A Clarkson Mosaic - page 44

The proud parents, relatives, and guests had assembled well in advance of the started hour of beginning, and were
waiting impatiently for things to start when in walked old “Bill Davis”, the janitor, with the neatly tied diplomas in a waste-
paper basket which he deposited on the rostrum and then made a hasty retreat.
In the due course of time five or six members of the Board of Trustees entered, accompanied by President, or as he
then was called Director, Aldrich and the speaker, Mr. H.D. Thatcher. After they were duly seated, the tramping of feet
heralded the approach of the seven men of the graduating class (which turned out to be just the male members) who marched
with music bravely to the front seats and then sat down. Then after a short pause the three ladies who were to graduate came up
the stairs and into the hall. Apparently there had been no rehearsal as to the procedure, for as the ladies approached, the Director
looked pretty sharp at the gentlemen, who with one accord arose, and then everyone sat down.
The address was given by H.D. Thatcher who had his speech written in long hand on a stenographer’s pad, and all
that I remember of his speech was the fact that he lost his place and read three pages twice (much to my disgust as it prolonged
the exercises).
Finally they all received their diplomas and everyone went home happy, especially myself.
With his letter to Clarkson, Mr. Smith also included a copy of his dentist’s bill from
1916 to show the relative prices of things. It revealed:
For gold filling
For 2 porcelain fillings
For 4 silver fillings
For cleaning teeth
The first two fraternities found on the Clarkson campus were OPiO and Sigma
Delta (1904). They were formed to fill a need at the school for organizations that would bring
the members of different classes together on a common plane. Thus, they would unite the
student body more thoroughly than would any class organization.
Their purpose was to promote harmony and good fellowship among their members, and
to maintain a high standard of manhood. Intellectual and moral qualifications were considered
for membership and thus these organizations were expected to exert an influence for the
betterment of student life. Their activities were social and professional rather than literary, and
the development of the fraternal spirit was their major function.
Omicron Pi Omicron was formed primarily around an idea of Byron E. White. When he
entered Clarkson in 1903, he found much hard feeling between freshmen and sophomore
classes, which resulted in continual fuss, and many ill-natured encounters. Being a peaceful
man by nature, he sought ways to promote better feeling between classes. Calling on his
previous fraternal experiences as a Mason and an Odd-Fellow (he was 24 the time he entered
Clarkson), on November 9, 1903, he mentioned the idea of a fraternity to two sophomores and
two faculty members, Prof. Williams and Haviland. Four more men were invited in, two from
each of the under classes- William Richardson, Robert Huntington, H.H. Stickney, and Edwin
Buskirk- and these men decided to organize their fraternity exclusively from the best material
of those two classes. They felt the upper classes were too few in number, would not be
enthusiastic, and probably would introduce a discordant element. [NOTE: Clarkson enrollment
at the time totaled 56: three seniors, 12 juniors, 16 sophomores, 25 freshmen.]
Frequent secret meetings resulted in a close, harmonious organization and a reasonable
constitution, by-laws and the central features of a ritual. Little by little the numbers grew until a
sufficient number of the best of both classes had joined. Not the slightest hint of the existence
of this group had escaped the body until a February morning in 1904 when all appeared at 8:15
chapel proudly wearing their badges. Several outsiders announced that they were going to join
at once, but none ever succeeded. Thus OPiO was formed. About one month later, on March
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