NINTEEN SEVENTY TWO
It was way back in the day when "Dark Side of the
Moon" wasn't even available at record stores yet. The hippie age of 1970s brought bad facial hair, bell bottoms and most likely
the best music the world will ever know all in one shot.
And with all these things, in a small corner of
the world in the great city of Romeoville, IL, there thrived a college finding its way.
Back in 1972, the area which is now Romeoville was
almost as barren as one city could be. Lewis University was no exception. Having only a few residence halls as well as a bar
in the student union, the population on campus needed something more to occupy its time. Pac-Man was years away, and HBO and
ESPN were just dreams.
Lewis University had grown from its original
aeronautics foundation into an education center that focused on many fields of study.
With this came business majors, theatre majors,
nursing programs, law majors, education majors etc...
With the University shaping into the Lewis we know
and love today, groups formed alongside their fields of interest. One of these groups was an organization called DELTA
SIGMA PI. (DSP)
THE ORIGIN OF SIGMA DELTA
Sigma Delta has many roots to its origin story.
Here are but a few small tales of how this group
came to be.
When Delta Sigma Pi Fraternity (DSP) was formed
on the Lewis campus, it was formulated according to the bylaws of its national charter. Like many organizations at the time
it was formed alongside a major (Being Business) and since it was a Fraternity, only men could join.
It was with this, that according to founding members
of Sigma Delta, there was a member of DSP that was not a Business major, and was involved in DSP under false pretense.
Even though this member was an upstanding individual
of the group, once he was found out not to have been a business major, he was immediately blackballed
from the group.
This incident compounded with the fact that there
had been no explanations to what the "National Dues" owed to DSP were going to, had led several members to take action.
Not satisfied with the situation, former members
of DSP quit shortly thereafter in response. This caused a rift amongst membership and the group that left realized that their
number was large enough to start their own organization.
Through the support of longtime Lewis educator Brother
John A. Maze, the group known as "the Founding Fathers" had a backbone. Someone who believed in their cause and justification
for creating yet another Greek organization. But this was not to be just another cookie cutter group. It was to become something
new and different.
On November 1st, 1972, Br. John A. Maze along with
the Founding Fathers started SIGMA DELTA FRATORITY.
A word coined by FF Peter Longo as a combination
of the words Fraternity and Sorority.
The phrase has stuck over time and been used by several
other organizations since.
Sigma Delta (A Juxtaposition of the "Delta Sigma"
in Delta Sigma Pi) was born out of the thoughts that it most likely would not survive.
The premise was simple: Make the group, ALL MAJORS,
ALL MEN, ALL WOMEN... ANYONE who wants to join.
This was unheard of at the time and laughable even
in the 1970s.
By not tagging a Major to the group, Sigma Delta
was unique (And some would say doomed due to the lack of focus) from the start.
As members from a former Fraternity, the idea as
told by FF Mike Tumpane from a 1992 interview "We didn't want a little sister organization, we wanted the women to be our
equals and have a voice".
Sigma Delta survived for the very reasons many thought
it would fail. And to the suprise of many, Sigma Delta would become the largest social organization ever to grace Lewis University.
THE GOLDEN YEARS
For all that it's worth Sigma Delta during the 70s
was everywhere. The first years of the organization saw dozens and even hundreds of pledges in a few of the semesters.
The idea was fresh, and allowing women to pledge right alongside the men was the most alluring feature that made Sigma Delta
the "THING" to do at Lewis. It was with the first years that the original members made sure that Sigma Delta was not lumped
in with other groups as a MAJOR SPECIFIC organization. This task was very difficult as most of the original members had a
BUSINESS background. The word however spread fast that all students attending Lewis could pledge the fine organization.
The concept almost worked too well.
Alumni Accounts reports that the ETA class in 1976,
had over 110 pledges (54 Finished) that started amongst a group of only thirty some actives. But with the leadership
of Br. John A. Maze overseeing the group, it did not collapse under its own weight.
IN MEMORIUM - BR. JOHN A. MAZE
The organization thrived for many years.
I know its hard to just sum up years of history with one quick sentence like that, but in all honesty, if we were to account
for every story that can be told by the members of this organization involving the highlights and lowlights, we would have
to pay more for this website.
Sigma Delta had its members come and
go, and it took on an internal nature of bringing members back to take on jobs and become involved internally at Lewis University.
Several members are faculty even today at Lewis University including the Dean of Students.
The mission of Sigma Delta has never
subsided from the members of the 70s and 80s who continually come back to Lewis and participate and donate their time for
the betterment of this campus.
