OU Rho Lambda Newsletter
Greetings, Brothers! This newsletter details our actions to reactivate the DKE chapter at OU in 2025. Please give us your feedback. Your ideas are vital.
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When Deke Robert Peary graduated from Bowdoin in 1877, Theodore Roosevelt was a freshman Deke at Harvard. In 1909, Peary and his team of six boarded a bespoke built-for-ice ship, the USS Theodore Roosevelt, to sail within 400 miles of the North Pole. Sled dogs, determination, and grit got them the rest of the way, and they planted the US and Deke flags there on April 6th.
DKE is not only a fast-growing fraternity but one of America’s oldest, and we claim five U.S. presidents, more than any other fraternity. We have legendary members, but my point is this: even if you and I are not legendary Dekes or even famous, the terrific thing about our Brotherhood is that, throughout our lives, we can find those connections everywhere.
Don Burand ΡΛ ’72, an Alaska Airlines pilot, had flown dozens of times with copilot Chris. When Don said he’d be buying pizza for the crew upon landing, Chris said, “Don, you’re a gentleman and a scholar.” A surprised Don replied, “…and a jolly good fellow!” They were stunned to discover, at 30,000 ft, that they were both Dekes. One of my connections? My regimental brotherhood in Vietnam, the 20th Sykes Regulars, fought alongside Teddy and his Rough Riders in Santiago, Cuba.
An Interest Group
Your and my connection to each other and every other Deke is the essence of our DKE story. Leading up to 2025, we’ll recount that story to high school seniors to convince them that, beyond their university experience, they’ll have that same lifetime of connections to all Dekes, both famous and uncelebrated. And to their parents, we’ll certainly mention that Max Weitzenhoffer ΡΛ ’62 served 14 years on the OU Board of Regents. Twice as chairman.
A passionate band of seniors and their parents with a desire for lifetime connections, who are ready to activate a first-class fraternity at OU, define the 2025 Interest Group we want.
Here’s how we’ll find them: with DKE International Headquarters (DKEIHQ) providing the experience and infrastructure, we’ll prepare for OU’s Greek Preview Weekend in Spring 2024. That weekend targets the high school seniors and their families, among whom we intend to find our Interest Group.
Morgan McElroy of DKEIHQ describes their approach: “…we tend to operate in three phases: 1) virtual recruitment/ social media marketing to gather names of interested men. 2) on-site visits for recruitment events, interviews, and bidding. Our goal is to get 10-20 bids accepted at this point. From there, we enter phase 3) those founders recruit more members of the class under direct consultation and advising from IHQ and the alumni association. They serve as our boots on the ground.”
Bob Tierno, CEO:
“Brothers, since formalizing the DKE Rho Lambda Literary Association in 2021, your board has worked to connect/reconnect our Brotherhood, building off the annual OU Homecoming Roundups. We’ve also actively discussed, debated, and researched the establishment of an Associate Chapter at Norman. We focused primarily on the support/resources necessary to be successful.
Since our January ’23 board meeting, I’ve worked closely with the DKE International HQ staff responsible for expansion programs. DKE has a three-step, multi-year process: Interest Group» Associate Chapter» Chartered Chapter.
OU allows one fraternity a year to activate on campus. You can see my initial letter requesting the 2025 window here. They approved our request without requiring an application, in part because of our history and the IFC’s desire to recruit social fraternities with our “brand recognition.” Our return to campus rests on our collective ability, supported by DKE IHQ, to establish that “interest group.”
DKE IHQ has a full complement of social media tools and communication strategies, which will reach out to area high school students, alumni, and campus organizations. Our “Expansion Committee,” George Otey, Dennis Clowers, and I are taking specific steps on our roadmap to return to campus. We’ll soon meet with OU officials to discuss our “rules of the road,” and I’m happy to report that OU supports the fraternity system versus many campuses around the country that do not.
Read more below about how we’ll keep you in the loop through our newsletter and our OU DEKE website.”
Kerothen, Bob Tierno
How You Can Stay Tuned and Take Part
Instagram: DKEIHQ has established and will populate our OU DKE Rho Lambda Instagram page. (Please go there today and choose to be a follower so you can monitor our 2025 progress.)
Our Website: The 2025 Associate Chapter two-stack webpage makes it easy for you to track Our Actions and Our Plans. In Our Actions, Morgan McElroy (DKEIHQ) describes DKE’s expansion approach in simple terms and how his creation of our OU Dekes Instagram page will evolve to take that critical first step: attracting our 10-20-person Interest Group. In Our Actions, you can always find the Expansion Committee’s latest emails detailing our and DKEIHQ’s coordinated activities.
In Our Plans, look through DKEIHQ’s Member Services Handbook. It’s designed for Interest Groups and their parents and describes in detail how an Interest Group grows into an Associate Chapter, then evolves into a Chartered Chapter.
Check out the Application from Indiana University’s DKE Interest Group, who are taking that second step to gain Associate Chapter status. It’s an excellent blueprint for how OU’s Interest Group will do the same. (Note: IU, like OU, is a returning chapter.
We’ve shown OU our seriousness by holding reunions and reactivating ourselves as RLLA with a website, newsletters, and an up-to-date database of alumni contacts. The OU Foundation was especially helpful to us in establishing Randy’s scholarship fund.
In 2025 we can start fresh. With DKEIHQ’s support, we will convince OU, high school seniors, and their parents that we can create a legendary fraternity together at OU. We’ll confirm to them our awareness that hazing, alcohol/drug-related offenses, and boorish behavior are a fraternity’s death knell. Will that be easy? No, but we have a roadmap, and the road is open before us. Stay tuned and consider helping us create something new at OU.
Kerothen, Ron Sorter
Leave a comment if you wish, or contact us here. Keep an eye out for May’s Newsletter!
Congrats on Terry Miller’s appearance in the most recent DKE Quarterly.
Please get in touch with Rich Burns if you know of any Brothers who’ve passed away or aren’t receiving our Newsletter.
The ΡΛ Commo Crew