Delta Sigma Pi
Beta Pi Chapter
The Beta Pi chapter was chartered at Kent State University in 1942, where it began as the elite business organization on Kent State campus - scoring awards for best fundraising efforts, community service, and highest in CEI points, Beta Pi still strives to remain one of the best organizations on campus applying what we learn in class to what we do in our organization.
Delta Sigma Pi was founded in 1907 at New York University: School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance by Harold Valentine Jacobs, Alexander Frank Makay, Alfred Moysello and Henry Albert Tienken. Today, coast to coast, more than 250 chapters and nearly 200,000 members support the goals and ideals of the Fraternity.
It was in the autumn of 1906 that the history of Delta Sigma Pi began. Life was much different then as there were only 46 states and the major method of transportation was by train. The airplane was flown for the first time only a few years earlier. The automobile was still a "toy" for the well-to-do; there were no talking movies; radio was very new and most homes were without a telephone. It was a time after what is termed the Industrial Revolution and before the times of world wars, the Great Depression and the Age of Consumerism.
In the academic world at that time, the formation of schools of business was relatively new. There were only a handful of such schools in the United States in 1906 and one such school, known as the School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance existed at New York University. There were approximately 300 students in attendance at this school at that time, including 70 freshmen representing the Class of 1909. Four members of that Class of 1909, previously unknown to each other, soon were to start an association that would become what is known today as the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi.
These four young men met in their classes and were drawn closer together as they shared the same subway route on their way home every evening. Occasionally, other classmates came along, but the four were regularly together and it was this time together that gave them the opportunity to get to know one another, to become friends, and to discuss topics of mutual interest.
One such topic was school affairs, and the domination of one organization on campus. In the opinion of these four men, the overwhelming majority of students at New York University were ignored by this organization and, as a result, restricted from membership. These four, Alexander F. Makay, Alfred Moysello, H. Albert Tienken, and Harold V. Jacobs, decided they should do something for the benefit of the student body at large. They decided to form a club that would be open to all business students.
During that first year in school these four young men were occasionally accompanied by a fifth student who, in the spring of 1907, dropped from the group to accept the pledge of the only fraternity in the School of Commerce, Accounts, and Finance. It was at this time, and perhaps because of this incident, that they felt there was a need for two fraternities in the school, and they approached their fellow students this time with the idea of joining a fraternity. The response to their idea was very positive and, somewhat to their dismay, they found students who wanted to be initiated immediately into the proposed fraternity which was not yet organized.
Makay and Jacobs had been members of high school fraternities so they were assigned the duty of drafting a Constitution, Bylaws, and a Ritual. The Constitution was finally drafted and adopted in the fall of 1907, yet the selection of a name for the Fraternity was not completed. Nevertheless, these four men proceeded with the next major order of business which was the election of officers. Makay was elected the first president, and Jacobs and Moysello were elected treasurer and secretary, respectively. They first approached their Class of 1909 classmates and, in short order, initiated several new members. They immediately began to recruit the Class of 1910 from which they initiated several more members.
The year of 1908 was notable for the establishment of many aspects of the Fraternity which are still in existence today. While the Constitution and Ritual had already been approved, there was still no badge or "pin" as it was called at that time. In addition, the Fraternity still lacked a name. The name of the organization had a high priority and the four founders agreed upon the three words that best expressed the meaning of their Fraternity and had a friend of Moysello translate them into Greek with the resulting designation: Delta Sigma Pi. On April 2, 1908, the name Delta Sigma Pi was adopted by the membership and the bylaws were also approved at this meeting. The design of the badge was approved shortly thereafter.
On April 29, 1908, at the third official meeting of the Fraternity, the report of the committee appointed to suggest Fraternity colors was heard. Following the report, a motion to adopt the colors violet and gold was made; however, the motion died for lack of a second. A subsequent motion was made to adopt the colors purple and gold as the official colors of Delta Sigma Pi and at that third meeting of the Fraternity, the colors which we know today were adopted.
In 1909 the Founders graduated, but the Fraternity was being guided and nurtured by other dedicated officers and members. As the membership continued to expand, so did the activities. A Fraternity publication made its first appearance in 1911, but was mainly an internal newsletter. The name of that publication was simply DELTASIG. By 1912, the name had been changed to THE DELTASIG and was being published in a much more professional manner. Later the name of the official publication of the Fraternity was established as "The DELTASIG."
Also established in 1912 was the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key. This award was developed to recognize the outstanding male senior in the Business school and, eventually, was allowed to be presented in every business school where a chapter of Delta Sigma Pi was active. Many of the early keys presented nationwide were won by members of Delta Sigma Pi; however, the Delta Sigma Pi Scholarship Key was at that time and continues today to be awarded to the most outstanding male or female senior in the School of Business where a chapter of the Fraternity is active.
