Recognizing the impact of inflation and the increase cost of all forms of service, the General Convention, by mail ballot on December 1, 1974, approved the increase in undergraduate initiation fees and National dues, to be effective on January 1, 1975. The initiation fee was increased to $30; the National dues were increased to $30 per annum payable in two installments on April 1 and November 1 of each year. Dues had last been increased in 1967.
The General Convention recalled Philip G. Robinson (Alpha) from the Office of Western Province Councilor, effective on June 1, 1975. This was the second known instance of removal of a member of the Supreme Council for failure to carry out the functions of his office. Interestingly, both incumbents had been Western Province Councilors.
The Twenty-First General Convention was to have been co-Hosted by Alpha, Sigma and Tau Active Chapters. However, in the period between the Twentieth and Twenty-First General Conventions, Sigma Chapter had drifted into inactive status. No exact date can be fixed in that the Chapter stopped reporting; stopped communicating; and stopped functioning. A new Alumni Chapter was represented at this Convention, however, when the alumni associated with the Rho Active Chapter formed the Central Illinois Alumni (CIA) Chapter, which was chartered in Peoria, Illinois, on September 28, 1974.
The Twenty-First General Convention convened in Los Angeles, California, in late August 1975, with Alpha Chapter as Host. In light of the increased activity of females in the engineering profession, the possibility of enlarging our Fraternity membership to include women was considered. It was pointed out that Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity had always been a social-professional fraternity of engineers and that the inclusion of women would not be in keeping with the social character of the Fraternity. It was noted that Tri-State College had become Tri-State University and that one or more engineering curricula had been accredited by the Engineers Council for Professional Development (E.C.P.D.). The Chapter Efficiency Contest, submitted for consideration in 1973 was approved for use by the Fraternity, effective on January 1, 1976. This was a vastly revised Contest with increased emphasis on chapter participation in preparation of the Report. Anticipating that the alumni of the Fraternity would want to help out in the current financial crunch, the Convention adopted the principle of an annual Alumni Solicitation for funds for specific purposes, for example, expansion, scholarship, publication of the CASTLE, help in student housing, or other general uses of the Fraternity. Later, retiring Grand President Kraatz was appointed the first Alumni Solicitation Coordinator. The Convention elected as the eight Grand President of the Fraternity Benjamin L. McCash (Delta). Ben was born on July 28, 1947, in Casey, Illinois. He was initiated by Delta Chapter on February 19, 1967, and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1959 with a degree in Agricultural Engineering.
In December 1976, the National Little Sister Program as adopted by the Fraternity. A Convention of Little Sisters had been held in Angola, Indiana, on September 25, 1976, at the time of the Fourteenth Eastern Province Convention. This has been the only such Convention of Little Sisters held to date.
Early in 1977, a group of undergraduate students at the University of California at Berkeley expressed interest in the reactivation of Nu Chapter on that campus. Grand President McCash and Grand Vice-President Richard N. Ziegler (Kappa) initiated five men into Nu Chapter on May 14, 1977, thereby reactivating the Chapter and ending the period of six years during which the Chapter was inactive.
The Twenty-Second General Convention of the Fraternity was convened in Peoria, Illinois, in early September 1977, with Rho Active Chapter and Central Illinois Alumni Chapter as Hosts. Finances, as usual, played a large role in the discussions. Alumni Chapter annual dues were raised from $50 to $75 per annum, effective January 1, 1978. Active member (undergraduate) annual National dues were raised to $40 per annum, payable on April 2 and November 1at $20 per member. The Alumni Solicitation program was continued. The Convention expressed ts appreciation to Editor of the CASTLE Dale Hachtel (Rho) for his dedication and service to the Fraternity as Editor for the past six years. The Convention elected incumbent Grand President Benjamin L. McCash to a second term in that Office.
