Fraternity Composite:  A perspective on the 50 years of Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall
University
by Matthew Bromund
 
 

Prologue
 
 

 The relevance of social fraternities have been questioned since the first group of
men gathered together on a college campus.  They have always been conservative
institutions, sometimes clinging to traditions long after society has decreed them
unfashionable.  At various times, fraternities supported segregation, sexual stereotypes,
binge drinking, and criminal hazing in some degree throughout this century.  They have
failed to convince the general populace that they are anything but beer guzzling
institutions of sexual harassment since the 1981 film Animal House brought the worst of
fraternalism to life, according to Shayne Narjes, a fraternity consultant1.  These
allegations have been made for a long time and have embodied the challenges of
fraternities in America.
 On the other hand, fraternities have always succeeded at producing leaders.  They
have also succeeded in testing the convictions and the character of generation after
generation of young men.  Perhaps it is in this aspect, more than any other, that
fraternities make themselves relevant.  It is always more difficult to build something than
to destroy something, yet despite this men of all walks of life have volunteered to build
fraternities in the hope of establishing a true brotherhood among people.  The goal, while
laudable, has little support when embodied by the modern fraternity.  Today, our
corporate culture is dominated by fraternity men.  Fraternities support a number of
philanthropies and continue to supply more community service than any other campus
organization.  Student leadership continues to be drawn largely from a fraternity society
that is increasingly castigated and condemned for being hopelessly outdated.   The
rationale for this can only be determined through a consideration of the specific
individuals drawn to Greek life.
 At Marshall University, where less than one out of ten students is Greek (a ratio
that has held true for over fifty years, despite Marshall's twenty fold expansion in that
time), six out of ten campus leaders are Greek2.  The answer to that seeming
contradiction is elusive.  It is not found in the politically correct answer that the, "Old
Boy's network continues to reign."  It is not found in the fraternity recruiter's response
that,"Fraternity will develop the leader in you."  It is rather found in the simple truth that
leaders will seek out opportunities to lead, and fraternities, with all their flaws, allow
young men to lead.  The system itself does not develop leadership, rather the individuals
in the system use it to develop themselves.
 This axiom is highlighted by the fifty years of Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall
University.  The chapter has been up and down throughout its time and, to be sure, it has
had its share of dark moments.  The chronicle of the triumphs and tragedies of an
institution that has endured through six university presidents, four major conflicts (Korea,
Vietnam, the Cold War, and the Gulf War), and fifty years bears out the idea that a
fraternity cannot be separated from the society that produced it.  When America was
bristling with optimism and can-do spirit, Lambda Chi was born at this small West
Virginia college that, in 1946, could barely support a dormitory.  When the nation was
wrestling with social integration and civil rights for its black minority, Lambda Chi was
in the center of the storm.  During the tragic airplane crash of 1970 that, to this day,
defines Huntington as a city of tragedy and triumph, Lambda Chi Alpha surrendered one
of its best and brightest to the great unknown.  Finally, in 1987, when Marshall was
challenging the best in its region for prominence, Lambda Chi Alpha achieved fraternal
prominence as well.  Throughout these fifty tumultuous years, the fraternity has not been
the embodiment of the worst of society, it has been the embodiment of that society.
 Stories like those in this composite abound in a community rich with history like
Marshall University.  Founded in 1837, the University has over 150 years of tradition and
accomplishment to draw upon.  Despite this, all too often the history of the institution
goes neglected and the wisdom as details disappear into memory.  This project is an
attempt to preserve some small shred of that shared wisdom that is our common
inheritance.
 The stories contained in these pages are the stories of real people.  No mythical
figures reside here, and in their spirits, we can see ourselves.  The accomplishments of
the men of the Zeta Zeta Zeta(chapter) of Lambda Chi Alpha are accomplishments of
which we can all be proud.  The stories chronicled here exemplify the challenges
confronted by our nation and our community in the past fifty years.  The next fifty years
will continue to challenge fraternities to justify their existence.  If the fraternal world
continues to produce achievements like these, the system will have good answers to that
challenge.

 
 
 

Article One:  Beginnings
 

 On December 7, 1946, Zeta Zeta was installed at Marshall College as the newest
chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.  As the first chapter created in the United States since the
end of the Second World War, the Zeta Zeta chapter at Marshall enjoyed a moment of
celebrity that included a multi-page article and cover photo on The Cross and the
Crescent, the fraternity's magazine.  The article described Marshall's growth as an
institution and placed special emphasis on the grand future ahead for this new chapter.
This glossy presentation, however, masked the very troubled birth of this chapter.  Zeta
Zeta had been struggling to be born at Marshall for almost 19 years and had been brought
into the world only after protracted negotiation and multiple failures.  The successful
story of Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall owes much to the involvement of the skilled
doctor who delivered the chapter to the general fraternity.  That man, largely unsung in
fraternity annals, was Dr. Ralph Hron.  It is to him that the men of Zeta Zeta and the
community of Marshall owe a personal debt for bringing Lambda Chi Alpha to Marshall.
 Marshall College in 1927 was not a particularly promising prospect for national
fraternity colonization.  The enrollment stood at 1400, which was a significant jump from
400 just ten years before, and the institution was only the second degree-granting public
school in the state.  Additionally, most of its students were from Huntington and most of
them were women3.  Finally, Marshall then, as now, was a school that attracted
self-supporting students.  The extra money required to support a fraternity membership
was just not in the pockets of most Marshall students.  Despite this, the college had made
great strides and the university administration supported Greek letter organizations as a
means to encourage development among the students.  Marshall did have a number of
local social organizations, and the faculty had a high proportion of Greek alumni.  In the
end, Marshall College from 1927, when consideration with Lambda Chi Alpha began,
until 1946 when it was finally chartered as the Zeta Zeta chapter, was a debatable
location for a social fraternity.
 The work that was to culminate in 1946 began in 1927 when a Lambda Chi
named Frank Gilbert was hired to teach botany at Marshall College.  He began
corresponding with the national fraternity about the prospects at Marshall College for
colonization.4   Additionally, he reached out to the various local fraternities, especially
Phi Tau Alpha, to discern if there might be the opportunity for annexation.  His efforts,
while diligent, produced no solid commitment from any of the locals.  Beginning in 1929
and concluding in 1945, a steady stream of letters were exchanged between the Lambda
Chi Alpha national and the various proponents of colonization at Marshall College.  Most
of these letters related to the Phi Tau Alpha local fraternity.  The local had been
established at Marshall in the mid-1920's and enjoyed the prestige of being one of the
best fraternities on campus.  Prof. Gilbert spent almost a decade attempting to convince,
alternately, the national and the local chapter that an association would be in the best
interest of both. Despite his best efforts, the local chapter never transmitted a formal
petition requesting affiliation with the national5.  Lambda Chi Alpha displayed a level of
interest in this local fraternity that boggles the contemporary mind.  In one year, for
example, the fraternity sent two travelling secretaries, or consultants, and Bruce H.
McIntosh, Administrative Secretary, sent out almost a dozen letters aimed at soliciting
interest in Lambda Chi Alpha.  The letters, sent to local Lambda Chi alumni, Phi Tau
alumni, and the active members of Phi Tau Alpha explained the benefits of being
affiliated with Lambda Chi Alpha and the importance the general fraternity placed on
having a chapter at Marshall College.  These efforts convinced the Phi Tau's that their
chapter was valuable and that they could afford to wait.  This led to the development of
arrogance in the local chapter that did not escape the attention of the representatives of
Lambda Chi.  For example, a travelling secretary, Leo Mucha, who visited the chapter on
November 30, 1936 commented to the following:

Phi Tau Alpha is becoming a problem similar to the one concerning the
rushee who knows that a certain fraternity wants him.  First it is one alibi
and then another.  If this group were given a definite limited space of time
in which to make up its mind, it would fear that Lambda Chi Alpha was
backing away and it would come running with a petition.... This is a
lackadaisical group of little boys, and little in the way of concrete
progress can be obtained until it is led to believe that the sweetness of
becoming a national fraternity is rapidly melting away6.
 
 This game would continue, despite Mr. Mucha's opinion, for another ten years
due to the intervention of World War II.  Eventually, however, the courtship ended and
the refusal of Phi Tau Alpha to consummate the union forced the faculty alumni of
Lambda Chi to explore another alternative, that of outright colonization.  Professor
Gilbert's dream of building on a strong local did not come to life, but his determined
efforts in the early years helped to inspire other alumni to take a more active role in the
cultivation of Lambda Chi at Marshall.
 Following the Second World War, the burden of colonization fell squarely on the
shoulders of Prof. Ralph Hron, a physics professor and a brother from the University of
Oklahoma City.  He was second in seniority among the faculty of Marshall College and
was originally involved in the process by Prof. Gilbert to help solidify faculty support for
the proposed chapter.  As the courtship with the Phi Tau's became extended, Prof. Hron
decided the more pragmatic approach would be to organize the Lambda Chi Alpha
alumni in the Huntington area.  This would allow for a support system to be created that
would aid any efforts at persuasion on behalf of the fraternity.  This system of faculty and
other interested alumni eventually formed the core of the new Zeta Zeta chapter of
Lambda Chi Alpha.
 It is important to understand what made Prof. Hron's approach so different than
Prof. Gilbert's.  To do this, an understanding of Ralph P. Hron must be gained.  The
Cross and Crescent published a brief profile of the professor in 1946, excerpted here to
provide that personal detail:

A professor of physics and head of the department at Marshall since 1920,
Prof.  Hron will soon be the longest serving member of the faculty.  The
only more senior member will retire next spring.  Prof. Hron, born in
Kansas in 1886, took work at Kansas, Oklahoma, and Columbia
Universities after receiving his degree at Epworth, and has most of the
work completed for his doctorate.   He has been at Marshall College since
1916 and has actively supported the growth of Lambda Chi Alpha at
Marshall7.

