National Organization History
As the door closed on the final moments of the nineteenth century, a handful of undergraduate men began meeting between classes at City College of New York. Some had known one another before they graduated from the New York public school system, and they had wanted to continue their friendships at City College. The obvious solution was to join a fraternity, but there was just one problem: this was no ordinary group of undergraduates. They were an affiliation of Jews and Christians; and, at the time, entry to all-Jewish and all-Christian fraternities was barred to individuals and groups that mixed religions.
Given that their close association challenged the conventional behavior of the day, perhaps it was only natural that the undergraduates took an even bolder step by founding their own Fraternity on December 10, 1899. Symbolized by the Greek letters Delta, Sigma, and Phi, the Fraternity was based on the principle of the universal brotherhood of man.
Uptown from City College at Columbia University, the second chapter was organized in 1901 but did not become a chapter until 1902. To differentiate the chapters, the first was called Insula, from the Latin insularis, since it was on the island of Manhattan. Because of its location in Morningside Heights, the new chapter at Columbia was called Morningside.
Delta Sigma Phi was incorporated in New York City on December 2, 1902. Five members of Insula signed the incorporation papers, with the stated objectives of dissemination “the principles of friendship and brotherhood among college men, without respect to race or creed.” The early organizers, including Meyer Boskey (Insula), also drafted Delta Sigma Phi’s laws, requiring open membership to all college men of quality. The purpose of the Fraternity, written the same year, was “to fulfill the desire of serious young college men for a fellowship and brotherhood, as near a practical working ideal as possible not fettered with too many traditional prejudices and artificial standards of membership, by a clean, pure, and honorable chapter home life.”
The basic concept of the Fraternity – embracing brotherhood and congeniality without regard to religion or race – not only attracted other idealists as City College of New York, but also set the stage for expansion onto other campuses.
11 of 13 Phi Epsilon Pi pledges de-pledged. Those 11 had aspirations of forming their own group-a gentlemen’s fraternity focused on building leaders and de-emphasizing drinking. By 28 October 1992 there were 15 members – 11 de-pledges and 4 who were asked to join. Among them were Mike Marziaz, Chris Hartzel, Matt Smith, Eric Pizarro, Tony Tancini, Ken Wolf, Marc Parilla, John Hunter, Aaron Silver, and Anders Lynch.
15 November 1992
The group voted (11-2 in favor) to become a national fraternity. Four national fraternities were contacted and Delta Sigma Phi was the most enthusiastic, so they decided on it as their national organization. Pan-Hel voted 5-0 in favor of a new fraternity on campus, but the founding members still needed recognition from IFC. Their number soon rose to 20 with the addition of Chris Burak, Mike Livingston, Rob Hoffman, Brian Supler, and Chad Wissinger. The group was given seven criteria from IFC to be met before they would be recognized.
9 February 1993
Presented themselves for recognition to IFC. IFC voted, but did not release the results until March of that year, with a decision of rejection for the group (only Theta Chi and Kappa Sigma voted in favor). The group followed the rejection by writing a letter to the Dickinsonian regarding IFC’s decision, turning to the campus community for support, which they did receive. They decided to petition the campus, so in blizzard conditions groups of two went around from dorm to dorm asking if students would support another fraternity on campus. Approximately 800 students signed the petition, which was impressive considering the size of the school at the time. Delta Sigma Phi Nationals wanted to colonize the group but couldn’t start the process until the group had recognition from IFC. After several meetings, Pan-Hel’s originally unanimous support began to dwindle. John Lott was voted in on 1 April 1993.
6 April 1993
April brought the group back to IFC to petition for the second time for recognition. They were rejected a second time. And to make matters worse, Panhel decided to vote against them in an effort to reunite the Greek community despite the fact that the majority of Panhel members were personally in favor of a Delta Sigma Phi chapter. Throughout the spring of 1993 the group voted in Troy Shantz, John Wingerd, J.C. Chenault, Jarrod Longcor, and Jeff Moore. They continued to try to get new members, as well as recognition from IFC-those were the two main goals at the time. In the fall of 1993 the group managed to acquire a townhouse at 381 W. Louther, finally giving them a space in which to hold functions, both social and rush-oriented.
8 September 1993
They voted on an Executive Board, and the results were as follows:
- President: Jason Steinfeld
- Vice President: Marc Parilla
- Secretary: Mike Marziaz
- Parliamentarian: Matt Smith
- Treasurer: Aaron Silver
- Philanthropy Committee: Brian Suppler & Chris Burak
- Two weeks later, five more positions were voted on:
- Rush Chairman: Dwight Kern
- Sports Representative: Troy Shantz
- Publicity Chair: Jeff Moore
- Activities Chair: Mike Livingston
- Social Chair: John Wingerd
The group started having their weekly meetings at 9:00 pm on Wednesday evenings in Denny Hall room 313. They began to raise revenues through various fund-raisers and a new system of fines used to penalize members for missing/being late to meetings, being unexcused, etc. In an effort to have activities to keep the members close, they organized several intramural sports teams. The group also started doing various philanthropies with groups such as Habitat for Humanity, Safe Harbour, the soup kitchen, and they contributed greatly to the building of Letort Park here in Carlisle. The group, in an attempt to increase their numbers, started having a few small rush functions. They did so, however, after the recognized fraternities were done with their rushing, so as not to infringe upon them. Those small functions ended up being very successful.
6 October 1993
Delta Sigma Phi voted in 21 new members: Chris Boswell, Charlie Cho, Rob Colau, Pete Eckel, Ali Rodell, Jeremy Gozinski, John Tiongston, Doug Maull, Freddy Cheung, Jason Stanford, Andy Schnydman, Justin Schrieber, Ben Wilson, Mike Floreck, Todd Schively, Jason Cutshall, Troy Freedman, Rich Murch, Matt Nussbaum, John West, and Scott Sidlow. This eventually brought their total number up to 45, which was very big. With large numbers and lots of confidence the group felt ready to re-petition IFC.
Jason Steinfeld, Marc Parilla, Tony Tancini, and Jarrod Longcor went to IFC to present for the third time. Once again, the group was rejected, though they did not receive the decision from IFC until 2 March 1994. Still, Delta Sigma Phi Nationals couldn’t help because their hands were tied until IFC recognized the group, and the administration couldn’t do anything because the one power IFC held that couldn’t be overruled was whom they chose to be recognized. The following semester, after many months, Paul Lawson (the DSP National representative) informed the group that Nationals was seriously considering colonizing the group despite the fact that IFC hadn’t recognized them.
24 February 1994
This happened, and the group abandoned any further plans to petition IFC during the spring of 1994. They wanted to instead learn as much as they could about the national fraternity they were going to become and model themselves around the fraternity’s ideals.
24 April 1994
The group was formally initiated as official brothers of the Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, Theta Lambda Chapter.