One of the highlights of the Convention was the initiation as an Honorary member of the Fraternity Dr. Martin G. Abegg, President of Bradley University, on September 3, 1977. National Officers were the Ritual Team for the initiation. In recognition of his years of service to the Fraternity, the Convention named Dr. Robert J. Beals to succeed to the title long held by Grand Old Man Russell C. Smith, in the following resolution:
Therefore, it be further resolved that from this Convention onward, BROTHER ROBERT J. BEALS will bear the title formerly held by BROTHER RUSSELL C. SMITH and be known as "THE GRAND OLD MAN OF THE SIGMA PHI DELTA FRATERNITY."
Following the Convention, color photographs of the Fraternity jewelry were distributed to all undergraduate Chapters of the Fraternity. The Ninth Edition of the Manual of Procedure was distributed. The brochure "Pro Bono Professionis" and the booklet "What Fraternity?" were revised and reprinted.
In October 1977, the Professional Interfraternity Conference and the Professional Panhellenic Association merged into the Professional Fraternity Association. Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity continued to be a member of the new Association.
To implement the programs under consideration and to begin the planning program for the biennium 1978-1979, the Supreme Council met at the home of Grand President Benjamin L. McCash in Burr Ridge, Illinois, on October 29 and 30, 1977. This was the third such meeting in the Fraternity's history, all having been held in Chicago suburbs. Former Editor Dale Hachtel was appointed Alumni Solicitations chairman for the biennium. The CASTLE was changed in format and method of printing. The Fraternity purchased an offset printing press and tried to print its own publications, the first issue of which appeared in the Winter 1977 CASTLE. Unfortunately, the press was limited in scope and ability, and this experiment was cancelled after about two issues. Plans were formulated for seminars to be held at the Fall 1978 Province Conventions on RUSH and CHAPTER FINANCIAL OPERATIONS.
Even as the Fraternity rejoiced in the return of Nu Chapter from inactive to active status, Iota Active Chapter was having extreme difficulty in gaining members. The Chicago Technical College had concentrated its efforts on special and short courses rather than on degree-granting engineering programs. The College had never been granted E.C.P.D. recognition for any program. Accordingly, on March 15, 1976, the Supreme Council approved inactive status for Iota Chapter. The Iota Alumni Chapter continued to be active. The Iota Chapter house was sold on December 21, 1976.
The fourth special meeting of the Supreme Council was held at the home of Grand President McCash in Burr Ridge, Illinois, on March 17 and 18, 1979. Plans for the Twenty-Third General Convention were formulated. The executive Secretary reported that, for the first time in Fraternity history, the National Office had opened a bank account in Canada, using the Assiniboine Credit Union, Ltd., in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a repository for Canadian funds paid to the National Office. Travel reimbursement for National Officer travel had been seven cents per mile for many years. Effective at once, the reimbursement was raised to ten cents per mile. Interest on loans from the Board of Trustees to housing corporations of the Fraternity was increased from 6% to 10%. The Circulation Manager of the CASTLE's salary was increased from $50 to $200 per year, payable in four quarterly payments.
The Twenty-Third General Convention of the Fraternity convened on August 30, 1979, at the Potowatomi Inn, Pokagon State Park, Angola, Indiana, with Kappa Active and Kappa Alumni Chapters as Hosts. During the meeting, the Supreme Council reviewed the salary of the Executive Secretary and raised the annual stipend from its 1969 level of $1,000 to $1,200 per year, payable in quarterly payments, and to be effective on January 1, 1980. There were strong indications that during the biennium between the Twenty-Second and Twenty-Third General Conventions, Nu Chapter had ceased to function. Failure to answer correspondence, a lack of formal initiations, the moving from the rented Chapter quarters all contributed to the inactivity of that Chapter. The Convention returned incumbent Grand President Benjamin L. McCash to a third term of office.
