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In the words of Jon M. Huntsman Sr. ’59, of his initial days as a Sigma Chi pledge…

“It didn’t take long after we pledged to find out that most of these guys (the brothers) were really rascals. They put on a terrific act of mercy by being as kind and gracious as they were during pledging. The Sigma Chi paddles were utilized. The life of a pledge, which is lower than any form of life than I’d ever known, was quickly implemented. I found out quickly that these guys were tough and determined and sometimes quite mean-spirited in making us obey their orders. It was only appropriate that we repay the favor.

                I have to admit, I was the ringleader. I led a contingent of our pledge class of 21 individuals on a snowy February night to slip quietly over to the Sigma Chi house at 3809 Locust Street and meticulously unscrew the bolts on the front door and remove this mammoth opening that had been there since 1884, when the historic home was built by the Drexel Family. Then, several of the pledges carried the door back to a secret hiding place in the freshman dorms, and we left a major gaping hole in the front of the building with nothing to cover it up during the winter’s most severe snowstorm.

                The next day the brothers pleaded with us to bring the door back. We told them no, they’d been a little too tough on us. They said, ‘Well, then we’re going to have to take drastic action.’ We decided our best move would be to give them back our pledge pins and depledge, walking out and leaving them with no pledge class. We’d, of course, keep the door.

                The brothers called every day trying to find the door (which was hidden under my bed in the freshman dorm). They sent over contingents to tell us that things were getting very serious. They threatened that we would have to bring the door back and start pledge training again, or initiation would be delayed until the next year. This didn’t matter to us pledges. We were playing hard ball.

                The brothers put a sheet up to cover the gaping hole in the meantime, but we gave them their door back after two weeks. We all realized that they needed to have a pledge class, or Sigma Chi wouldn’t survive as a fraternity. They needed us as much as we needed them, or perhaps maybe more, to keep the fraternity going in an orderly fashion. You can’t miss a pledge class, or you miss a lot of momentum.

                After getting the door back they put us through a lot of turmoil and torture, then announced we wouldn’t be initiated until we were sophomores. When we came back sophomore year we were initiated, a year after every other fraternity on campus and every other Sigma Chi chapter had been initiated. We were the last ones to make the grade, in October the following year.

                This made us feel like a special pledge class. Great leaders changed the status quo. You’ve got to do something really different to be considered for your leadership abilities. We were very united as a pledge class, and have stayed united ever since because of that event.”