Last week Brother William Leonard and Brother Robert Howe attended the 168th DKE Convention. Reflecting on his experience Brother Leonard writes:
Recently, Brother Howe and I attended the 168th DKE convention, hosted by the Psi Chapter, at the University of Alabama. Despite excruciatingly long delays, missed connecting flights, and a night spent at the airport in Atlanta, we finally arrived in Tuscaloosa on Thursday morning. Unfortunately, we missed the welcome dinner and tour of the legendary Bryant-Denny Stadium, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide football team.
Throughout the course of the convention, we attended various seminars that covered topics such as recruitment, risk management, new member education, dekeunited website management, and ritual. Brother Howe and I especially enjoyed executive director of DKE International, Doug Laphner’s presentation on DKE HQ’s finances. It was interesting to see what our international dues have been funding and how they will help DKE International’s future plans of expansion. Hopefully some of the techniques we learned at the convention will help the Rho chapter achieve excellence in all of its future endeavors.
There was an informal presentation made for the delegates during every lunch and dinner. In my opinion, these were by far the most interesting and informative sessions of the convention. The speakers included Nick Pence, Sigma Kappa ’99 (Army Ranger, member of unit that brought Ayman al-Zawihiri to justice), Bill Kavan, Theta Upsilon ’92 (Director of Development at Arizona State University), John McCardell (President Emeritus of Middlebury, Vice-Chancellor of Sewanee: The University of the South, leader of a coalition of college presidents that are in favor of lowering the drinking age back to 18), Robert Witt (Chancellor of the University of Alabama), and Terry Stewart, Phi Chi ’69 (President of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and former Chairman of the Board of Marvel Comics).
Although the seminars and presentations were interesting, Brother Howe and I agreed that the most valuable experience from the convention was the opportunity to meet and interact with other Dekes from across North America. Although chapters differ from school to school, it was quite evident that all the delegates truly were gentlemen, scholars, and jolly-good fellows. We have all kept in touch through Facebook, and I think it’s safe to say that we made friendships that will last a lifetime. The convention showed us that our motto “friends from the heart forever” applies not only to the brothers of our chapter, but to every Deke across North America, regardless of what school they attended and what year they graduated.
Brother Leonard and Brother Howe at the 2012 DKE Convention