DLP Founder Shares Impact of Letters on Founder’s Day

October 15, 2016

The Founder of Delta Lambda Phi, Vernon L. Strickland, III, reminded the Brotherhood the impact that our letter can have on Founder’s Day in celebration of the 30th anniversary of the Fraternity. Here are the words he shared:
As we celebrate the 30th year of our Brotherhood, I reflect upon the power of our letters. The letters are not something that you can take off and put on. They are with us every day. But taking the extra step of physically wearing the letters not only makes your presence known, but it can also make your presence make a difference. I share with you how I learned this lesson.
Back in the day, I wore my letters at least once a week. When traveling to Fraternity events, I would put on my jersey before I got on the plane or train and change into a fresh jersey after I arrived. During one long plane ride to California, I sat next to a family with a very inquisitive young boy. I remember him so clearly. He had the whitest skin I had ever seen and wore a Casper the Friendly Ghost t-shirt. He was in the fifth grade and wanted to know what my letters represented. I explained the basics of the college fraternity system, something about promoting a dignified and purposeful life, and that we did not discriminate based upon sexual orientation. He didn’t seem impressed. But it was a proud moment for me. I had made my presence known.
As the years passed and the jerseys became fewer, more worn and did not fit as well as they once did, I found myself wearing the letters only at official events. It took a trip out West to remind me of the power of the letters. I was in our western region meeting new Brothers. “I think we may have met before,” said one Brother with a cheeky grin. He had the whitest skin I had ever seen, and his Fraternity nickname was Casper. That Brother was the young boy who had sat next to me on the plane ten years earlier. Now a man, he had completed high school, come out, pledged the Fraternity and wore the same letters as I did. I believe in the power of the letters.
Thirty years later, I don’t wait for a special occasion to wear the letters. It’s my streetwear of choice. And my presence always makes a difference.
Vernon L. Strickland, III