By Alumni of the Chapter in San Luis Obispo

Chris “Yabut” Patterson, W’73


The history of the Delta Sigma Phi National Social Fraternity Chapter in San Luis Obispo is unique! We were the first national social fraternity at the University, a colony longer than any other in Fraternity history, and a larger colony than many chapters! As the Summer 1969 edition of the CARNATION exclaimed:

“The oldest colony in the Fraternity, and perhaps in any fraternity, became a chapter in ceremonies April 26 (1969) in San Luis Obispo, California, as the nearly 20-year-old Calpoly (sic) colony was chartered as Epsilon Rho of Delta Sigma Phi.”1

Delta Sigma Phi National became interested in the then California Polytechnic College in 1949 as a result of the college’s receiving full academic accreditation2 of four year degree programs on December 11, 1948.3 National had recently been in our area, granting a charter on February 8, 1948, to the Beta Xi colony at UC Santa Barbara.4

Surviving letter correspondence provided by National5 infers there was interest on the part of University students, in Delta Sigma Phi,6 prior to early November, 1949. On November 8, 1949, the University's Dean of Student Welfare wrote Francis Wacker, Executive Secretary, Delta Sigma Phi, that “the interested parties on campus” had requested that the Dean inform him that the college had been accredited. The Dean added that the matter of social fraternities was on the agenda “since several interested groups have made request for official status”.

On November 10, 1949, “A. Dean VanZant”, identified only as “Temporary Chairman”, wrote Francis Wacker:

“My good friend Chuck Dawe of Hilgard Chapter has kindled the fraternity urge in a group of us here. We are impressed with the record and standing obtained by Delta Sigma Phi, and would deem it a true privilege to be associated with such a fraternity. For these reasons we are contacting your fraternity before any others.

It was a bitter pill we took when word came that our College could not be recognized by the National until we were accredited. I am happy to enclose a copy of the letter proclaiming our regional accreditation.

We feel ready to pursue vigorously our endeavor and we are reasonably confident in securing a local organization and facilities of which a national fraternity will be justly proud.”7

In response, on December 17, 1949, Francis Wacker replied to the University's Dean of Student Welfare, thanking the Dean for the information on the University's recent accreditation. Mr. Wacker also stated DSP was only affiliated with accredited colleges, and inquired about the formal process for fraternity admission onto campus. He closed with, “Perhaps one of these days shortly, one of our national representatives residing in Los Angeles, will call on you personally to discuss further the affiliation of a group of men on your campus with Delta Sigma Phi.”8

The total body of research on the question of when we first became associated with DSP National, in 1949 or 1950, is contradictory. National’s 2008 search of the CARNATION for this period did not provide any insight to this question.9 Our 1967 charter petition to National states that our local was established in 194910 and became officially associated with DSP at the beginning of 1950:

“In January of 1950, William S. Noblitt11 and Francis Wacker12 visited the University and conferred with the Student Faculty Committee on the question of (Social) Fraternities (being recognized) on campus. The charter members of the local received approval. That same evening Noblitt and Wacker visited with the local. The local decided to go with Delta Sigma Phi. Follow up visits such as those in 1950 by William Noblitt, Francis Wacker and Frank Floyd,13 field representative, helped establish operation and rush techniques.”14

At this time there were no national social fraternities at the University. As the CARNATION reports, “Though rather rocky at first, the organization picked up strength in 1950-51 under colony president Don Johnson, a man who was to become the chapter supervisor (and ACB President15) and prime mover for many years.”16

Our first class was Spring 1950. One of its members recalls that his pledge class spent a weekend at the Beta Xi chapter in Santa Barbara. They worked alongside their pledges, received instruction, and were quizzed on Fraternity information.17

Ira “Dad” Schab, a Pearl Harbor survivor in the Winter 1952 class, was Don Johnson’s little brother and recalls the early days of our colony:

The DSP Chapter in San Luis Obispo got started with assistance from UCSB’s Delta Sig house – Beta Xi. All of the original founders of the colony were WWII vets. The Veterans Administration sent out a letter saying vets had to start taking our GI Bill education benefits by July ‘51 or loose them. We went to school! Almost everyone in the Motorcycle Club (Poly Penguins) were founding fathers of the colony. Some of the members of the Roadster Club also helped form first classes. Don Johnson, “Mother”, was a vet, a member of Poly Penguins, and had an old Flathead Harley. Campus had little student housing. All the guys lived at Camp San Luis Obispo, in old barracks, until moving into 676 Monterey. This was in full operation when I pledged. We were a bunch of rogues and had a lot of fun, but it was very important to us to get good grades and keep our reputation spotless on campus and in town. We were very proud of our colony status and wore our pins proudly on our shirts!18

