The Province boundaries were changed in January 1, 1990, to balance the number of chapters in each of the Provinces, insofar as possible. The Eastern Province - Central Province boundary, unchanged since 1948, would separate the Canadian Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, descend through Lake Michigan, follow the Wisconsin - Illinois border, then down the Mississippi River to its termination. This change moved Rho Active Chapter from the Central to the Eastern Province. Inasmuch as it has been policy that the principal alumni chapter associated with an undergraduate chapter be in the same Province, Central Illinois Alumni Chapter also moved to the Eastern Province. At the same time, Chicago, Illinois, and its immediate suburbs, was declared an "open city", enabling residents of the area to serve as officers in either Province.
For purposes of clarification, though no change was made at this Convention, the Central Province - Western Province boundaries separate the Canadian Provinces of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, travel along the North Dakota-Montana-South Dakota borders, the South Dakota-Wyoming border, the Nebraska-Wyoming, Colorado-Kansas borders, the Oklahoma-New Mexico-Texas borders into Mexico.
Shortly after the Twenty-Eighth General Convention, Executive Secretary Beals began conversations with students at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota, about the formation of a colony. In 1934, the consolidation of the South Dakota state engineering programs at Brookings had forced Beta Chapter to go inactive. Former Grand Vice President Schleck and Epsilon Active Chapter continued the contacts. On April 20, 1990, Grand President Reinert established the group as Phi Colony of Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity. SDSU rules require the colony to exist for one year prior to petition for charter as Phi Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta.
The Supreme Council met in the Chicago-land area for its annual meeting on February 16 and 17, 1990. All members of the Supreme Council, except for the Executive Secretary, were present. This was the first-ever Supreme Council meeting he had missed. On February 13, 1990, he had had a pacemaker installed and was just leaving the hospital. Plans were made for a Joint Province Convention in Fall 1990. A joint meeting would permit tutorials and information interchange unparalleled in separate conventions. However, insufficient interest was evidenced and the joint convention was cancelled.
The Supreme Council increased the mileage allowance for Fraternity travel from a long held $0.17 per mile to $0.20 per mile. The Grand President was authorized to purchase a computer for that office.
The Supreme Council met in the Chicago area for a March 1 and 2, 1991, meeting. The Council recommended that Dr. Richard Kenyon, the new President of Tri-State University, be initiated as an Honorary Member of the Fraternity at the Twenty-Ninth General Convention. Dr. Kenyon was elected an Honorary Member by the General Convention.
At different times, the criticism has been heard that the Supreme Council is made up of "older" alumni and out of touch with the undergraduate viewpoint. None of the incumbent Province Councilors stood for re-election at the 1990 Province Conventions. All three new Province Councilors were initiated into the Fraternity in 1986, graduated in May or June of 1990, and assumed office as Councilors on January 1, 1991.
Having fulfilled all of the requirements, the Colony at the South Dakota State University petitioned for Charter as Phi Chapter of the Fraternity. On May 4, 1991, Grand President William J. Reinert, Executive Secretary Robert J. Beals, Central Province Councilor Michael Fox and members of Epsilon Chapter formally installed Phi Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta in Brookings, South Dakota. Charter members included Marten H. Christensen, Chad D. Fletcher, Charles J. Hauck, Gary H. Kessler, William K. McGreevy, Jr., Gregory W. McLaughlin, John P. Meier, Jon A. Rokeh, Paul D. Scheier and Michael J. Teeman. Michael J. Teeman was Charter Chief Engineer and Chad Fletcher was Charter Chapter Secretary.
The Twenty-Ninth General Convention of the Fraternity was held on August 29, 30 and 31, 1991, in Angola, Indiana, with Kappa Chapter as Host Chapter. The Fraternity was in probably the worst crisis in its history. Incumbent Grand President William J. Reinert declined nomination for a fourth term and there were no candidates for this office or that of Grand Vice President. The Grand President and the Executive Secretary set up a meeting with the Theta Tau Fraternity to once again consider a merger of the two fraternities. A special issue of the STAR was sent to all members pleading for support of the Fraternity.
In response to the solicitation, there were three candidates for Grand President and three for Grand Vice President, two of whom were also candidates for Grand President. Paul A. Lindner, Delta alumnus, was elected to the office of Grand President for the biennium 1992 - 1993 and Keith Colombo, Pi alumnus, was elected to be Grand Vice President. Neither had held National or Province office prior to their election. David E. Vosecky, former Editor of the CASTLE, was elected to that office. However, David died of a massive heart attack on his forty-fourth birthday - September 17, 1995 - just two weeks after the close of the Convention.
The Convention raised the non-itemized expenses for the Executive Secretary to $2,500 per year plus a $1.00 annual salary. Similarly, the non-itemized expenses for the Circulation Manager of the CASTLE were raised to $1,000 per year plus a $1.00 annual salary. The Executive Secretary traded in a five-year old computer for a new modern one. The Sigma Phi Delta Housing Group, associated with Pi Active Chapter, reported that Pi Chapter was defaulting in payments and the housing group, as well as the Chapter, were in serious financial constraints.
