Your RLLA board’s quarterly meeting was held on January 25th. Its results are below. Our Meeting Minutes will be posted here once they are available.
As for our 2025 goal of reactivating the RL chapter, DKE International continues to impress with its increasing ability to initiate new chapters and resurrect others. We look forward to beginning our own process. These RL newsletters already have a depth of information about our brotherhood and the context needed for those searching for inspiration to join our ranks.
There is some discussion regarding the benefits accruing to that 2025 chapter reactivation if we complete the funding of Randy Morrison’s Scholarship fund this year. Those activities will be summarized in here and on our website.
Some thoughts from George Otey on 2025 and Randy Morrison’s Scholarship Fund:
I believe it is essential to fully fund the Randy Morrison Scholarship in 2024 before our planned 2025 chapter reactivation begins in earnest.
My 2+ cents:
I realize there are multi-level emotions involved, but we should also keep in mind two “business” facts: Randy’s fund carries a two-fold memory of both DKE and Randy Morrison, and those two memories are perpetual.
Randy’s fully funded scholarship would be a point of pride (both for rush and fraternal bonding) that a current Rho Lambda chapter can identify as:
- a positive gift to the university, and
- a statement regarding the strength of the bonds of DKE brotherhood and
- a small expression of deep-felt appreciation recognizing Randy’s ultimate sacrifice.
I’m sure there are more points, but on balance, this makes Deke stand out at OU. Strictly on a non-emotional basis, in addition to the direct benefit to the scholarship recipient (regardless of gender), if other Greek groups have named scholarships, we Dekes stand equal with them. If not, we stand ahead of them.
Either way, we win by fully funding Randy’s scholarship by a 2024 deadline.
Kerothen, George Otey
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FROM THE DKE RL Board:
On January 25th, our board set the following priorities and plans for 2024:
- Randy Morrison Scholarship Fund – We are 60% to our goal to activate the endowment of $25,000 by 2025. We have received several more pledges, and there’s a possibility of closing this out this year by raising $10,000 or more. We’ll make personal calls to appeal for commitments to this fund in honor of our fallen brother. If you’d like information about making a tax-deductible donation to Randy’s Scholarship fund, here are some FAQs to help you.
- 2024 Round-Up – On October 19th, OU plays South Carolina, and we’ll hold our annual Round-Up that weekend. Plan to attend and watch oudekes.org for more information!
- 2025 – We will publish an expansion roadmap for our 2025 return to campus at our May meeting.
Karen and I wish everyone a prosperous and healthy new year!
Kerothen, Bob Tierno
ΡΛ Brother of the Month –PAUL BUNTZ
Let’s give a thumbs up to Brother Buntz, who’s joined the board as treasurer for the RLLA. As you’ll soon discover, it’s a position for which he’s eminently qualified.
“I was born in St. Louis, Missouri,” Paul told me, “but when I was 11, we moved to Cushing, Oklahoma, where I spent every spare second outside. For a while, I was a projectionist for the Cushing Theater and had a paper route. From that time on, I guess, I worked until I retired.
“I didn’t make a fortune delivering those papers; I got one cent per paper and a nickel for the Sunday paper. I had to collect for my deliveries every weekend, but I wasn’t paid for the time I spent doing that.”
We laughed about the collection part. As a kid, I had to fill in for a buddy when he was on vacation. Knocking on doors and asking grownups to pay up was a life lesson in itself. ”Yeah,” Paul agreed, “but you have to do it. I had to knock on 50 doors, and making $7 a week took some endurance. I did that for four or five years and somehow saved all the money I made.”
“Then we moved to Oklahoma City, and I graduated from Northwest Classen.” That rang a bell, and I asked him if he’d ever run into Randy Morrison, who’d gone there, too, but he hadn’t. Randy graduated in ’62, and Paul in ’69.
“I pledged Deke in ’69 as a freshman at OU.” I asked him why he chose OU, and he waited a moment, laughed, and stated, “Because I’m a Sooners fan.” That’s the best answer to that silly question. “I guess I might have had to go to OSU,” he added, “if I’d still lived in Cushing, only 25 miles away, but I’m really glad I didn’t.”
