Cross & Crescent a Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity publication
INSIDE: Voice ‘Like a Horn’
Remembering Frankie Laine, a hit making crooner.
Viacom MTV’s Gaming Guru
Ken Ruck is the head of wireless and interactive for Viacom’s MTV Network Kids and Family Group.
Hall of Fame Sportscaster The Origins of Founders Day March 2007 . XCIV . Issue 3
Cross & Crescent a Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity publication Features Chapter News 3 Chapter and Alumni News Fraternity News 6 Recognizing Achievements History 8 Why We Have Two Founders Days
A Voice ‘Like a Horn’ Frankie Laine, an honorary member of Lambda Chi Alpha and one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940s and 1950s, died February 6, 2007. He is perhaps best remembered by younger generations for his recordings of the theme to the hit TV Western “Rawhide” and the theme to Mel Brooks’ 1974 big-screen Western spoof “Blazing Saddles.” By Tad Lichtenauer
Viacom MTV’s Gaming Guru Ken Ruck is the head of wireless and interactive for MTV Network Kids and Family Group. He is responsible for the wireless and interactive content for any brand or property within MTV Networks that targets children or families. By Tad Lichtenauer
Hall of Fame Sportscaster A Michigan Sports Hall of Fame inductee, Ray Lane spent 40 memorable years as a play-by-play man and sports broadcaster. Lane’s broadcast career spans football, baseball, and basketball, plus he also spent several years as a TV sports anchor and sports director. By Tad Lichtenauer Contributions
Publisher: Bill Farkas Editor: Jason Pearce Assistant Editor: Chris Barrick Assistant Editor: Tad Lichtenauer Illustrator: Jeff Reisdorfer Podcast Voice: Fuzz Martin Photographer: Walt Moser Assignment Editor: Jon Williamson Historian: Mike Raymond Contributing Editors: Jono Hren Aaron Jones George Spasyk
Content for consideration should be submitted by the fiftenth of the month. Lambda Chi Alpha 8741 Founders Rd Indianapolis, IN 46268-1338 (317) 872-8000 firstname.lastname@example.org www.lambdachi.org www.crossandcrescent.com
Cross & Crescent MARCH 2007
Chapter News Chapter news, alumni news, and reports of death Alabama (Alpha-Phi)
East Carolina (Iota-Upsilon)
The University of Alabama System Board of Trustees approved the budget for Lambda Chi Alpha to build a freestanding alumni hall next to the chapter house. The addition includes 17 single-occupant dormitory rooms.
Chapter Alumni Adviser Bruce Whitten received the IFC Alumni Adviser of the Year Award. He has served as alumni adviser for the past four years during which time the chapter house was renovated, an outstanding debt to the General Fraternity was paid, and chapter membership doubled.
Bowling Green State (Phi-Mu)
The chapter received the 2006 Hollis A. Moore Philanthropy Award, the 2006 Hollis A. Moore Community Service Award, and the 2006 Bronze Achievement Award for Chapter Excellence.
Florida Southern (Epsilon-Xi)
Rob Collins (1984) was named the corporate vice president of advertising for Herschend Family Entertainment based in Norcross, Georgia. Previously, Collins was the president of Focus Point Advertising in Charlotte, North Carolina, a company he founded specializing in tourism marketing.
Chapter President Joseph M. Koval (2007) won the first ever Thomas D. Hayn Outstanding IFC Chapter President Award, renamed for Thomas D. Hayn (2006), the former chapter president who died in April 2006. The award is presented to the IFC president that demonstrates outstanding chapter leadership, motivational ability, strong character, and ideals.
Houston Area Alumni Association
Approximately 15 alumni, including U.S. Congressman Kevin Brady (South Dakota 1976), attended the Houston Area Alumni Association reception held on January 16, 2007.
Illinois State (Beta-Omicron)
Chapter alumni held a reunion at the Shrine Center in Addison, Illinois.
The chapter won the 2006 IFC Recruitment and New Member Education Award. John MacFeeters (2007) won the IFC Outstanding Athlete Award.
California State-Sacramento (Phi-Pi)
Led by President and CEO Christopher Quinn (1990), Corporate Transportation Solutions, Inc. was a named one of three finalists for the Limousine & Chauffeured Transportation Magazineâ€™s Operator of the Year Award at its annual convention and trade show in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Jeff Slostad (1996) opened Global Libations, a coffee shop located in Kutztown, Pennsylvania.
Brad Schroeder (1983) died. James Kelly (1986) died July 11, 2006.
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Los Angeles Area Alumni Association
The chapter achieved a significant milestone for the fall semester with a 3.20 GPA, which topped both the all-men’s and the all-fraternity averages. Sigma’s new initiates also topped the IFC new men’s GPA with a 3.18. The alumni association rewarded the chapter’s achievements with monetary awards and plaques to be permanently displayed in the chapter house.
Approximately 15 alumni attended the Los Angeles Area Alumni Association reception held on January 30, 2007, hosted at the home of Academy Award-winning make-up artist Michael Westmore (CaliforniaSanta Barbara 1961).
Minnesota State (Lambda-Delta)
The chapter earned a 2.79 GPA for the fall 2006 semester, ranking second of all fraternities.
