In The Beginning

In March of 1965, Delta Sigma Phi field representative Rich Perry arrived at La Crosse State University with the goal of starting a new fraternity.  He met with the Dean of Men, R.J. Gunning who directed Perry to meet with the student body president Herman Dustman.  Dustman was the counselor on the north end of the first floor of Reuter Hall.  Wayne Jacobson was the assistant councelor on the south end of Reuter Hall.  Following several informational meetings, twenty young men including several from Reuter Hall went into the summer of 1965 with the intent to join Delta Sigma Phi.  However, during the summer fifteen of those individuals droped, leaving five.  In the fall semester, the number of interested individuals grew to twelve.  These twelve were formally initiated on November 22nd, 1965 by Delta Sigma Phi undergraduate brothers from Oshkosh State University.  This marked the beginning of the Delta Sigma Phi Colony at the La Crosse State University.

This initial pledge class of Fall 1965, called the Dirty Dozen, consisted of:  Jim Burton, Jack Connaughton, Randy Docauer, Norb Duba, Mike Flanagan, Bill Frey, Wayne Herzog, Wayne Jacobson, Dan Jenner, Tom Joanis, Leon Thompson and Gene Zajicek.

Bill Frey was elected as the colony president and Wayne Jacobson was chosen to recruit a faculty advisor.  He approached two new members of the Geography department and asked if they would serve as faculty advisors to the colony.  Mr. Virgil Holder and Mr. Robert Wingate agreed to serve as faculty advisors and would be initiated with the pledge class in the spring of 1966.

In the spring of 1966, Delta Sigma Phi became a member of the Inter-Fraternity Council.  The colony participated in the Winter Carnival, which was its first actual competition with other Greek organizations on campus.  Fifteen members of the spring pledge class were initiated into the fraternity.  The first official social function took place when the Delta Zeta sorority invited the Delta Sigs to a party.

There were no graduates from the fraternity in 1966 and a vigorous rush program resulted in fourteen pledges.  Also, the fall of 1966 was the first large scale work project for the fraternity as we worked at a family circus and ushered in a bleacher section during the Oktoberfest.  Also, the Delta Sigs entered a float in the homecoming parade, and a queen candidate to rule over Homecoming.  On December 14th, the first annual "Pop" Gerdner Christmas Party was held for the boys of Saint Michael's School.

The second semester of the 1966-67 school year was a very rewarding one for the members of Delta Sigma Phi.  Having the largest pledge class on campus, consisting of twenty two men, much attention and interest was directed at the fraternity.  The Delta Sigs started another tradition by sitting together in a section at the basketball games showing fraternity spirit and enthusiasm.  During this semester, the Delta Sigs acquired the right to run the Winter Carnival.  For the first time the fraternity entered the Songfest and the brothers displayed their vocal talents.  In the spring of 1967, Randy Docauer was elected president succeeding Bill Frey, who had served the preceeding two years.

During the spring of 1967, Jim Burton organized an Alumni Control Board.  In addition to Lewis Fuller (an engineer at Trane Company and graduate of the University of Iowa) who had assisted with the fraternity during the early years as he was the only Delta Sigma Phi alumnus in La Crosse.  The new members included the following:

Matt Heimerman - Coulee State Bank

James Franz - La Crosse Photo

Dick Schueler - A radio executive

Jim Burton and Wayne Jacobson were the only graduates in the spring of 1967 and both brothers were honored in "Who's Who among Students in American Universities and Colleges".  Six of the twenty members of the governing body at the university - the Campus Controls Council were brothers.  One brother was president of the Circle K club.  Several committee chairmen of various campus organizations were brothers. There were more Delta Sigs serving as dormitory RA's than all other fraternities combined. Also the Delta Sigs helped initiate the first members into a new colony at the University of Minnesota - Twin Cities

In the fall of 1967, the Delta Sigma Phi colony was installed as a chapter in the national fraternity. Wayne Jacobson was chosen as the Master of Ceremonies for the banquet held on Sunday, December 17th.  The installation was conducted by Jerry Balter of the national fraternity and field representative Dale Alexander.

Through the efforts of brother Steve Willett, Delta Sigma Phi was able to purchase a house at 1429 Main Street in the spring of 1968 to be the first fraternity house on campus.  After much remodeling, the house was occupied in the fall semester of 1968.  From these humble beginnings, Delta Sigma Phi proudly celebrates over 50 years of being a chapter at the University of Wisconsin - La Crosse.  It is the only fraternity that has been on campus since 1965.