A Salute to Acacia
by Founder George A. Malcolm
Half a century ago — how flash the years along — a number of earnest young men sowed the seeds which grew into Acacia.
My Mother's carefully kept scrapbooks disclose that in 1904 the University of Michigan Masonic Club "gave an informal but interesting banquet." The newspaper account continued with the comment: "The club has had its up and down experiences in the past, but now it is being organized on a fraternity basis, and this was the first social event of the year — a success in every way."
The programs, among my souvenirs of the long past days, list me as responding to a toast at the 1904 banquet and as acting as toastmaster at the following 1905 and 1906 banquets. As showing that Acacia had already established itself at Michigan, the honored guest speakers in 1906 were Dean H.B. Hutchins of the Law School, soon to be elevated to the Presidency of the University, Dean M.E. Cooley of the Engineering School, and Congressman W.W. Wedemeyer.
My recollections of the deliberations which resulted in the formation of Acacia bring first to mind the name of Dr. William J. Marshall, who comes nearest to being the founder of Acacia. Other members who proffered worthwhile suggestions in the discussions as I recall them, included Harlan P. Rowe and Clarence G. Hill. Charles A. Sink was then the most enthusiastic supporter of the Acacia movement, and throughout the passing years has been the founder who has kept in closest touch with the Michigan Chapter.
My own contribution to Acacia was insignificant in comparison with the work so well done by the other co-founders. My Mother graciously made available a room in our home at 228 Thayer Street in Ann Arbor for meetings of the Fraternity. I remember only once when I took a leading part in the discussions. This was when someone proposed that we proceed to organize a Greek letter fraternity. I reacted violently to the suggestion and succeeded in defeating the motion.
I remain convinced that I was right in the stand above mentioned. Acacia can find a worthy place for itself without being a replica of any other fraternity. It may well be, that the type of members drawn to Acacia's various chapters, may not be as sporty as the members found in some of the wealthier fraternities. Acacians in turn can make a place for themselves in University life by leading the way in scholarship, tolerance, and patriotism.
And now Acacia's jubilee year is here. We who are termed the founders have seen the world progress from horse and buggy days to the atomic age. When I made my first voyage across the Pacific in 1906 it took me 26 days from San Francisco to Manila by ship. In 1951 I left Manila by airplane for San Francisco, and, due to the difference in time, I arrived before I started. What changes in the past! What changes to be expected in the future!
Fifty years from this hour when some of the younger Acacians may be reading what I have written, will occur the centennial celebration of Acacia. Let those members of Acacia who survive to that proud moment, ponder if they also have sown in order that their brethren may reap.
I have not read Dr. William S. Dye's history of Acacia. I do not need to do so. I know that it will be factual and comprehensive — the product of a notable Acacian who served so faithfully as our National President.
These inadequate but sincere words are dedicated to the memory of he Founders of Acacia who have gone to that "home not built with hands, eternal in the heavens."
George A. Malcolm
October 30, 1953