The Supreme Council held a fifth special meeting on April 3 and 4, 1981, in Burr Ridge, Illinois. Plans for the Twenty-Fourth General Convention were approved. Plans for a Disney World professional visit were discussed, with hopes that the behind-the-scenes working of that Park would be viewed. The format for the Nominations for the Professional Achievement Award was approved. To better understand the effect of cost increases over the years, the following table summarizes the sales price for the Code #113, #1 crown pearl, ruby points and center Fraternity badges from 1965 to date:
|Year Beginning September 1||Badge Charge||Chapter Sales Price|
|1965 - 1971 (gold)|| $15.64
|1972 - 1973 (gold)||20.00||25.00|
|1975 - 1976 (Balclad)||31.00||34.00|
|1977 - 1978 (Balclad)|| 34.10
|1980 (Balclad)|| 51.55
|1981 - 1983||61.90||68.00|
|1984 - 1990||64.95||71.50|
|1991 - 1995||71.43||75.00|
|1996 - 1997||75.60||83.00|
|1998 - 2001||78.80||86.75|
The change was made from the gold badge to the Balclad, which was a gold plated badge, at the time of rapid increases in the price of gold. The rapid increase in 1980 was due to the large increase in the price of pearls and synthetic rubies.
The Twenty-Fourth General Convention of the Fraternity convened in Daytona Beach, Florida, on September 3, 1981, with Pi Active Chapter as Host. Interestingly, Pi Chapter was, at that time, in delinquent status for failure to pays its National and Province Dues and was unable to be represented at the Convention it had planned. Recognizing the impact of inflation and the increased costs of operating the Fraternity, the Convention increased undergraduate member dues from $40 per year to $60 per year; increased undergraduate initiation fees from $30 to $40; and increased alumni chapter dues from $75 to $100 per year. During past Conventions, the Fraternity Law had been changed with regard to the interest allowable on loans to housing corporations associated with the undergraduate chapters. To permit maximum flexibility and still control the interest rates, the Convention established the allowable interest rate to be "not higher than 2% below the U.S. Federal Discount Rate". The category of "Inactive Member", long suspected (but not proven) of being a haven for those who wanted to retain Fraternity membership but who did not wish to fulfill their fraternal obligations otherwise, was eliminated. This would preclude a student temporarily in financial or academic difficulties from lightening his loan and would require that undergraduate students remain totally committed or else resign from Fraternity membership.
The Engineers Council for Professional Development (E.C.P.D.), which had been established in the early 1930's, was reorganized as the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET). E.C.P.D. was responsible for the accreditation of engineering programs at colleges and universities in the United States. ABET took over these functions after the reorganization. Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity, in an effort to assure itself and others that its member chapters and students were "Professional" had adopted the criteria that at least one program at a school or college must be E.C.P.D. (or ABET) accredited before a Chapter could be established at that school. Iota Chapter at Chicago Technical College and Lambda Chapter at Indiana Institute of Technology were the two chapters established on campuses, which lacked this recognition. Both were chartered before the criteria were established.
The Convention elected as the ninth Grand President of the Fraternity another Delta alumnus, William J. Reinert. Bill was born on June 1, 1934, in Chicago, Illinois. He was initiated by Delta Chapter on November 19, 1955, and graduated from the University of Illinois in 1957 with a degree in General Engineering. He had a son, William T. Reinert, who was a member of Delta Chapter at this time. As had his two predecessors, Grand President Reinert appointed Dr. Robert J. Beals to be his Executive Secretary. With this appointment, Beals surpassed William M. Jermain, Jr., in total length of service in this Office.
Following tradition, the Supreme Council held a special meeting on November 19 and 20, 1982, at the Grand President's home in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, to review the operations of the Fraternity and to plan for its future. The low level of membership in the undergraduate chapters and the apparent lack of results in pledging were of concern to the Council. Tau Chapter had become inactive. Effort had been made to contact the last-known officers and some of the Ritual paraphernalia and Chapter records were recovered. The last known contact with Tau Chapter members had been made by the Western Province Councilor in early 1982.
At the Supreme Council meeting on August 31, 1983, immediately before the Twenty-Fifth General Convention, the Supreme Council established the salary of the Executive Secretary and the Circulation Manager of the CASTLE to be $1.00 per year, but that the Executive Secretary be allowed up to $300 per quarter for non-itemized expenses while the Circulation Manager would be allowed up to $50 per quarter for non-itemized expenses. The Supreme Council considered, for the third time in the Fraternity's history, a possible merger with the Theta Tau Fraternity. No decision was made as the matter was taken under investigation. The Fraternity entered the computer age when it authorized the Executive Secretary to purchase a word processor to assist in the operation of his Office. The CASTLE and the STAR had been on a computerized mailing list operated by one of the alumni, operating on his business computer, for several years.