THE 1950’S – The Decade Of Perseverance & Vision

Our Brothers of the 1950’s established our colony’s traditions of leadership, involvement, and scholarship on campus, unique fraternal functions, and philanthropic service to our community. They overcame a cascade of obstacles across years and established savings and building funds for future generations of Delta Sigs whom they would never know. In short, they invented the future.

676 Monterey Street

Our colony’s first house was at 676 Monterey Street.19 Scrapbook notes suggest we moved in January 1951.20 The Telegram Tribune reported the house was leased “by an organization of Poly students operating independently of the college”, that club president Don Johnson said it was a cooperative venture to save money and provide full living accommodations, and that more than $1,000 in materials was required to improve the kitchen and baths.21

In a daytime fire on September 29, 1953, the house burned down. No lives were taken but many members lost all their possessions. Our colony, the only Fraternity at Poly to survive the difficulties of the Korean War years,22 was now further tested by this additional challenge. The college permitted the colony to use the athletic field house on campus as an emergency dormitory.23

1953 Fire

That same school year the colony leased and moved into 1134 Palm Street24 where it remained for 17 years. This Palm house photo is circa 1954.

The Palm Street house had a maximum capacity of 21.25 We had an annex, officially called the “Annex”, a block away on the corner of Toro and Mill Streets.26 The Annex held 14, so we had a maximum live-in capacity of 35. Both 1134 Palm and the Annex were dry houses – no alcohol.27 Another Brother, the House Manager two years running, recalls:

Palm Street Chapter House

“The average of live-ins was 19. We usually set up with 8 downstairs and 11 upstairs. There were 4 bedrooms upstairs. Downstairs there was also a living room, dining room, kitchen, a multi-purpose room where we kept the player piano and set up study tables, and a large bathroom for the exclusive use of guests and off-limits to members. One of the most closely guarded secrets of the Palm house is that it had a basement.”28

The original paper, “The Spirit of 676”, took its name from the address of the Monterey Street house, also know as the “Judge’s” house.29

Hap E. Dog

Although Poly’s Student Faculty Committee told our National Fraternity representatives in 1950 that “students were free to organize any kind of groups they wished,”30 the college’s President, Julian McPhee, in subsequent years took a different view. The College’s President from 1933 to his passing in 1967, he refused to grant any national social fraternity official recognition as an on-campus club.31 Without this recognition our organization had to remain a colony.

One of the favorite songs of the 1950’s, sung to the tune of God Bless America, included the verses:

God bless of Julian, Julian McPhee, Stands beside us, and guides us, with a light that is damn hard to see. From the swine barn to the dairy, From admissions to the P, God bless our Julian, Julian McPhee.”32

Spring 1958 Carnation

In the 1950’s the men of our colony started many traditions, including that of holding Christmas parties for underprivileged children, as is shown on the back cover of this Spring 1958 edition of CARNATION. They planted trees in Santa Rosa Park,33 were extremely active in the Student Affairs Committee, and held club leadership positions. They replaced the “Block P” on the hillside, made of white-washed barn doors, with a 35x50 foot concrete Poly P, completing it on May 3, 1957.34 The community loved us but President McPhee did not.35 From time to time, representatives from the National Fraternity, and the National Inter-Fraternity Conference, met with college officials to resolve non-recognition but “went away shaking their heads.”36

Here’s a young pledge’s view of the house in the mid ‘50’s:

“As a pledge in September 1956, I was in awe of the active membership. Compared to my high school buddies who had gone to Cal, UCLA, Oregon, etc., and pledged fraternities where the active membership was made up of guys in their teens and early twenties, I found myself surrounded by old men. I would guess that the average age was somewhere in the mid to late twenties. Many of the actives were married and a good number were veterans of Korea attending school on the G.I. Bill. As most of these older members realized, this was their last chance to get an education, so there wasn't much "party time" during the week and "quiet time" during study hours was strictly enforced. But on the weekend watch out!”37

A Fall 1958 Brother remembers: “Korean War vets saw the big picture, supported saving for later, for the future. They wanted a dry house for quiet, and a home, and studying. Every once in a while someone would come in at 2:15 a.m., raise hell, and wake everyone up. That was OK on a Saturday night but not allowed during the week.”38

THE 1960’s – The Decade Of Growth And Recognition

In spite of the lack of official recognition by campus, the colony continued to take leading roles in campus affairs, clubs, events, projects, and provided more than its share of campus leaders.39 Many years the colony had 100 members, more than most Delta Sig chapters.

