The Sixth General Convention met in
Minneapolis, Minnesota, in 1939, with Epsilon Active and Minneapolis Alumni
Chapters as Hosts. The Usual problems, problems that come up before every
Convention, were discussed. The Ritual was reviewed and slight changes
were made to conform more closely to the new Crest. The Chapters were presented
with charter Certificates, signed by the Grand President and General Manager.
The long-awaited song book was distributed at this time and the members
introduced to the songs. In electing two members to the Board of Trustees,
the Convention violated the Constitution by electing Brothers Strong and
Ingbretson, both former Epsilon members (as was the Grand President) and
none were resident in California where the Fraternity was supposedly chartered.
(Not more than two members of the Board can be alumni of the same undergraduate
chapter and two must be resident in California.) It is interesting to note,
in reading the Minutes of the Sixth General Convention, that a colony had
been organized on the University of California Campus at Berkeley, and "is only waiting sufficient numerical strength before petitioning us to for permission to affiliate with Sigma Phi Delta".
This was to be the last General Convention of the Fraternity until after
the troubled years of World War II.
The years of World War II saw most of the members inducted
into the armed forces, the chapter houses vacant or rented to private
sources or to the armed forces for use as dormitories, and the National
officers occupied by other matters to the exclusion of the Fraternity.
The Grand President, Brother Rundquist, was on active duty in the U.
S. Army. The only National Officer who functioned during all of these
trying years was the General Manager, Russell C. Smith. His interest
in the welfare of the organization probably did more to keep the Fraternity
in operation than any other single factor. Russ, as all of his friends
called him, had been appointed General Manager in late 1933 or early
1934. There were indications of "money trouble" in the Fraternity, as
alluded to earlier in this history. Russ was born on November 21, 1905,
in Madison, Illinois. He was initiated in to Delta Chapter on April 19,
1929. He graduated in Mechanical Engineering in 1929 from the University
Once the members were released from military service following the War, chapter houses were reclaimed and a drive undertaken to build up the small memberships. When the call for expansion came from the National Office, Brother LeRoy Horpedahl (Epsilon), then serving on the faculty at Tri-State college, Angola, Indiana, saw the need for an engineering fraternity on that campus and proposed the establishment of a Sigma Phi Delta chapter. On February 5, 1947, his ideas were presented to a small group of students. Each student resolved to bring a friend to the next meeting. By February 19, 1947, the group had grown to thirty-five members. On May 25, 1947, thirty-nine undergraduates were installed as Kappa Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta, our first post-War Chapter. The installation team included General Manager Smith and Brother Horpedahl. Charter Chief Engineer of Kappa Chapter was Lyle D. Oleson; Chapter Secretary was Arthur J. Hanna.
This new Chapter sparked the Seventh General Convention as it met during the first four days of January, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois. After a lapse of eight years, the National organization needed considerable attention. Sweeping changes were made in the Constitution and Statutory Code of the Fraternity. The neverused Supreme Court was abolished and the judicial powers given to the General Convention, the Supreme Council and the individual active chapters. The Editor of the CASTLE was once again made an elective office and the Editor was returned to a position on the Supreme Council. Funds for the publication of the CASTLE and the STAR were reviewed. The STAR was returned to the editorship of the Grand President. Initiation fees were raised from $16.00 to $25.00 for an undergraduate member. The Class of membership of Associate Member was once again deleted. The position of Chapter Councilor was created to provide more continuity to the chapter. It was also hoped that this Office would take some of the burden off the National Officers. The Chapter Councilor was made Deputy Province Councilor and was given the right to approve initiation requests. He was made a member of the Province Convention of the Active Chapter he represented.
The Provinces were reorganized along north-south boundaries into the Western, Central and Eastern Provinces, dividing the United States and Canada roughly into thirds. Kappa Chapter was the lone Chapter in the Eastern Province. Vancouver Alumni Chapter petitioned for Charter. Work was continued on a Fraternity flag, the original design for which had been submitted by the Fourth General Convention. The Convention Minutes do not specify the design for this flag.