 Because Prof. Hron had been at Marshall for a considerable period of time, he
was familiar with the characteristic West Virginia approach to decisions.  He knew that
the local fraternity would be zealously protective of its independence and be hesitant to
give up control over policy and procedure to some national office in Indianapolis.  He
also knew that Marshall students tended to want something tangible out of their
associations.  Lambda Chi Alpha had to represent something unique on Marshall's
campus if it was to be successful.  While he was convinced of the fraternity's inherent
value, the students would need to be convinced.  To accomplish this he decided the
successful approach would be to assemble the alumni professors and use them to intimate
that joining Lambda Chi Alpha would allow an ambitious young man to take a significant
step forward professionally.  This new approach would bear fruit almost immediately.
 Prof. Hron's efforts began in earnest in the fall of 1945.  He had received
assurances from the national fraternity that it would support a move to establish a chapter
on Marshall's campus as soon as a solid nucleus could be formed.  Not wanting to give up
on a 19 year old tradition on Marshall's campus, the professor made one more pitch to
Phi Tau Alpha.   Despite their intransigence, Phi Tau Alpha remained an attractive
candidate for nationalization.  After all, they had achieved the highest grade point
average among fraternities six out of the last eight years, enjoyed strong alumni support,
and benefitted from a strong social reputation on campus.  Hron even had the
administrative secretary, Cyril F. "Duke" Flad, come down to Huntington that winter to
make a presentation to the Phi Tau alumni and active community.  This presentation
went well, but the chapter again declined to formally petition for a Lambda Chi Alpha
charter8.  This latest rebuff caused the professor to reconsider his methodology and begin
recruiting students directly.
 A problem for Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall was the lack of a significant
national fraternity presence on campus.  Out of seven fraternities, only two were national
and they were not the most prestigious chapters on campus.  Professor Hron realized that
the students could not see the benefits behind the higher dues that came with being a
national fraternity.  He therefore began to organize the other faculty Lambda Chi's to
recruit new, independent men to the idea of a new chapter, a new fraternity.  The idea of
Zeta Zeta was born in the spring of 1946 when Professor Hron decided that the Marshall
chapter should represent a new, totally Lambda Chi Alpha tradition.
 Over the spring and summer terms Hron and his cohort of enthusiastic professors
identified key individuals and recruited them into the enterprise.  July 8, 1946 was the
date of the first meeting of this cadre of students and faculty9.  Men like Clyde Steele,
Harry Turner, Henry Pittman, George Naylor, and Homer Lambert were among the first
students recruited to join this new circle of faculty and community leaders.  Professor
Berkeley Shafer joined Hron and Gilbert and 12 other faculty members in the enterprise,
all becoming charter members of the new chapter.  By the beginning of the fall term, a
group of sufficient size to justify colonization had been recruited and Zeta Zeta began
operation as a colony.  Professor Hron acted as the adviser to the new group and, in fact,
orchestrated the most remarkable debut of a fraternity in Marshall's history.
 This debut is a remarkable story in its own right.  In 1946, when Zeta Zeta
emerged as a chapter, most fraternities on Marshall's campus averaged about 30 men.
Lambda Chi Alpha initiated 65 men in February 1947, just two months after receiving it's
charter.  An incredible 48% of that number were faculty members who committed to the
fraternity10.  No other fraternity had as strong a faculty membership and the local
fraternities began to realize the impact a national fraternity structure could have.  By
integrating the members of Lambda Chi Alpha from other universities that were on the
faculty at Marshall College, the chapter benefitted from a huge leadership pool from the
start.  Additionally, the national fraternity structure provided a support system that no
local fraternity could match, with conferences and supplies that only a national
organization has the capability to coordinate.  The chapter immediately became the
largest on campus and made a huge impact in its first year11.  The installation of the
chapter was a special event for the fraternity as the culmination of almost twenty years
effort and as the first successful chartering since the end of the war.  Additionally, Zeta
Zeta was the first chapter to enroll a significant number of veterans as new members.
Homer Lambert typified this group that represented almost 40% of the new student
members of the chapter12.  Being older and more experienced, these men fit better the
mold of leadership that Hron was attempting to cultivate at Marshall.  Homer Lambert
won the distinction of receiving the first membership number and is to this day honored
as ZZ 1.  Additionally, he became the chapter's second president and campus
vice-president before graduating from Marshall in 1948.  Hron encouraged this, believing
that no student was "too old" to impact the fraternity; after all, he was the senior member
of the faculty and he was still participating in the fraternal world.  Prof. Hron would be
recognized by the fraternity and given the Order of Merit, the highest award Lambda Chi
Alpha can give to a member for fraternity service.  The chapter enjoyed some significant
success by involving these people who might have been excluded from other fraternities
on Marshall's campus.
 Installation began on December 6, 1946 and concluded on December 8th.  The
ceremony was presided over by the Grand High Phi, Linn C. Lightner, who delivered the
charter to the chapter at the conclusion of the initiation ritual on December 7.  A ritual
team was dispatched from the chapter at the University of Cincinnati to handle the details
of the secret initiation ceremony.  The first president of the new chapter was to be
William H. Pitman, III, of Huntington with Homer Lambert as vice-president.  Professor
Hron would continue to serve the new chapter as adviser.  A social event on Friday
allowed the various dignitaries to meet the new chapter and settle in for the long
weekend.  The installation itself occurred on Saturday and although an early start was
scheduled, the tardy arrival of the Cincinnati team delayed the program until noon.  A
formal banquet with presentations by the Marshall College president, Dr. Stewart Smith,
and Mr. Lightner concluded the evening13.  The next morning the group had breakfast
together and attended a church service at the downtown Trinity Episcopal Church.  The
installation was concluded by the installation of new chapter officers that afternoon.
Throughout the weekend the travelling secretary, Howard Stein, was struck by the
enthusiasm of the chapter but was concerned about the lack of sufficient time during the
event to allow the new members to fully appreciate the magnitude of the installation.  He
expressed this concern in a report, briefly excerpted here, to the general fraternity
headquarters in Indianapolis, Indiana.

During the entire day we were pushed for time.  The events of the day
were hurried and thus not as well handled as they should have been.  The
Cincinnati chapter told this Secretary that they were very disappointed in
the way the national organization handled the installation.  They felt that
more national officers should have been present, more of a show made of
the event, outstanding fraternity men brought to Huntington, and
generally a lot bigger thing made of the installation.  It is the opinion of
this Secretary that all installations should be covered by a travelling
secretary.  The work that must be done prior to the installation is
tremendous.  The local group needs the guidance along the lines of
Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at this time14.

 Despite Mr. Stein's ambivalence, the installation did occur and West Virginia
became the 37th state to have a chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.  Professor Hron received a
significant share of the credit for the installation of the chapter.  He was commended for
lining up Marshall president Smith's participation in the event and for bringing such a
strong chapter to life so quickly.  The support of the president was important to the new
chapter and Dr. Smith's support was characterized by his remarks at the dinner on
December 7, "Since the time its president approached me concerning its establishment
last September, I have watched it become a strong campus organization.  I wish it the
best of luck."15
 The close of the fall semester brought the search for a home for this new
fraternity, and again Professor Hron provided essential guidance.  Fraternity chapters
always want to have a house of their own.  That is to their credit and it is their curse.
Chapters at Marshall have always struggled to support the houses they have bought.
Marshall enrolls a disproportionate number of local students who choose to remain at
home and commute to class, leaving a relatively small number of students who are
interested in moving into a fraternity house.  That is the situation today, and that was the
situation in 1947.  Additionally, with the post-war pressures on available housing, the
real estate market was quite tough.  In fact, traveling secretary John Weaver, in his visit
on October 6-8, 1947, commented that, "There are no prospective houses or apartments
for sale or rent at the present time.  The market in Huntington is loosening, however, and
there may [be] further developments in the near future.  The chapter and advisers have
definitely decided to purchase a lot near the campus as part of a long range plan of
building a new home."16  Hron had seen chapters struggle to fill their houses and was
hesitant about having his new chapter assume that kind of financial responsibility.  The
chapter needed someplace to gather, however, and records needed a repository.  Prof.
Hron volunteered his own class room and office in the then-Science Hall, now Northcott
Hall, for the fraternity's use.  This put a strain on his use of his own facilities and no other
professor at Marshall had to endure fraternity men running in and out of their office at all
hours of  the day and night.  Hron was committed to the chapter making judicious use of
its resources, however, and did not want to squander its strength.
 This proved advantageous as the chapter navigated its crucial first year.  That fall
the travelling secretary, John Weaver, noted the strengths that the group had established.
His review was so enthusiastic it included the following overall review:

Zeta Zeta  is in excellent condition as the new semester commences.  With
a few changes in existing conditions this chapter could be classified as the
"perfect" chapter.  Administration is superb, alumni cooperation with the
zeta is improving, and college and faculty relations can[sic] not be better
anywhere.  The personnel consists of only the highest type [of] men and
there is every reason to believe that this situation will last for an
indefinite period at Marshall.  This chapter is in the enviable position of
being able to select practically any man on the campus they desire.
Approximately 100 men have announce intentions of going Lambda
Chi17.

