The Delta Phi Rho Lecture
Cornell College’s Delta Phi Rho Lecture was conceived by alumni organizing the 100th anniversary of the college’s Delta Phi Rho fraternity. An endowment to support the major lecture series originated with a group of early 1960s Delt alumni who wanted to leave a legacy as part of the 1998 Delt centennial celebration. After committing $150,000 themselves, the group single-handedly campaigned to raise $400,000 from other Delt alumni. Due to the overwhelming response to the lecture series, contributions have grown to over $750,000.
We wanted to do something that would bring distinction to the college,” said Delt Bob Bowman ’62, co-chair of the initial endowment campaign with John Urheim ’62 and R.K. Scott ’63. “The purpose of the endowment is to bring a nationally prominent figure to campus every other year to interpret current issues and encourage student and faculty involvement in public affairs. The endowment also allows alumni and students to connect with Cornell in a new way.”
The Delta Phi Rho Centennial Fund commemorated not only a century of Delt tradition, but the accomplishments and leadership shown by individual Delts as students, alumni, and members of their communities. The purpose of the endowment is to contribute to the intellectual capital of the college and the community by bringing a nationally prominent figure to campus to interpret current issues and encourage student and faculty involvement in public affairs.
Delta Phi Rho Lectures
2016: Thomas Friedman, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist, author
2014: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
2012: Karl Rove and Dee Dee Myers, presidential advisors
2010: David Gergen, analyst, author, and presidential advisor
2008: George Stephanopoulos, ABC News Chief Washington correspondent
2005: Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International
2004: Bob Woodward, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
Delta Phi Rho
Raymond Peter Ink founded Cornell College’s Delta Phi Rho fraternity in 1898 from members of the Adelphian Literary Society, which dates to 1859. The purpose of the Delta Phi Rho, as set forth in its charter, is to develop members socially, intellectually, and morally, and to nurture brotherhood.
A prominent Mount Vernon farmer and longtime supporter of Cornell, Ink remained involved with the Delts until his death in 1963. Ink was memorialized on campus with the creation of Ink Pond.
For much of the last century the Delts were known for their rich athletic heritage. Seven of the eight members of Cornell’s legendary 1947 NCAA and AAU national championship wrestling team were Delts, and its coach, Paul Scott ’29, was an honorary Delt. Between 1932 and 1956, Delt wrestlers also carved places on five consecutive U.S. Olympic teams. As of its centennial year, Delts represented almost one-half of the athletes in the Cornell Athletics Hall of Fame.
Throughout the years, Delt alumni have provided leadership to Cornell on the Board of Trustees, the Alumni Board of Directors, and the college’s administration. Many Delts have contributed to Cornell’s distinction through their professional achievement or philanthropy. Former board chair Richard Small ’50, the retired CEO of Tri-Star Aerospace, and his wife, Norma, are the most generous donors in Cornell history. Campbell McConnell ’50, author of the world’s leading college economics textbook, has established an endowed faculty development fund at Cornell. Before his untimely death in 1992, William Taylor ’61 was chair of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and oversaw the resolution of the savings and loan crisis that then threatened the nation’s banking system.
Many other Delt alumni have achieved a high level of accomplishment, as well as prominence, in numerous fields of endeavor including medicine, medical research, physical science, scientific research, behavioral science, psychology, education, diplomacy, and law. Others have achieved leadership positions in various areas of industry as CEOs or other senior-level posts, and many have made their marks as entrepreneurs, creating and developing their own professional and commercial enterprises.
In addition to Ink Pond, Cornell has seven buildings funded by Delts, five of which bear the names of Delts: The Richard and Norma Small Multi-Sport Center, the Thomas Commons (in honor of the parents of Norma Thomas Small), Youngker Hall (Charles Youngker ’42), the Scott Alumni Center (Paul Scott ’29), West Science Center (Merle S. West, Class of 1909), the McLennan Center in Chicago (Robert McLennan ’65 and Becky Martin McLennan ’64), and Tarr Hall, funded by Charles Youngker ’42, along with his brother Ben Youngker ’43, in tribute to the aunt and uncle who helped raise them.
Delt Lecture Advisory Board
Robert B. Bowman ’62, Retired President/CEO, PlainsBank of Illinois, Glenview, Illinois
Robert G. McLennan ’65, President/CEO, Beacon Management Company, Glenview, Illinois
Jerry M. Meyer ’62, Retired Vice President-Sales, Ringier America, Inc., Manhattan Beach, California
R.K. Scott ’63, Retired CEO, SDN Communications LLC, Loudon, Tennessee
Brian R. Wendt ’64, Partner, Big Red Rooster Flow LLC, Lincolnshire, Illinois