In 1976, the Fraternity had tried to establish a Little Sister Program. Several of the Chapters had informal organizations for this purpose. At this Convention, the Fraternity decided to drop all references to Little Sister status throughout the Fraternity.
Executive Secretary Beals had been working on the establishment of the Sigma Phi Delta Foundation, a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), organization, which could accept gifts for educational purposes. Contributions, in the United States, to this Foundation are tax deductible. Elected as the first Board of Directors were William J. Reinert, Delta alumnus; Gary L. Ray, Kappa alumnus; and Robert J. Beals, Delta alumnus. The Charter for this Ohio-based corporation was granted on November 5, 1991. The Board of Directors was elected by the General Convention, with two-, four- and six-year terms for the above listed Directors. William J. Reinert was elected by the Board to be the first President of the Foundation, Gary L. Ray was elected Vice President and Robert J. Beals was elected Secretary-Treasurer.
A joint meeting of the Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity, represented by Grand President Paul A. Lindner, Past Grand President William J. Reinert, Past Grand President George Flanders, and Executive Secretary Robert J. Beals, and the Theta Tau Fraternity, represented by Grand Regent Dean W. Bettinger, former Grand Regent Randall J. Scheetz, Student Member of the Executive Council Michael T. Abraham, and Executive Director Robert E. Pope, was held at the Theta Tau Fraternity National Office in St. Louis, Missouri, on January 11, 1992. The purpose of the meeting was to explore the merger of the two engineering fraternities. Theta Tau had 28 undergraduate chapters, admitted women to those chapters desiring dual-gender status, and had a permanent National Office. There appeared to be a common interest in the merger until the matter of the name for the new organization was debated. Neither side was willing to compromise on the new name.
The challenge to the new Supreme Council of Sigma Phi Delta was great after the termination of the negotiations. Either we make a go of the Fraternity or we might have to accept Theta Tau’s conditions to save our chapters. Plans were formulated for the first Joint Tutorial and Province Conventions, to be held in the Fall of 1992 in Chicago, Illinois.
To assist the new Supreme Council to hit the ground running, the normally late winter Supreme Council meeting was held on November 9, 1991. With the death of the elected Editor, the Grand President appointed an Editor of the CASTLE, Edward A. Hurst, Alpha alumnus. Several years ago, the unrelated business income from the Board of Trustees' investments was set aside for scholarships. Each chapter was eligible for a $500 scholarship. If a chapter failed to provide a nominee, that amount went to another chapter who then had two scholarships. Plans were formulated for the First Joint Tutorial and Province Conventions. Specific goals for the biennium were established, based on the Object of the Fraternity.
A colony had been established earlier at the University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta. The colony had petitioned for Charter as Chi Chapter of the Sigma Phi Delta Fraternity but failed to maintain the required ten members up to formal installation. They continued their colony for a few more years. A representative had attended the Twenty-Ninth General Convention and the First Joint Province Conventions without official status. By 1997, the lack of support by the Dean of the College of Engineering, coupled with the death of one of the Colony members, contributed to a lack of will on the part of the colonists to create a chapter, and the effort there was shelved.
The First Tutorial and Joint Province Convention was held in Elk Grove Village, Illinois, on September 4, 5 and 6, 1992. Eight hours were devoted to tutorials on Fraternities and the Law, Financial Record Keeping, Rush, Pledge Program, Expansion, Housing Corporation Concerns, Electronic Bulletin Board. The Foundation held its first formal meeting after incorporation. Goals on Objectives for the Fraternity were expanded and formalized. National Dues for undergraduate members were raised from $80 to $90 per year. Eastern and Western Province dues were raised from $30 to $40 a year while the dues for the Central Province remained at $30 per year. Province Conventions met for several hours during the overall session.
Continuing a long-standing practice, the Supreme Council held a winter meeting on February 19 and 20, 1993, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Plans were formulated for the Thirtieth General Convention. Efforts were made to once again publish issues of the STAR.
The Thirtieth General Convention was held in Los Angeles, California, on September 2, 3 and 4, 1993. Pi Chapter members had moved en masse from their Chapter houses in Daytona Beach, Florida, leaving the housing board with almost $130,000 in renovations with no chapter to support them. A summons was issued for the Chapter to appear at a hearing during the Thirtieth General Convention. After the hearing, the General Convention found the Chapter guilty on the charges of conduct prejudicial to good order, delinquency in accounts and violation of the Oath of Initiation. The Chapter was officially reprimanded, as provided for in the Statutory Code. They were instructed to provide 200 man-hours of labor to repair the trashing of the chapter houses. Failure to comply could result in a change of penalty to suspension.
Of considerable concern to the Delegates was the subject of a dual-gender organization. To remain strictly professional would require opening our membership to women engineers. The consensus was that we should be a social fraternity of engineers, which would permit us to retain our single-gender membership.
Tutorials were held during this Convention on Rush, Pledging and Membership, Chapter Operations, Budgeting and Financial operations, Alumni Relations, Housing and Risk Reduction. The consensus was that we had packed too much in too little time. Grand President Paul Lindner was elected to a second term in that Office. The Convention was unable to elect a Grand Vice President or Editor of the CASTLE. Both officers were appointed later by the Grand President. Former Central Province Councilor and Grand Vice President Dennis E. Kroll, returned as Grand Vice President. Executive Secretary Beals was reappointed to an eleventh two-year term of office, thereby equaling his twenty-two years as Grand President.
