It is with a great sense of pride and accomplishment that we gather here tonight to mark this magnificent occasion to Re-Charter the Eta Delta Chapter of our beloved Chi Phi Fraternity.
"A man achieves immortality by the words he has written or spoken, by the deeds he has done, by the gifts he has made, or the impression he has left. His life, gauged by the aggregate lives of men, is short; his work must be monumental for memory of him to outlive a generation or two. Into the living continuous existence of a fraternity have gone the lives, the works, the words of many men. With no thought of immortality for themselves, they have given generously of themselves and their goods. Down through the years in every Greek letter fraternity they have marched, true to the ideals of the men whose vision, inspiration, conditions prompted them to band together, to call each other brother...."
These words were penned 80 years ago by Judge Luther Zeigler Rosser, former Grand Alpha and national director of the Chi Phi Fraternity. As the nation’s oldest social Fraternity, Chi Phi holds an enviable and incomparable record of accomplishments of alumni who have excelled in virtually every walk of life which then provides the lodestar for a promising generation of young college men who are today’s campus leaders and tomorrow’s world leaders.
As we know, our Chapter, Eta Delta, was first established in 1934 from the core of two local Fraternities at USC who in the late 1920s sought to embrace the higher goals espoused by Chi Phi National. In some ways, this eerily mirrored the origins of Chi Phi itself, the brining together of like-minded Orders who in 1824 would form our National fraternity today. Through the years, Eta Delta has been represented well by men of integrity, vision and commitment.
It was an Eta Delta alumnus that was the first Grand Alpha elected from a West Coast Chapter – C Moreland “Morey” Thomas, in 1963. It was Brother Elmer Hoffman who at the same time stepped in and stepped up to lead the effort to build the Chapter House at 720 W28th Street which was critical to sustain the Fraternity over the next 35 years.
It was Brother Dick Owens who dedicated both his time and his treasure to help a small Chapter in the mid-1970s restore its character and win the President’s Award for the Finest Fraternity at USC and rapidly grow to one that would lead the Row though the 1980s. It was men like Brothers Derek Borisoff and LeGrande Coates Sr who would demonstrate their unfailing devotion to our Chapter and time and time again to support its needs.
More recently, we must recognize here tonight a small band of brothers who have gone well above and beyond to restore Chi Phi at USC after 17 years to Colonization and 19 years to full Chapter status. They uniquely underwent times of extreme sacrifice to see that this night would happen.
Please acknowledge Brother Michael Coates whose unwavering faith and unyielding resolve from the time Chi Phi disbanded in the late 90s through to today has been the driving force behind this re-chartering – keeping the flame for re-chartering alive for over a decade, spearheading the capital campaign, and leading the Eta Delta Career Advantage Program (EDCAP).
Please acknowledge Brother Randy Bouverat who stepped up and, with Brother Tom Emery, established the USC Chi Phi Alumni Association, served as its charter President, and put the organization and essential structure in place for an effort that would have failed without it.
Please acknowledge Brother Tom Vo who likewise served as a lead Fraternity Advisor and most importantly has been the most positive, optimistic and unbounded energy and expertise to establish and the support our housing corporation and housing futures to get Chi Phi to the best house on the Row.
Please acknowledge Brother Scott Benton who is the heart and soul of this entire achievement – our masterful historian who had brought the history of our Chapter to the present so that it can shape the future. Scott has sacrificed more than many know to see this through – and without him and this core team, we would not be here tonight. For his efforts, Scott earned Chi Phi's National’s 2018 Distinguished Service Award.
And please acknowledge those that likewise have been equally as instrumental in this effort but not with us here tonight – Brother Jonathon Whitaker who spent countless hour building our alumni database, served on the housing corporation and been our strongest supporter for needs based scholarships – and Brother Alex White who joined our cause even though an alumnus from the Eta Theta Chapter dedicated his expertise as Alumni Secretary and Corporate Communications to help Chi Phi grow nationally.
This core group planned, sacrificed, donated, and surged to first get accepted by USC and then support the fragile colony to this point of being Re-Chartered.
One of the those who served on the USC Interfraternity Council that approved Eta Delta as the only Fraternity to be accepted to be newly established in the last several year said this: “While I cannot speak on behalf of all of the voting members of the Interfraternity Council, two aspects of Chi Phi’s application and presentation that really impressed the Board were the amazing show of alumni support, and Chi Phi’s governing body’s genuine commitment to achieving excellence for their USC chapter.” He went on to say “Chi Phi has many distinguished and impressive alumni that attended USC, and all have a deep passion for reestablishing a strong chapter by committing a lot of effort to ensure that happens.”
And there are so many other brothers from over the last six decades who have donated, served, and supported! Which brings me and us to those that carry the torch today – our active members.
It is the active members over the past three years and those that stand with us here today that took the charge and the made this happen. It is they who met the standards – both those of USC and those of our National – and received the approvals to make this possible. The are the current owners and they will then join us as alumni to support those that they recruit, the develop, they lead. We entrust our legacy with them. They deliver the future.
"So, my friends, the Chi Phi Fraternity was founded on friendship and stands for liberty, truth, honesty and personal purity.” – these words of promise are from our Chi Phi pledging ceremony. These words find their embodiment in the actions of active members who live them out and stand out from the rest; and in the support of alumni who serve and support so we reproduce them in men for years and decades to come.
Congratulations to all our Brothers from the USC Eta Delta Alumni Association.
On behalf of all our alumni,
Fight on, Richard Suttie