Louisiana State (Upsilon)
Missouri-Kansas City (Sigma-Rho)
Clifford Rinehart was selected as a member of the Pilgrimage Garden Club court that will reign during the first half of the pageant performance March 9 to 24, 2007, at the Natchez City Auditorium in Natchez, Mississippi.
Chapter Vice President Tyler Musto won the Mr. Congeniality 2007 Award at the Court Warming game.
Louisiana Tech (Theta-Psi)
Aaron Welch (2006) was named 2007 Greek Alumnus of the year.
William Dozier Jr. (1943) died February 12, 2007. He was the former editor and publisher of the Kerrville Daily Times in Kerrville, Texas, and served in World War II, the Korean War, and the U.S. Navy Reserve until his retirement as a commander.
Newport Beach Area Alumni Association
Approximately 30 alumni attended the Newport Beach Area Alumni Association reception held on January 31, 2007.
Organized by Joe Johnson (1979), approximately 80 alumni gathered for a reunion during Homecoming Weekend. Events included a golf outing, tailgate party, attending the football game, a continental breakfast at the chapter house, and a gathering at the house of Bill Wetherton (1964).
North Dakota (Epsilon-Zeta) The chapter earned a 3.01 GPA for the fall 2006 semester, placing it third among all fraternities. In addition, the chapter hosted Director of Chapter Services John Holloway (High Point 1993) for a ritual workshop in a three-day event.
Jeff Foley (1977) died January 30, 2007.
Northeastern State (Delta-Beta)
Jamie Adams (1985) is the deputy for avionics and software, constellation program for NASA at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. He was previously with The Boeing Company.
Approximately 25 chapter members volunteered their time to cater the Tahlequah City Hospital’s annual Heart Ball Gala. Brian Konieczny (2007), Jake Prill (2008), and Chris Cone (2008) were named to the Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.
Chapter members Ethan Rein (2007) and Andrew Turckes (2008) joined brothers from Michigan State and Kettering for the first informal Midwest ritualist conference.
The chapter was named intramural champions for the fall 2006 semester, the 10th time in the past 15 semesters that the chapter has won this honor.
Chris VanDeusen (2008) was elected to the Executive Board of the Interfraternity Council as 2007 vice president of internal affairs. Doug Sayranian (2009) is a member of the Greek Activities Review Panel, the judicial branch of the Michigan Greek system.
Oklahoma City (Theta-Delta)
David Nunn (1953) died February 13, 2007.
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The university’s student newspaper profiled the success of the chapter’s resurgence on campus.
The chapter initiated its 1,000th member in January 2007.
Oregon State (Alpha-Lambda)
Former chapter president John Cockerham (2003) received a 12-month fellowship to serve as a CEO-in-training with Samaritan Health Systems, the Corvallis-based health care organization. During his fellowship, he will shadow Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital CEO David Bigelow and Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital CEO Jack Flaig.
Texas-El Paso (Zeta-Epsilon)
The chapter earned a 2.94 GPA for the fall 2006 semester, better than all the Greek GPA’s and higher than the allmale and all-female averages. This has earned the chapter the highest GPA for the second year in a row.
Edward Gustamante (1986) died April 18, 2006.
Penn State (Zeta)
Texas-San Antonio (Phi-Upsilon)
Towson (Phi-Omega Colony)
Greg Mikesell (1999) is featured in the most recent issue of university’s Sombrilla. Mikesell is currently the president of Definitive Custom Homes in San Antonio, Texas.
The chapter partnered with Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority to raise $212,000 in the university’s 2007 dance marathon, finishing in the top three.
On February 2, 2007, the Grand High Zeta declared the chapter inactive due to an unhealthy undergraduate culture that is inconsistent with the core values, traditions, and ideals of Lambda Chi Alpha. Under inactive status, the chapter is closed and no member can represent the organization, or conduct events in the name of Lambda Chi Alpha
Chapter members raised $5,422 during the Maryland State Police Polar Bear Plunge, an annual fund-raiser for Special Olympics Maryland.
The chapter celebrated its first Associate Member Ceremony since its re-colonization.
A 1973 Lambda Chi Alpha Alumni Achievement Award recipient, Charles Stock’s (1932) lifetime achievements were profiled in the Terre Haute, Indiana, newspaper. Stock was named one of America’s most outstanding scientists in 1954, and he was highly lauded for his many years of cancer treatment research.
Wake Forest (Theta-Tau)
Former chaplain Edgar Christman (1950) received the Medallion of Merit, the university’s highest award for service.
Villanova (Beta-Iota) The chapter earned a 3.08 GPA for the fall 2006 semester, which was the highest of all the fraternities and above the all-men’s GPA.
Larry Wall Jr. (1988) joined the U.S. Army Reserve.
San Antonio Alumni Association
Approximately 25 alumni attended the San Antonio Alumni Association reception held on January 17, 2007.
Western Illinois (Beta-Tau)
San Diego Area Alumni Association
Approximately 35 alumni attended the San Diego Area Alumni Association reception held on January 29, 2007.
Bill Helton (1991) works as a nurse at Bon Secours Hospital in Grosse Pointe, Michigan.
