Honoring Our Legacy, Building Our Future

The following are excerpts from remarks made by Brother Rod Kirsch ‘78 at the Chapter’s 60th anniversary celebration on October 23 about the status of the Honoring Our Legacy, Building Our Future Campaign.

During the 1830’s, about the time Delta Upsilon was founded in 1834, a French historian and political scientist, Alexis deTocque- ville, toured our country to capture the essence of a young America in his work titled Democracy In America.

Some of his words seem particularly appropriate for us this evening as we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the North Dakota Chapter of Delta Upsilon and break ground for a new chapter house. As I quote de Tocqueville, think about how his words apply to our new chapter house campaign.

“These Americans are the most peculiar people in the world. You will not believe it when I tell you how they behave. A citizen may conceive of some need which is not being met. What does he do? He goes across the street and discusses it with his neighbor. A committee comes into existence, and then the committee begins functioning on behalf of that need, and you won’t believe it, but it is true. All of this is done without any reference to any bureaucrat. All of this is done by private citizens on their own initiative. The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.”

We, in the North Dakota Chapter of Delta Upsilon, are living de Tocqueville’s words. In December 2019, Brothers Lynn Luckow, Brad Aafedt, Jim Sweeney, Cary Schilling and others saw a need that was not being met—a need for a new chapter house. A Chapter House Planning Committee came into existence. It began functioning on behalf of this need. In short order, we had six committees organized and working on behalf of the campaign—fundraising, architecture and real estate, legal and risk management, communications and events, finance, and campus liaison.

The Planning Committee has become the alumni version of undergraduates managing the chapter. We have such a talented group of alumni in our brotherhood and so many are bringing their special skills to bear on this project. At times over 30 brothers have joined our every other Sunday night meetings. All brothers are welcome to join future meetings if you wish. Just let me know. Hundreds and hundreds of volunteer hours have been given to our effort.

We have come through a fantastic first phase of our campaign. Starting with gift solicitations in February 2021 through tonight, 94 DU brothers have committed $3.8 million toward a new chapter house. We have successfully met two matching challenges of $750,000 and $250,000 from Katie and Doug Mark ‘86 and LuAnn and Ken Regan ‘78, respectively.

At this point, we have raised more money for a chapter house than any other DU Chapter in the General Fraternity’s history!! It is a grand accomplishment and deserves to be celebrated as we did with great fanfare yesterday at our groundbreaking. But our job is far from being over. We have a great deal more work to do between now and the end of January 2022.

Our aspirational goal is to raise $6 million. Our immediate next benchmark is to reach $5 million. When we reach $5 million, our campaign will stand as one of the 15 largest campaigns in Greek collegiate history, men or women, in this country.

Our next campaign phase begins immediately. We are recruiting class chairs to reach out to every single alumnus member of the chapter. If you are interested in becoming a class chair, please contact me at [email protected] It has been an exhilarating and heartwarming experience for me to reconnect with brothers whom I have not seen in 40 years. I know you will enjoy this as much as I have. If you wish to volunteer, we will give you all the tools and information necessary to be successful.

I’d like to leave you with two thoughts tonight, and I direct these especially to our undergraduate members: the first idea is about “academic excellence;” the second is about “vigilance” or in the world of fundraising we would say “stewardship.”

During the course of the campaign, I have had individual gift conversations with more than 35 brothers. Nearly all of them recall the importance and pride we had for nearly 30 years in setting the academic standard for the Greek system at UND. Our chapter goal should be to recapture that standard and maintain this record. One of our brothers made a very significant gift, large enough to name a space in the chapter house. Rather than naming it personally, he wants to name it in such a way to inspire future academic excellence.

Now, stewardship. Stewardship is giving care to all that has been given to us, as individuals and as a fraternity. Our initiation rite says, “Our past is secure; our future depends on our vigilance.” The rite also says, “May your zeal in Delta Upsilon never flag, may your sympathy with its interests ever grow deeper.” As undergraduates, you have the duty to care for this home and our brotherhood. We alumni will help you.

Brothers, if you have not yet made a gift, I hope you will reflect on what DU has meant to you in your life and consider a contribution. We have a debt to repay for the experience we had as DU’s. I am happy to talk with any of you (814-777-4826) about how you can help.

Thank you.
Rodney P. Kirsch ‘78