The 40's - Of War & Remembrance
The summer of 1940 found some Brothers attending summer camp or enjoying their "study breaks" while working afield. For Penn State Forestry, it meant the newly built Ranger Camp, located on a 4,000 acre tract near Stone Valley in Huntington County, just south of State College at the base of Tussey Mountain. Fall activities continued with new pledges to be initiated and trained for future house leadership. As usual, a house party commenced the new decade. As noted: "Roy St. Clair and his band from Chambersburg furnished the music, and it was good music. No small part of the success was the 'punch' bar which the boys erected in the outer clubroom of the basement. The alumni will have to see it in order to appreciate its beauty. Unfortunately our new furniture for the basement clubroom did not arrive in time for the House party, but the boys have been giving it a lot of use since." Later that year, on December 17, the newly elected Board of Trustees met to consider their plans and duties. While our first semester's scholastic average has not yet been released we have hopes of surpassing the good record made last year. Extremely cold weather this winter made possible our having had one of the best outdoor ice rinks in State College. This was accomplished by painstakingly flooding the entire side yard over a period of one week, and producing a smooth solid skating surface. Our Intramural football, swimming, boxing, and basketball teams did not run away with any medals, but we have strong hopes for our spring sports. Following the heavy snow falls, the heaviest in years, some of the Brothers have been experimenting with the art of skiing, with varying degrees of success. "Hell Week," which started on February 12, turned out to be one of the most interesting pre-initiation weeks in a long time. After the "terrors" the pledges went through, they really appreciate the privilege of becoming full-fledged Brothers in the House. Formal initiations were held on February 19 with eight pledges being received." Yes, life at Tau Phi Delta goes on! The fourth National Convention was held at St. Paul, Minnesota, with even greater expectations for the future. Yet, Brother Gerard E. Noble, Class of 1940 reported on the problems which confront the chapter and asked assistance in mapping out plans to meet them.
A group of Brothers at the 4th National Congress
"Foremost among Penn State Alpha's problems is that of arranging for better alumni contacts. The inaccessibility of State College makes it difficult for many alumni to be present at chapter functions. Three major social functions, a fall houseparty, pledge dance, and a spring houseparty often bring a few alumni back to the Chapter House for weekend visits. Financially Penn State Alpha is in good shape. It is a chapter policy to pay all bills promptly. A major item of expense is the rent which must be paid for the Chapter House. Building has been contemplated but it is difficult to save enough money to get started since the Brothers live at the house for less than three years (Forestry students at The Pennsylvania State College spend their first year at Mont Alto which is some 125 miles from the campus).
"The chapter owns a large building lot on the main street of the new fraternity section and it is hoped eventually to build a house on this site. No building fund is being accumulated although a building fund was started by the first two graduating classes. Notes were signed on a voluntary basis, but no permanent investment of funds was ever made. "Each Brother living in the Chapter House pays $45 per month which includes all fees except Grand Chapter dues. Social members, or those actives who do not live in the house pay a monthly fee of $8.00. A new budget system is being formulated and it is hoped that it will become effective in 1940. About 30 men are necessary to keep a suitable budget in operation. "The 1941 hunting season found 'lady luck' favoring our young nimrods with a bountiful supply, much to the joy of the rest of the Brothers who anticipated with intense pleasure our annual game dinner."
Imagine the anticipation of those Brothers who set out to the house cabin on Friday, December 5th. One can only wonder about their reaction upon returning two days later to the news of the Pearl Harbor attack.
World War II brought great changes to the Alpha Chapter at 238 East Fairmount.
"At the end of the spring semester in June, 1943, all Brothers of the active chapter of Penn State Alpha but two had entered the military service or joined one of the armed forces reserve programs. This brought to a close the active operation of the Chapter House and the active chapter."
Brother T. Olson at TPD Cabin
Brother H. Geiger
Brother Harold Geiger, Class of 1944, was one of the two Brothers who were unable to serve. Both he and Brother Robert Schrack tried to enlist but were denied due to perforated ear drums. Together these Brothers closed the house during the war. Brother Geiger is a former Board of Directors Member and Grand National Treasurer who is retired from Glatfelter Paper Co. His fondest memories of Tau Phi Delta were the camaraderie, fellowship, and bond among the Foresters.
"A large percentage of Brothers of Penn State Alpha served in our country's armed forces. A total of'119 Brothers saw service with eighty-seven serving in the Army, twenty-five in the Navy, and seven in the Marines. Approximately one-half of those in uniform served as officers. "The heroic and noble work of those Brothers has greatly honored Tau Phi Delta. From North Africa to Sicily, to D-Day in Normandy and Southern France, to the Bulge and on to Berlin and VE-Day; from Guadalcanal to Bougainville, to Okinawa, to the Philippines, and to Tokyo and V J-Day they fought, cussed, sweat, and bled. Their courage and deeds will forever echo through the halls of Tau Phi Delta. It is a great asset to the fraternity that such loyalty and courage have characterized its membership!!" The names of' those fallen Honorable Brothers are still remembered today:
Justin J. Hower
Hon. Brother J. Hower
The impact of World War II upon the American way of life, "fell heavily upon the social and professional-social organizations which are a part of our higher-educational system and which strengthen and perpetuate the friendships and associations formed during collegiate years. Tau Phi Delta Fraternity was also hard hit by the conditions brought on by the War. Soon after our nation's active entry into the world conflict, the acute manpower shortage had drawn so heavily upon the student bodies of the schools where our active chapters are located that those chapters were forced to go on an inactive status." The Minnesota Beta Chapter would never reorganize. The house was subletted to various groups, such as the U.S. Army and Penn State Football programs. "Considerable repair work was done to the House including papering, general repairs to the kitchen, and other work on the furniture and building. This work was done by the College prior to the turning of the House over to the programs. Immediately after the return of the House in June of 1946, those Brothers taking summer courses moved in and operated it until the opening of the fall semester. At this time the House was filled with Brothers and pledges and formal operations of the Chapter were begun. Since that time the House and Chapter have operated successfully - both financially and socially." During the War years House affairs were looked after by Dr. Wallace E. White, Brothers Robert Schrack and Harold Geiger in cooperation with Brothers Walter Quick and Franklin Moyer of the Board of Trustees. Fraternity newsletters were published periodically and general correspondence between Brothers, particularly those in the armed forces, was maintained. The leasing of the Chapter House during the War period was extremely fortunate, for the income from this rental enabled the Chapter to complete this period without great debt and at the same time maintain its House. Fall of 1946 found nearly forty Brothers and pledges in the Chapter. Thus our return to stability and a positive outlook and a new found debt...the purchase of the Fraternity House."Due to the death of the landlord, Mr. Heckert, and the necessity to settle the estate, the house was offered for full bid of $18,000.00, just $100.00 over the next highest bidder. Following the successful bid, a meeting of the Board of Trustees was held in State College on June 6, 1946. On June 7, 1946, the final purchase of the property was negotiated, and for the first time the fraternity owned its chapter house." By the end of the decade, our silver anniversary, NATO was organized to create a stabilized peace in Europe, the housing construction boom created greater career outlooks for Tau Phi graduates, and pretty coeds, adorning ponytails, sweater sets, and flared skirts returned to visit a tested and matured Brotherhood in the "Halls of Tau Phi Delta."
Penn State Alpha - 238 East Fairmont Ave