Sweeping changes were made in the functioning of the Fraternity's National Office when new officers took over in 1952. The Ninth General Convention, meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia, with Theta Active Chapter and Vancouver Alumni Chapter as Hosts, elected former-Eastern Province Councilor Robert J. Beals to be the sixth Grand President of the Fraternity. Former-Central Province Councilor John Gray as appointed to the office of General Manager. Steps were immediately taken to incorporate the Fraternity and on September 29, 1952, the Fraternity was at last incorporated under the Laws of the State of California. The incumbent Trustees, who had never functioned in their offices, were asked to resign and men interested in the Offices were appointed. For the first time in the Fraternity's history, the monies of the General and CASTLE Endowment Funds were turned over to the Board of Trustees by the General Manager, whose office had controlled the Funds since their establishment. The first known meeting of the Board of Trustees was held in June 1952 in Los Angeles.
Trademarks on the Fraternity insignia, which had been discussed for many years, were petitioned in the United States and in Canada. The original trademark on the letters on the badge had been granted on December 8, 1930, and was renewed on April 24, 1951. Additional trademarks on the Sigma Phi Delta CASTLE (No. 572,392) were granted on March 24, 1953, and on the Sigma Phi Delta Crest (No. 580,750) were granted on October 6, 1953. In Canada, slightly different trademarks were granted. The name "Sigma Phi Delta" was covered by Trade Mark No. 44033 on August 6, 1952; the Crest was covered by Trade Mark No. 44034 on the same date; and the CASTLE was protected under Trade Mark No. 43852 on October 16, 1952. The National officers, including the members of the Supreme Council, General Manager and the Board of Trustees, were bonded under a blanket bond of $10,000. The annual, permanently awarded, Efficiency Contest plaque was made up to replace the formerly used rotating trophy, and was awarded to those chapters winning the Contest since its reinstitution. By-Laws from the Active and Alumni Chapters were forthcoming and the Alumni Chapters, most of whom had been operating for years without Charter, were made official Chapters of the Fraternity.
In the Fall of 1951, six seniors from Mu Chapter (UCLA) transferred to the campus of the University of California at Berkeley. Carrying with them the ideals of Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity, they went about forming the nucleus of a Chapter on that campus. The men, Mal Walden, Dick Frankian, Roger Schaefer, Bob Spracklen, Dan Vrooman and Dick Harris, were assisted by Western Province Councilor John G. Ellis and Professor Harold B. Gotaas, an alumnus of Beta Chapter, then on the Faculty of the University of California at Berkeley. Twelve charter members were initiated as Nu Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta on December 6, 1952, by Grand President Robert J. Beals, Western Province Councilor John G. Ellis, and Professor David M. Wilson of the University of Southern California. Charter Chief Engineer of Nu Chapter was William R. Nichol and Chapter Secretary was Richard L. Burnell.
John G. Ellis, staunch advocate of the Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity on the West Coast, was initiated as a member of Alpha Chapter on February 14, 1930. He graduated in 1931 with a degree in Electrical Engineering. He was born in El Dorado, Kansas, on October 24, 1906, and died at his home in Vallejo, California, on January 11, 1977. He served the Fraternity officially as Western Province Councilor, Grand Vice-President and Member of the Board of Trustees. He served unofficially as mentor and example for generation of undergraduate members at Alpha, Theta, Mu and Nu Chapters.
Interest in the formation of a Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg was created by a letter from Grand Vice-President Albert G. Shore (Theta) to the Dean of Engineering at the University of Manitoba. The matter was turned over to the Student Council who took no action. However, two of the Council members were engineers and they were sufficiently interested to write to Brother Shore for more information. These men were Barry F. Murphy and Barry J. Ferries, who were to be the Charter Chief Engineer and Chapter Secretary, respectively, when, with the assistance of Epsilon Chapter, fifteen men became sufficiently interested to be installed as Xi Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta by Grand President Robert J. Beals and Central Province Councilor Orville J. Banasik (Epsilon) on May 2, 1953.
