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Delta Tau Delta Epsilon Mu ShelterEpsilon Mu Chapter of Delta Tau Delta was chartered at Ball State University in 1966, and is one of the oldest fraternities on the BSU campus. University administration and faculty members have noted that our Delt chapter has been virtually immune to the cycles of ups and downs which hamper other fraternities, and that Delts have held a leading position on campus for over 40 years.

Epsilon Mu Chapter has frequently been a recipient of national attention. Consistently ranked as a top chapter in Delta Tau Delta, Epsilon Mu Chapter has won the "Hugh Shields" Award for one of the top ten outstanding chapters in the nation thirteen times in its 41 year history, the 3rd best of any other chapter in the country to be so recognized.

Epsilon Mu History Title

The brotherhood of Epsilon Mu has its beginning during the year of 1961 when this institution was known as Ball State Teachers College. It was September of that year that a small group of about 15 men realized their need to join together. They lived near one another on the second floor of Elliot Hall, and used the various members' rooms as their meeting places.

These men had originally called themselves "Tappa Kegga Dayski", but within a month changed their name to "Sigma Phi Nothing". Their primary purpose for organization was for participation in intramural sports, especially volleyball and basketball. The men's performance in these sports led to the adoption of their more permanent name, "Goovnaz", via suggestion of member Randy Ziolkowski.

The men of Goovnaz were quite active in the government and operation of Elliot Hall. The desk's staff was composed almost exclusively of its members, and one could be reasonably sure of reaching the entire organization by simply calling the Elliot Hall desk. In addition, so many Goovnaz members were on the Elliot Hall Council that at any given council meeting a near quorum of Goovnaz was always present.

During the summer of 1962, the men of Goovnaz gathered together for a party at brother Louis Abraham's cottage on a private lake near Brownstown, Indiana. It was at this party that the men realized that the brotherhood they had begun extended far beyond their participation in sports.

Throughout the 1962-1963 school year, the men continued to work together in various projects. They became even more active in the area of Hall Government. The Elliot Hall "Bike-A-Thon" team that year was practically a Goovnaz team.

In the summer of 1963, the men once again gathered at Louie's cottage. Fun and good times were the main activity, but it was at this party that Goovnaz decided to return to school with one main intent: to begin a new fraternity.

To secure a permanent meeting place was the men's first objective in the fall of 1963. The director of Elliot Hall authorized the men to use part of the fourth floor attic as the hall. The room was long, narrow, and had a sloping ceiling due to its location under eaves of the hall roof.

The room was actually an old storage closet, but before long was divided into three separate rooms. One was a kitchen, another was a meeting and study room and the third, a lounge. The walls were covered by thousands of cigarette packages the men had stapled together. The furnishings were whatever they could get their hands on.

It was in the windowless attic room that the Goovnaz Constitution and eventually the bylaws for Pi Delta Gamma were written. Countless hours were spent in this room working for fraternity status, and the brotherhood that resulted became a main factor in the men's lives.

On November 4, 1963, the members of Goovnaz passed their official constitution. Also on this date the men elected their first officers. There were Jerry Brelage, President; Dennis Hockney, Vice President; Tom Seffrin, Secretary; and Jeff Snyder, Treasurer. Little more that a month later, on December 12, the Ball State Senate passed the Goovnaz Constitution recognizing the group as an official campus organization.

During the first months of the 1963-1964 school year, a second group on campus working toward the same goal of becoming a fraternity. Located in neighboring Wagoner Hall, the group was composed of several men who wanted to organize immediately rather than to wait to participate in the school's deferred rush system. The men had chosen "Fratry", the Greek word meaning brotherhood, as their name. Tom Murray, Dan Guio, Robion Russell, Bill Thomas, and John Topvey were some of the brothers in this primarily freshmen organization.

