Founders’ Day is a time-honored tradition for Delta Sigma Phi. Each year on December 10, Brothers are invited to pause and reflect on the legacy and values established by the founders of Delta Sig.
In 2011, Brother Marco Henry Negrete, San Jose University, ’10, wrote a powerful take on the importance of Founders’ Day and what the Delta Sigma Phi Brotherhood represents. In recognition of Founders’ Days both past and present, we are sharing his story here at DeltaSig.org:
Dear Meyer Boskey and Charles Tonsor,
When I woke up today I had this feeling in my heart and in my mind. It’s a feeling that I’ve had every morning for over four years now. I woke and I wanted to be better than I was yesterday, a better brother, leader, friend, student, and man. When I look at the challenges I have in front of me, I reflect the lives you lived for inspiration.
I still find it hard to believe that you guys had the strength and determination to build our fraternity as just teenagers. How were you able to create the ritual, in which I try to live my everyday life by, at such a young age? I look at the obstacles that stood in your way and bravery you had to display in order to get our organization off the ground. I can’t imagine the amounts of discrimination and pure hatred others showed to you just for wanting to be be different, for wanting to be better. The pride in me tells me that I could have done it, too! I could have done what you guys did. I could have endured all of that for the sake of our letters. As much as I want to believe that, and as hard as try to convince myself, I don’t think I could have.
I know what it’s like to wear our letters and not fit in. I know what it’s like for others to reject you because of your beliefs. I’ve felt a taste of what you lived through to create a fraternity that refused to be typical,and when I think about my experience and how I overcame it, my thoughts leads back to you. When I did it, I was doing it at one university with a group of strong brothers, alumni, and supporters. When you did it, it was you against the world. You against a world that was so eager to hate, and so unwilling to accept those who saw things differently.
I often wonder what was going through your minds. I wonder how many times you felt like quitting? How many times others ridiculed you and rejected your desire to build a fraternity where culture, harmony, and friendship can build better men? How many times others said you didn’t belong? What did it feel like when some of the early chapters turned their backs and betrayed the oaths they had taken? It would have been easy for you to quit like the others. It would have been been easy to combat the scrutiny with anger of your own, but that would not have been the Delta Sig way. That is not what the lessons from the almighty Sphinx taught you. You saw the need for a better world and believed you could improve it by challenging yourselves to be better.
Its been 112 years since you met in that library at the College of the City of New York to create Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity. Our world has changed a lot since then and so have fraternities. The standards you created in 1899 are now shared by many organizations. What’s even more impressive, is that your strong hopes for our fraternity have grown in your absence, and in your honor. The beliefs you had to create a brotherhood free of segregation now extends to areas deeper than just religion or race. Your belief in basing membership on character still exists, and we still ignore the factors that don’t involve one’s desire to be a better man. Our fraternity now represents men of all colors, classes, religions, and lifestyles. Don’t worry though, we have not forgotten your humble beginnings and strong values.
I want to thank you for challenging generations of men to be better. I want to thank you for inspiring some of the men who inspire me, and for allowing me to inspire others. I want to thank you for helping me continue to grow into the man I always knew I could become. I want to thank you for creating a fraternity with men like me in mind. I’m not just talking about my skin color or my religion, I’m talking about men who want to be better and refuse to be typical. The world deserved better then and it still does now.
I don’t know what your response would be to this letter, and I don’t know what you would say about our fraternity now, 112 years later…
But I hope you’d be proud. Because I am.
Marco Henry Negrete Jr.