Southeastern Oklahoma State (Pi-Sigma)
Chapter members and alumni attended a reception on February 10, 2007, to celebrate the chapter’s new charter.
The chapter earned a 3.15 GPA for the fall 2006 semester, which was the highest of fraternities and above the all-men’s average.
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Recognizing Achievements Honoring our most successful members.
By Jason Pearce (Elon 1994)
When Frankie Laine (Miami-FL HON) died last month, he left behind a musical legacy that may never be surpassed by a member of Lambda Chi Alpha.
the award in General Assembly years, but they may receive it at another appropriate event such as area alumni receptions.
One of the most successful American singers of the twentieth century, Laine produced 17 songs that climbed to the top 10 on the U.S. Billboard Charts, sold more than 100 million records, and became most famous for his theme songs to Westerns “Blazing Saddles,” “Bullwhip,” and “Rawhide.”
Even if the Fraternity were to give out 20 Order of Achievements a year, we still wouldn’t be able to honor those who are deserving before their passing.
Yet despite all of his accomplishments, Laine never received Lambda Chi Alpha’s most prestigious award, the Order of Achievement. Having initiated more than 250,000 men since its founding in 1909, many of our members — like Laine — have made extraordinary contributions in their chosen professions.
At this very moment, we have multiple members currently serving as congressmen, state supreme court justices, Nobel Prize winners, Hollywood actors, TV personalities, Fortune 500 CEOs, military generals, astronauts, professional athletes, and even a few billionaires.
The Fraternity has two main avenues of recognizing these men and their accomplishments, which are to feature them in the Cross & Crescent and to honor them with the Order of Achievement award. While the Cross & Crescent features two to three alumni in each monthly issue, the Order of Achievement has averaged only two recipients a year since its inception.
While these extraordinary accomplished individuals frequently grace the pages of the Cross & Crescent, most have neither received the Order of Achievement nor been nominated.
Order of Achievement Established in 1958, “The Order of Achievement shall consist of alumni members who have distinguished themselves by outstanding success in the fields of business, industry, the arts, science, or other professions and thereby have brought honor and respect to the Fraternity,” according to the Constitution.
It’s not that they aren’t deserving of the award. In 2000, the Grand High Zeta drafted and approved a document titled “Protocol for Election of Order of Achievement Winners” that better defines the parameters and criteria a candidate must meet in order to be considered. This document provides two pages of qualifying examples such as Nobel or Emmy Award winners, presidents or CEOs of NYSE and NASDAQ traded companies, congressmen and senators, or coaches and athletes of professional sports teams.
In almost 50 years, 101 members have received this honor. Recipients include President Harry S. Truman (Missouri-Columbia HON), psychologist B.F. Skinner (Hamilton 1926), U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry A. Blackmun (Harvard 1929), Gen. James H. “Jimmy” Doolittle (California-Berkeley 1918), and Academy awardwinning actor Dean Jagger (Wabash 1922). But is that enough?
Using these qualifiers, the Communication department has organized a list of more than 700 extraordinary members — and growing. Research and Discovery Each month, the Cross & Crescent team searches for two to three alumni who have interesting and successful stories to tell. Some of our leads are submitted by our readers, while other discoveries come from good old research and journalism.
The Grand High Zeta is limited to electing no more than 10 alumni every two years. Most recipients are elected to receive
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FRATERNITY NEWS To help us keep track of our most successful members and story ideas, we developed and maintain a web-based list that we call “Notable Members.” While a few of these men have received the Order of Achievement, the vast majority have not.
Why So Few Awards? In the development world, prestigious awards given to prestigious individuals often help lure those members back into the fold. They reaffirm the member’s roots and relationship with an organization in hopes they may one day share some of their financial successes or knowledge.
Here are some examples of how few of our members have received the award in each professional category. • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •
Academy Award: 1 of 4 Astronaut: 1 of 3 Basketball Hall of Fame: 1 of 3 College Football Hall of Fame: 0 of 3 College or University President: 5 of 35 Congressman: 8 of 30 Fortune 1000 CEO: 3 of 14 Hollywood Walk of Fame: 2 of 4 Military General: 2 of 23 MLB All-Star Game: 0 of 3 MLB Hall of Fame: 0 of 3 NFL Hall of Fame: 0 of 3 NFL Pro Bowl Game: 0 of 10 NFL Super Bowl: 0 of 14 Nobel Prize: 0 of 2 Presidential Medal of Freedom: 2 of 4 Rhodes Scholar: 0 of 23 Senator: 6 of 10 State Supreme Court Justice: 0 of 11 West Point Graduate: 0 of 114
Universities and colleges are sometimes criticized for granting honorary degrees in exchange for large donations. While both the Grand High Zeta and Foundation Board do not treat the Order of Achievement as a cultivation tool, it’s hidden value is always out there. Same holds true for the Cross & Crescent. For each story, we conduct an hour-long interview and produce a two-page story telling the world about his accomplishments. It feels good to be recognized. So much so, they may one day choose to give a little back. But if financial reward isn’t the real barrier for limiting Order of Achievement recognition, what is? Much like university honorary degrees, Lambda Chi Alpha would like to confer the Order of Achievement award with great pomp and ceremony. We want to have the recipient attend a grand banquet filled with hundreds of members. We dream of grand speeches about how more Lambda Chis can make valuable contributions to society the way they did.
