Daniel Webster Crofts, while a student at Jefferson College (now Washington and Jefferson College), became a founder of Phi Gamma Delta. He was born on December 3, 1828.
After graduation, he tried his hand at teaching and then settled on the study of the law. He suffered from tuberculosis, and in 1851, he moved to Clinton, Louisiana, to try to recover from its scourge. His quest for renewed health was unsuccessful; he died on January 8, 1852, alone and penniless in a hotel, at the young age of 23. The items he brought with him, including his gold Phi Gamma Delta badge, were sold to pay his medical and burial bills.
In 1900, Phi Gamma Delta placed a memorial stone on his grave. On Saturday, alumni and collegiate members of the Phi Gam chapter at Louisiana State University paid their respects and cleaned his gravesite. Perhaps that effort will help connect the collegiate members to a man about their age who lived nearly more than 150 years before them. They share a common bond, the fellowship of Phi Gamma Delta, a gift Daniel Webster Crofts and the other founders gave to them.
Today’s Greek-letter organization members are entrusted with their organization’s welfare. It is a precious gift and one that can easily be damaged through willful or accidental breakage. It is up to these young members and their cohorts to make sure that their organization is viable for another two centuries at least. It is not a task to be taken lightly or half-heartedly.