The Supreme Council met on February 18 and 19, 1994, in Des Plaines, Illinois. Fraternity Goals and Objectives were reviewed. Plans were formulated for the Second Tutorial and Joint Province Convention. They were revised to more closely parallel the Object of the Fraternity.
The Second Tutorial and Joint Province Convention was held in Rosemont, Illinois, on September 2, 3 and 4, 1994. Pi Chapter failed to respond to the reprimand and the call for service to the chapter, as directed by the Thirtieth General Convention. The Supreme Council called for the revocation of the Pi Active Chapter Charter unless the members responded by October 1, 1994. There was no response from the members of Pi Chapter and its Charter was revoked on October 1, 1994.
The subjects for this second tutorial included Budgeting, Pledging, National Office Concerns, Financial Record Keeping, Expansion, Rush, Alumni Chapter Concerns, Risk Reduction and Active Chapter Management. Incumbent Province Councilors were returned to office. As usual, it was not possible to find candidates to serve as Province Secretaries. National Officer recruitment was a continued concern.
A Pledge Fee of $10.00 was established. For this fee, the individual Pledge receives a copy, of the Pledge Manual, Manual of Procedure, Constitution and Statutory Code and Code of Ethics. The fee is submitted at the time of notification of pledging by the Chapter.
The long-delayed meeting of the Supreme Council was held on April 21 and 22, 1995, in Arlington Heights, Illinois. The major emphasis of this meeting was National Officer recruitment. The Eastern and Central Province Councilors resigned on this date. Replacements were not found until the Thirty-First General Convention. An individual letter was sent to each alumnus; a special issue of the STAR was distributed. Once again, the Fraternity lacked candidates going into a General Convention. It was the consensus that the Delegates had been worked quite hard at the two Tutorials and the intervening General Convention. A more liberal schedule, including a plant trip and some social functions, were scheduled for the Thirty-First General Convention.
Responses from the chapters towards the Fraternity Scholarship were lagging. To promote interest, the Contest was changed. Where, previously, the contest was based solely on grade point average, fraternal involvement and civic and university involvement, the new Scholarship was based on a white paper plus the above-listed items. The first topic assigned was "The Role of Social Engineering Fraternities in the Next Decade". The $500 stipend was raised to a $1000 stipend, with $200 of the award going to the undergraduate chapter. Two such scholarships were to be awarded Fraternity-wide.
As a result of the extensive search for candidates, there were candidates for all National Offices when the Thirty-First General Convention met in Fargo, North Dakota, on August 31, September 1 and 2, 1995. Alpha Omega Epsilon Sorority is a four-chapter sorority, founded in 1988, with chapters at Marquette University, University of North Carolina at Raleigh, South Dakota School of Mines and Milwaukee School of Engineering. Julie Heinrich, their National Executive Board President, attended the Thirty-First General Convention. It is the intent of both engineering organizations to work together an expansion. A Memorandum of Understanding was drawn up between the two organizations.
Tutorials were held on Rush, Pledging, National Officer Recruitment and Expansion. The agenda was more relaxed than at previous conventions. One session was dedicated to professional development through two plant tours. Another session was set aside for a paint ball "war" among the delegates.
Since the reorganization of the Fraternity after World War II, in 1948, one Epsilon alumnus and two Rho alumni each held two-year terms as Grand President. During the remaining forty-two years, the Grand President was a Delta alumnus. This Convention elected Scott Everett, an Epsilon alumnus, to lead the Fraternity during the following biennium. Former Grand President Paul A. Lindner accepted the office of Grand Vice President to concentrate on expansion of the Fraternity. Executive Secretary Beals accepted appointment to a twelfth consecutive term in that office.
Following the precedent of four years earlier, the Supreme Council met on November 17 & 18, 1995, in Des Plaines, Illinois, to permit the new Council to have its plans in motion by January 1, 1996. In addition to reviewing the goals for the biennium, the Supreme Council established the new national offices of Deputy Province Councilor for Expansion, to assist the Grand Vice-President in expansion at the Province level. Upon reviewing the duties of all National Officers and noting the added duties of Circulation Manager as maintainer of the Fraternity’s newly established World Wide Web site and on-line directory system, the Supreme Council voted to increase the non-itemized expenses for the Circulation Manager to $1,500 per year.
The growth of the Internet in the 1990’s spawned dramatic improvements in communications at all levels within the Fraternity. By 1995, over half the National Officers and active Chapters had their own e-mail addresses and use of this medium was increasing rapidly. Sigma Phi Delta’s World Wide Web site offered general information about the Fraternity to the world, and offered members a searchable, up-to-date online directory of home addresses, e-mail addresses and “home pages” of Sigma Phi Delta Brothers. The Web site and online directory system had its origins as an electronic bulletin board system, developed in 1992 by then Editor of the CASTLE, Edward A. Hurst.