The brothers and guests of Xi celebrated big and celebrated long on UVA’s Homecomings weekend, October 25th through October 27th 2013. This celebration of the founding of Xi chapter on January 26th 1914 was the final exclamatory mark to a project that began in October 2010. The Centennial Plan was nurtured by the alumni corporation board for two and a half years and completed as intended in January 2013. The keystone of the Centennial Plan was the complete renovation and a major expansion of the chapter house at 600 Preston Place, home to Xi since 1968. The renovation and expansion cost $1.1 million, and was supported by $672,000 in pledges of support from over 390 brothers from the 40’s through the current undergraduate classes.
For the weekend celebration 201 brothers were pre-registered. The earliest class in attendance was 1956. The activities began on Friday afternoon with 37 brothers playing golf at the University’s Birdwell course.
On Friday evening a cocktail reception and dinner were held at Alumni Hall. Over 200 brothers and guests attended. The minutes from the founding meeting in 1914 and the register with each brother’s signature starting with that first group of brothers in 1914 were on display. Brothers’ mug shots taken in those halcyon days of yore were projected onto a large screen behind the speakers’ rostrum. Libations flowed freely from the bar and trays of tasty appetizers floated through the huge crowd. A marvelous buffet dinner was served featuring grilled chicken, roast beef and broiled salmon. Speakers included Chris Winter ’07, President of the Alumni Board; George Martin, Rector of the University; Mike Citro, Assistant Dean of Students/ Fraternity & Sorority Life; Rick Nadeau ’76, incoming President of the Alumni Board; Colin Steele ’56 (remembering the 50’s); Grady Lewis ’65 (remembering Willie Alexander and Hovey Dabney); Bill Sullivan ’67 (remembering 1810 Carr’s Hill Rd); Harvey Seegers ’75 (remembering the ’70s); and others who made spontaneous remarks. Chris Winter unveiled a special 100th celebration banner that over the weekend was signed by all brothers, and will be kept forever. Chris also unveiled a specially commissioned painting of the “new” chapter house. Copies of the painting were given to all dinner attendees. Each attendee also received a beer “koozy” emblazoned with the Theta Chi Shield and Xi 100 Years. Dancing in the Alumni Hall ballroom closed out the evening.
On Saturday, early bright and cold, the three hour tailgate at the chapter house cranked up. Start time was moved to 9:00 am because the football game with Georgia Tech began at 12:30 pm, a fact not known until a week or so before the game due to TV considerations. The crowd quickly grew to over 350 brothers and guests, a record homecoming crowd! Jackie Morris ’81 had his signature venison on the grill; such a sure crowd pleaser that it has become a new Homecomings tradition. Earl Henderson, the former cook at the chapter house, did the catering and did a splendid job. Featured were fried chicken and pulled pork barbeque.
The renovated house and the new addition drew rave reviews. “Jaw dropping!” would not be too exaggerated a description of the impact the new house made on those seeing it for the first time on Saturday. Huge Crowd! There were house tours of the renovated spaces and the new rooms. There were many details added to the house for the Celebration which will remain in place forever, further binding our brotherhood, including: bronze memorial plaques for Willie Alexander and Hovey Dabney; a 100th year commemorative bronze plaque; a 1943 UVA banner (once belonging to Al Siewers ’43 who last saw it in 1943! It was given to the chapter as a gift from the UVA Alumni Association who found it on EBay from an unknown seller!) with a rare leather UVA symbol and fraternity shield sewn in; two huge rattlesnake and sabre shields, one over the fireplace in the chapter room and the other in the basement party room behind the bar; a large custom designed Centennial Plan Capital Campaign donor plaque listing every contributor’s name and class; a 100 year congratulatory broadside from national; a permanent video display of long lost class composite pictures and historic photos of the University and Charlottesville watering holes; and of course the anchor in the tree.
We had a block of seats reserved at Scott stadium, over 300, with all seats filled. Less said about the results of the gridiron tilt the better. After the game and a breather, the party with band at the chapter house got cranked at 8:00 pm and ran on and on, confined to the new party rooms. Some older bros did attempt to keep up with this action but all reports the next morning were positive with no city noise code violations or police blotter reports to mar the good time.
On Sunday the annual meeting of the alumni was held. Reports were given on finances, the collection of remaining capital campaign pledges, the renewed campaign for annual giving, and the board’s 2014 strategic plan. Ritual robes were donated by a brother from the defunct Lafayette College chapter. New members of the board were elected and officers designated: Rick Nadeau ’76 President; Will Teass ’97 Vice President; Billy Duval ’08 Treasurer; Spence Phillips ’85 Secretary; Jim Johnston ’66; Bill Sullivan ’67; Mark Chinn ’91; Gregg Johnson ’75; Jackie Morris ’81; and the non-voting member Casey Cooke ’15 who is the chapter President.
“Honor our past and preserve our legacy for future brothers” – OX Centennial Celebration