By: Dustyn Hall, Director of Advancement
Amongst the red-brick buildings of the University of Vermont, through the rolling hills and peaking mountains of the green mountain state, and alongside the calm, serene banks of Lake Champlain, more than 150 brothers and guests celebrated Phi Mu Delta's first 100 years and ushered in the next century.
A weekend of business, yes, but also fellowship, Centennial Conclave was the largest of the bi-annual business meetings in our 100 year history. The National Office staff arrived on Tuesday to begin preparations as undergraduates and alumni began packing their bags and filling up their cars.
Wednesday included all-day registration and check-in, a National Council meeting, and a Delegate 101 training to review Robert's Rule of Order and the weekend's happenings. The first day concluded in a large ballroom as undergraduates marched with their chapter banner for the Procession of Chapters, marking the official opening of our Centennial Conclave.
Thursday's events included education sessions ranging from recruitment conversations, the new member development program being proposed, a frank conversation about the functionality of chapters National Council member, Joe Doiron, and a different approach to the traditional sexual assault prevention programming hosted by the Assistant Executive Director, Jackie Hackett, and National Council member, Joe Thompson. After lunch, a couple dozen brothers gathered in the hotel pool for the annual "Super Secret Pool Party" which is not secretive at all, to splash around and destress before Chapter of the Year Presentations.
Three chapters, including Mu Beta (Ohio Northern), Mu Xi (Penn College), and Sigma Alpha (Longwood) presented to their peers for the coveted Clarence Dexter Pierce Cup, which lives with the winning chapter for the year. Simultaneously, Jackie Hackett, Assistant Executive Director for Undergraduate Engagement, presented to our alumni and friends about the dawning of Generation Z, and how the fraternity would adjust its engagement strategy to meet the needs of undergraduates in the coming decade. Following those sessions, brothers and guests enjoyed a buffet style dinner, and then grabbed their wallets before the Bi-annual Educational Foundation T-shirt Auction. The Foundation raised $3,474.72 to support educational programming and leadership programs for the coming year through the sale of more than 30 shirts, a 1929 badge from the Nu Eta Chapter donated by long-time volunteer Bob Lomison, Mu Zeta '77, and a quilt of Phi Mu Delta shirts donated by Liz Foley, friend of Phi Mu Delta and wife of Tom Murphy, Mu Alpha '94. Following the T-shirt Auction, the Educational Foundation hosted a 1918 Society Reception in a private gathering space, for those undergraduates which have given to $19.18 to our undergraduate giving society.
Friday was, as the staff called it, "Fellowship Friday". Planned as a day of relationship building, friendship, and bonding amongst brothers and friends of the fraternity. The day's festivities included the collection of canned goods for the Burlington Area Food Bank, a Vermont foodie tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream headquarters and a local syrup company, multiple alumni association meetings, a craft beer tour around Burlington, and a history tour of the campus which housed one of our founding chapters. Following a long day of fellowship and fun, all of the Conclave guests boarded a dinner cruise that set sail on Lake Champlain, where brothers enjoyed dinner, music, and sightseeing from the boat's roof.
And to wrap up the weekend, Saturday was jam packed with fraternity business. The morning began with committee meetings, alumni association meetings, and the Educational Foundation Board of Directors meeting, before the great bi-annual business meeting convened in the same ballroom where Conclave was opened. The business meeting was lively with discussion about the member development program, dues, the state of the fraternity, national council elections, and changes to Ritual. The newly elected National Council included the following:
Conclave concluded with the Closing Awards Banquet, where Phi Mu Delta recognized brothers and friends for their outstanding contributions to the fraternity. The men recognized at the banquet are as follows:
As the end of one century came to a close in the home of Founder Clarence Dexter Pierce, Nu Gamma 1918, brothers and guest packed their cars and boarded their planes to leave the place where it all began. With the red brick of campus and the green trees alongside mountain-sides in their rear-view mirrors, a sense of hope filled the air and an excitement about what the next 100 years looked like, dawned on the horizon. One hundred years had come and gone, with its history and moments of trial, tribulation, and celebration, but three things remain: a brotherhood dedicated to the service of mankind, a renewed focus on democracy and justice for all, and a brotherhood that was sure to last another century.
100 years never looked so good!