By 1996, there were several other indications of the major improvements in communications and participation at the National level. One was the coordinating of monthly Supreme Council conference calls by Grand President Scott Everett. Another indicator was the convening of an unprecedented second Supreme Council meeting this winter in the Chicago area, to plan and budget the Third Joint Province Convention. 100% of the Supreme Council was in attendance at both meetings. And thirdly, was the long-awaited publication of the first CASTLE in over two years.
At its meeting in Elk Grove Village on March 30, 1996, the Supreme Council voted to transfer $2,000 in funds from the General and Convention Funds to the Expansion Fund, to aid in the expansion campaign headed by Grand Vice-President Paul A. Lindner.
The Third Joint Province Convention was held on August 30, 31 and September 1, 1996, in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois with Delta Chapter as Host chapter. This was the first Joint Province Convention to have a chapter as host. Tutorial topics included Rush, Budgeting and Finances, Sigma Phi Delta Values, Chapter Operations, Expansion, and Communications. Events accompanying the Convention included a campus tour, a demonstration of the Virtual Reality Cave in the Beckman Institute Building, a cookout at Delta Chapter, the formal initiation of five new Delta Chapter members, and a formal dinner.
Of concern to the Fraternity was the fact that Rho chapter, which had re-activated in 1986, was not represented at the last two Conventions. No one was living in Rho's chapter house, which had been condemned by the City of Peoria, and the Central Illinois Alumni chapter decided not to invest in restoring the house. The members of Rho chapter failed to return to the house in the Fall of 1996, and the chapter was decidedly rendered inactive at that time.
A Supreme Council Meeting was held in Elk Grove Village,
Illinois, on February 22, 1997. At this meeting, Grand President Everett
reviewed the progress made towards meeting the Fraternity's goals set
last year. Motions included increasing the number of awarded undergraduate
scholarships to three, $1000 "Undergraduate Achievement Awards", with
$250 going to the recipient's chapter. To improve the effectiveness of
chapter visitations by National Officers, it was requested that the visiting
officer submit a chapter visitation report to the Supreme Council before
any travel expenses will be paid. A motion was passed to vacate the office
of Editor of the CASTLE. Editor Joseph Welinski, who was too busy to
carry out his duties and only able to produce one issue of the CASTLE
in his 14 months holding that office, effectively resigned. A draft copy
of a new Expansion and Rush brochure, which was developed by Deputy Province
Councilor for Expansion, Tom Walker, was distributed to the Supreme Council
for comment. The Council felt that 100 gratis copies should be distributed
to the undergraduate chapters, and that additional copies can be sold
A historic Thirty-Second General Convention of Sigma Phi Delta was held on August 28-30, 1997, in Brookings, South Dakota, with Phi Chapter as host. Executive Secretary Beals had a new pacemaker installed the day before the Convention and could not attend. This was the first Convention missed by Brother Beals in forty-six years. Following his absence from Convention, “Grand Old Man” Robert J. Beals announced that he would be retiring from the office of Executive Secretary after this term and asked Grand President Lindner to appoint his successor. The brotherhood was re-awakened to the significance of his role as Executive Secretary of the Fraternity. At the Supreme Council meetings, paralleling the General Convention, there was much discussion of the duties of the office of Executive Secretary as well as the roles and responsibilities of the Grand President, Editor of the CASTLE and Circulation Manager. One outcome of this assessment was the renaming of the office of
Editor of the CASTLE to Communications Director and the creation of the separate appointed office of Information Systems Manager. The Communications Director would take on all duties related to publishing, marketing, and maintaining a consistent image for the Fraternity. The Information Systems Manager, reporting to the Communications Director, would be responsible for the Fraternity’s image in electronic form, including its World Wide Web site and e-mail identities. To that effect, changes to the Constitution and Statutory Code were drafted and approved by mail vote of General Convention. It was also the consensus that some of the duties of the Executive Secretary could be appointed to new assistant positions or assigned to other existing National Officers.
During the business sessions of the Convention, open discussion was held on the topics of Goal Setting, Risk Reduction and Alcohol Policy, and whether Sigma Phi Delta should become a dual-gender Fraternity. On the latter topic, one group suggested that a “separate but equal” organization is needed, whereby the Fraternity would have both all-male and/or all-female Chapters at any given university, but that co-ed houses would not work. The overall consensus though was, once again, that the Fraternity should try and succeed as a single-gender Fraternity. A convention proposal to change the title and responsibilities of the Editor of the CASTLE to Communications Director (CD) was passed unanimously by mail ballot. The CD not only is responsible for the publishing of the CASTLE, but also he will supervise the Circulation and Web Managers.