 The chapter had developed its strong faculty connections into the highest grade
point average on campus, displacing the local Phi Tau Alpha chapter in a move laced
with irony18.  Faculty members of the chapter provided free tutoring to student members
and the test file developed through this unique partnership quickly became the envy of
the college community.  Recruitment was not a problem, with the members distributed
evenly throughout the classes and curriculum and the faculty members continuing to
identify outstanding students as prospective fraternity men.  Hron felt that developing the
chapter depended on the strength of the benefits the fraternity could provide the students
of Marshall19.  He compelled the chapter to put academics first,  community service
second, and socializing a respectable third.  This set of priorities was given lip service at
the other chapters, but by actually practicing them in the first few years Lambda Chi
cultivated a relationship with Marshall that endures to this day.
 That is not to say the chapter was without problems.  It depended on the faculty
members to remain active and to promote the chapter visibly throughout the college.  If
and when faculty interest waned, as it did following Prof. Hron's retirement as chapter
adviser, the active membership would have a much harder time recruiting new members.
Also, the chapter had positioned itself as the home for veterans of the armed services.
When that pool dried up, the chapter struggled.  Additionally, the Marshall economic
structure would not support the kind of due collection that makes any fraternity
comfortable.  Zeta Zeta, from the beginning, had an accounts receivable problem and had
to make due with a minimum level of financial support.  Members could not maintain
extravagant expenditures and the chapter had to struggle at times to make ends meet.
 On May 19, 1947 Professor Ralph Hron resigned as High Pi, or chapter adviser, of
Zeta Zeta chapter.  He did this to concentrate on the Lambda Chi alumni association  and
its development in the Huntington area.  Marshall was the only chapter in the state of
West Virginia and a strong alumni group would be essential to the long-term prospects of
the Lambda Chi presence in the state.  He was replaced as chapter adviser by Berkely R.
Shafer, an engineering professor, who would hold the reigns for more than a decade
following Hron's resignation20.  While Professor Shafer did guide the chapter to its first
two houses, and continued to hold the chapter to a high standard of excellence, he did not
maintain the faculty involvement in the chapter.  As faculty members drifted out of the
active chapter's program, the chapter became more typical of Marshall fraternities.
Membership alternately dropped and increased, houses came and went, and every two to
three years the chapter would re-create itself as a new dynamic student took charge.  The
promise of a "perfect" chapter would not be realized at Marshall until almost forty years
later when the men of Zeta Zeta earned a Grand High Alpha award for extended chapter
excellence21.   Hron's plan for a cooperative fraternity joining students, especially
veterans, and faculty in a social development enterprise would be cut short but his
accomplishments and traditions would endure to the present day.
 Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall owes much to Professor Ralph Hron.  The
university community owes much to his emphasis on faculty-student interaction and his
commitment to academic excellence.  Long before Marshall was "the interactive
university of the twenty-first century", Hron promoted excellence and community.
Though he would eventually receive the Order of Merit, his impact on the Zeta Zeta
chapter has never been fully appreciated.  Without his approach, the Lambda Chi Alpha
fraternity at Marshall would not have had two unique selling points--faculty participation
and veteran involvement.  Without his commitment to founding a chapter quickly, the
courtship with Phi Tau Alpha could have continued on for another twenty years.  While
the Phi Tau Alpha fraternity passed away within the next decade, the Lambda Chi Alpha
chapter endured and produced many important leaders.  His impact was decisive and
cannot be written off as inevitable.  The efforts to bring nationalization to Marshall had
been ongoing since the mid-20's.  Hron made the chartering occur, and he made it
successful.  Without his influence that fraternity might never have come to Marshall and
the more than 1000 men who are members of Zeta Zeta chapter would never have
received that opportunity.

 
 
 

Article Two:  Changes

 The battle for civil rights for Americans of African descent took on a more public
tone in the aftermath of the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision of the United
States Supreme Court.  That decision caused the crusade for civil rights to be added to
the national agenda.  For the next twenty years protests, demonstrations, and activities
would punctuate the very real struggle in the soul of America.  At Marshall University,
the question remained distant until the mid-1960's when some students began to
challenge the segregationist attitudes of Huntington, West Virginia.  While the chapter of
Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall struggled with membership, finances, and hazing
concerns, the issue of racial equality in fraternal organizations slowly moved to the
forefront of concern.  The men of Zeta Zeta, with one notable exception, typified the
community of Marshall University in their reaction to the changes in race relations and
the impact of their attitudes linger to this day.
 The fraternity reaction to change was determined early on at Zeta Zeta.  In 1950,
when Harold T. Murphy arrived at Marshall University he had no intention of joining a
fraternity.  His was a poorer family, one that had struggled to put him through St. Joseph's
Catholic High School and the extra money a fraternity membership required seemed to
be out of reach.  When introduced to the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha, however, that all
changed.  Though strapped for cash throughout his undergraduate career, he joined and
became one of the most enthusiastic leaders of the chapter in the early fifties.  In addition
to eventually serving as president, Murphy filled the roles of ritualist and academic
chairman.  His career at Marshall included memberships in several honor societies and
his scholarship eventually earned him a national award to support his graduate
education22.  For Murphy, college was an experience that centered around academic and
social activities.  The larger issues of equality and justice seemed far away indeed, as the
chapter enjoyed formal balls, guest speakers, and academic recognition.
 As Murphy put it,"Marshall was a quiet campus with a sense of purpose about it.
The purpose was to gain knowledge and enjoy yourself.  Social events were held all the
time and the students didn't feel as rushed to get through school.  We all finished in four
years but we took time out to enjoy ourselves23."  Race was not an issue at Marshall in
the 1950's, developing a sense of community and promoting the University's growth were
the main concerns.  This approach to fraternity and life at Marshall would guide Murphy
as the chapter's adviser in the mid 1960's.  When the conflict about civil rights came to
Marshall's campus, Murphy would advocate a low-key approach, believing that it was not
the concern of a social fraternity, as his experience during the 1950's suggested.  The
failure of Murphy to recognize the changed social landscape would eventually place
Murphy, Lambda Chi Alpha, and Marshall in the middle of the national crisis over racial
equality.
 While Huntington and Marshall were not big parts of the national civil rights
movement, a growing presence in the region made it a prime candidate for grass-roots
agitation.  Marshall had been developing steadily and by the 1950's included almost 4000
students.  Huntington was a bustling city of 80,000, the largest in West Virginia, with a
solid economy and a growing civic confidence24.  The University and the city were
firmly rooted in Southern tradition, however, and the growing minority community was
looking for an avenue to begin breaking down the mores of society in Huntington.  The
Kappa Alpha Order, the only national fraternity at Marshall older than Lambda Chi
Alpha, sponsored the annual Old South Days.  During the first weekend of May the KA
Order would dress up in Confederate garb and "take over" Marshall and hoist the Stars
and Bars and the glories of the Old South would be celebrated25.  This festival continued
into the sixties and was a constant irritant to the portion of the Huntington population that
was opposed to the racial system the Old South epitomized.  Many restaurant and hotels
in Huntington were vigorously segregated and the educational system was completely
separated for students of different skin color.  The 1954 Brown v. Board of Education
decision had little immediate impact in Huntington as the school system resisted
change26 and attention remained focused on other concerns.  Despite the obvious growth
and development in Huntington and at Marshall, the community remained rooted in its
traditional attitude towards racial equity.
 The 1960's brought many changes to Marshall.  Murphy would be hired as a
professor of Spanish after completing a tour of duty in the Army and some years working
as an instructor at a military academy.  His return to campus would be accompanied by
his appointment to the post of chapter adviser for Lambda Chi Alpha, a role he would
hold for most of the decade27.  Additionally, black students, the vast majority on athletic
scholarships, began attending Marshall University and they had an impact
disproportionate to their numbers in the campus community.  One student in particular,
Phil Carter, would play a central role in the drama unfolding in Huntington.  The chapter
had grown in size steadily, and now averaged around sixty men28.  A member of the
chapter, Aubrey King, promoted a progressive approach to civil rights in Huntington but
he would find strong opposition in the chapter.  The heyday of the fraternity in America
had passed. The glory days of the 1950's were gone and the challenges posed by the
counter-culture movement were real.  Students viewed fraternities as relics of a by-gone
era and advocates of a rigid social structure that many saw as responsible for a variety of
social ills.  While the nation as a whole had become fairly liberal, the fraternity system,
tended to the conservative mind-set.  Strict rules governed fraternity admittance and
hazing was still the order of the day.  Any member could reject a prospective member
and as a result, very few fraternities admitted black students to membership, even on
campuses where black students constituted a significant portion of the student body.
Finally, Marshall University had become something of a regional basketball powerhouse
and was an emerging force in football as well29.  All these changes, when combined with
the turmoil surrounding the war in Vietnam, made Marshall an exciting place to be in
1963 and one where the line between "tradition" and "oppression" was to become very
hazy.
 In 1963 a group called the Civic Interest Progressives formed on Marshall's
campus.  This group, with basketball star Phil Carter as its spokesman, began challenging
the segregationist practices in Huntington30.  No members of any Marshall fraternity
joined this group for fear of arousing the wrath of the Greek system.  The group
committed itself to non-violent agitation and targeted three institutions for
attention--Bailey's Cafeteria, the Kappa Alpha Order's Old South Days, and the fraternity
system in general.  The C.I.P. challenged Marshall to address these institutions as a
progressive institution committed to social justice.  This challenge was responded to by
Marshall President Stewart Smith in a comment that offerred the C.I.P. little hope of
immediate progress.  President Smith published the following statement in The
Parthenon on April 19, 1963:

