Closing Thoughts: The Ties That Bind

kappa sigma

by David R. Haag ’73

Most Dickinsonians have never heard of The Spring Letter. But thanks to a recent donation by Peter Marks ’73 to Archives & Special Collections, the publication  minus a handful of issues  is now available to anyone wishing to learn more about Dickinson.

The Spring Letter, which first appeared in 1910, was the brainchild of class of 1907 members George Briner and Allen Thompson, and was one of the ways alumni brothers of the Beta Pi chapter of Kappa Sigma fraternity stayed connected. Commonly included were letters from alumni compiled by class year, a directory with names and contact information, a report on the status of the undergraduate chapter, a letter from the college president and a letter from the editor. Since 1910, there are only four years in which the letter was not produced: in 1919 (WWI), in 1944 and 1945 (WWII), and again in 1996.

My fellow fraternity brothers of the Beta Pi chapter of Kappa Sigma Alumni Association have made the preservation of the letter  and our connection to Dickinson  a priority. Sylvester “Bud” Aichele ’42, the association’s longtime secretary, started saving copies of the publication a long time ago. When he stepped down, he forwarded them to Bob Meade ’64, the new secretary, who sent them to Marks, when he assumed the secretary position. In addition to soliciting news from alums, we return to campus three times a year, to coincide with Alumni Weekend, Homecoming & Family Weekend and the initiation of the pledge class each year in March.

The fraternity experience was a big part of my education at Dickinson. The ties that bind me and my brothers do not tie us to a national organization; they bind us to the college. They compel us to return to campus and engage as often as we can to strengthen and renew those relationships that meant so much to us when we studied and lived here. Those fraternal bonds don’t dissolve when we graduate or degrade over time. We support the active brotherhood, we support the college, and we support one another  including annual scholarships in excess of $10,000 to needy and deserving brothers.

In 2011, we established additional scholarships to recognize the individual achievements of four active brothers in leadership, scholastic achievement, service to the college and the Carlisle community, and fellowship in the names of four distinguished alumni Kappa Sigs: Bishop Fred P. Corson, class of 1917 and past president of Dickinson; Henry L. Stuart ’38; Aichele; and Walter E. Beach ’56. This is a way to support the students and honor our tradition on campus.

I’m an old-school guy. Maybe because of that, tradition means a lot to me. I worked for two of the best law-enforcement organizations in the world: the FBI and the Diplomatic Security Service for over 30 years. Each organization had a tradition of exemplary service to our country, and I am proud to have been a member of each. But my exposure to tradition began way before that: It began at Dickinson, and it began with Kappa Sigma. Brotherhood, friendship and service bound us together  and still do.

David Haag ’73 is a retired foreign-service supervisory special agent with the Diplomatic Security Service, the law-enforcement arm of the U.S. Department of State. He has served in Mexico, Australia, Jamaica and Hungary, as well as numerous domestic assignments. Haag is the current president of the Beta Pi chapter of the Kappa Sigma Alumni Association.

Read more from the winter 2015 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published January 20, 2015