In 1961 the colony was the sole, and winning, bidder on the 1923 American Le France #49 fire engine from Baywood Park fire department. The bid was $100. It needed a lot of work, and for a time, it sat. It came with helmets!

1923 American Le France #49 fire engine

Although the house had an official Annex, “there were other locations that were used by Brothers during this time period. "The Riviera" was a rental at Avila Beach. Sewers I and II were dumps located in down town SLO.”40

On May 31, 1961, Delta Sigma Phi, Inc., purchased41 a lot with a house and a bungalow at 344 California Boulevard. Later the address was changed to 244. The purchase price was $25,000, the colony gave $8,000 down, and the seller carried a $17,000 note. From the beginning, it was called “new prop” and was never referred to as an annex, and it was wet. In the later ‘60’s “the house in front with three bedrooms was generally rented by upperclassmen, while the one bedroom bungalow was usually reserved for a married couple. We used to have great TGIF parties at the new prop (in the late ‘60’s) with live bands, seven or eight kegs of beer, and the friendly presence of the local PD.”42

With an increase in the pressure on the college by outside organizations to recognize Delta Sigma Phi, including the National Inter-Fraternity Council,43 “college officials took a firmer stance against acceptance of any national social fraternity.”44 Citing a college policy that “restricts coeds from visiting men’s residences unless accompanied by a college approved chaperone,”45 the Telegram Tribune reported “Two coeds have been suspended by the college and four more are facing possible suspension because they attended a fraternity barbeque, at the fraternity house, college officials said today.”46 The fraternity was Delta Sigma Phi, 1134 Palm Street, off campus. The BBQ was held from 4 to 6:30 p.m., was alcohol free, attended by many married members and their wives, and featured ping pong and volleyball.47 The Interfraternity Council and the Student Affairs Council objected to the suspension. Delta Sigma Phi objected, saying, “the school’s action was taken as part of the college’s fight against fraternities.”48

A Winter ’61 Brother recalls: “For a time we wore our pins under our collars (and) not at the pocket. Some of the girls we dated were always worried they would be kicked out of school if they went to a DSP party and got caught.”49

The second half of the 1960’s was influenced by the Vietnam War. Major David Royce Kingsbury was in the colony’s class of S’54.

“Major Kingsbury was the Assistant Professor of Military Science, Army ROTC, (at the University) from the early '60s until about 1966. He returned to Vietnam, where he was killed in action. He was a Delta Sig brother and also advisor to the Army ROTC drill team. Sure was fun when we were off on drill team outings with Captain Kingsbury driving the Army bus and singing Delta Sig songs. He was a great guy I’ll always respect. If in my lifetime I ever get the opportunity to visit the Wall in DC, I will go to his name and pay my respects.”50

Delta Sigma Phi Colony

In May of 1967 the “Delta Sigma Phi Colony” at California State Polytechnic College formally petitioned National to become a chapter.51 It was signed by colony President Ken Francis and Secretary Richard Burton. This document is attached and is worthy of reading. It presents, to that point in time, the history and current state of the University, the colony, and the fraternity system.

At this time there were 9,583 students at the University: 2,750 women, 6,833 men, and social fraternities had 280 members with 81 pledges. There were three other national fraternities (Alpha Epsilon Pi, Delta Chi, and Phi Kappa Psi), four local fraternities (Alpha Sigma, Alpha Tau Omicron, Alpha Upsilon, and Kappa Chi), and one local sorority (Delta Chi Omega).

The college responded on April 29, 1968, to the colony’s petition to National. Dean of Students Everett M. Chandler wrote:52

“Members of the local colony of the Delta Sigma Phi have inquired whether or not the college would object to the colony acquiring Chapter status within the fraternity. As you may know, the college does not recognize social fraternities at the present time. Consequently the college would not have any objections to the change of status from colony to chapter. Even though the college has not recognized social fraternities, the relationship between the students in the Delta Sigma Phi Colony and the college as (sic) been amiable.