By all accounts, this is an impressive list of names and accomplishments. A list like this makes one feel proud to be a Lambda Chi. You might even go so far as to say that Lambda Chi Alpha played a part in helping these men rise to the top.
In most cases, that’s what the 100 recipients gave us. Having heard a few of those speeches myself, I can attest that powerful words coming from powerful people have a way of instilling magical moments of inspiration. With success, however, comes greater inaccessibility. While our most successful members may want to attend a conference or reception in their honor, their busy schedules of leading wars abroad or Fortune 500 companies on Wall Street prevent them from doing so.
In many cases, we did.
Take Laine for example. While his career did slow down in the 1980s due to triple and quadruple heart bypasses, he continued recording albums including “Wheels Of A Dream” in 1998, “Old Man Jazz” in 2002, and “The Nashville Connection” in 2004 right up to his death.
Story after story, issue after issue, the Cross & Crescent hears these men say, “I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for Lambda Chi.” They talk about the experience they gained serving as chapter officers, the people skills they learned while working with a diverse group of men, and the creative energy they received from friends with nicknames like “Tippy” and “Sudds.” Many of our most notable members are proud to be Lambda Chis, and much like good parents, we couldn’t be happier for the way they turned out.
Lambda Chi Alpha is incredibly proud of Laine’s accomplishments. Sadly, along with many others like him, it is too late for us to tell him so.
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Why We Have Two Founders Days The origin of our Founders Day celebrations Much controversy and mystersy surrounds the origin of our two Founders Day celebrations, which are March 22 and November 2. The source of this controversy involves the names of men familiar to all Lambda Chis.
By Mike Raymond (Miami-OH 1967) Borrowing from Masonic terminology, McIntosh calls Mason, Fischer, and Dyer the “great lights casting lengthy shadows” and Cross and Robbins the “lesser lights” of our Fraternity. The fact that Lambda Chi Alpha has two sets of Founding Fathers has led to the unusual and confusing situation wherein we also have two Founders Day celebrations.
Strong emotions, differing leadership styles, unyielding attitudes, and conflicting opinions about the direction and organization of our fraternity contributed to the creation of these two dates.
Our original Founders Day on November 2, 1909, was exclusively celebrated to commemorate our founding at Boston University, at least until 1942.
Two Days to Honor Them All Warren A. Cole (Boston 1912) is recognized as our founder and prime mover in our expansion from a small group of like-minded men at Boston University to a national fraternal organization.
Our second Founders Day, March 22, 1913, was originally celebrated as Lambda Chi Alpha Day to recognize the fundamental changes the delegates at the Second Assembly, which was held in Boston, made to our fraternity that year.
Cole had a gift for organization and a tireless commitment to his work as he set about creating our Fraternity.
Lambda Chi Alpha Day was changed to Founders Day in 1942.
His vision of Lambda Chi Alpha’s guiding beliefs, principles, ritual, and symbols, however, was underdeveloped and lacked significant meaning for our earliest members.
The Rest of the Story Establishing November 2, 1909, as the founding date for Lambda Chi Alpha was just one of a number of options for Cole, Mason, and other early leaders of our Fraternity.
Bruce McIntosh (DePauw 1916), in the 1929 Expositor, put it this way:
Other dates that were considered by them were:
“Lambda Chi Alpha did not have ‘founders’ in the ordinary acception (sic) of the term. The men who organized the first Zeta definitely planned to build a national or international fraternity for college men, but their conception of this had little in common with the form which the society took immediately after men from other early chapters had an opportunity to exert an influence. Ideas brought to the infant society by these men...are what gave Lambda Chi Alpha the foundation in spiritual values and organization upon which it has developed into one of the outstanding university brotherhoods.”
• April 10, 1910: First recording of “Lambda Chi Alpha” in Boston chapter minutes • October 3, 1910: First new members initiated by Boston chapter • November 15, 1911: Boston chapter charter was issued and first Grand High Zeta elected • November 23, 1911: Boston chapter members declared themselves charter members
McIntosh would also claim that Lambda Chi Alpha, as we know it today, was the product of a group of young men that included John E. Mason (Pennsylvania 1913), Ernst J.C. Fischer (Cornell 1910), Samuel Dyer (Maine 1912), and to a lesser extent Albert Cross (Pennsylvania 1913) and Louis F. Robbins (Brown 1912).
Eventually, November 2, 1909, was selected as the point of origin for Cole’s concept. As such, it has marked the birthday of our Fraternity for nearly 100 years.
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HISTORY The March 22, 1913, date was selected as the second Founders Day because it was associated with the opening of the Second Assembly.
In 1931, at the Fourteenth Assembly in Asheville, Tennessee, Resolution XV was submitted by Mason to establish Lambda Chi Alpha Day. Mason envisioned the day as a time for members to contemplate the achievements of the Fraternity, pay homage to its unselfish servants, renew their loyalty to the brotherhood, and to support its worthy activities.
Not only was this the first assembly with representatives from more than one chapter, it was also the place where sweeping changes were made in the fundamental nature of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. In 1929, the editor of the Purple, Green, and Gold Magazine said, “... at this assembly the present esoteric name of the Fraternity, the present foundations, ritual, insignia, and basic organization of Lambda Chi Alpha were adopted.”