In these early years, the Founders and their fellow Brothers realized significant progress and set the foundation for an organization that has touched the lives of over 175,000 students of business.
The choice of the Northwestern School of Commerce for the second chapter of Delta Sigma Pi marked the beginning of the nationalization of the Fraternity. Existing as a national fraternity was completely new to both Alpha and Beta Chapter members and difficulties in communication were compounded by the fact that the two chapters were hundreds of miles apart.
Prior to the chartering of Beta Chapter, a meeting was held by the New York members of Delta Sigma Pi in January of 1914 to form the national organization. This meeting was referred to as the Organizational Meeting and pertained to national administrative matters. In addition, the first national officers were elected, Walter N. Dean was elected president and Henry C. Cox was elected secretary-treasurer. This meeting was called the Congress of Chapters, an event which is known today as the Grand Chapter Congress. At this Congress of Chapters, two undergraduate chapters were represented; however, a group of alumni was also present. At this early date, Delta Sigma Pi had an alumni organization which was called a "graduate chapter," but by 1917 this name was changed to an alumni chapter, a term the Fraternity used until about 1920 when the alumni chapters were called "alumni clubs." The designation "alumni chapter" was reinstated in 1982.
On January 29, 1915, the Executive Committee of Delta Sigma Pi met in New York to hear a report on numerous expansion possibilities. It was decided at that meeting to pursue the installation of a chapter at Boston University and to establish initial contact with many other business schools across the country. Of even greater significance at this meeting was the approval of a Statement of Purpose for the Fraternity which was added to the Constitution as a Preamble. It was the desire of the individuals at this meeting to clearly state that Delta Sigma Pi was to be a professional fraternity for men.
The Preamble, adopted at that meeting in 1915, read as follows:
A fraternity organized to foster the study of business in universities; to encourage scholarship and the association of students for their mutual advancement by research and practice; to promote closer affiliation between the commercial world and students of commerce, and to further a higher standard of commercial ethics and culture and the civic and commercial welfare of the community.
It was not until the 1947 Grand Chapter Congress in Minneapolis that the Preamble was changed to include the words "social activity."
The second Congress of Chapters was held at the Hotel LaSalle in Chicago in August of 1915. Representatives from the newly installed Gamma Chapter at Boston University participated in the third Congress of Chapters held in New York in August of 1916.
As was the general practice at previous Congresses, much of the agenda of the fourth Congress of Chapters held September 1917 in Boston was devoted to chapter reports, to expansion prospects, and to uniformity in chapter operation. It was at this meeting that H. G. "Gig" Wright made his first impact on the national Fraternity as the delegate from Beta Chapter. His influence on the national level began at this meeting and was to continue for many years into the future.
The war being waged in Europe eventually involved the United States and became known as World War I. As the United States went to war, many college campuses were drained of students and, as a result, most national and chapter activities came to a standstill. Further growth of the Fraternity both in the number of chapters and in the number of members became dormant.
The post-war convention was held on February 10, 1920, at New York City and the national officers were anxious to resume the many projects, especially expansion of the Fraternity, that had been deferred due to the war. At this fifth Congress of Chapters, which was referred to as the "Founders Meeting" because all four Founders of the Fraternity were present, the three undergraduate chapters were not fully active and the New York Alumni Chapter had been reactivated during the previous month.
At this time, Delta Sigma Pi was approaching its 13th year of existence. By the end of 1920 four chapters were added to the official roll including Delta Chapter at Marquette University in Milwaukee, Epsilon Chapter at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, Zeta Chapter at Northwestern University in Evanston, and Eta Chapter at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.
The year 1921 was indeed an outstanding one for the Fraternity. Although a Congress of Chapters was not held during this year, a special meeting of the Board of Directors was held in New York on May 14. It was at this meeting that the red rose was adopted as the official flower of the Fraternity and the official pledge button, later called the pledge pin (which was approved in principle at the 1917 Congress of Chapters), was finally designed and approved. In addition, there was some question concerning the date of the actual founding of the Fraternity, and Founder Alexander Makay, who was present at this meeting, informed the group that "Bert Tienken, Al Moysello, Harold Jacobs and I founded the Fraternity at New York University in 1907, the exact date being November 7 of that year."
In these early years the Fraternity was growing and the chapters were divided into provinces and districts for easier administration. Also in the early 1920s, discussion concerning the establishment of a National Administrative Headquarters and staff for the Fraternity commenced.
It was also during the early years of the 1920s that the Fraternity began an unprecedented level of expansion. Seven chapters were installed during 1921 and eight in 1922. By the mid 1920s, over 3,000 students of business had been initiated by Delta Sigma Pi and the roll of chapters was approaching 40.
With the election at the 1924 Congress of Chapters, Gig Wright left the office of National President after serving two terms. He was immediately appointed Secretary-Treasurer of the Fraternity and during that year established the Central Office of Delta Sigma Pi as the administrative headquarters of the Fraternity. The original Central Office was established at 222 West Adams Street in Chicago.
