Blast from the Past Series: History of Chapter Awards

Article by Keith Hellems, M.D. ’62       [email protected]

During his years at the Michigan Delta Chi house, Scott Hillen’97 wrote a rather extensive history of our Michigan fraternity.  Today we excerpt various portions as part of our Blast from the Past series.


Awards were an important part of chapter meetings from the 1960’s to the 1980’s. Awards were given weekly after chapter announcements, and there was often a figurine or other sort of trophy which the winner received. After 1989, such awards were given at monthly brotherhood dinners. At the end of the year there were also awards given out. The tradition of year-end awards extends back to the 1950’s. The most awards were awarded during the 1970’s. It is unclear why many of these awards ceased to be given (there are no chapter meeting record forms from January 1981 to January 1983). Today awards are decided by either a vote of the chapter or the executive board. Here are some of the awards which were given on a weekly, semesterly, or yearly basis for more than three consecutive years.  

(Editor’s note: by the late 1990’s it appears that awards were not part of the fraternity activity).   

1) Chapter Luminary Award: A yearly award first awarded at the end of the 1954-55, school year, it recognizes the brother (usually a graduating senior) who has made the most positive impact on Delta Chi as well as other chapter organizations.

2) Pledge of the Year: First awarded in 1955, it awards the achievements of the “superpledge” of the year.

3) Athlete of the Year: First awarded in 1955, it recognizes the accomplishments of the best performance in IM sports.

4) Dork Award: First awarded in January 1960, a weekly and yearly award recognizing a particularly brutal social faux pas.

5) Guiding Light Award: First awarded in May 1960, a weekly award described as being awarded to “the person who leads the chapter not to bigger and better things, but to smaller and poorer things. This is symbolized by a burnt out 1000-watt light bulb”. Along with the dork award, it was awarded at nearly every chapter meeting.

6) Wedge Award: A yearly award first awarded at the end of the 1959-60 school year, “this is an honorary award given to the biggest tool of the year”

7) Joke of the Year: First awarded at the end of the 1959-60 school year, it recognizes the best joke told at the end of a chapter meeting.

8) PW Award: A yearly or weekly award first awarded in 1966. It recognizes the brother on the tightest leash from their girlfriend.

9) Donald M. Leckey P&M Award: Awarded from 1967-80, it recognizes the brother who whines or complains the most.

10) Scholar of the Year: First awarded in 1973, it awards the brother who had the highest GPA during the year.

11) Exhibitionist of the Year Award: Awarded from 1973-early 80’s, self-explanatory award.

12) Grub Award: Awarded from 1973-early 80’s.

13) J Award: Awarded from 1973-early 80’s (possibly new initiate who has made the greatest contribution to Delta Chi).

14) John Henry Russell Award: Awarded during the 1980’s, it is named after Delta Chi’s cook from 1969-78 and recognizes service to Delta Chi.

15) Frank J. Morrey Outstanding Alumnus Award: First awarded in 1973, it recognizes the outstanding contribution of an alumus of the chapter.

16) Good Guy Award: First awarded in 1983, this weekly award recognizes a positive thing a brother has done in the past week.?

17) Outstanding Elected Position: A semester-long award given since the early 1990’s, it recognizes the elected officer who has done the best job.

18) Outstanding Appointed Position: A semester-long award given to the committee head or other appointed position who has done the best job.