Posted in Communication, fraternity, history, New York, Writing

Delphic Fraternity Historian Begins Work on 150th Anniversary History e-Book

delphic fraternity, delphic society
The Delphic Fraternity was first the Delphic Society.

Since the early 1990s, I have been conducting research on the Delphic Fraternity. It was a college literary society based in New York that eventually became a statewide fraternity. The fraternity almost became extinct in the late 1980s, until a small group of diverse male students at the New Paltz State College decided to form a multicultural fraternity.

In their initial fraternity fact-finding mission, the future members of the New Paltz fraternity came across many historical references to the Delphic Fraternity, which was the first and oldest fraternity at New Paltz. It was last active in 1972 and in 1986 some alumni still lived in the surrounding areas. The fraternity interest group contacted local alumni and in 1987, after a great deal of hard work and determination, the New Paltz student group was initiated into the legendary Delphic Brotherhood.

I joined Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau Fraternity during my junior year at SUNY New Paltz. I had been fascinated by fraternities and sororities since freshman year. I could see myself in a few of them, but not one stood out for me enough to make the commitment to join.  Back in the late 1980s, fraternities at New Paltz were either predominantly White or Black organizations.

I did not want to be a part of a specific ethnic fraternity and that included any that were all Latino as well. This group of future Delphics was a multicultural bunch of guys, which I found very interesting mainly for the opportunity to learn about different cultures. Then I noticed the word “Delphic” on some fellow students’ t-shirts and I inquired about what it signified.

I was told the guys, some of which I had known and had already developed friendships with, were working to re-establish the oldest local fraternity at New Paltz. They were also looking to form the first official multicultural fraternity on campus. The combined possibilities piqued my interest. I attended a general interest meeting and as they say, the rest is fraternity history.

I have been active as the fraternity’s self-proclaimed historian for more than 25 years. We have another historian from the 1960s named Rich, but he’s not on the Internet much. Rich manages the actual artifacts of the Delphic Fraternity. I tirelessly work as the organization’s social media manager and assist with the online promotion of the fraternity far and wide. It’s also great to see younger Delphic Brothers interested in and owning our rich fraternity history.

When I graduated from college, I had some time to delve a bit more into the history of the fraternity. Throughout the years and in between jobs, I continued to put the fraternal pieces together. The archives at SUNY New Paltz noted the organization as one of several in the state. I then reached out to other SUNY libraries to begin connecting the Delphic dots.

The Zeta chapter at New Paltz operated as a purely local fraternity at the time. Alumni from the 1960s told me they knew there were other chapters of Delphic and/or Sig Tau in the state, but they did not really know where exactly. Oneonta kept coming up as another location.

Delphic Society
Delphic Society, Geneseo, NY.

After a great deal of collaborative work with researchers, we could finally trace the origin of the Delphic Fraternity to the Delphic Society founded on October 13, 1871, at SUNY Geneseo. This is the official founding date of the Delphic Fraternity, also known today as Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau Fraternity.

Research shows the fraternity was founded as a college literary society, which was a local student organization. However, historical notes stated the genesis of the literary society at Geneseo stemmed from elsewhere. Fraternity history notes of prior literary societal connections yet did not outright mention any names of actual associations or the specific locations of these other societies.

Though the Delphic Society was founded in 1871 at the Geneseo State Normal School (today SUNY Geneseo,) the college literary society later became known as the Delphic Fraternity once it began affiliating with other literary societies in the state of New York and Pennsylvania.

In the 1950s, the Delphic Fraternity at the College at New Paltz (today SUNY New Paltz) briefly became a member of the national organization of Sigma Tau Gamma. In 1962, the New Paltz chapter of Delphic became an incorporated membership entity in the State of New York. In 1987, the New Paltz chapter was re-established as Delphic of Gamma Sigma Tau Fraternity, the first official multicultural fraternity formed on the east coast of the USA.

The Delphic Fraternity has gone through various formations since its founding in 1871, however recent findings can connect the creation of the fraternity to college literary societies elsewhere in New York.

Delphic Society, Rochester
Delphic Society at the University of Rochester

A few years ago, our fraternity was able to finally connect the histories of the Delphic Society at the University of Rochester with the Delphic Society founded at the Geneseo State Normal School. Both were founded as the Delphic Society and the organizations are connected by Dr. William J. Milne.

