BETHANY, W.Va. — More than 700 Delta Tau Delta brothers and alumni from across the country will be making a pilgrimage to Bethany College on Friday, Aug. 15. As part of the fraternity’s 150th anniversary celebration (Karnea) in Pittsburgh, a fleet of buses will transport the entire Karnea convention body to Bethany for the formal rededication of the Delta Tau Delta Founders House.
The town of Bethany was still part of Virginia and the first shots of the Civil War were three years away when eight Bethany College students met at a Main Street boarding house to found Delta Tau Delta. Since that autumn evening in 1858, more than 150,000 men have been initiated into what has become an international fraternity with 119 active undergraduate chapters and colonies across the United States. The fraternity’s 6,500 undergraduate members boast an aggregate GPA of 2.93, making it one of the highest-achieving fraternities in academics.
“We congratulate Delta Tau Delta for 150 years of outstanding service and accomplishment and gladly welcome everyone back to the place where it all started,” said Dr. Scott D. Miller, President of the College. “As a small college of national distinction, we are honored they have chosen to honor their legacy at Bethany College.”
A volunteer committee was formed by the international fraternity in 2002 to work on the Founders House restoration and make plans for Friday’s “Bethany Day.” The committee was chaired by Wayne Sinclair of Washington, D.C. along with honorary chairman Ed Heminger of Findlay, Ohio. Both men are former International Presidents of the fraternity.
The Delta Tau Delta Educational Foundation provided a $275,000 grant for the restoration and renovation of the building, which is still owned by the college. This grant funded major structural improvements, wiring upgrades and the installation of modern fire protection and security systems. The home, one of 16 structures built before 1860 that still stands in the Bethany Historic District, is furnished just as it was in 1858.
Highlighting Friday’s festivities will be the dedication of a Sesquicentennial Plaque hanging in Bethany’s historic Old Main and the formal rededication of the Founders House. Speaking on behalf of the fraternity will be International President Dr. Kenneth L. Clinton, Professor of Sociology and Chair of the International Studies Program at Texas A&M-Commerce.
In addition to the $275,000 gift to the College for the Founders House restoration, an additional gift of $50,000 will be presented to Dr. Miller by Foundation Chairman Norval Stephens. This gift will go to support the annual Greek Leadership Conference that Bethany hosts for newly-elected Greek officers. “We owe our existence to Bethany College,” Stephens said. “We believe one of the best ways we can say thank you to the College is to provide resources to assist in the development of student leaders.”
Buses bearing convention guests will begin arriving in Bethany shortly after 5 p.m. on Friday. Dinner and tours are scheduled from 5-7 p.m. with a group photo to follow in front of Old Main. The formal rededication ceremony is set for 8:30 p.m. and the event will close with an “Honor the Legacy” tribute to the eight founding members.
Bethany is a small college of national distinction located on a picturesque and historic 1,300-acre campus in the Northern Panhandle of West Virginia. Founded in 1840, Bethany is the oldest college in the state.