 Continuing racial discrimination in several public places in
Huntington, affecting some our students, including foreign students, has
caused embarrassment to these students, to the University and to the city
of Huntington.  Marshall University took the initiative in the elimination
of discriminatory practices before the Supreme Court decision in 1954
and has been a leader in promoting the same throughout Huntington.  Our
University continually endeavors to bring about mutual understanding
and respect among all racial, religious and ethnic groups represented in
its student body and faculty.  The primary reason why racial
discrimination in America must ultimately be ended is because it is
fundamentally wrong.  Racial discrimination contradicts and violates the
essentials of democracy.
 The people of Huntington are to be commended for the progress
that has been made in this area.  We have made more progress toward
providing equal dignity and opportunity to the Negro in the past ten years
than was achieved in the preceding ninety years.  While we are strongly
opposed to all forms of coercion or public demonstrations, we pledge our
assistance to the State and Huntington Human Rights Commissions in
their efforts to end discriminatory practices through discussions and
through every other fair and ethical means.31

 This statement, at once both addressing the C.I.P. and ignoring it, served as notice
that the group's goals, while laudatory, would not be supported by the administration.  By
disavowing the group's protest approach to racial injustice, the president forced the C.I.P.
to the political fringe of the campus community.  This signal from the highest level set
the fraternity community at ease and reassured them that they could continue "business as
usual."  The president's comments were headlined with the banner,"Dr. Smith Hits
Discrimination" and in the atmosphere of 1963 surely represented a strong statement in
support of civil equality.  The unfortunate        side-effect of its guarded language,
however, would be a denial of recognition to the C.I.P. and a continued de facto
segregation on Marshall's campus.  While no official rules prohibited blacks from joining
fraternities, no fraternity accepted black members and the celebration of the Old South
Days continued.  Lambda Chi Alpha, with adviser Murphy's guidance, followed the lead
of the university president and took no overt action to end discrimination in Huntington.
 Unfazed, the C.I.P. began an ambitious program of protests and public events to
focus attention on the problem.  While the Chief Justice, Marshall's yearbook steered
clear of the issue in general, the C.I.P. proved so ubiquitous at the 1964 Old South
Weekend that the following caption accompanied the large picture of the event, "The
annual Kappa Alpha Order's Old South Weekend met with opposition in 1964.  About 25
members of the Civic Interest Progressives, a student civil rights group, marched in
protest against official sanction of the event and use of the Confederate flag in a campus
surrender ceremony.  Kappa Alpha men reaffirmed their loyalty to the American flag and
all that it stands for."  In an ironic post-script, the caption continued to say,"The
ceremony proceeded without incident."32  This comment was made despite the fact that
the picture clearly shows a procession of C.I.P. members marching through the center of
the surrender ceremony carrying large signs and placards, certainly an "incident".   While
President Smith denied this group official recognition, the C.I.P. had a very real impact
on campus and caused quite a stir on Marshall's campus.
 Despite the fact that Lambda Chi Alpha had never formally practiced segregation,
travelling secretaries began noting as early as 1964 the racist attitudes prevalent at
Marshall University.  In a confidential report dated April 12, 1964, secretary David Neset
commented about a meeting with the Marshall chapter, "The announcement of the fact
that we have a Negro brother came as a surprise to almost all the delegates.  Many
became quite upset and plans were discussed concerning action against the Coe Chapter
at the General Assembly.  The brothers in attendance apparently thought that the General
Fraternity was not doing its job in maintaining our standards33."  While this travelling
secretary expressed concern with the situation at Marshall, the general fraternity did not
act on the issue and it continued to develop in the coming year.  The issue was discussed,
informally, at the General Assembly that summer but the pressure mounted by the
Southern chapters prevented the fraternity from making any public statements against
segregation.  The Marshall chapter's representative supported this silence, and
encouraged continued de facto segregation.
 Despite this attitude, one member of Zeta Zeta took a stand against segregation.
Aubrey C. King, class of 1963, supported integration at Marshall University.  While he
never joined the C.I.P., he was prominent enough in the group's activities to be served a
summons to appear in court with the group34.  In May 1963, the C.I.P. began picketing
Bailey's Cafeteria,  because although frequented by Marshall students, it refused to serve
black customers.  To fight this position, Aubrey King arranged a "share-in" with Phil
Carter and the C.I.P.  Several white students, including King, purchased meals in Bailey's
and waited for the black students to be refused service.  They then asked the black
students to sit down with them and share their meals, thus effectively defeating the
cafeteria's discrimination policy35.
 After three of these "share-in" demonstrations, Bailey's Cafeteria sought an
injunction against the C.I.P. and Aubrey King to prevent them from continuing this
activity.  On  May 8, 1963, The Parthenon published an article covering the hearing in
Circuit Court.  Aubrey King is pictured receiving a summons from Sheriff Frankel of
Cabell County to appear in Circuit Court Judge John W. Hereford's court.  The article
noted that the West Virginia Human Rights Commission had proposed a conference to
resolve this issue but, as Executive Director Howard W. McKinney put it,"The Cafeteria
seems committed to taking a step backward in race relations."36  The injunction was
later denied by Judge Hereford on the basis that the petition for injunction cited no
reason why the 11 people in the injunction should be denied access to the restaurant.  The
judge did not decide that the cafeteria needed to reform its policy towards black
customers, rather he said that,"If they were to be excluded on the basis of race the
petition should state that as its rationale"37.   While this was hardly a ringing
endorsement for the C.I.P., it was sufficient to force Bailey's Cafeteria to begin phasing
in service for black customers.  King's methodology for the protest, challenging the
policy without interfering with the business of the cafeteria, would prove the single most
effective activity of the C.I.P38.  It did not win him support in his chapter, however, and
the failure of the general fraternity to support him would cost him any hope of holding
fraternity office.
 This did not stop the general fraternity from claiming King proudly when he won
a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to study in New Delhi, India.  In a large article in the
June 1963 Cross and Crescent, the fraternity's official magazine, King is hailed as an
honors student and a leader.  He is noted as the "president of Pi Kappa Delta, the forensic
society,...president of Omicron Delta Kappa, leadership honorary,...president of Hodges
Hall,...most outstanding political science major, and a student cited in Who's Who in
American Colleges and Universities."39  No mention is made of his courageous
advocacy for civil rights on campus or his progressive stance on integration.  While his
accomplishments as a student made him a darling in the eyes of the general fraternity,
curiously, his activities relating to race relations went unmentioned in the Cross and
Crescent.
 The following year, 1965, a new travelling secretary from the general fraternity,
Loren L. Purvines,  delivered a more palatable set of comments about the issue of racial
integration in Lambda Chi Alpha to the men of Zeta Zeta.  His statement, filed April 15,
1965 with the chapter,  is excerpted to illustrate the tacit support of segregation given by
the general fraternity despite the comments of secretary Neset.

An organization called the Civic Interest Progressives(primarily made up
of Negros and banner-carrying whites) on this campus has been stirring
up quite a bit of controversy this year.  There have been several organized
demonstrations this semester, and a planned rash of editorials and "letters
to the editor" campaigns in the campus newspaper.  The editor of the
student newspaper is a member of C.I.P.  Most of the demonstrations and
editorials have been aimed primarily at fraternity "discrimination".  The
rumor is out that the national Student Non-Violent Coordinating
Committee is going to demonstrate vigorously (but non-violently) during
fall rush next year.  President Smith, of Marshall University, is alleged as
publicly stating that he "hopes fraternities will see fit to integrate
themselves in the future."  Smith is a fraternity man himself(Phi Delt), and
most people, including High Pi Harold Murphy, feel he will not push the
incident.  The administration does not recognize the C.I.P. as a student
organization.  The chapter is concerned that Negros will be forced upon
them.  This reporter encouraged them to sit tight and not try to stir up the
issue, but to call the Office of Administration if the situation became
explosive in rush40.