Milne attended the University of Rochester as an undergraduate and participated in the last public debates sponsored by the Delphic Society in 1866. Milne later became a professor at the Brockport Normal School then principal of the Geneseo Normal School in 1871.

Principal Milne was instrumental in the founding of the Delphic Society at Geneseo. Milne wanted to provide students at Geneseo with a college literary societal experience similar to the one he enjoyed while at Rochester. He assisted the 13 Delphic Founders at Geneseo in forming their society and most likely helped name it based on the society at Rochester, which was only 30 miles away.

The societies at the University of Rochester ceased to exist around the late 1860s when the fraternities at Rochester became more prominent and the national affiliation of these organizations outweighed the advantages of local college literary societies.

Once we were able to confirm the historic connection of our fraternity, then known as the Delphic Society at Geneseo, with the Delphic Society at Rochester, we then wondered where did the Delphic Society at Rochester come from?

Adelphian Society
The Adelphian Society was founded in 1840 at Colgate University.

Further research at the library archives at the University of Rochester found that the Delphic Society at Rochester was founded on November 2, 1850. The University of Rochester was formed by students and staff from Madison University in Hamilton, NY (today Colgate University.) Five students from Madison/Colgate who were members of the Adelphian Society transferred to the University of Rochester and founded the Delphic Society.

Therefore, the Delphic Society at the University of Rochester is a lineal descendant of the Adelphian Society at Colgate University. The Adelphian Society was formed in 1840 at the Hamilton Literary & Theological Institution, the initial name of Colgate University.

The Adelphian Society was founded by 31 young men and existed on the Colgate campus in name until 1880 when the society became a chapter of the national Beta Theta Pi Fraternity.

Going back a bit further into the university archives at Colgate, we find that the Adelphian Society originated as another society known as Gamma Phi, the first college literary society to be founded at Colgate University.

Gamma Phi Society
Gamma Phi Society, Colgate University

Administrators at Colgate stepped in to help resolve membership conflicts between the Gamma Phi and Pi Delta Societies, the two literary societies at the time.  Competition for membership became so fierce that administrators decided to merge the two societies into two new student organizations: the Adelphian and Aeonian Societies.

Colgate University records show that the Gamma Phi Society was founded prior to 1833 and the Pi Delta Society was founded around 1834. Since no actual founding date is available for the Gamma Phi Society, 1833 is used to reference year of origin.

The last update to the Delphic Fraternity History e-Book only mentioned the fraternity’s historic ties to the Delphic Society at Rochester. The next update, scheduled for the summer of 2021, will note the organization’s historic connection to the Gamma Phi and Adelphian Societies at Colgate University.

Some may say all these historic affiliations are confusing, and that we as the Delphic Fraternity should just focus on the present organization’s 1871 founding in Geneseo, NY. However, history is what it was. I believe it is vital to truly know one’s organization for we can only fully move forward by acknowledging and learning from our complete past.

It is important to highlight the seminal concept of the fraternity, which after years of research stems from the initial formation of the Gamma Phi Society at Colgate University, sometime around 1833.

All of this history illustrates the fraternal Delphic DNA can be traced back to 1833 via college literary societies even though the actual fraternity as we know it today was founded in 1871.

Delphic_SealIn any event, I, as the historian of the Delphic Fraternity, have two years to put all my final research together into the 150th Anniversary commemoration of the Delphic Fraternity History e-Book.

Who knows what else can be uncovered before the next update? I am open to suggestions from other fraternity/sorority historians (and those just interested) on how to layout all this new fraternity history.

Feel free to contact me with any feedback you think may be helpful. Since I am mentioning other organizations in this blog post, please also free feel to message me with any historical corrections or clarifications.

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Posted in Latino, Social Media, Trends

Portuguese Puerto Ricans – A Facebook Page for “Portu Ricans” #porturicans

 


Portuguese + Puertorican =

After analyzing my updated DNA results, I created a Facebook Page for Puerto Ricans with Portuguese ancestry. It only has seven “Likes” but I believe that number will grow over time. Once I digested the fact that I am 29 percent Portuguese, I wondered how many other Puerto Ricans in the world shared greater Portuguese ancestry than Spanish. I thought maybe there’s a Facebook page or group for others like me. There wasn’t, so I decided to start one.

