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Featured Letter

from Bob Dozier '23 #3
We must accept the broad changes which have taken place in the nature of the fraternity over these 75 years. It all began with the desire on the part of a small group of upper classmen to forge a small group of friends a bit more formally than just a group of friends who happened to live mostly in Smiley Hall. They had just come out of the first World War, some had started as Pomona Students, only to be sent to active war duty, others who had been attending Pomona but wearing uniforms and training in the SATC (students army training corps) and living in the barracks known as the "big gym." I believe that they felt the need to develop closer and more normal friendships in their closing year or two in college, and then as grads. The trappings of a fraternity held this promise, and did in fact become real to them and to the early additions to the group. But after the 30s and 40s, the college campus and the problems of the new society, nearly every thing had changed. What finally developed was more of a social club without the driving needs of the 30s.

One change was that there was less need for having a "secret society." Initially there was this need for a closer bond of friendship, and the "trappings" and the "traditions" which resulted were both noble and sincere.

Today there are few who even remember them. Now, in this 75th anniversary of its founding, I believe it is desirable to express openly some of the "secrets" of Nu Alpha Phi to help us now, and for the future, to understand the deep feelings of love, friendship and mutual respect which they hoped to pass on to us, their successors and beneficiaries.

It is my recollection that the name "Nu Alpha Phi" was the product principally of three members. Alberto Rombao was of Mexican birth, a top student who was awarded Phi Beta Kappa as a junior. He did considerable research in seeking a Greek phrase which would reflect his hopes. He was assisted in this by our two faculty members: Walter Hartley was Chairman of the Department of Music, and a fine organist, who a few years later was persuaded to join the Occidental College Faculty. William Ament was Freshman Advisor and coach of Freshman Football, who a few years later was appointed President of the new Scripps College.

The name Nu Alpha Phi consists of the initials of five Greek words. I am somewhat rusty in my Greek, but the words, from my memory, were Nomidze Tous Adelphous Alitheynous Filius, which would be directly translated as Accept Thou Brothers True Friends. Moving the sequence of the words from the Greek to the English sequence, the message becomes Accept Thou True Friends (As) Brothers, or as we would say it,

Consider True Friends as Brothers

The Fraternity needed a pass word to be used by the Sergeant at Arms, guarding the doorway. To the person seeking entrance the Sergeant says, "Do you know the Major?" The correct reply is, "Yes, since March 1921." Sergeant asks, "What is the news from the Major?" They then alternate in naming the letters of the Major's name, Vogdes, spelling it from both ends, the applicant saying "S," Sergeant says, "V," applicant says, "E," Sergeant says, "O," applicant says, "D," Sergeant says, "G." Since the applicant has replied correctly, the Sergeant concludes, "Enter, Brother."

I think it would be interesting to have a short ritual service for Lee, quoting some of the statements from the original, if we can find a copy. Also, if the wooden badge can be found, the pieces could be assembled as of old, with the commentary describing the parts. Please, I do not wish to conduct these commentaries. I would find it difficult. I might be the door-keeper. You [Zibby. -Eds.] would be excellent as the presiding officer. And we should involve some of the old-timers who have been very faithful, as well as some of the present or new generation, hoping to give them a feeling of belonging to something which has some serious purposes relating to the College, the community, and each other.

Thanks for all that you are doing to make this interesting and worthwhile.

- Bob Dozier '23 #3

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