Delta Chi’s dream to have a house on campus is finally coming true. As one of Embry-Riddle’s earliest Greek fraternities dating back to 1967, the project is 24 years in the making and is the first fraternity house to be located on Embry-Riddle property.
“It all started in August 1993 at a chapter retreat,” says Bill Tallman (’95, DB), a trustee for the Delta Chi Building Corporation. “That was the first time that our chapter decided to aggressively pursue a house on campus.”
The two-story, 8,340-square-foot Delta Chi Fraternity house will be located at the Daytona Beach Campus’ Chanute Complex at 1615 Woodcrest Drive. Construction will conclude in summer 2017, with up to 24 fraternity members occupying the house in August. A grand opening is slated for Oct. 13, the fraternity’s founder’s day.
The new house will be the fraternity’s fourth in its history at Embry-Riddle. Its three previous houses were all located on Ridgewood Avenue in Daytona Beach. The chapter vacated its last house on Ridgewood in 2004.
“We razed the house and sold the property in 2005,” Tallman says. “The proceeds from the sale, together with our savings, formed the nest egg that enabled us to springboard into a fundraising campaign that matched our aspirations for the new home.”
The campaign, aptly named, First To Build, has raised more than $620,000 toward the $2.5 million project. As the landowner, the university contributed the site work for the project. The fraternity is leasing the property from Embry-Riddle for $1 per year for a 99-year term.
Tallman credited the chapter’s tradition of strong fiscal management and the generosity of the brothers, as well as university leadership, namely Rodney Cruise, senior vice president for administration and planning, for helping to get the project off the ground.
Greek Life Emboldens Student GPAs
For Cruise, the Delta Chi House is an investment in students. “On campuses, effective Greek systems provide additional housing options, promote student engagement and can create lifelong friendships,” he says. “At Embry-Riddle, students involved in Greek Life have higher GPAs than the overall student body and a higher retention rate when compared with non-Greeks. We hope other fraternities and sororities consider the model we have created with Delta Chi to pursue their housing preferences.”
Tallman acknowledges it took persistence and hard work to make the house a reality. “At times it was like trying to start a fire with a waterlogged tree stump,” he says. “But if you use a blowtorch, it will dry out the wood to a point where it will eventually start to burn.”
One of the “blowtorches” for the project, Tallman says, was Ed Fusco (’73, DB), a co-chairman of the First To Build campaign. For Fusco, the challenge was made easier by the promise of making history. “Being the first [fraternity] to build a house is just setting a goal and achieving it – nothing feels better than that,” Fusco says.
Fusco and Tallman, who both lived in a Delta Chi house as students, agree that the experience of living with fraternity brothers is invaluable. “Most of my friends today are men that I lived with in that house,” Fusco says. “It builds lifelong bonds.”
Now with a house on campus, the fraternity will be even more aligned with the university. “It’s a commitment of ours to keep alumni involved for a lifetime. Delta Chi and Embry-Riddle are tied inextricably – it’s our goal through this house to permanently cement that connection,” Fusco says.