Several meetings were held between the members of Goovnaz and Fratry with a possible merger as the goal. Soon it became obvious that neither of the two organizations could bring itself to unconditionally accept every member of the opposite organization as an active brother. Finally, the men of Goovnaz sent formal invitations for membership to a majority of the Fratry members. On January 27, 1964, Fratry was absorbed into the Goovnaz.

As a further approach to the goal of fraternity status, the organization changed its name to "Pi Delta Gamma". This name became official by approval of the Ball State Senate on February 12, 1964. With the change of the name came the election of the first officers of Pi Delta Gamma, they were Dennis Hockney, President; Gary Turner, Vice President; Jeff Snyder, Secretary; and Tom Seffrin, Treasurer.

At this time the Inter-Fraternity Council had assigned its expansion commissioner Jim Farrettson to aid the men in becoming an actual fraternity. He suggested that the group conduct its social activities as much like a fraternity as possible. More than willing to heed his advice, Pi Delta Gamma, on April 17, 1964, entertained the women of Sigma Sigma Sigma at its first sorority trade party.

May 11, 1964, brought the official crest of Pi Delta Gamma by the vote of the chapter. Designed by Ron Lancioni, the crest was based on the former ritual of Pi Delta Gamma installation. At the top of the crest were thirteen golden rays as a reflection of the thirteen Greek letters at the base. These Greek letters were the initials of the Pi Delta Gamma motto: "Thy duty to think and act for the benefit of man." It was upon this motto that the brotherhood of Pi Delta Gamma was founded.

Returning in the fall of the 1964-1965 school year, the men had one idea in mind: to be an official local fraternity by Christmas. Helping the men toward their goal was Dr. Margaret Kneuppel, Ball State Director of Professional Selection, who became the groups' first school sponsor on October 15, 1964. Also during the month of October, Pi Delta Gamma built and entered its first float in the Ball State Homecoming Parade. Finally, just before the Christmas break; Pi Delta Gamma was voted official Ball State fraternity status in the December 17, 1964 meeting of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

Now that Pi Delta Gamma was a fraternity, it could legally participate in the formal rush period. During the month of January, 1965 the men held their first smoker. Rush parties and coffee hours followed until the night of February 5, 1965, when Pi Delta Gamma took its first fraternity pledge class. The initial pledge class consisted of ten men. During the first few months of 1965, Pi Delta Gamma was actively pursuing their main goal of eventual affiliation with a national fraternity. Letters of interest were sent to many fraternities who were not yet established on the Ball State Campus. As a reply, several fraternities sent representatives to meet with the local men.

The different groups each has something to offer, but it was up to the men to pick the group with which they would permanently affiliate. On a cold night of March in 1965, the men packed their entire membership of 34 into a student's room in Palmer Hall. The crowded meeting lasted past 1:00 a.m. But there were no complaints for it was on this night that the men selected Delta Tau Delta in a unanimous decision.

Approximately one month later, on April 5, 1965, the men of Pi Delta Gamma were granted official status as a colony of Delta Tau Delta. At the next business meeting the men celebrated both their new affiliation and a second-place trophy win in their first participation in the "All Greek Variety Show."

The first pledge class was activated in early May 1965, just in time for the fraternity's first closed dance, which was held at the Hotel Severin in Indianapolis. The theme of the dance was "We've Been Delt With." During the summer of 1965, the brothers of this new fraternity once again gathered together. A party was held in August at the home of Lyle Thompson near Sheridan, Indiana. Eager to return to school, the men pledged themselves to devote every effort toward becoming an official chapter of Delta Tau Delta.

In the next school year of 1965-1966, the men of Pi Delta Gamma Colony made building membership their main objective. Prospective members were invited to attend everything from coffee hours and homecoming float work sessions, to the formal smoker and a "funeral party." Within this year, the fraternity took two more strong pledge classes. This school year also saw the fraternity strive to become even more active in many intramural sports and various areas of school government and operation.