With a greatly expanded chapter roll, the Eighth Congress of Chapters in 1926 again set a record of having the largest attendance of any congress held up to that time. The official registration totaled 167.
It was during the year of 1926 that the first Biennial Survey of Universities Offering an Organized Curriculum in Commerce and Business Administration was published. This survey, prepared by the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi, was widely used by various departments of the United States Government, major corporations across the United States, high school guidance counselors, and individual students. The Biennial Survey was produced until the mid 1990s when more comprehensive reference sources had become available commercially. It was also during this year that the "Rose of Deltasig," which was named for Rose Jacobs, the wife of founder Harold V. Jacobs, was adopted as the official song of the Fraternity.
In 1928, the Professional Interfraternity Conference was organized with Delta Sigma Pi as one of the charter members. The organization flourishes today as the Professional Fraternity Association, of which Delta Sigma Pi is a charter member.
In 1931, the Great Depression was being felt nationwide. For the next few years, the individual chapters and the international organization as a whole were struggling to survive. Eight new chapters were installed during the depression years.
1932 was known as the Silver Anniversary of the Fraternity in recognition of the 25th anniversary of its founding. Founded during a depression, Delta Sigma Pi would celebrate its Silver Anniversary during another depression year. Despite the state of the economy, the spirit of the celebration was not dampened as 37 banquets celebrating the 25th anniversary were held across the country, attended by some 25 percent of the total membership initiated since 1907. By that time, the Fraternity had grown to some 55 chapters, 10 alumni chapters, and a total membership of over 8,700.
By 1937, 60 chapters had been installed. Although the depression was to end soon, this did not signal an end to the difficult times that had been confronting the Fraternity for most of the 1930s. World War II began in 1939. It was not long before the United States was involved in this worldwide conflict and the Fraternity, like most organizations, came to a virtual standstill. Every project within the country was geared toward the war effort and during the period between 1937 and 1946, only four chapters were installed by Delta Sigma Pi.
During the war years, chapters were active in many cases in name only as many chapter members found themselves in the Armed Forces. The DELTASIG magazine became little more than a roster of Deltasigs who were serving the war effort both at home and overseas. Deltasigs were scattered throughout the world and the memories of Delta Sigma Pi and the receipt of The DELTASIG, wherever possible, provided comfort to these Brothers as they proudly served their country.
It was during this time in its history that Delta Sigma Pi experienced perhaps the greatest challenges. The combination of the Great Depression followed by World War II had drained many chapters of members and financial stability. Having experienced a history of challenges which were turned into opportunities, the leaders of the Fraternity were now faced with the biggest challenges in nearly 40 years.
This period in the history of Delta Sigma Pi could indeed be viewed as the time of the second founding of the Fraternity. A renewed spirit of Brotherhood and fraternalism was evident, but it was not until the 17th Grand Chapter Congress that all chapter activities had been fully resumed. The Fraternity had endured almost 10 years of depression followed by five years of war and much time had been lost.
Now with nearly 80 chapters and over 22,000 members, it was felt that if the Fraternity was to continue expanding and providing the administrative services necessary to serve the organization, a permanent national headquarters would have to be established in the not-too-distant future. It was at the 1949 Grand Chapter Congress that a fund was approved for the acquisition of a permanent national headquarters and members were solicited for contributions.
By 1955, plans were nearly complete for the building of a national headquarters building adjacent to the Miami University campus in Oxford, Ohio. It was also announced at the 20th Grand Chapter Congress held in Detroit in 1955 that Henry Gilbert "Gig" Wright, who had served the Fraternity as its chief administrator in the form of Grand Secretary-Treasurer now Executive Director, for 31 years was retiring.
Also during the early 1950s, the Fraternity was once again expanding and by the middle of that decade had reached a level of over 90 chapters, and total membership initiated since 1907 had surpassed the 30,000 mark. There were alumni chapters established in most of the major cities in the United States.
Upon the retirement of H. G. Wright in 1955, Assistant Grand Secretary-Treasurer James D. Thomson was promoted to the position of Grand Secretary-Treasurer. Jim Thomson, in conjunction with Past Grand Presidents Alien Fowler and Robert Busse and Grand President J. Harry Feltham, was heavily involved in the development of the plans for the establishment of the Central Office in Oxford. Construction began in late 1955, and by the fall of 1956, Grand Secretary Thomson had moved the Central Office operation from Chicago to the permanent headquarters building in Oxford. On May 18, 1957, with Grand President J. Harry Feltham presiding, the permanent Central Office of the International Fraternity of Delta Sigma Pi was formally dedicated (at 330 South Campus Avenue in Oxford, Ohio) to Gig Wright for his many decades of service to the Fraternity.