Everett M. Chandler

Dean of Students”

And so a gentlemen’s agreement was reached between the National Fraternity and the University. The Chapter in San Luis Obispo would be chartered without officially being recognized on campus.

Then that long-awaited day was scheduled when the oldest colony in the Fraternity’s history, the first fraternity at the University, an organization that had initiated over 500 Brothers53 across two decades of challenges, was to be installed as the Delta Sigma Phi Chapter in San Luis Obispo! Consistent with our history, it had to be delayed. The date on the charter is January 25th but a flood of Biblical proportions stranded National Council members in Ventura while on their way to the colony. The installation and celebration were finally held April 26, 1969, in San Luis Obispo.

Summer 1969 edition of the Carnation

The Summer 1969 edition of the CARNATION notes:

“The event was celebrated by a banquet attended by more than 200 members, pledges, dates, alumni, parents, and national officers. Earlier, the new chapter had been formally installed by a team composed of National President Russell T. Roebuck, Executive Director Francis Wacker, Past President and District Governor Pro-tem William S. Noblitt, and past President Chandler Harris. Don Johnson, one of the group’s founders and long-time advisor, reminded the chapter that its strength had always been and must continue to be in a respected group of young men. President Roebuck told the members they were the campaign managers for the fraternity of the future. You are not a group concerned solely with budgets, social programs, maintaining a fraternity house, and making a good scholastic record – as important as these may be. You are the selectors of men who must live and work together; you are the balancers of personalities as diverse as the winds. President Roebuck also cited Bill Noblitt as the man who had made Delta Sigma Phi possible in every corner of this state. Noblitt was responsible for or instrumental in seeding eleven of the state’s 15 chapters and colonies.”54

THE 1970’s - The Decade Of Transition

Our third decade at the University was to again test our faith in, support for, and loyalty toward our DSP program.

The ACB meeting held the day after we received our charter, in April 1969, with National officers present, discussed our future plans. The principle question discussed, and not resolved, was how the chapter would find the money to build a new house.55 However, as subsequent chapter President Greg “Chucker” Van Houten, W’ 70, points out, the decision to leave Palm Street was not yet final - nor easy to make:

“That was a controversial proposal at the time: the vote to build a new house was not unanimous, with a large part of the membership wanting to stay at Palm, despite the dramatically increasing rents. However, the younger members felt that the post-war founders and subsequent brothers of the Chapter in San Luis Obispo had given us a gift, in the ownership of the new property, and that we had to fulfill its promise. Those were interesting days! The design of the California house came about primarily due to the elongated and deep lot. We all wanted to make the house larger, with aspirations to have 100 actives live in, but we had to settle on less. We were governed by a height restriction, maximum coverage/density on the lot itself, and the need for some on-site parking. We had dozens of conversations at actives’ meetings about what features and attributes were needed (at the new house), with specific thought to meals, meetings and ceremonies. (The TV room dimensions were to be copied from the Palm house, etc.).“56

An alumni architect, Steve “Muther” Hubbard, F’64, generously donated his professional services and drew up the plans for 244 California.57 Lending institutions were reluctant to loan money to fraternities and, as a result, the house was designed as a commercial apartment building to provide additional assurances should the chapter fail.58 The chapter had increased equity in the 244 California property to use as a down payment but this was not enough.

At present there is some disagreement over details surrounding if our lender, Great Western Savings, required additional alumni to co-sign, or guarantee, the construction loan. It is thought that John Kerr, S’58, Carl Cowan, W’56, and three others acted as guarantors. We wish to verify and preserve our history – if you have any authoritative information on this subject please contact us.

As graduation 1971 approached the Brotherhood prepared to move out of their home of 17 years. “The house started taking down everything that people felt was of historical value in anticipation of the move to California. I think commencement exercises that year were on a Thursday, June 10, 1971. The day after graduation, I went by the house and it was already a pile of wood – bull dozed.”59 Brothers, knowing the house was to be razed and an apartment building put up in its place, held one last party – a demolition party!