Mason also expressed his belief that “... no other date is more suitable for the converging of the sentiment and devotion of all Lam Chis, than March 22, 1913, when delegates of Lambda Chi Alpha met in Boston to authorize the ritual and present meaning of Lambda Chi Alpha....” In short order, the delegates approved Resolution XV.
The Second Assembly brought to an end the brainchild of Cole and replaced it with a fraternity that was essentially new in everything but its name. Mason, sometimes called our “Spiritual Founder,” with the help of his small committee, was responsible for the remarkable transformation of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity that occurred at the Second Assembly. A Tangled Web An important aspect of this tangled story of two Founders Days was the personal relationships of our early Fraternity leaders. At the time, they did not share the same vision and did not agree on how it should be organized and administered.
Shortly after the assembly, Mason wrote a brief commentary on Lambda Chi Alpha Day in the October 1931 issue of the Cross and Crescent magazine. His animosity toward Cole, nearly 12 years after the events of the Seventh Assembly, was very evident.
Unfortunately, the leaders often allowed their disagreements to sour their personal relationships.
We have two Founders Days, at least in part, because of the clash of ideas, personalities, and opinions of some of our most prominent leaders who served during the Fraternity’s early growth and development.
Growing dissatisfaction with Cole’s administration of the Fraternity led to what was characterized as “a condition approaching a state of war with Albert Cross, Epsilon, in the summer of 1913; L.F. Robbins, Iota, in the autumn of the same year; and virtually the entire Grand High Zeta at the Third Boston Assembly; with J.E. Mason, Epsilon, in the autumn of 1917; with E.J.C. Fischer, Omicron ... just before the Michigan Assembly....”
Another Web Remains to Be Untangled From 1931 to 1942, our Fraternity celebrated Founders Day on November 2 and Lambda Chi Alpha Day on March 22 of each year. This arrangement allowed for the recognition of Cole’s and Mason’s contributions.
Of course, it was at the Seventh Assembly held in Ann Arbor, Michigan, that all of this internal dissatisfaction led to a power struggle that was won by Cole’s detractors.
On January 17, 1942 the Grand High Zeta, feeling that the name Lambda Chi Alpha Day did not truly describe the occasion, decided to change the name to Founder’s Day.
As a result of this struggle, Cole would leave the fraternity he created and not return until 1957.
A recent search of the archive at our International Headquarters found no official record of this decision. The events surrounding the designation of Lambda Chi Alpha Day as Founders Day in 1942 are unknown at this time.
In the aftermath of the assembly, there was a systematic attempt to downplay Cole’s role in founding our fraternity. His name was seldom mentioned in any official publication. Often he would be referred to as “the G.H.A. at the time,” the “Founder,” or other euphemism.
Furthermore, no attempt seems to have been made to re-name the original November 2, 1909, Founders Day.
The March 1927 issue of the Cross and Crescent, then an esoteric magazine, featured an article, Who Are Our Founders?, that expressed the need for a special recognition day to honor the early leaders of our fraternity. This article was followed by a proposal in the May Cross and Crescent that called for the creation of Jack Mason’s Day! www.crossandcrescent.com
Hopefully, someone will come forward with the rest of this story. Until then, we have two Founders Days to celebrate each year.
Cross & Crescent
A Voice ‘Like a Horn’ Frankie Laine, one of the most popular entertainers of the 1940s and 1950s, died February 6, 2007. Frankie Laine, part of a generation of great ItalianAmerican crooners whose peers included Frank Sinatra and Perry Como, died February 7, 2007, of a heart attack after hip-replacement surgery at the Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, California.
By Tad Lichtenauer (Butler 1987)
Laine and his partner reportedly set the all-time marathon dance record in Atlantic City, New Jersey, staying on their feet for a total of 3,501 hours over 145 consecutive days and sharing a $1,000 prize. He also worked as a dance instructor, singing waiter, and nightclub performer before getting his big break in the mid-1940s, when Hoagy Carmichael heard him sing one of Carmichael’s own compositions, Rocking Chair.
Often referred to as the first of the blue-eyed soul singers, Laine’s style cleared the way for many artists who arose in the late 1940s and early 1950s, including Kay Starr, Tony Bennett, Johnnie Ray, and Elvis Presley.
That discovery led to a steady job at Billy Berg’s jazz club in Hollywood and a recording contract with Mercury Records. His first studio session yielded a recording of That’s My Desire, which became a No. 4 hit on the U.S. charts in 1947. Topping the Charts In 1950, after “That Lucky Old Sun,” “Mule Train,” and “The Cry of the Wild Goose” all hit No. 1 on the charts, Laine signed with Columbia Records.
Laine’s voice was electric, direct, and clear. He took a lusty, rough-edged approach to his music, saying he was inspired to do so by listening to Louis Armstrong play the trumpet.
Shortly thereafter, Laine shifted toward country, western, and pop genres, scoring a string of hits with Jezebel, Hey, Good Lookin, Jealousy, High Noon, and Tell Me a Story.
“I use my voice like a horn,” he told “The Saturday Evening Post” in 1954.