The Twenty-fifth General Convention was Hosted by Delta Active Chapter on September 1 - 3, 1983, in Urbana, Illinois. The continued low undergraduate chapter membership, the diminished number of Faculty Members, and the lack of productive expansion effort since the chartering of Tau Chapter in 1970, were major items of concern at this Convention. The chapters had initiated less than one hundred members per year for the past decade. Executive Secretary Beals served as President of the American Ceramic Society, the professional organization of over 11,000 ceramic engineers and scientists in the United States (and around the world) during 1982 - 1983. The convention elected incumbent Grand President William J. Reinert to a second term of Office. The four (out of nine) Grand Presidents who are alumni of Delta Chapter have led the Fraternity all but two years since 1950! The Supreme Council approved the reappointment of Executive Secretary Beals to a sixth two-year term. Though this Office had been intended to be more permanent than the elective Offices in the Fraternity, no other Executive Secretary had held the Office, since its inception in 1958, for more than two consecutive terms.
Early in 1984, the Fraternity adopted a definitive statement on hazing. This definition is included in the Section "STATUS OF A PLEDGE" earlier in this Manual. With the increased number of women in programs in engineering, it was inevitable that the subject of women members in the Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity should arise once again. There had been general consensus that the social nature of the Fraternity precluded women members. There has been increased participation by women, both engineers and non-engineers, as Little Sisters in the Fraternity.
Planning for the 1984 Province Conventions was accomplished at the now annual Supreme Council meeting in Mt. Prospect, Illinois, on March 30 and 31, 1984. The Board of Trustees of the Fraternity, in its January 14, 1984, meeting, had expressed interest in having some of its interest monies used as a Scholarship Fund for undergraduate members of the Fraternity. The Supreme Council decided that these scholarships should be around $500 per year per Chapter, with the purpose of the Fund being "to recognize outstanding 'active' members scholarship, fraternal, university and civic involvement". The evaluation would be babes: 60% on grade point average, 15% on fraternal involvement, 15% on university involvement, and 10% on civic involvement. The first scholarships were scheduled to be awarded on November 15, 1984, based on statistics from the 1983 - 1984 academic year.
In an effort to make news from the Chapters and individual members more timely, the Supreme Council decided to experiment with the idea of eliminating, at least temporarily, the publication of the STAR and to change the format of the CASTLE from a 16 to 24 page, twice a year, publication to a quarterly six to eight page, timely, publication. The first of the new CASTLES was to be printed in the fall of 1984. The location of the Province boundaries, established in 1948, was reconsidered but there was no consensus for changing their location at this time.
A bright spot on the horizon for the Fraternity, in this time of high costs and high interest, was the building by Kappa Active and Kappa Alumni Chapters of a new chapter house on the Tri-State University campus at Angola, Indiana. This was the first new chapter house in the Fraternity in several decades and the first completely new house known. The Chapter House was dedicated on October 13, 1984. In addition to the many actives and alumni of Kappa Chapter, Grand President Reinert and Executive Secretary Beals participated in the ceremonies. While the Fraternity was rejoicing with Kappa Chapter over its new house, the Lambda Chapter house forty miles away in Fort Wayne, Indiana, suffered heavy fire damage and the house was condemned by the City. The Chapter was in temporary living quarters and considerable concern was expressed about its viability. The Indiana Institute of Technology was not ABET-accredited and engineering enrollment was decreasing.
The Sixth Edition of the Sigma Phi Delta Pledge Manual was distributed in the Fall of 1984. The third printing of the formal Ritual for Initiation was made in late 1986 and distributed at that time. There were a few minor changes, but the Ritual has remained essentially unchanged since its adoption in 1940. The Constitution and Statutory Code of the Fraternity were reprinted and redistributed. Changes were minor in nature.