 Purvine met with the chapter and suggested that they should wait out the storm.
He did not emphasize the possibilities of being ahead of the curve on this issue and
acting to defuse the situation, rather he told them that it was all right if they remained
all-white41.  His statements reflected a change in course for the general fraternity.  Prior
to 1964, the fraternity had quietly supported the membership of qualified men of any
racial or ethnic background.  While publicly this posture did not change, the attitudes of
several chapters, including Marshall's, led the general fraternity to adopt a quietly
segregationist posture42.  This change allowed for continuing discrimination at chapters
of Lambda Chi Alpha across America. The Marshall chapter in particular became a
bastion of all-white fraternalism.  Prof. Murphy, secure in his belief that change was not
to be spearheaded by a social fraternity, allowed the racial attitudes of the chapter to
harden.  The  Zeta Zeta chapter was not alone, however, all the Marshall fraternities
adopted this posture and held to it rigidly.  Until 1980, no black student was admitted to a
historically white fraternity at Marshall43.  In effect, Purvine's statements that day in
1965 represented the official posture of the university when it came to social integration,
and the local leadership, including Murphy, acquiesced in that policy.
 The black students of Marshall wanted to have a fraternity experience regardless
of the posture of the other national fraternities and thus went about creating their own
fraternal traditions.  The historically black fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi arrived at Marshall
in 1964 with a ten member chapter44.  The arrival of a black fraternity took much of the
pressure to integrate their membership off the other Greek organizations .  Now that a
viable alternative to the Inter-Fraternity Council chapters existed, interested black men
need not fight to get into chapters that would rather not have them.  The unfortunate
side-effect of this development was the marginalization of black men in the Greek
system.  Marshall has never enrolled a large number of black students and as a result, the
population for a black fraternity to recruit was, and is, not as large as the population for
the white fraternities.  For example, in 1968, there were 20 black men and 2200 white
men at Marshall  .  The black fraternities, even at their strongest in the mid-1980's, rarely
had more than 15 members each and were never large enough to support a house or
participate fully in the social, athletic, or leadership activities of the Greek system45.  On
the other hand, those black men interested in fraternity life could have added a new
perspective to the existing chapters and been afforded the opportunities that Greek life
presents.  That experience did not arrive at Marshall until the 1990's, however, when
economic pressures broke down the final walls of segregation in the Greek system.   The
1960's remained a black and white decade, and fraternal integration did not exist at
Marshall University.
 Instead, Zeta Zeta focused on its new house, its high grades, and its strong
membership numbers.  The chapter had just purchased the "Pancake Mansion" at 1440
5th Avenue and was busy developing itself as a legitimate contender for top chapter in
the general fraternity46.  The race issue was swept under the carpet with  the guidance of
Prof. Murphy, President Smith, and the general fraternity.  Old South Days continued,
with progressively less fanfare each year, until the activity died when the Kappa Alpha
Order lost its charter at Marshall University.  Eventually, Huntington ended its
discriminatory business practices and active agitation for civil rights would end.  Phil
Carter even became a professor of sociology at Marshall in the 1980's 47.  The University
eventually overcame its southern heritage and embraced the possibilities of
multi-culturalism.  The legacy of the 1960's clings to the fraternity system and Lambda
Chi Alpha, however, and even today the decisions made in 1965 affect the chapter.
 In the summer of 1996 WSAZ-TV interviewed the president of Lambda Chi
Alpha to find out if fraternities at Marshall were still a white-only affair.  The situation,
as the chapter president saw it, was that while fraternities would gladly take any qualified
man who was interested in membership, Marshall's minority community, however,
continued to believe that segregation was de facto policy.  Today, Marshall students are
told by their parents how fraternities operated when they were students and that
impression is almost impossible to change.  The legacy of segregation lives on in the
memory of the community and steps to counteract that legacy have been tentative, at
best48.
 While the activities of dedicated students like Phil Carter and Aubrey King helped
change the social landscape of Huntington and Marshall, change has been an elusive
thing for institutions like Lambda Chi Alpha to grasp firmly.  The course set by the
general fraternity in the sixties of quiet segregation was never embraced officially but
was communicated effectively to chapters by travelling secretaries like Loren Purvine.
Fraternities have always been conservative in nature and during the 1960's this
conservatism was replaced by a shade of cowardice.  Rather than challenge the biases of
some of its members, Lambda Chi Alpha allowed those biases to exclude many men who
might otherwise have been excellent brothers.  Instead of being proud of the 1960's as an
era where the chapter maintained good scholarship, moved into a fine house, enrolled a
huge number of brothers, and demonstrated campus and community leadership on all
fronts, Zeta Zeta continues to gloss over its role in the segregation of the Marshall
community49.  That legacy, while bleak, only makes the exemplary performance of men
like Aubrey King shine all the brighter by comparison.

 
 
 

Article Three:  Tragedy
 
 
 

Multis ille bonis flebilis occidit,
Nulli flebilior quam tibi.
 -Horace50

 Saturday, November 14, 1970, is a date that will live forever in the memories of
the communities of Huntington, West Virginia, Marshall University, and Lambda Chi
Alpha fraternity.  On that night, the city of Huntington lost seventy-five of Marshall's
most active supporters--fans, coaches, and players of the Marshall Thundering Herd
football program.  Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity lost Marcello Lajterman, a sophomore
kicker who was to be married the following Sunday.  The grief experience of the chapter
is illustrative of the terrible process the entire Marshall community went through in the
days, weeks, months, and even years that followed this awful tragedy.  Although no
words can truly reflect the personal experience of those left behind in the wake of the
crash of that cold November day, the story of Marcello Lajterman and those that cared
for him deserves to be told.  The bonds of fraternity guaranteed that the chapter would be
dramatically changed with his passing.  The events of November 14, 1970 altered forever
the lives of those people who cared  about Brother Lajterman and the experience of the
chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity at Marshall University can perhaps shed some
light on this terrible tragedy.
 Marcello was a sophomore kicking specialist for the Marshall Thundering Herd.
His family was from Lyndhurst, New Jersey and he had not decided on a major yet.  He
was "an exciting addition to the Thundering Herd, with real prospects for success in the
Marshall football program"51, and he had just been initiated into full membership at his
fraternity, Lambda Chi Alpha.   Additionally, he was to be married to his college
sweetheart, Sue Ellen Cook, in under two weeks52.  Truly, things seemed to be moving
right along for Marcello. He had indeed come a long way from his childhood days in
Brazil and New Jersey, where just two short years before, in 1968, he had graduated from
high school and accepted an invitation to play football at a small school in West Virginia.
Marcello had not planned on playing football, soccer was the family's sport, but when the
chance to pay for college with his kicking ability came along, he took the opportunity.
After all, it would give him a chance to be nearer to his brother, Abe, a member of the
Davis & Elkins College soccer team.  West Virginia seemed to suit Marcello just fine,
and as the plane to take back home from the East Carolina University football game took
off, Marcello surely thought he had made a fine choice for his future.
 He had become very comfortable at Marshall University in the fall of 1970.  His
brother's at Lambda Chi Alpha had welcomed him into the chapter wholeheartedly,
granting him the privilege of appearing in the chapter's 1970 yearbook picture the spring
before53.  Initiation into full membership in mid-October54 was a personal triumph for
Marcello, and his brothers expected great things of him as he continued to grow in the
system and develop his skills of leadership.  His fiance, Sue Ellen Cook, was a member
of Alpha Chi Omega sorority at Marshall, and the Greek life had provided much needed
relief from the constant work of the football program.  School was merely something to
do between football practices and parties for Marcello, and his major of "undecided" was
beginning to become a topic of conversation at home55.  For the moment, however,
college was a great time and no work was going to intrude on his grand design for
adventure.    Even the football team was beginning to perform better, and people had
stopped asking Marcello about the team's disturbing lack of victories.
 Marshall University football had been the not-so-proud owners of the nation's
longest losing streak when Marcello joined the team in 1969.  His freshman season saw
them finally break a 27-game losing streak but also saw the school's athletic program
expelled from the Mid-Ohio Valley Athletic Conference for recruiting violations.  Head
Coach Rick Tolley did not give up, however, and he brought the football team along with
almost no seniors, banking on the future his young athletes promised.  Marcello
Lajterman  was a large part of that future and his kicking abilities were expected to factor
into the Thundering Herd's designs more and more as he matured in the coming three
seasons.  In his sophomore season, the Herd was able to win three games to five losses
going into the match-up at East Carolina University.  The fans of Marshall were
beginning to be excited, as this young group of athletes overcame the obstacles placed in
their way, winning more games in one season than the team had in the prior four seasons
combined56.  Hopes were high for the trip to East Carolina and the renaissance of
Marshall's beleaguered football program.
 Similarly, progress had been made at Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity since Marcello
had joined the program.  He joined a fraternity that was in a bit of a slump, membership
was down, and the chapter had some need of a new spirit of adventure to inspire it to
rejuvenation.  Marcello Lajterman was a big part of that new spirit, becoming very active
in the chapter's athletic and social events, and finding a soul-mate in a sorority at
Marshall.  The president of the chapter at the time, Mike Jones, was Marcello's mentor in
the Greek world  of Marshall University and he summed up Marcello's effect on the
chapter with one word,"Electrifying"57.  Marcello was not alone in the effort to revive
the chapter, however, and the team spirit that developed among several of the new
members resulted in the chapter's reclaiming its position near the top of the Greek
system.  He was initiated as a full brother of Lambda Chi Alpha on October 18, 1970, just
seven months after his association, an unusually short time span for association in that
era, but justified in Marcello's case by his extreme involvement and work for the
fraternity.  In all ways, Marcello had become an integral part in the functioning of
Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity by the fall of 1970.
 As the chartered Southern Airways DC-9 airplane left for Greenville, North
Carolina on November 13, 1970 excitement was in the air.  The team was preparing to
play a good, but not unbeatable, East Carolina University team and the weather was
supposed to be ideal for a good football game.  The team was joined in the trip to
Greenville by many of the program's most consistent supporters and special allowance
was even made to find a seat for The Parthenon, the school newspaper, to send its own
reporter in person.58   The plane arrived without incident in North Carolina and all 71
passengers disembarked to try their level best to return to the plane with another victory
to take back home to Huntington.
 Before 8,711 fans of East Carolina, however, that victory was earmarked for
someone else and the Thundering Herd fell 17-14.  The game had been a substandard one
for the Herd, with Head Coach Rich Tolley citing,"sub-par performance"59 from the
team and some questionable officiating proving to be the difference in the game.  An
intentional grounding call on quarterback Ted Shoebridge with 30 seconds remaining in
the contest denied the Herd a chance at a field goal to tie and it was that call that
confused Marshall fans and sealed the East Carolina victory.  "The pass was intended for
halfback Art Harris who fielded it on the bounce, and shared everyone else's puzzlement
about the call."60  Marcello Lajterman ended the day 2 for 2, having kicked both extra
point opportunities the Thundering Herd had, and was he surely as disappointed as the
rest of the team that an opportunity to win or tie did not present itself that Saturday.
Confused and disappointed, the 71 members of the Marshall Thundering Herd re-boarded
their charter DC-9 and joined the four crewmembers for the flight back to Huntington,
West Virginia.
 At approximately 8:30 PM Saturday, November 14, 1970, the DC-9 carrying the
71 members of Marshall's community back to Huntington crashed into the fields
surrounding the Tri-State airport.  The plane had been descending for landing and,
according to the federal investigation report, a malfunctioning altimeter, combined with
adverse conditions, combined to cause the crew to err in their understanding of the
plane's altitude and crash into the trees surrounding the airport61.  Later flights into
Tri-State airport were diverted to other locations because of the overcast conditions
prevailing that night but the situation was not considered bad enough to reroute the
charter flight from North Carolina.  All seventy-five people aboard were killed instantly
by the impact.  It was, and is, the greatest air disaster in the history of the state of West
Virginia. The state was not prepared for this kind of disaster62.   Sorting through the
wreckage and identifying the bodies took almost ten days, and six bodies were eventually
determined to be "unidentifiable" and buried together in a combined service63.  The
crash occurred in an instant that cold, cloudy, November evening but the effects would
change all aspects of the lives of those who knew Marcello Lajterman, or anyone else on
that flight.
 Grieving takes many forms but is all unified by a sense of confusion and loss,
according to David K. Switzer in his, Dynamics of Grief64.  Some people tend to deny
the passing of a loved one, some try to minimize the importance of the death, some try to
restore the balance that has been upset, and still others try to wallow in the memories of
times gone by.  In all cases, a vacuum is created by a sudden death, and nothing but time
will allow those left behind to reconcile themselves to the event that has so dramatically
changed their lives.  According to Switzer, "A catastrophic death experience often brings
out the problem-solver in the American psyche, forcing emotional considerations to the
background as pragmatic issues substitute for grief in the initial phase."65  This aspect of
grieving was certainly manifest in the immediate reaction of the Huntington communities
affected by the crash.
 Dr. Donald Dedmon, acting president of Marshall University in 1970,
exemplified this experience with his reaction to the news of the crash.  As Dave Peyton
of the Huntington Herald-Dispatch reported,"In its wake, the disaster left chaos,
confusion, sorrow--and a responsibility to ease the pain of surviving relatives, to bring
order out of chaos, to see to the hundreds of sorrowful tasks that had to be done.  The
burden of that responsibility fell squarely on the shoulders of one man--Dr. Donald N.
Dedmon, the acting president of Marshall University...Dr. Dedmon was able to accept the
burden and carry through the grim task."66  Dr. Dedmon arrived on the scene shortly
after the crash, and immediately began to wonder, "How on earth can we tell all those
parents?"  He continued, "I went to a nearby tree and leaned against it.  I took a
handkerchief from my pocket and wiped the water from my forehead.  And I thought,
'My God, it's true.  Those poor parents, how can we tell them?"67  It is not for his own
loss that Dr. Dedmon feels, though he knew over half of the passengers personally, but
rather for the other victims notification that he is concerned.  "We're wiped out, but we
won't stay wiped out.  That I can promise you," said Dr. Dedmon on Sunday evening.
This pragmatic response to the tragedy was manifested throughout Huntington, as cots
for arriving family members were set up, phone chains formed for notification purposes,
and people drew together to support those more in need than themselves.
 Another common response to a sudden loss, according to Kathy Charmaz, is to
simply feel, "empty", and fall into a disoriented state with confusion about the persistent
unreality of the situation the person finds themselves in.  They accept the situation as it
is, but still feel a void left by the passage.68  This situation also manifested itself in the
large community of the plane crash.  Malan Clark, an 82 year old man in 1970,
exemplified this reaction by coming out to Fairfield Stadium on Wednesday after the
plane crash to watch football practice.  "I've been coming out here every day and
watching those boys practice ball and work so hard and then...even not knowing them,
just watching them run and practice, it feels like a part of me is missing,"  said Mr. Clark
on his feelings about the accident.   He had been coming to Marshall University football
team practices for over twenty years and had been in Huntington since 1903 when he was
a student at the then college69.  This feeling was rampant in the community after the
crash, and a nurse at Huntington Hospital perhaps summed it up best with her cry,"  This
town died today".70  Truly, the feelings of the 8,500 student school and 73,000 person
city were torn apart by the accident and many people responded by simply feeling loss
and emptiness.
 The third response to traumatic grief usually takes a little longer to manifest itself
but was certainly present in this tragedy.  According to Switzer, this response is called,
"memorial", and it is marked by a measure of questing for a proper memorial for the dear
departed.71  As classes resumed at Marshall on the Wednesday following the crash, Dr.
Tyson, vice president of academic affairs, noted a, "detached atmosphere, the campus felt
really together, but the students were trying to figure a way to mark the contributions
these people had made to the university while still trying to accept that they had gone."72
By Wednesday, a meeting had been held to establish rules and policies to guide the work
of the Marshall University Memorial Fund, and plans were made to rename the new
Student Center in honor of the victims.73  "Something is missing and we feel it so very
deeply," commented student body president Michael Gant at the memorial service74 and
it was this depth of feeling that moved the University to work so diligently on the
memorial that even now, the University community is constantly reminded of this
particular accident and its effect on Huntington.
 All three of these responses were mirrored at the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter in its
grieving for the victims and Marcello Lajterman.  The president of the chapter released
this statement to the Parthenon on November 18, 1970 to try to express the feelings of
the fraternity:

