April 29 is full of celebrations. The biggest, if twitter posts are any indication, is Theta Xi Fraternity’s sesquicentennial (#ThetaXi150).
Theta Xi Fraternity was founded at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in Troy, New York, on April 29, 1864. Its founders are Peter Henry Fox, Ralph Gooding Packard, Christopher Champlin Waite, George Bradford Brainerd, Samuel Buel Jr., Henry Harrison Farnum, Thomas Cole Raymond, and Nathaniel Henry Starbuck.
Celebrations plans include banquets taking place all across the country tonight. One of the highlights will be a “Virtual Toast” at 9:30 p.m., EDT. In August, the fraternity’s 150th Anniversary Convention will take place on its founding campus. According to Theta Xi’s website, “It will be a convention like no other.” A highlight of the convention will be the unveiling and dedication of a Memorial Plaza RPI. Its location will be in front of Ricketts Hall, a building named in honor of a Theta Xi President.
Phi Kappa Theta is celebrating 125 years today. On April 29, 1959, Phi Kappa and Theta Kappa Phi, two fraternities for Catholic men, merged. Each had been founded because, at the time of their founding, Catholics were not typically welcomed into the other fraternities. Phi Kappa was founded in 1889 at Brown University and Theta Kappa Phi was founded at Lehigh University in 1919. The merger resulted in completely redesigned badge, pledge pin and coat of arms incorporating elements from each of the organizations.
Chi Upsilon Sigma, was founded on April 29, 1980 by seven Latinas at the New Brunswick Campus of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. The seven founders are Evelyn Burgos, Nancy Collazo, Mariela Freay, Catherine Miranda, Maricel Rivera, Sonia Rosa, and Maria E. Tejera. Its official name is Corazones Unidos Siempre (Hearts United Always). There are currently more than 70 chapters. Its national philanthropy is the I Have a Dream Foundation.
On April 29, 1899, Edward Kennedy Ellington was born in Washington, D.C. He took on the nickname “Duke” early in life and that’s how he was known for the rest of his life. Ellington, an Alpha Phi Alpha, composed more than 3000 songs. He was a master pianist and his jazz orchestra entertained people the world over.
He was much honored throughout his life and after his death. There is a statue of Ellington on the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) campus. According to an account in the UCLA Magazine, “When UCLA students were entranced by Duke Ellington’s provocative tunes at a Culver City club in 1937, they asked the budding musical great to play a free concert in Royce Hall. ‘I’ve been waiting for someone to ask us!’ Ellington exclaimed. On the day of the concert, Ellington accidentally mixed up the venues and drove to USC instead. He eventually arrived at the UCLA campus and, to apologize for his tardiness, played to the packed crowd for more than four hours. And so, “Sir Duke” and his group played the first-ever jazz performance in a concert venue”
It’s also the Make-a-Wish’s World Wish Day. It’s the anniversary of the 1980 wish-come-true which sparked the creation of the Make-a-Wish Foundation. More than 290,000 wishes have been granted since then. Chi Omega and Make-A-Wish have been in alliance since 2002. Since then, Chi Omega members have raised more than 12.9 million dollars. Chi Omega have volunteered more than 500,000 hours on behalf of Make-A-Wish. Chi Omega is recognized as one of their Cause Champion sponsors.
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© Fran Becque, www.fraternityhistory.com. 2014. All Rights Reserved.