244 California Chapter House

At the beginning of the 1971-72 school year the fraternity moved into temporary quarters at Mustang Village. It was difficult to retain the sense of fraternity without a house. The chapter President at the time recalls, “We had our weekly fraternity meetings in the Ag. Building, on campus, complete with President’s Chair and other accoutrements! At Palm we had 110 members. We dropped to low numbers of pledges during the transition. It was a difficult time to keep spirits up.”60 The fraternity moved into the “New House” at 244 California in April 1972. “The initial reaction by Brothers was that it lacked the traditional charm of Palm although it didn’t take long for them to make the house their own. The initiation ritual and feel was very grand at the old Palm house, and much less so at the new one. The musky smell of the old, vast, wet basement could not be replicated!”61 The University’s name also changed in 1972 from California State Polytechnic College to California Polytechnic State University.62

The original house did not have the attached shed. This was built by active members after moving in.

Current Chapter House

The problems of transition did not end with moving-in.


“By 1973-74 the chapter was in trouble. It had to pay for a 1st and 2nd mortgage with greatly reduced membership. This was due to transition, a huge graduating class in June 1973, and inadequate rush practices. We had a beloved new house, and dog (Ralph), but few pledges, little money, and a very concerned Chapter Supervisor in John “Si’mon" Kerr, S’58 (whom we respected and appreciated). The vote to break with tradition and allow special-occasion alcohol on property eventually led to our needing a new Chapter Supervisor in 1974-75. In an extraordinary measure to survive, the chapter required every non-deadwood active member to move in. Some broke leases to do so. A house designed for 35 adapted to live-in 42 to meet the financial emergency. From this dedicated core of high-bond Brothers, group synergy excelled and we worked our way back to reasonable stability.”63

In 1976 the chapter purchased and installed a large redwood hot tub and decking that became very popular.

Brothers on the way to practicePumpkin carve for area kidsPart of trophy case

Brothers on the way to practice, pumpkin carve for area kids and part of a trophy case

THE 1980’s – The Decade Of A Changing Fraternity Environment

In our fourth decade, we continued our tradition of involvement on campus and in the community. As required by National in the mid-‘80’s, the Chapter in San Luis Obispo altered its pledge program to conform to new Fraternity guidelines. While the University experienced growth in student population, many new large national fraternities created increased competition.

Ralph and Barney

This unusual class initiation photo is from Spring 1981. The two house dogs were “Ralph”, our first St. Bernard, a Little Sister’s gift in 1973, and “Barney”, our second St. Bernard. Ralph’s SAT scores were higher.64 The following photo is of Barney.

The chapter continued its involvement and success in IFC sports, winning Greek Week in 1981,65 1984,66 and the All Sports Trophy three years running, from 1985-87.67

Poly P

In 1981 an environmental design major circulated a petition on campus to remove the Poly “P” because it abused the environment.68 In response a Delta Sig Brother69 led DSP in seeking permission to repair and paint the “P”. This was done in Spring 1981. The “P” is one of the oldest hillside initials in the West70 and a tradition at the University since 1919.71

In response a representative of the Robert E. Kennedy Library on campus thanked the fraternity and concluded his letter with, “Again, may I express my pleasure that your fraternity, Delta Sigma Phi, takes an interest in the University not only as an educational institution, but also as a place where traditions are recognized as being important.”72

A picture of Delta Sigma Phi in 1981 can be drawn from a Brother’s letter to a campus official:

“We have consistently been active in community affairs ….. some examples include yearly fundraisers for March of Dimes, Halloween pumpkin carves and Pop Garner (Christmas) for San Luis Obispo orphans, Mustang Stadium management and security, and La Fiesta parade coordination and security. Our campus activities include selling A.S.I. Discount Cards, Poly Royal BBQ in Poly Grove, (and) members in student government, University Union Board of Governors, Week-Of-Welcome counselors (of which we have about 25), and many of our brothers are in responsible positions in other student organizations.”73

Early in the 1980’s the chapter’s three-and-a-half decade tradition of one pledge class per academic quarter was modified. In place of three classes per school year the fraternity decided upon two longer classes per school year. Winter pledge classes were ended and the remaining Fall and Spring class members were given more time to balance pledgeship with college requirements. The chapter took an increased interest in pledge scholarship.