Everyone knows that Puerto Ricans are part Spanish and most Spanish have Portuguese ancestry based on proximity and the fact that the two countries were unified for a short time. Many Puerto Ricans know and accept their historic connection to Spain, but not many truly know or acknowledge our ancestral link to Portugal.

According to the Library of Congress, in 1593 Portuguese soldiers, sent from Lisbon by order of Philip II of Spain, composed the first garrison (military post) of the San Felipe del Morro fortress in Puerto Rico. Some brought their wives, while others married Puerto Rican women, and today there are many Puerto Rican families with Portuguese last names. On October 3, 1642, a Franciscan convent for men was founded in Puerto Rico by Portuguese friars who had come to the island in 1641.

The Portuguese immigrated to Puerto Rico in such large numbers that by the mid 1500s Portuguese settlers outnumbered the Spaniards, according to  “A Nation upon the Ocean Sea: Portugal’s Atlantic Diaspora and the Crisis of the Spanish Empire, 1492-1640” by Daviken Studnicki-Gizbert.

The Portuguese Puerto Rican DNA discussion is pretty recent. There have been conversations on Reddit about the subject and a few YouTube videos exist of Puerto Ricans revealing they have more Portuguese blood than Spanish. Eventually, a larger number of Puerto Ricans who have their DNA tested will know their actual Portuguese percentage. This info will hopefully lead to additional knowledge and discussion about Puerto Ricans with Portuguese ancestry, also known as Portu Ricans.

Posted in Communication, Politics

Political Communication – 2018 Mid-term Elections – Words Matter

Words MatterWe have a leader of the United States that creates his own stories. He makes up facts and wants others to believe in these falsehoods. But the truth is what it is, as is history.  America has had two years of Trump and his dedicated supporters trying to destroy this country with hate and division. This Tuesday night we will learn a great deal about the USA. We will learn if this adversarial political atmosphere will fester for two more years, or we’ll begin to see a glimmer of national unity.

Political communication matters. Politicians need to make it clear what they stand for and who they represent. People who enter the political arena should do so to truly make the country a better place. Political leaders need to be clear about what policies and changes they will fight for and what issues they will fight against. Voters need to be involved because now more than ever, politics matter. Politicians need to be precise with their principles and communicate them clearly because words matter. Americans must get out and vote this Tuesday to have our voices heard because our future matters. Don’t be a dope. #vote

Posted in Technology, Trends

Figuring Out Your Ancestry – Making Sense of Your DNA Results

PV_DNA_Pie_ChartThis month, after thinking about the possibilities for years, I received my DNA ancestry results from Ancestry.com. It was a much desired Christmas gift that cost about $80 and a month of excitement and anxiety. I began 2018 finally learning about my ancestral heritage, but after the climactic reveal, I was left wanting to know much more. This quest for specific genetic information of myself led me to multiple questions that eventually left some doubt in my initial DNA findings.  I now, however, have made sense of the numbers and am confident in stating I am 55 percent European, 21 percent African, 21 percent Native American, and three percent Middle Eastern.

I was informed something to that effect with my first results but with such a sensitive and important matter, I needed to find a reliable way to verify the complex information.  I wanted to see how accurate these initial numbers were, so I requested a second DNA analysis from another company. I noticed a significant difference in the ethnicity results. I then submitted my raw data file – which can be downloaded after your results are completed – to a third company to find yet another surprisingly slight variation. I decided that I would cross-reference as many results as possible to confidently determine the breakdown of my own ethnicity.

I took my raw DNA data file and provided it to three free online sites/tools for their analysis, paid $20 to have my DNA analyzed by one company, bought an online app for $5 for another analysis and requested a free review from another company. In total, I was able to compare eight different sets of my DNA results. I entered the data in a color-coded multi-tabbed spreadsheet and averaged out related results to create one trustworthy master set of scientifically sound data that I could fully own and faithfully believe and pronounce.

For this research, I compared my DNA analysis data from the following companies: Ancestry.com, FamilyTreeDNA, My Heritage, DNA.land, GenCove, WeGene, GenePlaza.com, and GEDmatch.com.

After several hours of crunching numbers and analyzing patterns I have determined, with overlapping evidence, that I am 25 percent Spanish (numbers were in the 22-30 percent range but averaged out at 25.) I learned that my Africanness mainly originates from Nigeria/West Africa, my Taino indigenous blood can be traced to the Mayan and Amazonian people of South America, and I was surprised to find out that I am about three percent Ashkenazi European Jewish.