 We as Marshall students are especially grieved by the loss of our
fellow students on November 14, 1970 but we also can share the tragedy
that has hit so many Huntington families.  Words cannot express our
feelings as we suffer through the aftermath of such a disaster.
 As members of Lambda Chi Alpha we also feel a very personal
loss in the death of our beloved Marcello Lajterman.  The knowledge that
a young man with such great potential is gone brings the stark reality of
such a tragedy into the hearts and minds of every brother of Lambda Chi
Alpha.75
 
 The chapter organized its own memorial service for Marcello on the Saturday
following the crash and instituted the tradition of honoring Marcello every year on the
14th of November.  The pragmatic response was evinced by officers of the chapter, who
resolved on November 16, 1970 to,"Work to organize the services for our brother as best
as possible, and soothe the other members of our community and the families of the
victims as completely as is possible."76  The emptiness felt by so much of Huntington
was also exemplified by some of the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha in the reaction of
David Donnaly, who said,"I just cannot imagine this place without him.  We came to it
together, I always thought we would leave it together.  I just don't know anymore, it
doesn't seem fair at all."77  The memorial efforts of the chapter were noted by the
Lajterman family itself, when in a letter dated January 6, 1971, Mr. Israel Lajterman
said,"  Hardly had he lived and fulfilled his great ambitions, when life was denied him in
such a swift and horrible manner.  It was a terrible shock; but as devastating as it was, it
would have been worse had it not been for Marcello's fraternity brothers and friends
extending their expressions of love and sympathy."78  The permanent file of articles,
memorabilia, and photographs created by the fraternity in its efforts to remember
Marcello was created entirely within two months of the plane crash and the quick
response to memorial does credit to the strength of the chapter's feeling for brother
Lajterman.  In all, the reactions of the chapter paralleled the larger reaction of the greater
community and highlighted the extremely personal nature of this event for the people
involved.
 For the community of Lambda Chi Alpha, the recovery from the crash was a long
process that mirrored the recovery of Huntington and Marshall University.  First, there
was an extended period of mourning that lasted the remainder of the fall semester.  In
this period, Lambda Chi Alpha canceled their formal dance, donating the money to the
Memorial fund and holding four special events with the Greek community to augment
the resources of the University.  Additionally, Marcello's effects were personally
delivered to his family by the fraternity and Marcello's fiance was presented with some of
his effects to help soothe her grief by the chapter.79  A similar schedule was followed by
the University, with gala benefits and counseling efforts being undertaken on a huge
scale by the Campus Christian Center and the acting president, Dr. Dedmon.80  The
Davis & Elkins soccer team, which Marcello's brother Abraham played on, dedicated its
national championship to the memory of Marcello and the football team81 and the
chapter hung the Davis & Elkins team photograph underneath Marcello's picture in the
fraternity house.  This phase was largely concluded by the time the students returned to
school in January 1971.
 The second phase, that of rebuilding, began for both the football team and the
fraternity in the spring.  Both organizations constantly replace members and the
challenges for each in recruiting in the wake of this tragedy were great.  The Thundering
Herd football program embarked on a rebuilding that eventually culminated in its victory
in three straight appearances in the National Championship game with the 1992 National
Championship as a tribute to the triumph over adversity of the community82.  Similarly,
Lambda Chi Alpha grew through the loss to eventually win five Bruce Hunter MacIntosh
awards, the highest award that the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity grants for chapter
excellence, in the 1980's83.  The Memorial Student Center now stands watch over the
Memorial fountain, both dedicated to the memory of the crash victims, and every
November 14th, the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha pay tribute to the memory of brother
Marcello Lajterman by placing a white rose in the waters of the fountain84.  Truly the
restoration of the strength of both groups in the wake of this tragedy became a driving
goal of those involved, and the memories of those lost in the crash served to inspire
greater sacrifices in the pursuit of that goal.
 All the people who experienced the aftermath of the fiery crash of the chartered
Southern Airways DC-9 on November 14, 1970 have been transformed by the flames that
engulfed their loved ones.  The memories of those lost inspired the entire Marshall
University community to greater achievement and the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha
fraternity was right beside the university in this ambition.  The loss felt by all was
profound and reactions varied from person to person but served, on the whole, to
recommit those left behind to greater efforts in the activities of those lost.  Marcello
Lajterman's memory will always be with the brothers of Lambda Chi Alpha and will
always serve as a reminder of just how fragile life can be.  Similarly, Marshall University
will never forget its sons that perished that night in the forests of Huntington.  Perhaps
the statement of the 1971 Chief Justice, Marshall University's yearbook, can best sum
this experience best:

 There is no one untouched.  There is no one who can hear of this
and not feel sorrow and grief.  And we, the students, feel the pain so
deeply that we cry...and cry...and wonder how, and why.85

 The spirit of Marcello Lajterman haunts Lambda Chi Alpha, and the spirits of
those seventy five people haunts Marshall University.  The experience of grieving for
these people and paying tribute to their memories continues, and will continue, as long as
their sacrifice is remembered.