The first Western Province Convention had been held in Los Angeles, California, on September 20 and 21, 1952. At this time, the Fraternity initiated as an Honorary Member A. Burton Metzger, who was born in New York, New York, on June 10, 1896. He graduated in Electrical Engineering from Pratt Institute in 1915. At the time of his initiation, he was Safety Engineer for the Sandia Corporation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and was the first Honorary Member to be initiated since the War.
The Tenth General Convention met at Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, in September 1953. The design for the Grand President's Key, representing the Fraternity symbol, the Castle, was adopted and the key was later struck and presented to each of the Chief Executives of the Fraternity. The Convention officially conferred upon Russell C. Smith the title and the honor of "Grand Old Man of Sigma Phi Delta", which title he wore proudly and with honor until his death on November 23, 1975, in Florida. The Manual of Procedure, the Pledge Manual and the Song Book were taken from the hands of the individual chapters and assigned to National officers for completion. As a result, the Pledge Manual, which had been discussed for many years, was ready for distribution by November 1, 1953, having been edited by Central Province Councilor Orville J. Banasik (Epsilon). The Manual of Procedure, assigned to General Manager John Gray, was distributed on April 1, 1954. Slight changes were made in the Pledging Ritual. The Efficiency Contest was altered from its long-standing format to provide better representation to the individual chapters. For the first time, individual National Officers, as well as the undergraduate chapters, filled out certain portions of Contest.
A Nominating Committee for National Officers, composed of the Province Councilors, was established by the Eleventh General Convention when it met in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in September 1955, with Eta Chapter as Host. One of the outstanding features of this Convention was the initiation of two Honorary Members during the proceedings. The National Officers acted as the Ritual team to initiate Harold John Holmquest, who had a son as an undergraduate member of Delta Chapter at the time, and Robert G. Johnson. John Cody Holmquest, the son, had been initiated by Delta Chapter on February 27, 1955. This family became one of the first Third Generation Families of Sigma Phi Delta when John Cody Holmquest, Jr., was initiated by Delta Chapter on January 29, 1978. There were no further initiations of Honorary Members into the Fraternity until 1977.
During the Twelfth General Convention at Hamilton Lake, Indiana, in September 1957, with Kappa Active and Alumni Chapters as Hosts, the form of Fraternity government was changed. The Office of General Manager was abolished and the Office of Executive Secretary was created. The method of selection of the Executive Secretary was the same as that for the General Manager, appointed by the Grand President with Supreme Council approval. However, the Executive Secretary became an ex-officio member of the Supreme Council and of Board of Trustees. His salary was left to the discretion of the Supreme Council, who set it at $500 per year, payable quarterly. John Gray, in serving as the last General Manager, was surpassed in length of service only by Russell C. Smith. He was born in Glasgow, Scotland, on December 22, 1918. He graduated from Chicago Technical College in 1948 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. For a brief period in 1948, John was both Chief Engineer of Iota Chapter and Central Province Councilor. Joseph F. Bowers, the incumbent Eastern Province Councilor, was appointed as the first Executive Secretary of the Fraternity. He had been initiated by Lambda Chapter on October 6, 1955, and graduated from Indiana Technical College in 1956 with a degree in Radio Electronics. He was born on March 15, 1924, in Boynton, Pennsylvania. The Convention elected incumbent Grand President Robert J. Beals to a third term of Office.
Most extensive changes were made in the Constitution and Statutory Code at this Convention. Where previous Conventions had made alterations and word changes, this Convention took apart the Fraternity Laws and rearranged, edited, and deleted to give a completely new look to these Laws. Only minor changes have been made in the Laws since that time. A Ritual for the Installation of Chapter Officers was adopted. The Office of Chapter Councilor was removed as Deputy Province Councilor, though the Chapter Councilor remained as a member of the Province Convention.