Paul and I have something else in common: it took each of us an extra semester to get the grades necessary to be initiated. “There were distractions,” he laughed. “I made excellent grades as a student in high school, but OU was a different world. Plus, I joined the Rufneks, and they had some wild stuff going on. All our guns going off make some noise, that’s for sure. I had a great time at the Deke house, too.
“I graduated with a Bachelor’s in Poly Sci in ‘73, then a Master’s in Public Administration in ’75. My first job was for the city of Edmond, Oklahoma. I met Pam at a church singing group, and we got married. She’s now retired but was a career elementary school teacher. She loved teaching kids, and we loved raising our boys.
“After Edmond, I worked for the city of Ada as a kind of circuit rider city manager, traveling to 5 little towns around Ada and helping to write grants to pay for city activities. In one town, the mayor used his own pickup to be the dog catcher, with an old pig farm as an animal shelter. Cities don’t always have the money they need to operate, which, by necessity, got me into grant writing.
I was the city manager in Guthrie, the original state capitol, for four years. It had 20,000 people when it was the territorial state capitol, but 10,000 now. There were some tough politics, and it went through many city managers.
“So, I moved on to Sayre, where, after 15 months, I got a call from the city manager of Durant, who was leaving. They hired me after a 20-minute dinner meeting with him and the mayor. I thought I might stay for 3-5 years, then continue my climb up the career ladder elsewhere, but I became entrenched in the city, and we decided to stay. I retired 22 years later.”
Paul and I had a great dialog about state, county, and city political factions. He said, “Usually, when there’s more work than funding allows, the state authorizes grants for general things rather than fight out the specifics at that level, so the counties and cities have to fight for it in grant competitions.”
“Sometimes, the success of the entire enterprise rests on the talents of the grant writer to obtain the funds it needs. Grant rules change constantly; calls aren’t returned; even when it’s successful, the project’s costs have often outrun the grant proceeds. That happened to me often. By the time I’d gotten a $1.6 million grant for Southeastern University, the cost had doubled. After raising that money, we were still $1 million behind.
“I finally retired, but I’ve been asked to return three times, once while I was on vacation in New Mexico and another time for 2 ½ years. We were on an Alaska cruise the last time when I got a call saying, “We need you!” I worked for six months, and that was it, other than being on the Durant school board since ’21. Then we went to Israel.
“Bethlehem is remarkable, especially the Church of the Nativity. Jerusalem was memorable, too. Standing in the same place where Jesus was imprisoned was so strange. We took our time to visit Caesarea and Haifa, too, and the Jordan River. It was a meaningful trip.
“It’s great to be retired, though. I bought my first motorcycle when I was 14, starting with a Honda 50. I’ve ridden Suzukis, but the last two have been Harleys. It’s a great release to roll into those twists and turns. The feeling of being completely free, out in the open, is so cool. But I ride a bike a lot more.
“On a bike, there’s that same openness, but I get a much better workout. The exercise is great. I usually ride for 2-3 hours, maybe 20-23 miles. I especially like a paved bike path separate from car traffic. Lately, I’ve been looking at the E bikes for when the weather gets really hot. That may have to be a future option.”
We talked about the Deke house a good deal and how we all stepped off from there into adulthood. “Mom Moran was the house mother then, and I still remember her arranging for somebody from Harold’s Menswear to come by. He insisted the blue blazer was of critical importance.
“Pam and I have two boys,” said Paul. “Here, Jason is on the left and is our youngest. He’s single and is a software developer here in Durant. Our oldest, Brian, is behind Pam and lives in Berkeley with his family. He writes for a pharmaceutical trade journal.
“Brenden, our grandson, is in front. We have lots of fun together, attending sporting events and traveling. We like to go to New Mexico and ride our bikes in Taos, Red River, and Eagle’s Nest. We took him back to OU a few weeks ago, where he’s working on a biology degree.”
And if Paul has any time to spare, I’ll wager he invites Pam to sit on the upholstered rear fender of his Harley, and they roar off into the twists and turns of some two-lane in the Oklahoma outback. I can’t imagine how it gets better than that.
One last thing: not to brag, but my grandsons and I in Washington did a fire dance after the Sugar Bowl smackdown of UT by UW. What a year for the family; the only teams to barbeque Bevo were OU and UW!
Kerothen, Ron Sorter