The Rev. S. George “Doc” Dirghalli (Epsilon Mu, Florida '50) delivered the invocation for the Centennial banquet. One of Lambda Chi’s living legends, Brother Dirghalli served as High Pi (Alumni Advisor) for Omicron Zeta in the 1960s, and in the 1970s on Lambda Chi Alpha's international board of directors, including Grand High Alpha (International Chairman). A resident of Syracuse, he was a regular visitor to the chapter. He was an ordained Episcopal minister serving churches in Mexico, New York and Vero Beach, Florida. Doc passed away on October 29, 2016.
This morning at 8 o'clock when I wanted to say something about the architect's renditions, I asked a question. I took the microphone, and I say my class is older than dirt— and it is. [laughter] I don't claim to have been a member of the Mug and Jug [laughter] — although I knew some who were. So older than dirt is good. One of the members of that group that helped found ISWZA as a follow-through was Ernst J.C. Fischer— Grandpa Fischer to my two children, because of the times they spent with one another. What you may not know is that this chapter nominated me for Grand High Alpha. [applause] Also, Ernst J.C. nominated me as well. So, I feel that I have some roots here, from those aspects— but also for the many times, wonderful times, that I visited with this chapter over the entire decade of the ’50s when I was on staff with the fraternity from Indianapolis, as a what's now called Educational Leadership Consultant but in those earlier days called the Traveling Secretary. I've always felt a real warmth for Omicron.
None of you in this room could possibly in your wildest imagination know how awesome this gathering is! There are brothers and family members who have flown in from all parts of the world to be here. That says something. That says something even if you’ve driven 50 miles to get here. There is something about this place that escapes words. And it's a spirit. You may not hold to my theology, but I don’t believe in happenings other than those that are sparked by somebody upstairs.
The half a dozen or so guys who formed the partnership that formed Mug and Jug were chosen to do that by God. They didn't realize it at the time. You have to get older to understand that there are no coincidences at all. And this is how it came about: the singing of that German beer drinking song? That group had a life beyond just gathering together for some booze. [laughter] But out of that group, God continued to work, when He founded Omicron, 100 years and 12 days ago. Can you imagine it?
When I came to the chapter house yesterday afternoon, and was met by the undergraduates and some of the alumni there, I was entirely overwhelmed by the spirit— the quality— and the awesomeness I was experiencing, and the incredible warmth that was there.
You are now in a great campaign to raise a lot of money, and a lot has already come in, but a lot more is needed, so here is my pitch [laughter]: I have spoken to a number of you who have informed me about this, and I asked how are you set on that, are you among those who have already given, are you on track, or whatever, and the response was universal: when we get home, my wife and I are going to sit down and make a decision. [laughter] Here, here!
I want to say that 125 Edgemoor Lane, now affectionately known as Edgemoor, is a house that's old, and you know like old things, and I'm one of them, things begin to go to pot. But I want you to know that it's not a house that we're building and rebuilding, but a home. A home is where a family lives; a house is a piece of real estate. There's a fantastic difference between the two. And what goes on in that home, as we're growing up in our youth, our fun times, is so damned— excuse me [laughter]— so exciting that something divinely inspired goes on in the midst of all the fun-ness, the learnings, the laboratory learning of being able to operate a small corporate that has an annual budget of several hundred thousand dollars a year, all done by 18 year-olds and 19-year-olds and 20-year-olds.
Is there any strange reason why Cornell has, since the very beginning, loved fraternities and sororities? It has encouraged them, it stood beside them, it's been loyal to them, and we in response have been loyal to this magnificent campus on the hill. A home is where we learn to dance. A home is where we learn to party, to grow, to accept responsibilities, and to become true to our calling.
The True Brotherhood Initiative of our fraternity is so splendidly seen in Omicron. A large chapter, a top chapter on campus, with a grade point of 3.3 [cheers], every darn— didn't say damned— competitive engagement that can happen on this campus has been won by Omicrons. That's Lambda Chi Alpha teamwork extraordinaire.
A home is also a place where in addition to fun times, it's a time and a place where you cry. Within two weeks of my being made Grand High Alpha, two Grand High Alphas died: Lew Plourd '48 at Butler and Ernst J.C. Fischer '10 at Cornell. I participated, was the chief celebrant, at the Mass for Fisch, who was a fellow Episcopalian, and also for Lew Plourd, who was a Roman Catholic but who left it known that he wanted all his favorite priests to be at the altar table during his Mass, and I was one of them.;
So today when you think about the responsibility of this house-home, I want you to remember the fact that you are the persons whose passion and compassion for our fraternity is uppermost, the incredible, the unmeasurable.
And I personally want to thank you for your generosity of spirit and for keeping this chapter top with your support. The undergraduates are entitled to it. They love it. And I know you will love them back by your continual mentoring of them, encouragement, and inspiration. So I ask you again to remember who you are, where you come from, and where are you going. The past is behind us, glorious as it is, but the future is even more so, and made so by your team combination of work. God bless you. [applause] Now I want to talk to God, not you. [laughter]
O God our Heavenly Father, we pause at this momentous time in our history, and in our lives, to give you praise and thanks for your generosity and the way you have blessed this chapter from Mug and Jug times, to now, and onward, for every bit of that which is good and holy and sacred that’s in us. And for what we are about to become as we go further and further into an enlightened future, I ask you O Lord to bless each and every one of us who is here. Those who want to be here but can't—they are here with us in spirit— we bless them too. Bless the food we are about to receive: the bread broken, the bread reunited. We ask it all in your most Holy Name. Amen.