The Chapter in San Luis Obispo modified its pledge program to conform to recommendations made by National, to all chapters, as a result of developing issues. As a 1984 initiate and future ACB President recalls:

“The biggest change in pledging was trying to modify some of our program to make it more PC (I think for the most part this was a good thing). We took pride that it took some work to get in our house. Rush went to a dry rush. I think it was a combination of National and local rules. I think it took DSP a while to adapt to the dry rush and hurt our membership for awhile. All the big national fraternities started coming to campus during the mid to late ‘80's. The ones that stand out are Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Nu, Sigma Kappa, and Beta Theta Pi. I think the biggest challenge was dry rush and competition from the big national fraternities.”74

The 1980’s saw the return of the Sailor’s Ball.

THE 1990’s – Decade Of Alumni Absence

At the Univerity, the traditional return of alumni to their alma mater, and of Delta Sigs to their chapter’s twice-a-year ACB meeting, used to be in Autumn at Homecoming and in Spring at Poly Royal. After the 1960’s, by far the greatest return of alumni, and Delta Sigs, occurred in April at Poly Royal, the equivalent of a three-day, university-wide, open house. In April, 1990, during Poly Royal, riots attributed to outsiders occurred in SLO. The Univerity’s President Baker banned this function until its disgrace was no longer a part of student memory. An unforeseen casuality of this decision was the return of Delta Sig alumni to the Chapter in San Luis Obispo. For nine years, between April 1990 and April 1999, except for 4-6 ACB officers, Delta Sig alumni did not return to the Univeristy nor their chapter. Broad alumni oversight of the chapter, guidance to ACB, and multi-decade perspective was absent. As a result the chapter program suffered.

A Brother writes of the beginning of this decade.

“We were a relatively small house. I remember Beta and SAE having double or even triple the active membership. The brotherhood was incredibly strong however. I lived in the house from ‘90-‘92. I think less then 20 lived in. There was always space available in the suites and some guys had their own rooms. The (major challenge then was) deterioration of the house and the acrimonious relationship between the actives and alumni. There had been no significant investment in any repairs for quite some time. Brothers started not wanting to hang out at the house, live-in numbers were low even though rent was way below market rate for the area. We built the sand volleyball court in ’90-’91 and had some great beach volleyball theme rush parties. Pledge numbers were low - it was hard to sell the house to potential new brothers. Alumni thought the actives weren't treating the house with respect, actives felt the alumni had abandoned them.”75

The number of initiates per year is only one of several measures of chapter health. While it doesn’t measure qualitative aspects it does point to trends. According to National records,76 from 1975 to 1990 the Chapter in San Luis Obispo initiated 334 men, an average of about 21 per year. The next five years, 1991-95, the yearly average was 15. The following four year period, 1996-1999, the average dropped again to less than 11 men per year. The last two years of this period, 1998 and 1999, the average was 7 initiates.

A Spring ’93 initiate remembers, “I lived-in ‘93 and ’94. There was always good camaraderie, especially around big events like Rush, Sailor’s Ball, and Al Capone. Everybody came together and worked hard to prepare.”77

A Fall 1996 Brother relates, “I think there were only about 20 (live-ins) most of those years. We were a smallish house, maybe 40 actives, and we always seemed to have debt issues. We had (a house dog named) Butch until Spring 1997.”78

Among other issues, the chapter had been experiencing greater competition in the ‘90’s. “There were 17 fraternities, (then) Theta Chi came back to campus in 1999, and that made it 18.”79

During an impromptu visit to the chapter in October at Homecoming, 1997, an alumni and his wife observed “Many parts of the house, including the guest bathroom, were in disrepair. The TV room was used to store furniture and bedrooms had refrigerators, microwaves, TV’s, one bed, and padlocks on their doors. The shed was set up as a beer bar; and no one introduced themselves to us or asked who we were.”80

The call went out to alumni that ACB needed their support and the chapter needed their attention. As a result, and in combination with the engineering of a 50 year celebration of being at the University, 118 alumni were drawn back in April, 1999. This began the process of re-introducing a multi-decade perspective.

One of their first findings was that the men of the ‘90’s had responsibly introduced a new tradition. On a rotating basis, actives and pledges were required to be on-call and available at the chapter house to provide a ride home for any Delta Sig or pledge that called. As one ‘90’s decade Brother recalls, “it was a damn fine idea, unless you were the driver!”

Had there not been as many quality undergraduate Brothers across the 1990’s with high loyalty to DSP, and diligent but lonely ACB officers, increased competition and nine years of alumni absence could have cost us the program.

