Theta Chi lends ‘an assisting hand’

Though the Theta Chi fraternity no longer exists on Youngstown State University’s campus, fraternity brothers of the Epsilon Delta Chapter have made a donation to the university that will contribute to the Kilcawley Center renovation.

After committing a $100,000 gift to the Kilcawley Center project, Theta Chi will be the first fraternity at YSU to have a computer laboratory named after it.

Project initiator Paul Perantinides, who graduated from YSU in 1966, worked closely with fellow Theta Chi brothers Angelo Ford and Paul Zaffaroni, both 1969 YSU graduates, to guide the project to success.

“We knew we had to raise $100,000,“ Zaffaroni said. “So, we decided to have members donate $1,000 or more each. Any donor who donated that much would get their name on the plaque.”

Zaffaroni said a number of gifts were larger than $1,000, and only a few members declined to donate. A total of 75 fraternity brothers contributed, while 13 additional gifts were donated in the names of deceased brothers.

“I’d say our batting average was about 900 percent, and in baseball, you’d get immediately inducted into the Hall of Fame, so we did pretty well,” Zaffaroni said. The fraternity brothers began raising money in November, and they achieved their goal in April.

Zaffaroni added that the project helped establish a strong base of future givers, created awareness and renewed old acquaintances.

“About five months is all it took to achieve our goal,” he said. “It was really a win- win for everybody. It created a new affiliation between members.”

Zaffaroni said the amount is already signed, sealed and committed, but that the fraternity members have a five-year span to provide the full amount.

“When we made the calls and passed it down along to chapter leaders, people were quick to recognize a good cause,” he said. “It was a way to leave a legacy behind so that they will remember us.”

The Theta Chi fraternity is one of the oldest men’s college fraternities in North America. The Epsilon Delta Chapter was established on May 12, 1956, at what was then known as Youngstown University.

Theta Chi had a Greek motto that translates to “an assisting hand,” and members of the YSU Board of Trustees said the brothers have done just that.

Trustees formally accepted the gift at their meeting on Wednesday. Unveiling of the donor plaques will take place July 21. YSU President Cynthia Anderson said she was thrilled with how well the fraternity brothers support one other.

“They are scattered all over and still made this contribution on behalf of Youngstown State and their members,” Anderson said. “They wanted to make sure that the legacy of Theta Chi lived on, and they really epitomize what fraternal life is all about.”

Catherine Cala, interim chief development officer, said the project flourished from a very diverse group.

“What has been so great about this is that even though the brothers are from various classes and various majors, it was really a testimonial to the value and respect they had for the fraternity membership,” Cala said.