The 80's - Years of Prosperity
The 80's scrapbook slide show
1984 TPD Spring Homecoming Gathering
The '80s began with speculation of University cut-backs of services and tuition increases for students. Double-digit inflation hurt our house. It appeared that tough times were ahead for the Brothers seeking jobs in the outdoor professions. The Brotherhood, as was the nation, was determined to do it on our own. An incumbent President is defeated as Ronald Reagan vowed to uplift our spirits and help turn America around. The fall of 1980 found all male students either registering for the draft or losing eligibility for student loans. The uprisings on campus now involved Iranian Students or Palestinians crying "Death to America." We also found a surge in our pride as Americans. But the early '80s were prosperous with the house nearly full, the job market picking up, and an enthusiastic Brotherhood completing many projects to beautify the fraternity. Inside the House many projects were completed, including a new bar that matched the red oak paneling built by Brother Jim Wagner. New tile was added to the front stairs, a drop ceiling was added to the chapter room, and the entire house was painted. Outside improvements were also numerous. Planter's were built, trees and shrubs were planted, log sheds and fences were finally completed. In 1984, our fraternity was recognized by the Borough of State College Town Council's "Top Fraternity Appearance Award." Somehow we did it during this decade. Along with supportive alumni, the active fraternity regrouped to meet the problems on their own. We accelerated our payments on our mortgage. Finally, on January 20, 1984, Brother Brogdon made the last payment of $1.65. At the 1984 Spring Homecoming, Brothers Judd, Bull, Webb, and active Phi Ehrhart burned the mortgage as a returning crowd of nearly 400 looked on. As is the tradition of Tau Phi Delta, plans were already underway to again go into debt to complete some long overdue major renovations.
Brothers Ehrhart, Judd, and Bull burn the TPD mortgage
Among these plans were the addition of a peaked roof, more energy-efficient windows throughout the House, and the complete reconstruction of the bathrooms. Through the leadership and determination of the Board of Directors, these plans came to fruition. Another tradition also came into play during these renovations, as there was also a lot of the active's elbow grease expended doing whatever labor intensive and money saving tasks they could. A short piece from the Spring 1985 newsletter, "Throughout the fall of 1984, renovations were performed on the new house. Included in these renovations were the installation of new windows in the TV/dining room area. It then became a necessity to panel around the new windows. The Pledge Class of Fall 1984, under the supervision of Brother Nick Pajovich, completed the paneling as part of their pledge project. Before its installation, the paneling was planed and shiplapped by Brother Kimmel. Costs of the 75 board feet of new paneling totaled $32.50." The mid-eighties found the atmosphere for fraternities once again changing to one of hostility from the University and many civic organizations. Parties are commonly interrupted by police presenting noise violations.
Brother M. Hreben
Brother Mike Hreben ('88) Biology was Phi during 1986. Brother Hreben reflected, "There were many new University and town policies. We had 'closed' parties and feared the arrival of undercover policemen, as many other fraternities had experienced. At tailgate parties house flags could not be flown."
Brother Hreben now resides in Moosic, PA, and works for the Pennsylvania Fish Commission as a Seasonal Biologist. However, he did experience some very positive times while at Penn State: "The fraternity presented a better public view with the successful philanthropy. The campus life during the times of championship football seasons was a great experience, it was good times in great times." In early 1986, Penn State and the world were shocked at the tragic end to the Challenger. America starts to question it technical capability. Later that year, President Reagan shows that America will not tolerate international terrorism and orders the bombing of Libya. In April, 1988, our house advisor Dr. Strauss reported to the Brotherhood the status of the active household. "Our fraternity is currently confronted with a serious set of circumstances that could jeopardize the future of this House. As you well know, about 95% of our fraternity's future is dependent upon the strength of our Active's ongoing operations. During the past academic year these people encountered a complex set of problems that compromised the membership, leadership, Brother M. Hreben and finances of Tau Phi Delta." But beyond the usual low numbers, tardy housebill payments, and academic deficiencies, there were outside events that Tau Phi Delta had little control over. In a plea for Alumni support, Brother Geesaman, Board of Directors - Phi, noted "Many of these events have had a negative effect on the entire Penn State fraternal system. It is common knowledge that liability insurance has hurt big businesses, municipal governments, day care centers, gun clubs, but none worse than collegiate fraternities. This year's insurance bills tripled at 427 East Fairmont Avenue. "As untimely as this insurance crunch, the Pennsylvania State University recently moved to disaffiliate itself from all fraternities. In spite of the major financial and service contributions to the community, our Alma Mater has chosen to avoid any interaction with the activities of the Greeks. This move to avoid any direct liability caused a serious psychological blow to fraternal organizations at Penn State. "As if it wasn't enough, a crackdown on underaged drinking by state and local officials has furthered the negative effect on rushing new potential members. Those who suffered the most were houses like Tau Phi Delta, who never supported a strong social schedule." More historic events occur as Brother John Boyle (Pledge Class of 1976) finally leaves the house, Bambi is made an Honorary Little Sister, and Tau Phi Delta becomes a featured theme on The Nashville Network Television show "Video Country." Although the Beach Boys remain today, the Beatles and Boz Skaggs have been replaced by "Bocephus" and all his rowdy friends, as country music now reigns the music roost. The ten week term is replaced with the 16 week semester. Student unrest follows. The Rathskeller sets a new world's record for the most cases of beer sold in one day.
Shelly Mangrum promotes TPD on TV's 'Video Country'
In what seemed like a bargain in 1969, "the aging conditions of our thirty year old house has, as in the past, caught the Brotherhood by surprise. In spite of recent energy improvements, the decaying heating system, well-used kitchen, and...ceilings require some serious and expensive rebuilding." But as always, the Brotherhood will pull together and face these challenges.A new chapter unfolds as Tau Phi Delta and the rest of America strive to become "a more kinder, gentler nation."...to be continued.
Christmas Party at TPD