The figurehead of the organization was
one of those people who donated all his time and energy to the University and the people within.
The account told to me by the members
that knew and loved him have told me several times, if it was not for Br. John "Snake" A. Maze, Sigma Delta would not have
survived during these years.
When Br. John passed away in 1988, he
was honored by the members by giving him the original banner which now rests with him. "He took a rag tag bunch of college
students and helped them create something special."
Br. John was someone that always supported
Sigma Delta. With him gone, other members took up the mantleship of overseeing the organization throughout the years such
as Ed Green and Mike Altobella.
As time went on the stories of Br. John
seemed almost larger then the man himself, but for those that knew him, they are accurate portrayals of a man who was a father
figure to everyone.
The organization as well as Lewis University
headed into the 1990s and with it would bring the end of the once barren land of Romeoville. The University started thriving
like never before.
POISED ON THE EDGE OF DISASTER
- 1997 / 1998 -
Every organization and group has a beginning
and in one way or another will have an end. Sigma Delta is no exception to that rule, but it almost seemed as if the end was
going to come on this organization too quickly.
In 1997, Sigma Delta, through all its
ups and downs had a drought of memebership unlike anything in its previous history. Two factors culminated in the "almost"
downfall of Sigma Delta.
The mid 1990s had brought contempt and
angst for Greek organizations. Well before MTV decided broadcasting reality shows about them and make them interesting to
the general college population again.
No one was intersted in pledging a group.
As always most thought they would be
"hazed" as most uninformed people always assume. It was difficult to attract membership not just in Sigma Delta but every
other organization at Lewis as well. There were victims from this time period such as the Friars and the TKE's who both had
long standing traditions at Lewis University. The Fraternity system in general seemed to be phasing out at Lewis.
The very reasons Sigma Delta became so popular was now going to be the very reason it would end. Unless you had the backing
of a specific major, there was no way to guarantee pledges for your group. This too backfired on Sigma Delta.
The organzation was widely touted for
allowing everyone to pledge but for some reason was mistaken for a Major specific organization at the time. Large amounts
of theatre majors were integrated into Sigma Delta during the 1990s and without the numbers to help spread the word about
the Sigma Delta mission, people assumed that you had to be a theatre major in order to join.
Of course this wasn't the case, but it
lead to misinformation and in the end the confusion almost killed the group.
After several members graduated in the
Fall of 1997, there were only three active members left of Sigma Delta. Going by the Lewis University standards set forth
today as I write this in 2006, our organization would have been disassembled for lack of membership.
The three active members who every Sigma
Delta should have the upmost respect for maintained the organization by which all accounts could have been left for dead.
JOHN "JAWS" GARZA ,
NICOLE "OUISER" (MAGLARIS)
& JOHN "SHAGGY" KLONOWSKI
saved Sigma Delta with a Rush effort
that will forever be remembered in the archives of this organization.
|John "Jaws" Garza, Nicole "Ouiser" Maglaris Warren and John "Shaggy" Klonowski (All Alpha Phi)
THE BEGINNING AND THE...
Ironically the next class in the official roster
of Sigma Delta was going to be the ALPHA OMEGA class. This was going to be the last oppourtinity for the trio to restart the
membership similar to as it previously was in years past.
After two successful rushes, they managed to get
11 pedges that started the Alpha Omega class. Amongst that class, 8 continued on as official members of Sigma Delta.
The trio taught the new group with the help of a few select Alumni and managed to establish the name of Sigma Delta
on campus once again. The next class (BETA BETA) had 15 members join the group.
It was clear that Sigma Delta was starting to thrive
again due to their efforts.
Through a lot of hard work and preserverance, the
group has managed to not fade away gently into the night. Thanks to those three and the classes that have been involved since,
Sigma Delta is currently amongst the largest groups at Lewis University today. While it may never relive the Golden Years
of hundreds of actives in the memebrship, it has certainly found a home in the hearts of the new Lewis community as well as
the hearts of the Alumni who have watched the organization they all had a hand in building, survive this long.
Sigma Delta (With the exception of the BSU, non-greek
and Delta Sigma Pi now a non-pledging honors organization) is the oldest social group in the IFC system.
Sigma Delta will now be approaching the 40
year milestone in the coming years. We hope that if you are a student at Lewis reading this, and you would like to be
a part of our small group, you'll look us up.
We are also hoping that if you are an alum
of this fine organization that you come back and meet the men and women who continue what you started.
Thanks for reading.
|30 Years - From Nov. 2nd 2002
|35 YEARS - From Nov. 3rd 2007
Music by: Moxy Fruvous / Title: The