A Fraternity grateful for the work in chartering the first post-War Chapter elected as Grand President LeRoy C. Horpedahl (Epsilon). LeRoy was born in Glyndon, Minnesota, on April 13, 1924. He was initiated by Epsilon Chapter on March 28, 1943. He graduated from North Dakota State University (then North Dakota Agricultural College) in 1946 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. He was later to serve a term as Grand Vice-President of the Fraternity. The extensive changes made in the Constitution and Statutory Code by this Convention were submitted to the individual Chapters for consideration, review and approval. The new Laws of the Fraternity were approved by the Chapters on November 1, 1948, and went into affect at that time.
The elimination of the racial and religious restrictive
clause from our constitution was the most far-reaching change in the
Fraternity Laws made during the Eighth General Convention in Los Angeles,
California, in September 1949. Prior to this time, membership in Sigma
Phi Delta had been restricted to Christian Caucasians and North American
Indians. It was brought to the attention of the Convention that there
were other organizations bearing the name Sigma Phi Delta and that our
Fraternity had no legal claim to the name or the insignia. Only the badge
design had been copyrighted. The banner, 61 x 61, of black felt, with
the Fraternity Crest, the name "Sigma Phi Delta" and the Chapter designation, was adopted. Every Chapter was required to purchase this banner, with the National Office paying half the cost of the banner. Plans for a Pledge Manual, a Manual of Procedure, a Song Book and a Fraternity Flag were again discussed. It was brought out that the Fraternity was not incorporated in the State of California, or anywhere else, as had long been reported. "Temporarily", Province boundaries between the Central and Eastern Provinces, which went along the Illinois-Indiana borders, were "looped" so
that Delta Active Chapter in Urbana, Illinois, was included in the Eastern
Province to strengthen that organization. They were to remain this way
This General Convention helped Brother Russell C. Smith to realize his highest Fraternity ambition when it elected him to be fifth Grand President of the Fraternity. He had served since 1934 as General Manager under two Grand Presidents. Coming into National prominence at this time also were John Gray (Iota) and John G. Ellis (Alpha), both of whom gave many years of dedication to the Fraternity.
On June 1, 1950, the idea of the formation of a new fraternity was presented by Vernon J. Basore to a group of students at Indiana Technical College in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The work started was halted, however, when Basore and his co-workers, Roger Fitzgerald and Richard Fischer were recalled to active duty in the armed forces of the United States. When, in the Fall of 1950, Basore returned to that campus, a local group calling themselves the Indiana Technical College Engineering Fraternity, was established. On March 11, 1951, a representative from Sigma Phi Delta, Central Province Councilor John Gray, met with the group and a petition for Charter as Lambda Chapter was submitted to the General Convention on March 18, 1951. Thirty-two members, including one Faculty Member, were installed by Grand President Russell C. Smith, Central Province Councilor John Gray, and Eastern Province Councilor Robert J. Beals (Delta) on May 11, 1951. Charter Chief Engineer Vernon J. Basore and Chapter Secretary Donald L. Grise led the new Chapter.
On the opposite side of the country, plans were being made for another Chapter. Ken Jonas and Richard Frankian of the University of California at Los Angeles, Santa Monica, California, were contacted by Bill Fowler and Ray Ericksen of Alpha Chapter. The organization was continued and a group of twelve men were initiated into the local organization at the Alpha Chapter house on the USC campus on April 6, 1951. This local group petitioned for Charter as Mu Chapter of Sigma Phi Delta, and was installed in the Alpha Chapter house on the USC campus on July 14, 1951, by Grand President Smith and Western Province Councilor John G. Ellis, now on the faculty of the California Maritime Academy near Vallejo, California. Twenty men were initiated, led by Charter Chief Engineer Kenneth L. Jonas and Chapter Secretary Alvin B. Smee.
Although the Constitution had long provided for Province Conventions and for other Province activities, there had been no effort to provide any such activities within the Fraternity. Central Province Councilor John Gray and Eastern Province Councilor Robert J. Beals organized their respective Provinces and held the first Province Conventions on September 9 and 10, 1950, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and on December 2 and 3, 1950, in Urbana, Illinois, respectively. The first Western Province Convention was not held until two years later.