DNA ancestral testing is very popular right now and as the cost of tests become more affordable, DNA testing will become even more widely accessible.  I think everyone should have his/her DNA tested. I now have a broader world perspective of who I am and where my ancestors came from. I look forward to learning more about my diverse historical ethnic background and making meaningful connections with my ancestors.

Posted in Technology

Amazon’s Fire HD 8 Tablet – The Best Inexpensive Tablet Available Today

The Amazon Fire HD 8 Tablet.

Back in 2012, I purchased the first generation version of Amazon’s Kindle Fire. It worked for me for years, until it was destroyed in a car accident this past summer.  I generally use a tablet to read books, briefly catch up on current events, and check social media. After not having a tablet for a few months, I realized I missed having one so I once again went shopping for a new tablet.

Again, I chose the inexpensive and reliable Fire tablet from Amazon. It is lightweight, sturdy, and functional for my needs. The battery life is incredible and it has a microSD slot for additional storage. It’s a great cheap tablet that performs well and I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a tablet and does not want to pay several hundred dollars for an iPad.

However, there is a bit of bad news. The camera is terrible. The quality is so bad that I wonder why it was added to begin with. Another big problem is that Amazon does not make it clear that the Fire tablet comes with ads. The lock screen continuously flashes annoying Amazon advertisements. To remove the ads you have to pay Amazon an additional $15. Amazon should just add this fee to the initial price of the tablet.

Aside from the camera and unwanted ads, I am very happy thus far with my new tablet. I think you will be as well.

Posted in Film/Movie, Latino, New York

New York Latino Film Festival Begins in NYC on Oct. 11, 2017

The New York Latino Film Festival (NYLFF),  the premier urban Latino film event in the country since 1999, kicks off in NYC on Wednesday, October 11 and runs through Saturday, October 14, 2017. The NYLFF produces culturally relevant and entertaining experiences that build audiences for Latino cinema, support the film community with professional development, and foster relationships for Latino talent.

The 14th NYLFF is presented by HBO and will feature such films as Saturday Church, a “La-La Land” meets “Moonlight” coming out story, and A Change of Heart, starring Jim Belushi and a Puerto Rican drag queen.

“Our event is about galvanizing and empowering community. We are very excited to bring back the festival with such an exciting lineup showcasing some of the best multicultural, bilingual, and diverse films,” said Calixto Chinchilla, festival founder.

The NYLFF makes its much-anticipated return to the Big Apple and will once again highlight a diverse slate, spanning all genres and formats. Notable stars and filmmakers include Emilio and Gloria Estefan, William Levy, Residente, and Luis Guzmán.

Other films being showcased at the NYLFF include: HOLD ON, the story of a talented mixed race singer who must fight to keep her personal dreams and family life alive while working at a small Los Angeles church; El Pantera, a documentary film chronicling the rise of Mexican UFC fighter Yair Rodriguez; and Vito C: La Vida Del Filósofo, the rise to stardom story of Reggaeton’s founding father, Vico C.

Posted in Communication, Consulting

LaGuardia Community College – Dare To Do More

LAGCC1In January 2017, I accepted a temporary contract position as a marketing communications manager at LaGuardia Community College in Long Island City, NY. LaGuardia is part of the City University of New York and is based in one of the most ethnically diverse communities in the world, the borough of Queens.

As a marketing communications manager within the academic affairs division, I assist with promoting programs and events to the student population via email, online student portal, and social media platforms. There is a great deal happening at LaGuardia. The community college offers over 60 degrees and is abundant with resources which help students reach their academic goals.

LaGuardia is a unique institution of higher learning where – through a varied offering of academic and vocational programs – students from all over the world are guided toward building a better life for themselves and their families.

LaGuardia is well known for several academic degrees, notably Nursing, Paramedic, Commercial Photography, and New Media Technology. The college had over 45,000 students enrolled in both degree and non-degree programs in the fall of 2015.

My experience at LaGuardia has been incredible. The teamwork between administrative staff and faculty meshes extremely well and a majority of  students are dedicated, talented individuals working to achieve greatness. I definitely recommend the school to anyone who dares to do more with their lives.