 
 
 

Article Five:  Triumph
 

 The chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall University had enjoyed 40 years of
continuous operation when it finally achieved true greatness.  Despite institutional
tendencies discouraging a strong fraternal system86, the chapter had thrived and finally
achieved the promise foretold by Dr. Hron in 1946.  The Zeta Zeta chapter won the
Grand High Alpha award for chapter excellence in the summer of 1987.  As the highest
award for fraternal excellence bestowed by Lambda Chi Alpha, it represents sustained
excellence over a period of at least three years87.  It took 41 years of growth and
development to achieve, and it remains as the pre-eminent accomplishment of the
chapter.
 The road to this achievement was not without its bumps.  In fact, the chapter had
been rocked through the early eighties by various forces.  The challenge of a world where
hazing was not tolerated tested the chapter's soul.  Additionally, the challenges of
building an excellent chapter on a campus where fewer than 10% of the student body was
Greek can hardly be overstated.  Maintaining a spirit of excellence over time, as Zeta
Zeta did, is even more elusive. It is in these details that the impressive nature of the
chapter's triumph can be discerned.
 Zeta Zeta had developed some elaborate traditions in its long existence and the
members where never short on ideas when it came to hazing.  For the chapter, the
initiation ritual is the defining activity of membership.  The General Fraternity had long
emphasized that the formal ritual was not to be augmented by home-grown
"pre-initiation" rituals or activities.  The chapter at Marshall had its own ideas, however,
and refused to surrender its traditions at the request of the General Fraternity.  This crisis
became quite pronounced as time went on and it prompted several special visits from the
General Fraternity.  A report from 1984, by consultant Charles Tomeny illustrates the
practices of the chapter.

Pre-initiation has been all of a Broadway horror show in the past at
Marshall.  Loud music, flashing colored lights, walls of flames, and
pressured questioning have been the backbone of the Pre-Ritual
activities..."Journey of the Rivers" is an activity that Zeta-Zeta members
wrote especially for their chapter.  This activity included many different
"journeys" each having their own meaning and lesson.  These activities
not only confused the associate member, but also endangered his life.  In
one activity, known as the "River of Fire," the Associate Member walks
between two walls of fire in order to get closer to a robed figure.  These
and many other Pre-initiation activities are not condoned by the General
Fraternity and must stop...The chapter understands that there will be
serious consequences if the problems are not corrected.88

 Despite this unequivocal denunciation of the pre-initiation practices, the chapter
continued them until 1986, when the chapter president resigned in the middle of the
initiation ritual to object to the chapter's behavior89.  His courage cost him his
membership but saved the chapter from its own worst tendencies.  The struggle to forge a
new tradition and treat new members with dignity and respect nearly destroyed the
chapter from the inside.  The threatened "consequences" from the General Fraternity
never materialized.  In fact, with the exception of this special report and some comment
in consultant reports about the lack of true fraternity education, the General Fraternity
endorsed the activities of Zeta Zeta wholeheartedly.  The chapter received three
consecutive McIntosh Awards from 1984-1987 for upholding the Standards for Chapter
Excellence, a program that specifically prohibits dangerous, ritualistic pre-initiation
activities90.  The General Fraternity's lack of real support for its pronouncements helped
to make Zeta Zeta's progress more difficult, leaving those brothers who supported the
official policy alone against the majority of brothers who supported the tradition of the
chapter.  Despite this, the chapter overcame its own flaws and moved out of this phase by
1987.
 The challenges to achieving success included more than this one area, however,
and establishing a commitment to achievement required some exemplary leadership.
Foremost in this area was the chapter's advisor, Dr. Joseph Stone.  As was the case in the
late 1940's as the chapter struggled to define itself, the chapter benefitted greatly from the
impact of a concerned faculty member.  Dr. Stone, whose tenure as advisor began in
197191, encouraged the chapter to establish a solid foundation of recruitment and
financial stability and become involved in the community.  While this message was
poorly received in the fraternal free-for-all that was the 1970's, the new atmospher on
campus in the 1908's allowed Dr. Stone to convince the chapter to commit itself to a
program of achievement.
 Assisting in this process, the General Fraternity established the Standards for
Chapter Excellence program in 1982.  This program, unique at the time, defined what an
excellent fraternity chapter looked like.  By breaking chapter operations down and
establishing definable standards for each area, the local chapters finally had a target to
aim for in their activities92.  The Zeta Zeta chapter chose to seize on the program as a
means to evaluate areas of strength and weakness.  Very quickly the chapter became a
leader in the program, winning its first of several McIntosh awards in 1984.  In 1995 the
chapter had moved into second place in the International Fraternity of over 100 chapters
by winning its sixth McIntosh award.  Dr. Stone was able to utilize this program to shape
the chapter and focus it's efforts into productive activities that benefitted the community.
 The chapter also enjoyed a surplus of excellent leadership.  A series of strong
presidents, beginning with Tom Bailey93, guided the chapter to improvement, beginning
with community service and recruitment, moving through risk management and
leadership development, and eventually turning to academics and ritualism.  Tom Bailey,
Keith Edwards, Don Pace, Brad Puryear, Paul Hackett, and Tom Fankhauser all brought
different elements of excellence to the chapter beginning in the fall of 1983.  President
Bailey first implemented the Standards for Chapter Excellence program and his abilities
of motivation and leadership set the tone for the chapter throughout this period.  This
tone was challenged by two trials that year.  The spring semester saw the chapter lose its
house mother of twenty years, Anna T. Fricke, and endure the conflict over pre-initiation
that eventually provoked Bailey's resignation, it did not falter.  His resignation from the
chapter, dramatically occurring during the initiation ritual marked the first time a sitting
president had ever resigned from a fraternity at Marshall, according to fraternity
consultant Pat van Burkleo94.  It accomplished his aim of forcing the chapter's attention
on the issue of hazing, and like Aubrey King, Bailey would become a moral example to
the fraternity.  His successors would build on the example of leadership and utilize it to
unite the chapter behind a progressive program of change and development.  The chapter
would not turn away and it developed despite limitations imposed by the situation at
Marshall University.
 A fundamental component of this program was community service.  Zeta Zeta
excelled at this through the late 80's and improved the image of Marshall University
students in the process.  An example of this is the "Spikes for Tikes" program that ran
from 1982 through 198995.  The program was established to raise money for the Ronald
McDonald House and it consisted of a 34 hour volleyball marathon conducted in the
Huntington Mall.  The activity was public, exciting, and it involved the entire chapter in
an activity that helped the community.  In 1985, for example, the activity raised $2666
and was recognized as a model community service project by the university.  Eventually,
the chapter attempted to involve other chapters in their community service activities by
conducting food drives for the city mission and coordinating the campus-wide blood
drives.  Matt Redding, public relations chair, had this comment for the school yearbook
on the Lambda Chi approach,"I hope Greeks working together on projects is a trend
because we need to get Greek spirit going and the university needs to see the Greek
population pulling together."96  Clearly, community service was a means towards that
end.
 The goal of a positive public perception of the Greek community was one that the
chapter committed itself to wholeheartedly.  While the image of "Animal House" seemed
burned into the American consciousness and fraternities everywhere reeled from
allegations of dangerous hazing and alcohol consumption practices, Lambda Chi Alpha
promoted a positive image of fraternalism at Marshall.  The chapter received numerous
letters of commendation from the vice-president for student affairs, Nell Bailey, for it's
efforts97.  This positive image paid off for the chapter, as membership soared to record
levels, averaging 68 men for the five year period ending in 198898.  Marshall has always
had a majority of students come from the Huntington area and the positive community
image the chapter enjoyed helped give it the early lead in new member recruitment.
While other chapters struggled to fill their houses, the Lambda Chi's enjoyed a surplus of
manpower and exploited this edge in recruitment and manpower to support other chapter
activities, such as intramural competition and Greek Week99.
 Financially, the benefits of a full chapter are many.  While the chapter had always
struggled to fill its house and meet its financial obligations, during this period those
concerns drifted away.  The chapter continued to have a persistent accounts receivable
problem as members failed to pay their dues in a regular fashion100.  It bears
mentioning, however, that in the mid-1980's one could make due with a few members
being delinquent, as long as the total contributions were sufficient to maintain the house.
Times were good for fraternities and the chapter lived well.  Parties were loud and
raucous, Greek Week competitions were enthusiastically supported, and the social
calendar of the chapter was always full.  No provisions were made to really enforce the
financial suspension that the General Fraternity required for brothers who failed to
uphold their financial obligations but as long as the chapter was thriving, no real
complaints were filed101.  Truly, a strong public image shepherded a strong chapter to
its highest levels of activity in history.
 In 1994, Keith Edwards put the community service and recruitment standards in
place and began the process of winning McIntosh awards that would serve as a mark of
achievement for the chapter throughout this period.   The chapter was described in this
period by consultants David Huffine and William Marks who visited in the fall of 1984.

