The Virginia Chapter was the first chapter of Delta Upsilon to be installed south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Our chapter was founded in 1922 from a local organization known as the Delta Alpha Social Society, led by DeVere Rafter Weedon ’21 and William Robert Lee Cook, Jr. ’22. Under the wing of local DUs like Dr. Fiske Kimball (Harvard 1909) and Robert E. Lee (Michigan 1902), the chapter received its charter following the Pittsburgh Convention.
The chapter grew steadily in stature and numbers until World War II when the chapter was temporarily closed due to the war. The chapter was reactivated in the spring of 1949, and a group of twenty-four men energetically proceeded to establish the essential factors of an integral fraternity. Throughout the 1950s, the chapter graduated 160 men, many of whom were WWII veterans or would go on to serve in Korea and Vietnam.
In 1960, the house was located at 170 Rugby Road, the current location of Madison House, and had been completely fitted with new furnishings. It provided a home for twenty-four of the brothers, as well as served as headquarters for the business activities and social functions of the chapter as a whole. In 1967, following the brief closing and subsequent reopening of the chapter, reemerged a Delta Upsilon that embodied the traditional aspects of a fraternity with the vigor and intensity of a new group.
In June 1969, arson destroyed the house at 170 Rugby Road, forcing the chapter to relocate temporarily to the present-day Theta sorority house on Chancellor Street. After Beta Theta Pi’s charter was revoked in the early seventies, DU was able to purchase Beta’s former house at 180 Rugby Road, renovate it, and move in in time for the 1973 Fall semester. Recruitment remained strong through the 1980s and 1990s. For nearly four decades, DU called the corner of Rugby and Chancellor home, assuming unofficial stewardship of Beta Bridge.
In September 2010, the chapter moved to a new house built at 171 Madison Lane — the first new fraternity house constructed at the University in over 50 years. Since then, we have initiated more than 220 members while averaging more than 20 associates per pledge class. Despite the massive disruption and uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Virginia Chapter had some of the most successful recruitment classes and overall membership of the IFC. For example, during the Spring 2021 semester, our chapter had 78 undergraduate brothers, 20 more than the IFC average. Our cumulative GPA was 3.56, the second best in the IFC, and featured 16 brothers with 4.0 GPAs. This is a testament to our chapter’s standards and strength of brotherhood.
In April 2022, we celebrated the Virginia Chapter’s centennial anniversary at the University of Virginia. More than 130 alumni spanning six decades and their guests joined the undergraduate brotherhood for a grand celebration, featuring events Septenary Winery, the Colonnade Club, and the historic Jefferson Theater. We also held the Spring Initiation in the Dome Room of The Rotunda, marking a first in chapter history. Our most recent initiates join the more than 1,250 men who have shaped the Virginia Chapter of Delta Upsilon, and they will do so in their own way for the next generation of UVA Ducks.
Thanks to Mark Graff ’23, you can find more about DU at Virginia in the archive of Corks & Curls, the University’s former yearbook.