In other business, the General Convention approved for Honorary membership, Steven Foor, the father of Kappa Chapter active Mason Michael Foor, who died in the Spring at age 19. Active chapter National dues were increased by $10 to $110 per annum, and 5% of these dues are now to go into an Expansion Fund, with the General Fund apportionment changing to 33%. Delta Alumnus Burt A. Wagner III, was elected to immediately fill the vacant office of Editor of the CASTLE, and assume the added responsibilities of the new Communications Director office for the 1998-1999 biennium. Eric P. Messerschmidt resigned as Eastern Province Councilor to devote his efforts to a special Sigma Phi Delta expansion/marketing project, and strongly recommended Kappa Alumnus Michael L. Votaw to be his replacement. Brother Votaw was unanimously voted into the position. The General Convention also elected as Board of Trustees member, Delta Alumnus William J. Trader. Unfortunately, Brother Trader
passed away in the following year, before his term as Trustee was to have started. Robert J. Beals was elected to a second and final term of the Sigma Phi Delta Foundation Board of Directors.
A Supreme Council meeting was held in the Chicago area on November 8, 1997 to plan for the biennium 1998-1999. The Supreme Council met again on March 7-8 1998 in Vancouver, BC for further biennium planning and for establishing the details for the Fourth Joint Province Convention. Theta Chapter hosted the Fourth Joint Province Convention and Tutorial, July 30 - August 1, 1998. Events included a barbecue at the Theta house, a plant tour of CREO products, initiation of an honorary member, Richard Hancock, a visit to a salmon hatchery, and a banquet at the botanical gardens.
A new toll-free number was established, 1-877 SIG PHIS (877-744-7447) which is directed to the Executive Secretary's office. A Chat Room page was opened on the Internet Relay Chat (IRC), allowing brothers and officers to chat about any topic. This capability allowed for monthly online Supreme Council meetings. The Fraternity's financial books and jewelry inventory were automated using Quickbooks 6.0.
On December 12, 1998 a colony was established at the University of Delaware. Under the leadership of Brother Keith Hileman and Kappa Chapter actives, visits were made to the University of Cincinnati where a number of engineering students expressed interest in joining Sigma Phi Delta.
In order to reduce the amount of paper work and cost of printing, Fraternity forms, Meeting Minutes, and Constitution and Statutory Code were posted to the World Wide Web site. These documents will no longer be supplied in printed form but should be downloaded and printed at the local level.
On the 75th Anniversary of the Fraternity's founding, two chapters were installed, the first, Chi Chapter at the University of Cincinnati on April 10, 1999 and the second was Psi Chapter at the University of Delaware. The charter members of Chi Chapter were: Jeffrey S. Ackerman, Joshua E. Bare, Keith E. Daegele, Shaun M. Limber, Brandon A. Lynne, Andrew E. Pierson, Dale W. Schaefer, Michael J. Starr, Rob C. Sweet, Adam W. Swejk, Robert Charles Thomas, and Charter Chief Engineer Zachary Khang D. Vuong. The charter members of Psi Chapter were: Gregory A. Aluise, Michael D. Day II, Eric A. Fine, Charter Chief Engineer Leonard J. French Jr., Donald J. Hancock, Aaron S. Knipe, Jeffrey J. Robinson, Brian K. Scramlin, William E. Sedutto, John W. Soisson, Matthew S. Underhill, Mike P. Vansant, and Erich C. Weigert.
Also in the Spring of 1999, Grand Vice President Scott Everett resigned his position to be succeeded by Brother Keith Hileman. Brother Adam Lynch was appointed to the newly created position of Director for International Expansion. Brother Jimmy Jones of Delta Chapter was awarded the $3000 eight-month internship to provide assistance to the National Office.
Sigma Phi Delta's Silver Anniversary was celebrated in style at the Thirty-Third General Convention, hosted by Alpha Chapter. It was held at the Regal Biltmore hotel in Los Angeles, California, on July 15-17, 1999. The professional program included a visit NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. The Supreme Council made a monetary award to Kappa Chapter for its extraordinary efforts in bringing Psi Chapter to reality. The Fraternity expressed its appreciation to Brother Robert J. Beals, for attending the Convention to receive the Fraternity's Professional Achievement Award, and for his dedication to the Fraternity during nearly 50 of its 75-year history and his continued service on the Sigma Phi Delta Foundation Board of Directors. The General Convention heard an address by Alpha Omega Epsilon’s National Executive Board Vice President, on joint efforts to expand the two organizations. The General Convention directed a committee to approach Phi Beta Epsilon
engineering Fraternity (in the Philippines) to seek an agreement on their joining Sigma Phi Delta. The Supreme Council decided to break up the duties of the office of the Executive Secretary. Brother Hurst was appointed to the new position of Treasurer, responsible for the Fraternity’s finances, and Brother Derek Troy was appointed to the position of Executive Secretary, responsible for administrative duties, minutes, and forms. A third position was Merchandising Chair, to be responsible for all merchandise and jewelry orders of the Fraternity, and Brother Hurst was appointed to that position on an interim basis. A fourth position, Information Systems Manager, was also being filled on an interim basis by Brother Hurst.
Later in 1999, an effort to establish a Chapter at Rutgers University for both Sigma Phi Delta and Alpha Omega Epsilon had slowed. However, it was noted that A.O.E.'s expansion efforts were more successful recently than Sigma Phi Delta's.