(Brothers of the 1990’s and 2000’s, scrapbooks / photo albums after 1993 could not be found at the chapter house. Please help us locate or re-create them by contributing photos of your era. We will include the best in this Chapter History section and the balance in the Photo Gallery.)

THE 2000’S - The Decade Of Renovations

Subsequent to the mass return of alumni in April 1999, and mostly prior to the re-establishment of the Alumni Association across 2000-2001, concerned alums took independent action to strengthen their chapter. In great numbers they made it a point to regularly visit the chapter, listen to the actives, and answer questions of what it had been like to be a Delta Sig in their era.

Based upon a proposal by an activist alumni representing a group of 1970’s Brothers, ACB authorized re-establishment of the Alumni Association in late 2000. The Alumni Association “vision statement” presented at the October 2000 ACB meeting began:

“We, the older Alumni, could not possibly overstate our interest in the success of this Chapter and its men - now and in future generations, and in the quality of their Delta Sig experience and bond. The best mechanism to integrate Alumni, for their own benefit, and to bring resources to the Chapter, is through an Alumni Association.”81

The Alumni Association was populated with officers in 2001. The combined attention of the ACB, the Alumni Association, alumni at large, and undergraduate Brothers produced results. The average number of initiates in 1998 and 1999 had been 7 per year. After alumni re-involvement, and primarily due to the hard work of our undergraduates, an average of 22 men per year were initiated in 2000 and 2001. This trend has continued, at 21 per year, as of 2008.

Just as the undergraduates of the 1970’s met the challenges of transitioning the fraternity between two chapter houses, so the undergraduates in the new century met the challenge of transitioning the chapter between two programs.

The story of the new century is well told by past Chapter President David “Trips” Crowell, S'01:

The fraternity saw some significant changes from 2001 to 2005. When I was initiated, we had a small house of under 30 brothers, and there was a great effort to increase our numbers. Controversially, we accepted more pledges than we probably should have. Between two pledge classes (2001-2002) we had almost 45 new brothers. We had good numbers, nearing 80 at one point, … and were more competitive…..and the future looked bright. Many didn’t understand the values of a Delta Sig and many were just looking for a place to party. Our fraternity had a major identity crisis. A number of cliques resulted. Unity and cooperation became an issue.

(As a result of) the biggest party in the chapter’s history, in May, 2004, we were put on probation by the University and our national board. We had to face the harsh reality of being completely dry until 2005 with new alcohol rules imposed on us, quiet hours, and social events at a bare minimum and far from the house.

During that time interest in fraternity events and the pledge program waned. Many actives did not like this (dry house probation) and in turn stopped coming around. Many actives wanted to disregard the punishment and continue business as usual. There was a lot of hardship and heartache. I didn’t want to be the President that lost the charter. I give credit to others in the house at the time that … helped enforce the rules. The ones that stuck around grew stronger and closer. They molded the new pledge classes into like-minded brothers and in the end the fraternity sifted out the actives that had joined Delta Sigma Phi for all the wrong reasons and retained the brothers that had values true to a Delta Sig. DSP was better in January 2005 than it was in May 2004, even if it was a bit smaller in size. The next president ushered in this new fraternity and continued to make it better. By 2006 and 2007, DSP was again the prominent fraternity on campus and was still growing in size and respectability. Had this gone the other way and the chapter … (not accepted) the probation it (the house) may have been lost.

ACB and the actives decided to renovate. The house renovation of the six suites and bathrooms, chapter room, and kitchen, that took place from 2002-2004, turned around the attitude that people had towards the house. With the newness of the house came more stringent rules and regulations that were upheld (by officers). The renovation carried a contagious energy ….. and we all held each other responsible for cleaning up after ourselves. In the end there was a fresh house that was filled with pride, and it again became a place people wanted to be.