“People like to say, ‘Oh, I wouldn’t change a thing,’” he said in an interview for the book Off the Record: An Oral History of Popular Music. “But if I had it to do over again, there is one thing I would change. I would make it happen maybe 10 years sooner.
Laine amassed 21 gold records and dozens of songs on the singles charts in the United States and abroad, selling roughly 250 million albums. Humble Beginnings Born Francesco Paolo LoVecchio on March 30, 1913, Laine was the oldest of eight children of John LoVecchio and his wife, Anna, both of whom had left Palermo, Sicily, and settled in the Little Italy section of Chicago, Illinois. At age 12, Laine heard the gunshots that killed his grandfather. No one was arrested, but Laine was told that his grandfather had sometimes acted as a “peacemaker” between warring factions of the mob.
Laine also proved to be particularly popular in Britain, where his 1953 rendition of “I Believe” topped the charts for a record 18 weeks. Thirty years later, a collection of his greatest hits, “The World of Frankie Laine”, also topped the British charts.
“Organized crime, ‘the mob,’ or whatever you want to call it was a fact of life in the Chicago of the 1920s,” Laine wrote in his autobiography, noting that his father, a barber, was sometimes summoned by gangster Al Capone for a shave or haircut.
“He was huge abroad,” his longtime producer Jimmy Marino told Reuters news service. “He might have been bigger abroad than he was here, and he was huge here.” Laine may best be remembered by younger generations for his recordings of the theme to the hit TV Western “Rawhide”
At 18, Laine left home to try his luck in the marathon dance craze that swept the country in the early 1930s.
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and the theme to Mel Brooks’ 1974 big-screen Western spoof “Blazing Saddles,” which was nominated for an Oscar.
“I remember when the Miami (Florida) chapter initiated him as an honorary member,” says Executive Vice President Emeritus George Spasyk (Michigan 1949).
Laine’s variety show “Frankie Laine Time” ran for two summers, 1955 and 1956, on CBS. He also appeared in films including “When You’re Smiling” and “Sunny Side of the Street.” As his popularity faded at home following his last U.S. top10 hit, 1957’s Love Is a Golden Ring, Laine turned to the international cabaret circuit with performances that included an increasing number of inspirational and religious tunes.
In those days a petition for honorary membership was very rare. It was a very extensive process and included several letters of recommendation, all of which was reviewed by the Grand High Zeta and voted upon by U.S. mail.
On June 12, 1996, Laine was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 27th Annual Songwriters’ Hall of Fame awards ceremony at the New York Sheraton. On his 80th birthday, the United States Congress declared him to be a national treasure. Along with three other Lambda Chis, Laine has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame found at 6385 Hollywood Blvd.
“We didn’t have many celebrities in those days, so (former Cross & Crescent Editor) Linn Lightner (Franklin & Marshall 1918) was absolutely ecstatic because it gave him fodder for the Cross & Crescent on a number of occasions,” Spasyk recalls.
Helping Others Along with opening the door for many R&B performers, Laine played a minor role in the equal rights movements of the 1950s and 1960s.
Remembered Forever Following two coronary bypass surgeries, Laine had been in good health in recent years, and his last public performance was at the age of 92, singing the first big hit, “That’s My Desire,” on a public television special.
When Nat King Cole’s television show was unable to get a sponsor, Laine crossed the color line, becoming the first white artist to appear as a guest, foregoing his usual salary of $10,000.
His first marriage, of 40 years, was to Nan Grey, an actress; she died in 1993. He is survived by his wife, the former Marcia Ann Kline, whom he married in 1999; a brother, Phillip LoVecchio of Chicago, Illinois; his stepdaughters Pamela Donner of Sherman Oaks, California, and Jan Steiger of Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, from his first marriage; and two grandsons.
Many other top white singers followed suit, including Tony Bennett and Rosemary Clooney, but Cole’s show still couldn’t get enough sponsors to continue.
Laine’s family released a statement saying upon his death: “He will be forever remembered for the beautiful music he brought into this world, his wit and sense of humor, along with the love he shared with so many.”
In the following decade, Laine joined several African-American artists who gave a free concert for Martin Luther King’s supporters during their famous civil rights marches. Laine was also active in many charities, including Meals on Wheels and The Salvation Army. Honorary Membership In 1952, Laine accepted an invitation for honorary membership in Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity while he was in Miami Beach, Florida, to perform a concert.
Cross & Crescent
Viacom MTV’s Gaming Guru Ken Ruck is the head of wireless and interactive for Viacom’s MTV Network Kids and Family Group. When KEn Ruck shows up to work each day, he finds six cell phones, a Sony PlayStation 3, a Nintendo Wii, and a Microsoft Xbox 360 in his office.
By Tad Lichtenauer (Butler 1987)
When Ruck and his team develop a game or a platform for a mobile device, they have to develop up to 500 different versions just to cover the U.S. market. Ruck’s group builds all types or wireless content, including everything from videos, games, screen savers, wallpapers, ring tones, and text messaging products.
And to maintain perspective, he also has an Atari 2600 that was originally sold in 1977.
One of their latest services is a video-clips service channel that enables users to watch video clips on their cell phones.