On April 20, 1957, the first organizational meeting of the Sigma Phi Engineering Group was held at the home of Lyle D. Oleson (Charter Chief Engineer of Kappa Chapter), now Editor of the CASTLE, in East Lansing, Michigan, where he was a graduate student and a member of the engineering faculty. Seven undergraduates attended this first meeting. By the Fall of 1957, this group had grown to twenty-five members and petitioned for acceptance by the Michigan State University. The University decided to postpone approval of any further social fraternities on the campus. However, professional fraternities without a house were permitted. Accordingly, the group petitioned as a professional fraternity and were accepted by the University. This cleared the way for them to petition for Charter as a Chapter of the Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity. They were installed as Omicron Chapter by Grand President Beals on May 3, 1958, with twenty undergraduate and one Faculty Member. Probably more National Officers were present for this installation than at any other Chapter installation. Grand President Robert J. Beals, Executive Secretary Joseph F. Bowers, Editor of the CASTLE Lyle D. Oleson, Eastern Province Councilor Marion B. Stults (Lambda) and Central Province Councilor William M. Jermain, Jr., (Eta) acted as the installation Ritual team. Schuyler D. Rogers was Charter Chief Engineer and Gerald W. Trabbic was Chapter Secretary.
The Twelfth General Convention felt the need for a commemorative plaque on the campus of the University of Southern California. On April 11, 1959, on the Thirty-Fifth Anniversary of the Founding of the Fraternity, Grand President Beals dedicated a brass plaque, which was mounted at ground level in concrete, on the USC campus. This plaque is at the corner near the site of the founding of the Fraternity. Present for the dedication was C. J. Robinson, first president of the Fraternity, as well as several members from Alpha and Nu Chapters. This plaque states, simply: "SIGMA PHI DELTA, An International Social Fraternity of Engineers, was founded on this site, April 11, 1924".
The Thirteenth General Convention was held at the Alumni House on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley, California, on September 3 - 5, 1959, with Nu Chapter as Host. The Supreme Council reported on the establishment of the Grand President's Trophy, to be awarded to any Chapter that has made a significant contribution toward establishing a new Undergraduate Chapter. The design of the Trophy is a wooden arch, 15 inches high, mounted on a wooden base which supports a male figure, Grecian, holding bolts of electricity. On the arch is a brass plate with the wording:
Grand President's Award for Expansion
This Convention honored Brothers Joseph Bowers, John Ellis, John Gray and C. J. Robinson for their contributions to the Fraternity. The Grand President had made suitable certificates for presentation to the individuals. The Fraternity had long considered designs for the Fraternity flag. The Convention adopted the design shown elsewhere in this Manual, to be the Official flag of the Fraternity. The flag was designed by Grand President Beals. A Chapter jewelry display, in the form of a color photograph of the official jewelry, was supplied to each active chapter to assist them in their rushing. The Fraternity voted to invest a large portion of its monies so that they could be profit-making. This Convention made no changes in the Constitution and Statutory Code, which had been printed after the extensive revision by the previous Convention. One of the saddening features of this Convention was the news that Mu Chapter had become inactive due to a lack of membership. A Ritual for the Installation of Officers, which had been adopted by the Twelfth General Convention, was reaffirmed by the Thirteenth.
In being elected to a fifth consecutive term of office as Grand President, Robert J. Beals became the first Chief Executive to be elected to more than four terms, a record then held by William A. Rundquist, who served as Grand President for a total of sixteen years. Robert J. Beals was born in Decatur, Illinois, on November 12, 1923, and was initiated by Delta Chapter on February 14, 1943, in Urbana, Illinois. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1947 with the baccalaureate degree in Chemical Engineering. Later, in 1950, he received the Master of Science Degree in Ceramic Engineering and, in 1955, the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Ceramic Engineering, both from the University of Illinois.
Early in the summer of 1960, correspondence between Larry Rowley, representing a group of students at the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Institute in Miami, Florida, and the Grand President, was begun. On September 10, 1960, Grand President Beals and Executive Secretary William M. Jermain, Jr., installed Pi Chapter at that School. The well-laid installation plans were blown awry by the fury of Hurricane Donna, but fifteen charter members were initiated. A group of five officers, including charter Chief Engineer Larry C. Rowley and Chapter Secretary Robert J. Liddiard, had been initiated on the previous evening so that they could participate in the installation of the remainder of the Chapter or could conduct the final initiations if the National Officers could not stay because of the hurricane. Seldom has a Chapter had its beginnings under such stormy conditions.