1 CARNATION, Delta Sigma Phi, Summer edition 1969.
2 Letter to Julian McPhee, December 1948.
3 Ken Kenyon, Special Collections Archive, Robert Kennedy Library, “Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years.”
4 Tom Wible, Delta Sigma Phi, Director of Chapter Services.
5 Tom Wible, Director of Chapter Services, Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, 7/16/08 email.
6 Letter 11/8/1949, V. H. Mescham, Univeristy Dean of Student Welfare, to Francis Wacker.
7 Letter, 11/10/1949, A. Dean VanZant to Francis Wacker.
8 Letter, 12/17/49, Francis Wacker to V. H. Mescham, University Dean of Student Welfare.
9 Tom Wible, Directory of Chapter Services, email, 7/10/08.
10 Colony Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
11 National award winner of Mr. Delta Sig Award and the Harvey H. Hebert Award, per Tom Wible, National.
12 At the time, the Executive Secretary of National.
13 National Field Representative for Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity.
14 Colony Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
15 Interview with F’52 initiate, Ira “Dad” Schab, File “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
16 Summer Carnation 1969.
17Interview with Paul Armstrong, File “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
18Interview With Ira “Dad” Schab.
19Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
20Based on DSP scrapbook newspaper clippings and notes to photos.
21Telegram Tribune Article, Date uncertain, found in scrapbook.
22Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
23Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
24The exact date of moving into 1134 Palm is not known at this time.
25Per 3.2%, Jim Evans, S’58, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
26Michael “Reggin” Goldsworthy, W’61, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
27Michael “Reggin” Goldsworthy, W’61, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
28Tom “Iron Toe” Green, W’57, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
29Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,” Pages 10 and 11.
30Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
31Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,”
32Tom “Iron Toe” Green, W’57, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
33Tom “Iron Toe” Green, W’57, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
34Ken Kenyon, Special Collections Archive, Robert Kennedy Library, “Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years.”
35Tom “Iron Toe” Green, W’57, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
36Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National,”
37Tom “Iron Toe” Green, in document
38Dave Loomis, F’58 phone interview, June 28, 2008, “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
39CARNATION 1969 Summer Edition.
40Jim Evans, 3.2%, S’58, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
41“1961 Deed of Trust.jpg” and “1961 Deed of Trust (2).jpg”, 5/31/1961, Book 1129, Page 46.
42Ross “Dizzy” Stevenson, S’68, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
43Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
44Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
45Telegram Tribune Article, date uncertain, found in scrapbook.
46Telegram Tribune Article, date uncertain, found in scrapbook.
47Telegram Tribune Article, date uncertain, found in scrapbook.
48Telegram Tribune Article, date uncertain, found in scrapbook.
49Michael “Reggin” Goldsworthy, in document “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
50Lee “Squint” McVey, S’65, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
51Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
52Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
53Petition to National For Charter, File “1967 Charter Application to National.”
54CARNATION 1969 Summer Edition.
55CARNATION 1969 Summer Edition.
56Greg “Chucker” VanHouten, W’70, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
57Steve “Muther” Hubbard, F’64, “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
58Carl Cowen, W’56, June 2008, “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
59Gene “Spanky” Blazick, W’68, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
60Greg “Chucker” VanHouten, W’70, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
61Greg “Chucker” VanHouten, W’70, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
62Ken Kenyon, Special Collections Archive, Robert Kennedy Library, “Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years.”
63Chris “Yabut” Patterson, W’73, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
64Yabut, I knew them both.
66Jeff “Putter” Clark, F’84, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
67Jeff “Putter” Clark, F’84, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
681981 Mustang Daily article, “Pro-“P” Faction Dresses Up Hillside Initial”.
69Mark Kelly, “Casey”, S’80, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
70Ken Kenyon, Special Collections Archive, Robert Kennedy Library, “Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years.”
71Ken Kenyon, Special Collections Archive, Robert Kennedy Library, “Cal Poly: The First Hundred Years.”
72Letter, Fred Genthner to Scott Kelly, 1981.
73Letter, Mark Kelly to Mr. Genthner, Robert E. Kennedy Library, forwarded to Dr. Kennedy Barclay, Director Activities Planning Center, presumed 1981-82.
74Jeff “Putter” Clark, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
75Jeff “Audie” Anderson, S’90, July 11, 2008, “DSP Web Site Phone Interviews.”
76Excel file, received 7/10/08, renamed “DSP Web Site Initiates By Year From National.xls”.
77Doug Meyer, S’93, Beetle, “DSP Web Site Recollections”.
78John “Bogart” Quinn, F’96, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
79Xavier Lamier, “Spade”, S’99, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
80Chris “Yabut” Patterson, W’73, “DSP Web Site Recollections.”
81“DSP Web Site 2000 10 21 Open Letter To ACB”, presented at Homecoming 2000 ACB meeting by Chris “Yabut” Patterson.