“I did play games early (in my childhood) but I wasn’t a gamer all my life,” Ruck (Delaware 1991) says. “I got more involved in it once I understood the potential.”
Last summer, Ruck says, the Nickelodeon show “Mr. Meaty” was launched for cell phones even before it was available on cable TV. In addition, some wireless carriers also offer a simulcast of Nickelodeon’s programming.
Today, Ruck is the senior director of wireless and interactive television for Viacom MTV Network Kids and Family Group with responsibilities for the continental United States.
“For Nickelodeon, the kids and family group, for all of our brands, the primary factors for success is really about content ubiquity,” he says. “What I mean by that is being able to get our content to as many different media and devices where our users are — whether that’s the Internet, television, cell phones, or iPods.”
MTV Network Kids and Family Group is a group of media properties owned by Viacom MTV that focuses their brands and products toward kids or parents. Those brands include the TV networks of Nickelodeon; Noggin, which is a toddler network; and The N, which gears itself more toward younger teens.
Passion for New Technologies Ruck has spent his career moving back and forth between Internet start-up companies and working for large media companies such as ACNielsen, Viacom, or Virgin.
Ruck also manages content for two internet-based properties, Parents Connect and GoCityKids, as well as two other web-based properties, Neopets and Shockwave, which are mainly gaming portals.
“It was always really about following where the medium was going or following what the next place the user was going to access their medium on,” Ruck says.
“So any brand or property within MTV Networks that programs their content toward kids or families, I’m responsible for the wireless and the interactive content,” he says.
He says in the Internet days it was always a lot more obvious. “It was a brand new movement where users were going to their computers to play games that they hadn’t played before against people from around the world,” he says. “They were watching videos; they were engaging with other people.”
Complexities of a New Environment One of the biggest challenges Ruck faces with wireless content development is that it’s a new technology that faces an entirely new set of business rules governing content distribution.
After about 10 years, Ruck says he quickly saw that mobility, or more precisely portability, was going to be the killer concept.
Plus, it’s a unique and very complex technology where every carrier has a different technology platform, and every wireless handset has a different operating system.
With the emergence of Apple iPods, where people could take their music on the go, it was only a matter of time before they would want to watch their videos and play games anywhere they went.
Cross & Crescent
FEATURE “I saw that cell phones were already pretty pervasive and I saw an emerging industry for content there, so I made the move from the Internet into the mobile space.” He says he really enjoys the challenges of the emerging technologies and their supporting business models, which are still being created.
BellSouth Chairman/CEO Retires With AT&T’s acquisition of BellSouth, former BellSouth Chairman and CEO F. Duane Ackerman (Rollins 1964) will now serve as chairman emeritus of BellSouth during a transition period.
“I enjoy being on the forefront of media distribution, getting content — that is games or video — to a place it hasn’t been before, where users really want to use it and consume it,” he says.
Prior to the acquisition, Atlanta, Georgia-based BellSouth Corporation was a Fortune 60 company and the 10th largest telecommunications company in the world. Ironically, Ackerman began his lifelong career in telecommunications in 1964 when he first joined AT&T.
Keeping Parents Engaged The world of mobile gaming is not only new, but it also is a very lucrative business with more than $1 billion in sales in 2006, Ruck says. And that number is expected to grow significantly over the next few years.
A passionate supporter of education and giving back to the community, Ackerman was quoted in a fall 1998 Cross & Crescent article talking about how important a role Lambda Chi plays in producing strong corporate leaders.
Ruck says it’s lucrative because nothing is really ever given away for free, whereas on the Internet, users typically expect free downloads.
He said that the Fraternity offers its undergraduate members the unique opportunity to practice running a small business and making sound, value-based decisions.
Ruck says the wireless content they develop always speaks to the age of the targeted consumers, but their marketing and advertising speaks to parents.
“At that age, the values that you have, that you represent, and that you are willing to live, are indelible,” said Ackerman. “They will have a lot to say about your future. You can’t run a family without values, and you can’t run a business without values. So I’m sure you won’t be able to sustain a fraternity without them.”
“We have a lot of processes in place where we follow both internal guidelines as well as regulatory guidelines in regards to marketing to children,” he says.
Lambda Chi brothers living in Ruck’s dorm first introduced him to the Fraternity. He says he gravitated toward them because they had similar interests.
“Kids must have parental consent whenever there’s any kind of marketing of commerce,” he says. Viacom MTV also must follow all the guidelines and policies established by groups like the Children’s On-line Privacy Protection Act and the Federal Communications Commission.
After joining Lambda Chi, Ruck was heavily involved, serving on different committees and as the chapter’s ritualist. “My years of standing up in front of a room of young, intelligent, college guys and trying to convince them to go in one direction or to follow one principle definitely pays off now,” he says.
Nickelodeon prides itself on being at the forefront of protecting children’s privacy and interests. They have been a pioneer in children’s entertainment and the No. 1 cable television network for children for the past 12 years.
Today, whether he is giving a speech in front of a few hundred people or fielding questions in front of a room full of reporters, his experiences at Lambda Chi have helped him gain confidence in managing these different situations.
Early Leadership Skills At the University of Delaware, Ruck majored in biological sciences, which taught him a way of understanding logic and applying that logic to different areas. “My core studies were in biology and chemistry, but really it was about understanding principles and logic and applying that to different business areas,” he says.