Zeta Zeta is an outstanding chapter.  The outstanding nature of the group
is easily demonstrated by their positive attitude.  Keenly aware of the
suggestions made by the consultants, the chapter has rapidly moved
toward implementing them...The 51 man chapter is made up of some
outstanding members.  They are involved in all forms of campus life and
in top leadership positions.  Out of the seven fraternities on campus, Zeta
Zeta is clearly on top of the list.  High Alpha Keith Edwards has done a
fine job of directing  the potential of his chapter and has a very, very good
set of officers to work with him.  The members possess much character,
intelligence, warmth and fraternalism.  A key to this chapter's success is
clearly in its overall scope and quality of programs.  The chapter is to be
commended for their marked improvement in Fraternity Education and
Ritualism...Dr. Joseph Stone, High Pi, is the centerpiece of a strong
program of alumni guidance to the chapter.  He is remarkable and
outstanding...The chapter is not a flashy group, but it is clearly one of our
best.102

 The General Fraternity began compiling its record for Zeta Zeta's run at the Grand
High Alpha award following this consultant's visit.  Marshall also won its first of three
consecutive McIntosh awards this year.  The challenges of the prior spring had only
served to make the chapter stronger.
  In 1985, Don Pace expanded the chapter's campus leadership role, running for
student body vice-president and requiring members to get involved in other student
activities.   While these efforts secured the chapter a record 67 members, the chapter
began to have financial difficulties.  Despite having a full house, the chapter had fallen
behind on payments to the Housing Corporation.  Additionally, the chapter ran up a
$3,100 accounts receivable liability.  The consultant that fall, Walter Keiper, commented
that, "Finances are in complete disarray.  Past due accounts receivable are strangling
much of their programming.  Financial suspension must be enforced by the Executive
Committee."103  While these challenges did not keep Zeta Zeta from remaining the top
chapter on campus, it did hamper the ability of the chapter to enjoy its pre-eminence.
 The chapter did achieve some distinctions in 1985, however, that are worth
mentioning.  It won its second consecutive McIntosh Award and it secured its second
Order of Merit for High Pi Joseph Stone.  Stone joined Prof. Hron as an Order of Merit
winner at Marshall, the highest commendation from the General Fraternity, for his
leadership and guidance of the chapter104.  Finally, 1985 saw a record-breaking
community service program, with the chapter logging almost 2000 man hours of
service105.
 Brad Puryear and Paul Hackett built on this solid foundation and returned Zeta
Zeta to its former academic standards by developing a strong support program for
brothers in need.  Alumni involvement proved crucial during this period, as the Alumni
Advisory Board helped smooth transitions and support the maintenance of a high level of
activity106.  The struggle to translate better programming into better grades took some
time, however, and the chapter had to rely on other areas to keep morale up.  One
particularly positive achievement was the chapter's sixth consecutive Greek Week
championship.  The Greek Week competition, embracing all areas of Greek life and
competition, was hotly contested but the Lambda Chi Alpha chapter's strength proved
sufficient to hold off a late challenge from the Alpha Tau Omega chapter107.
Recognition of the chapter's strength allowed Zeta Zeta to secure the right to host the
1987 Midwest Conclave.  "Hosting a regional conclave", according to Bob London,
Director of Chapter Services for Lambda Chi Alpha,"is the mark of a chapter that is
being considered for the highest awards.  The General Fraternity cannot trust a conclave,
where 20 or more chapters will be gathering together for training, to a chapter that is not
operating at the highest levels."108  The era of Zeta Zeta was now in full swing.  The
chapter celebrated its 40th anniversary with a banner year and a gala to commemorate the
glories of Zeta Zeta, past and present.  For the first time in Marshall history, a fraternity
social event was held at the University president's house, thus confirming the chapter's
high level of esteem in the Marshall community109.  The gala, held on December 5,
1986, capped off an excellent year for Zeta Zeta.
 Tom Fankhauser, in 1987, combined all the elements  of the previous four years
with a relentless energy and completed the drive for the Grand High Alpha Award.
Preparing for the crucial conclave meeting, Fankhauser began the spring 1987 semester
with a chapter retreat on the first night of classes.  This retreat spelled out the chapter's
commitment to excellence in its first pages:
Excellence is never an accident.  It is achieved in a chapter only as a
result of an unrelenting and vigorous insistence on the highest standards
of performance.  It requires an unswerving expectation of quality from the
members...Excellence is a chapter's life-line.  It is the most compelling
answer to apathy and inertia...When a climate of excellence exists, all
things come easier.  Excellence in a chapter is important because it is
everything110.
 By the time of the conclave in February, the chapter had already conducted a
spring membership drive, three community service projects, and a house renovation, all
while preparing for almost two hundred brothers arrival from around the Midwest.  The
members of the fraternity moved into several key positions on campus as Gordon Raimey
assumed an IFC vice-presidency, Paul Hackett served on the election commission, and
eight brothers took seats in the Student Senate as well as the offices of Parliamentarian
and President Pro Tempore111.  The chapter house also added a much needed degree of
stability as Virginia Brannen, house cook for a few years, was elevated to house mother.
This ended the long search for someone to replace Anna T. "Ma" Fricke, who had died a
few years earlier.  The chapter finally had all its oars rowing in the same direction and
the General Fraternity gave the chapter an unabashed rating of "excellent" in both its
consultant reports for the 1986-87 school year112.
 All this work recieved recognition by the General during the summer of 1987 in
Memphis, TN at the Lambda Chi Alpha Leadership Seminar.  In addition to winning a
third consecutive McIntosh Award, Zeta Zeta received the Grand High Alpha Award.  In
presenting the Award, the General Fraternity commented as follows,
 Zeta Zeta's development over the past five years, culminating in a
three year run at excellence that has set the standard for fraternalism
everywhere.  The chapter has weathered challenges that would have
caused lesser chapters to falter and it has triumphed.  The chapter has
helped Marshall University and Huntington, WV and brings honor to its
founders by fulfilling the promise made in 1946.  It is our hope that this
standard of excellence is maintained and even surpassed, as the men of
Zeta Zeta continue to lead the way to the future113.

 The chapter at Marshall would begin a long slide following this accomplishment.
The arrival at Marshall of the Society of Yeager Scholars would provide the chapter with
a much needed academic boost and Zeta Zeta would become regular occupants of the top
chapter grade average.  Additionally, the sophistication of the chapter would increase as
money flowed into Marshall University and the school assumed regional importance.
The chapter struggled, however, to define a course after the fulfillment of so much hard
work.  Membership would drop and the perennial scourge of house vacancy returned in
1989114.  The chapter would win one more McIntosh award, in 1989, before suffering a
profound leadership crisis from 1990 to 1992.  Hazing was killed forever by this period.
Apathy was not.  The period from 1984-87 became a myth for the chapter, and like all
myths, it seemed impossible to re-create for the mere mortals who inherited the
mantle115.
 The accomplishment of 1987 belongs to the brothers who fought for the chapter
during this period.  It represents a true commitment to excellence that has not been
equalled at Marshall since.  In evaluating the accomplishments of this period, it is
important to note the integrity of Tom Bailey, the commitment of Dr. Stone, and the
ever-present memory of Anna T. Fricke.  The challenges they faced, like those of
Professor Hron, Marcello Lajterman, and Aubrey King are all but forgotten in the rush to
commend the day's accomplishments.  The leaders of this period are still hailed by the
chapter and the problems of the chapter in this period have been lost in the glare of gold
that shines off the Grand High Alpha Award.  That is unfortunate, because in the end, the
significance of this achievement is not diminished by the challenges the chapter
confronted.  It is enhanced by them.
 
 

 
 
 

Epilogue
 
 

 Since the glory of 1987, the chapter has continued to change substantially.  The
chapter is now in the midst of preparing for a fiftieth anniversary.  While some aspects of
the chapter, and certainly the membership, have changed completely, other aspects
remain the same.  The chapter continues to excel academically and uphold the first area
of excellence established by Professor Hron in 1946.  Additionally, the chapter continues
to produce many campus leaders and successful students every year.  Despite the fact that
some charge Marshall with being a non-selective University, the chapter of Lambda Chi
Alpha at Marshall has produced a multitude of very successful graduates.  Alumni of
Zeta Zeta include several professors, a state senator, a rear admiral, several prominent
businessmen and more than a few doctors and lawyers.  The arrival of Yeager Scholars to
the chapter in 1988 opened a new phase for the chapter, and active recruitment of Yeager
Scholars secured several of Marshall's best and brightest for the chapter's membership.
Yeager Scholars have occupied a number of leadership positions in the chapter, led by an
amazing six of the last ten presidents, including the current president, since the
Scholarship's inception in 1987.  The continued emphasis on excellence attracts many of
Marshall's best students to membership in Lambda Chi Alpha.
 On the other hand, some of the challenges of the early chapter continue to persist.
Filling the house at a university where most students commute to campus continues to
vex the leadership.  Addressing the needs of Marshall's diverse population in the context
of a fraternity program that is focused on the traditional college student is another
challenge.  The chapter has always had, and continues to have, a problem collecting
adequate funds from its membership to support its activities.  As the General Fraternity
demands an ever-increasing share of total member contributions for active member dues
and liability insurance premiums, the resources available for the local chapter's use
continues to decrease.  Finally, the chapter has never been a part of a particularly strong
Greek system at Marshall.  Convincing Marshall students to become members of Lambda
Chi Alpha has always been a problem for the men of Zeta Zeta, with the brief exception
of 1981-88 when the chapter practically exploded in its abundance of members.  It seems
remarkable that the chapter has performed so consistently in light of the fact that no
person involved in the chapter in 1946 is involved in 1996.  In truth, only Dr. Joseph
Stone, chapter advisor for 25 years, can claim involvement as far back as 1971.  This is
an institution that constantly re-invents itself, yet somehow remains consistent with its
traditions, both good and bad.
 In conclusion, the chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha at Marshall University has
embodied the spirit and character of that university and America.  It has paralleled the
course of its community and it stands facing the next fifty years with the same anxieties
and concerns that we all share.  The relevance of a fraternity should thus be viewed in the
same context as the relevance of a society, for surely we are all participants in the same
social system.

 
 
 
 
 

Notes
(notes ommitted, but if you are truly interested, I will send them to you, bromunma@ctrvax.vanderbilt.edu)