Distinguished Alumni

Decem Vir

What is Decem Vir?

For years, ΔΚΕ has sought to honor those Dekes who have provided support to our institution, fully cognizant that, if the first Cornell Dekes hadn’t placed their hearts and their resources on the line, we would never have had a ΔΚΕ lodge to enjoy and in which to thrive.

The alumni board felt it only right to recognize those Dekes who have made the most significant contribution to our institution, spanning the 135 years of its existence. So the Decem Vir (ten men), reflective of the first band of brothers who gave life to our institution, was chartered in this year of remembrance at ΔΚΕ.

The Decem Vir is named after the ten Dekes who formed the chapter in 1870. It consists of alumni who have met the criteria, along with those deceased alumni whom our present membership believe were critical to the growth and health of ΔΚΕ, and all alumni are encouraged to submit nominations of brothers (living and deceased) who are exemplars of the Decem Vir standard. Brothers in our memory such as LaBonte and Grasselli can be added in the future.

James McConnell Clark ’44

The exemplar of the Decem Vir is Jim Clark, our most significant supporter and “emeritus cheerleader,” in the words of Alumni Chairman Don Weadon. “Without Jim Clark’s remarkable personal and financial support, we would have not been able to achieve the renaissance at ΔΚΕ, period!” said Weadon. All past living alumni chairs agree, so Jim was selected as the first living Decem Vir.

Robert Malatesta ’55 and William Houck’70 were long serving Delta Chi Association board members. William Homer Fogle ’70 was a long-serving board member and historian.

Honorary Members

Rutherford Birchard Hayes (1822–1893): President of the United States. Although Hayes did not attend Cornell, four of his sons were Delta Chi Dekes.

Thomas Joseph Pniewski: He served as resident advisor and later became a music critic.

James Anderson Hawes: ΔΚΕ National Council.

Other Distinguished Delta Chi Alumni

John DeWitt Warner 1872 (1851–1925): Representative, US Congress. An early alumni-elected Cornell trustee

Domingos Correa de Moraes 1877 (1857–1917): Governor of São Paulo

Edmund Judson Moffat 1879 (1857–1899): Deputy US Consul-General, London

Cuthbert Winfred Pound 1887 (1864–1935): Chief Justice, N.Y. Court of Appeals

Henry Reuben Ickelheimer 1888 (1868–1940): Banker and Cornell Trustee

Aurelio Mario Garcia Menocal y Deop 1888 (1866–1941): President of Cuba

Louis William Marcus 1889 (1863–1923): Justice, N.Y. State Supreme Court

Maurice Francis Connolly 1897(1877–1921): Representative, US Congress

Robert Julius Thorne 1897 (1875–1955): President Montgomery Ward & Co. (donated $2,000 in 1919 for house renovations)

Howard Winchester Hawks 1918 (1896–1977): film director, producer, and screenwriter of the classic Hollywood era.

Charles Baskerville Jr.1919 (1896–1994): Soldier, combat artist, portrait and mural painter.

Caesar Augustin Grasselli II 1922 (1901–1978): Soldier and industrialist. Senior executive, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Co.

Thomas Carey Hennings Jr. 1924 (1903–1960): Senator, US Congress

Andrew John Biemiller 1926 (1906–1982): Representative, US Congress

Rollin White King 1954 (1931–2014): Founder and first president of Southwest Airlines Company

Caleb Alan MacDonald 1955 (1933–): Businessman. President and CEO, Nestlé Foods Company.

John Patrick White 1959 (1937–2017): Deputy Secretary of Defense

Bruce Davey Benson 1961 (1938–): President of the University of Colorado

Glyn Locke 1976, designer and CEO of Glyn Locke rowing shells and cofounder of Artigiano, a UK fashion brand.

Gregory L. Fenves 1979 (1957–), President Univ of Texas Austin

Dekes Leave Their Marks on Campus

Clark Hall of Science: named after Edna McConnell Clark, the mother of brothers Hays and James Clark

Robert Trent Jones Golf Course: named after brother Robert Trent Jones

Statute of Andrew Dickson White on Arts Quad: gift of Henry Reuben Ickelheimer

Robert Thorne: endowed professorship in Economics that was held by Alfred Kahn

Clifton Beckwith Brown: honored with a large bronze plaque hanging in Sibley Dome

Bartels Hall’s Richard M. Ramin Multipurpose Room and the Ramin Family Administration Center: named for Brother Ramin ’51, who served as a Cornell vice president for 24 years.