Summer of '66 brought the men together for a dance and party at the Indianapolis home of Dave Toth. Enthusiasm was high because the men were sure that the new school year would see Pi Delta Gamma change its name to Delta Tau Delta.

It was late September that Pi Delta Gamma President Jim Nelson learned that November 12, 1966 would be the day that Epsilon Mu chapter of Delta Tau Delta would be established at Ball State University.

Countless meetings were held at the home of Walter Klinge, who was instrumental in bringing the Delt Chapter to this campus. A Muncie banker and alumnus of Beta Zeta chapter, Walter had been appointed as the chapter advisor at the time of installation.

Hundred of details had to be completed. The formal installation was to be held immediately followed by a reception. A banquet and presentation of the Charter were planned to bring the day to a close.

November 12,1966, was a tremendous day in the lives of 36 Ball State men. Delts from all parts of the United States gathered to witness the installation of the 94th chapter of Delta Tau Delta; the first new Indiana chapter since 1907. Honored guest at the installation was Thomas C. Clark, National President and former United States Attorney General and an Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Clark had come to personally present the Charter of Epsilon Mu to the new chapter. Also in attendance were three National Past Presidents of Delta Tau Delta: Arnold Berg, Francis M. Hughes, and Norman Macleod.

Distinguished representatives from Ball State University included President John R. Emens and many other members of the administration and faculty. Members from various campus fraternities and sororities came to congratulate the newest Ball State Greeks.

The formal installation was held in the forum room of the Ball State Student Center. Conducting the ceremonies was a team headed by President Bruce Hazlett of Beta Zeta Chapter at Butler University. Following the installation was a reception in the Gallery and West Lounge at the Arts Building. Here in the Gallery, Delt actives and alumni socialized and were served refreshments. It was at this reception that the first Delt Sweetheart, Terri Brookshire, was presented with a dozen red roses.

At the end of the day, a banquet was held at the Muncie Holiday Inn. Following the dinner, President Emens welcomed Delta Tau Delta to the University. Then, Justice Clark, President of the Fraternity, handed the Epsilon Mu charter to chapter president Jim Nelson.

The traditional closing for Delt functions found all joining in the singing of the "Delta Shelter" after which many stayed for an informal champagne toast to the new Chapter of Epsilon Mu.

Later in the year, the first elected officers of Epsilon Mu were chosen. These were Rick Hawthorne, President; Tom Borshoff, Vice President; Tom Worden, Secretary; and Joe Erne, Treasurer.

Early in the 1967-68 school year, it was announced that an agreement had been reached for the purchase of the Darrell Parson residence. The announcement came from John W. Fisher, President of Ball Corporation and also of Epsilon Mu's House Corporation. Possession was set for Jan 1, 1968, and the house itself was to be occupied by the men no later than January 15th.

The remainder of the school year was spent in building membership and branching out into activities. On May 3, 1967, Epsilon Mu entered its first team in the Lambda Chi Alpha "Bike- A-Thon" In April of '67, Delta Tau Delta won first place in the men's competition of "Spring Sing."

The marriages of several chapter members during the summer of '67 were good reasons for the men of Epsilon Mu to get together. At these reunions, the members agreed that their next goal for the coming year was to purchase a fraternity house.

The house itself was a rambling three-story brick structure and was the only residence on Riverside situated on a full city block of property. The acquisition of the Delt shelter of Epsilon Mu brought the men more than just a place to live.

Here in the mortar and brick was evidence of the brotherhood that began with the close friendship of a few men in an attic room. Here was a material possession, which exemplified the willingness of the men living within to work together for a common goal. And at last here was a monument to the countless future members of Epsilon Mu who will find true brotherhood within its doors.

In the words of founder John C. Johnson, "The past salutes the present, and joins it in the hope for the future." The men of Epsilon Mu are certain they can live up to this statement with a conscientious effort. The brothers further aspire to their motto: "Our past is bright, our future if brilliant."


Last Updated: 5/1/11