by Doug Dilling
Kansas State University, ‘84
I am just returning from a very exciting and proud visit to the re-installation of our Iowa Delta chapter at the University of Iowa. Just thinking about the DELTA in its name is a little humbling… the fourth chapter of our legacy organization Phi Kappa Fraternity carries with it some serious history. I can only imagine the original founding brothers’ commitment to Phi Kappa’s ideals and purpose – not significantly different than those of today’s Phi Kappa Theta Fraternity – actively developing men to be effective leaders who passionately serve society, Fraternity and God.
The committed and inspiring leaders of the new Iowa Delta Chapter are strong examples of the best of our fraternity… dedicated to the ideals we espouse and committed to living a life that ultimately makes a difference to society. It truly is invigorating to witness the enthusiasm and allegiance to our lofty ideals from our newest brothers.
I’ve been fortunate to witness this many times in other installation ceremonies over my 35 years of national fraternity involvement. The energy and passion the brothers of new chapters embody is infectious and inspires me to continue serving as a volunteer leader of Phi Kappa Theta. These experiences continue to reinforce my belief that we truly do make a positive difference in the lives of our brothers. I only wish more post-collegiate brother (alumni) could share in these enlightening moments so that they, too, could be reminded of the good work our brotherhood does.
I’m reminded that the commitment to the ideals of Phi Kappa Theta do not end at graduation. But also how easy it is to be diverted from these important principles as we evolve with jobs, family and the many distractions of adulthood. Hopefully your collegiate experience was sufficient and authentic enough to live on within you and that you can and do apply the ideals and lessons learned in your collegiate life well beyond your academic days. This to me is the ultimate test of our fraternity experience.
I am also pragmatic. I know how the energy and enthusiasm of a new chapter can wane over time. I have seen once-strong collegiate chapters falter, forget or ignore our ideals and get distracted by the many pitfalls lurking in the background. Sadly, I have participated in far too many decisions to close once-proud chapters due to improper treatment of new members, abusive or illegal use of controlled substances or just plain lethargy. It happens.
The one, key difference I have seen consistently prevent such demise is a steadfast commitment to being an authentic chapter which constantly strives to remind itself of the ideals of Phi Kappa Theta in everything it does as a fraternity – from it’s recruitment activities to it’s alumni events. Those chapters who ensure that the recalling of our purpose… the retelling of our ideals… is always a part of everything we do. Even if it’s no more than a minute to reflect on who we are at the alumni homecoming gathering, it is crucial that we place our reason for existing – our relevancy – somewhere in the mix, lest we forget what separates us from just any group of friends.
Doug Dilling joined Phi Kappa Theta at Kansas State University, where he graduated in 1984. He went on to earn his MBA from the University of Indianapolis. He is currently a real estate broker in central Indiana and leads a team of Mortgage Brokers, Appraisers, Inspectors and Contractors. Doug loves music and singing.