It’s (not) Déjà vu all over again
While attending an anniversary celebration of the Saint Cloud chapter, I purchased an autographed picture of Yankee Hall of Famer, Lawrence (Yogi) Peter Berra. Hanging in my office, the photograph is titled “He Was Out” and shows a sliding Jackie Robinson of the Brooklyn Dodgers stealing home in game 1 of the ’55 World Series. I agree with Mr. Berra – he was indeed out!
Commonly referred to as Yogism, Berra was known for his malapropisms as well as pithy and paradoxical statements, such as “It’s déjà vu all over again,” while speaking to reporters. He once simultaneously denied and confirmed his reputation by stating, “I really didn’t say everything I said.”
During the last year, from Boston to Los Angeles and from Seattle to Atlanta and all parts in between, the Foundation has held alumni events commonly referred to as Gatherings to create awareness and enthusiasm, and to familiarize the purpose of the Foundation and how it can assist with Acacia’s mission – Preparing Tomorrow’s Leaders.
However, recent press coverage has been damaging to the point where many of our alumni believe the Greek communities are inconsistent with our core values. There have been several high-profile incidents in the Interfraternity community that have made national headlines in the last calendar year that might lead to the casual reader that, like Jackie Robinson, “Greeks are out.” Yes, some regretful behavior, but overall Greeks conduct themselves with honor across North America. With 24/7 news cycles and the plethora of social media outlets - not to mention a camera in every phone - we are tuned in more than ever, or so we think.
One of the fallouts of the social unrest of the late ’60s was the perceived death of Greek life. Perceived is the key word. “It’s (not) déjà vu all over again!” Many alumni are surprised to hear that Greek life is celebrating a renaissance, that Greeks are more engaged, that this generation has taken philanthropy to a new level, that Greeks out-perform their counterparts academically, are more apt to graduate and upon graduation get involved in their local communities.
Our leadership programming and communication has improved greatly over the past seven years. This quality programming and our timely communication to educate and inform makes a difference. This is the Fraternity’s second largest budgetary item so to help defray these costs, the Foundation has established the Fraternal and Communications Fund and we now seek your support.
Acacia’s communication methods include traditional print media such as our magazine - the Triad, our membership manual – the Pythagoras, and our educational leadership series – Gold Books. There are new technologies such as the Fraternity’s e-newsletter that communicates at the chapter level at no cost and is directed to their alumni. The Fraternity also provides for chapter websites, as well as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
The Fraternity is very proud of our programming events, including our Biennial Conclave and Leadership School, the Darold W. Larson Leadership Academy and our annual mid-year forum, the Lee Kearney Venerable Dean Summit. Our goal is to ensure our message is consistent, timely and appropriate to the brothers and friends of Acacia Fraternity.
To assist and ensure that these programs are properly funded, the Directors of the Acacia Fraternity Foundation and members of the International Council encourage our alumni and friends of Acacia to make a leadership gift to the Fraternal & Communications Fund. I encourage you to utilize the remittance envelope in this issue of the Triad or visit our website at acacia.org/donate and from there select Acacia Fraternal & Communications Fund.
The Greek experience is far from “out.” That moment of self-discovery, that Eureka moment that you experienced as an undergraduate, is alive now and will be into the future. Acacia Fraternity - not four years but for life!
Darold W. Larson, Washington ’81
Acacia Fraternity Foundation