So many things happened that year that now are nothing but memories. Perhaps this book along with the old Chapter Minute Book will help preserve some of those events, and maybe even rekindle a long forgotten evening in an Alumnus’s past.
The spring of 1977, as with all spring semesters brought with it a new Number 1 and set of officers. Mark Graham was elected President with the stipulation that he would not have to live in the house, and also that he would serve only one semester, due to the fact that he was getting married that summer. Officers for the Spring Semester were Mark Graham I, Stewart Young II, Greg Todd III, David Delaney IV, Dale Gerstenecker V, Steve York VI, Jerry Morris VII, Don Howard VIII, and David Phillipi IX. Officers for the Fall Semester were Steve York I, Stewart Young II, Kent Jackson III, David Delaney IV, Harris Bowers V, Tim Tucker VI, Tom Williams VII, John Scott VIII, and David Phillipi IX.
Things looked exceptionally good from the start. The house had been redecorated the previous semester and we also had taken a large pledge class, and raised the dues. This combination along with a “get tough” policy on delinquent accounts placed us in excellent shape when Mark took over from Bobby Padgett. Sixteen pledges in the Rho pledge class were icing on the cake. Kimber Barton, Greg Bazzell, Brian Bogart, Mark Cummins, Stan Elliot, Chip Gill, Kirk Johnson, Bob Krantz, Bob Little, Greg Miller, Steve Miller, Dirk Morgan, Lew Polivick, Gary Sweets, Tim Tucker, and David Wills. This was a pretty rowdy bunch of guys when it came to hell raising.
As far as chapter organization was concerned, we entered a new era of organization. Previous presidents took the-job completely on their own shoulders, and try as they might, could not accomplish it all alone. Mark Graham instituted a new “committee” system. Almost everyone was on at least one committee, some were on several. Mark would-appoint committee chairmen, and these people would report directly to Mark, ( he would call them at least once a week for a report)., The Number I’s job changed from a “doer” to an administrator. This benefited the chapter in two ways: The Number 1 could take on more projects, and the chapter became more involved in activities.
The Pi pledge class had proven, beyond a doubt that the easiest way to make money was to have a party. The Rho’s continued with this tradition by showing the chapter a tremendous semester of parties. While I will neither endorse nor condemn it we became known as “THE KA BAR and GRILLE”. The Rho’s pledge project that year was a new Curtis Mathis color television which to this day still stands in the new T.V. room, upstairs.
Disco was the big thing that semester, and Mike (Show Biz) Reilly invested in disco equipment and really turned the backroom on. Old South that year featured a Sharecropper’s Ball at the courtyard of the pseudo student center. Show Biz set up his equipment there, and between going back and forth to the house for ‘refreshments’, dancing, and having a good time, everyone enjoyed themselves.
Old South that year was held at the Ramada Inn in Jackson, Tennessee. The Thursday night of Old South week, we featured a “Gong Show” at the house. Eddie Duvall had broken his arm earlier, and had it in a sling. Tom (tree frog) Williams capitalized on the situation and entered the show with an impersonation of Eddie that was the “best”. Tom got a U.K. hat, a can of Bud, a sling for his arm, and with a cigarette just barely hanging out of his mouth, swaggered around the stage proclaiming the “Cats” to be the best.
That semester also saw Bad Charlie Brandt’s bachelor party. Held in the back room, it was definitely a wild evening. Boilermakers started the evening off, along with the usual good cheer that is found at parties of this sort, until the song singing began. After several renditions of ‘Allouetta’, Colombo and There is a Tavern in the Town, someone sang Doo-Da and included a pun about Chuck and his soon to be Bride, Sheila Bostick. Marvin (Eddie) Duvall took care of that by tossing the contents of his full beer cup at him. He answered back by paying Ed the same compliment in return. For the next few moments flying beer was everywhere. Upon awakening the next morning, I for one found myself still in my beer soaked clothes
Brian Bogart helped to renew a long standing KA tradition by allowing his pledge book to be nailed to a tree, pledges learned how to quack at cars, and Jeff Hohman continued “The Biology Song” to everyone’s entertainment.
The summer of 1977 left the house, which is usually empty, full. John Scott got to spend the first of many summers there, along with Leland Rish, Jim Chambers, Scott Barker, Butch Kyle, Vic Cooke, Greg Todd, and Harris Bowers.
Living in the house for the summer is a real experience. The high point of entertainment was sitting on the front step, with a can of liquid refreshment, watching the cars go by. Occasionally, however, something would happen. Mike Ryan’s bachelor party was held sometime early that summer. The party was the standard fare, however for some, it lasted until the Wedding hour the next day. Scott Barker had a huge stereo in his room downstairs, and about 4:00 a.m. he decided to turn it on. LOUD! The noise wasn’t so bad, but the dishes rattling were. Leland, Jim Chambers, and myself asked them nicely if they would turn it down. Our reply was “We’re listening to it out here (outside) and we need to have it loud so we can hear it.” An attempt by us to turn it down was foiled due to the fact that Barker’s room was locked. So we had to resort to blowing the fuse.
Mark Lobstein may have been the Alpha Sigma Alpha Man of the Year, 1976, but John Scott was definitely the Kappa Alpha Stud of the Year, 1977. John and Steve York lived in Heaven that semester. On several occasions late at night, when John would feel frustrated, or suffer from a lack of female companionship, he would announce it, usually to whoever was in the room at the time. (York and myself) This happened several times during the semester, usually after 1:00 a.m., so York and myself became rather good at preparing for it. John would go into the phone booth that was set up in the old T.V. room closet, and call “Midnight Marsha”, as she was fondly referred to. York and I would always be invited to listen in on John’s sweet talking to entice “Midnight” into coming over to the house. As far as preparing for it, we would have to take a bath towel along, and keep it in between our teeth as to keep from laughing out loud. And believe me some of the things he said to her had us actually rolling on the floor until our stomachs hurt.
This was also the year of the “Pizza Girl”. She made it to almost all of the open parties, and was always the last one to either leave or get picked up. The story goes, that she would do anything for anybody, but only if you would take her out and buy her a pizza first.
Having lived in the house for three consecutive years, I am able to relate many of the little things that happened. Scott Barker eating light bulbs off of the Christmas Tree, Poor Man’s Rose Ball of 1975, with Wilson doing his immortal “DOO-Dah”’ dying cockroaches, going South, fake initiations, and the like.
Although there is no return to those days, lasting memories, friendships, and a growing, developing Delta Nu, remain.
As I signed each and every pledge book, REMEMBER WHAT YOU ARE.
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