Cross & Crescent
Hall of Fame Sportscaster Ray Lane spent 40 memorable years as a play-by-play man and sports broadcaster.
By Tad Lichtenauer (Butler 1987)
“ray always struck me as a pro’s Pro,” says Josh Lewin (Northwestern 1990), who currently does play-by-play for the Texas Rangers, San Diego Chargers, and FOX-TV. “Great pipes, great presentation, and always prepared.”
With Magic Johnson playing for Michigan State and Larry Bird playing for Indiana State, Lane says it was just a precursor of things to come in the NBA.
Ray Lane (Michigan State 1953) and Lewin first crossed paths in Detroit, Michigan, when Lewin spent a few years doing play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers TV broadcast from 1998 to 2001.
Born to Broadcast “From the time I had the biggest mouth in the neighborhood, I wanted to go into sportscasting, sports broadcasting,” Lane says.
“Both guys, when you took a look at them, you knew they were going to be spectacular in the pros,” Lane says.
The admiration Lewin expressed for Lane is mutual.
Michigan State was one of the few universities back in the 1960s that offered both journalism courses and a new radio and television department.
“Josh is a darn good announcer,” Lane says. “He’s probably one of the best announcers I’ve ever seen.”
“So I knew I wanted to go there,” he says. “I had the great fortune to get a baseball scholarship to go there.”
Lane has been a sports fixture in Michigan for the past four decades doing play-by-play for the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions, Detroit Pistons, the University of Michigan football, Michigan State University football, and University of Detroit basketball.
Lane played outfield on the varsity baseball team for three years. When asked about his abilities he jokes and says, “I was a slow runner, not a bad thrower, and a weak hitter.” The Korean War had just begun when Lane graduated from Michigan State. He tried to enroll in a master’s program and play some professional baseball but the U.S. Army drafted him, preventing him from continuing his education.
Outside of Michigan, Lane’s other works include a stint doing play-by-play with the Cincinnati Reds from 1979 to 1984 and some duties with ESPN during their early beginnings in the 1980s.
Lane spent two years in the Army at various military bases. After the military, he found a small TV station in Cadillac, Michigan, where he did a little bit of everything.
Career Highlights “I guess the highlights would be doing pro baseball with the Detroit Tigers for 16 years — radio and TV,” Lane says. “Being part of the 1968 World Series goes back a number of years. I did the pre-game show on CBS.”
Working his way up the broadcasting system, Lane spent the next two years in Waterloo, Iowa, then another three years in Saginaw/Bay City, Michigan.
Lane also enjoyed spending seven years as the play-by-play man for the Cincinnati Reds. “I was not there when it was the Big Red Machine,” he says. “I got there when it just starting to crack down a little bit in ‘79 to ‘85. But to watch Pete Rose and Johnny Bench certainly would have to be highlights for me.”
That’s where the big break came and he got the opportunity to interview in Detroit with the CBS affiliate. Making It to the Big League When Lane landed the job in Detroit he thought he would stay there only a few years, but it ended up being 22. Little did he know at the time that he would get the opportunity to do professional baseball, football, and basketball.
He then had the opportunity to broadcast Michigan State football and basketball for about four years, getting to call the basketball game when Michigan State won the NCAA championship in 1979 against Indiana State.
“I lucked out, really I did,” he says.
Cross & Crescent
FEATURE When Lane auditioned for the baseball job in 1965, he was hired for the first two years to do TV and then he was also offered the radio job. “I had the great opportunity to work with the broadcast hall of famer Earnie Harwell,” Lane says. “I did the middle innings. Earnie did the first three and the last three. I also did the post game show, that’s how we got extra money.”
Current NBA Play-By-Play Man
When the station lost its contract, Lane searched for other opportunities.
David Barnett (North Texas 1979) is currently the play-by-play man for the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs broadcast team. In addition to doing select Spurs TV games, he also does work for ESPN.
While doing a nightly sports show in Detroit an opportunity arose for Lane to do the broadcasts for the Cincinnati Reds, which he did for six years.
Since graduating from the University of North Texas, Barnett has established himself as one of the most versatile play-by-play voices. Before doing work for ESPN and the Spurs, Barnett spent seven seasons as the voice of the Dallas Mavericks and received the United Press International’s radio play-by-play Commentator of the Year Award in 1987 and 1988.
Lucky for Lambda Chi Wally Beggs (Michigan State 1951), a pitcher on the Michigan State varsity baseball team, recruited Lane to join Lambda Chi, much to Lane’s surprise.
In 1996, Barnett spent the season as ESPN2’s lead college football commentator before moving to ESPN’s Big Ten Game of the Week in 1997 with analyst Bill Curry. For college basketball, he has teamed with Quinn Buckner for ESPN’s weekly Big Ten Super Tuesday contest, in addition to calling a host of other leagues for ESPN and ESPN2.
“For the simple reason that they all didn’t come from the same background or same size city or town,” says Lane, explaining how much he appreciated the chapter’s interest in recruiting him.
Barnett has called virtually every sport for TV and radio, including college football and basketball, Major League Baseball, NBA, golf, track and field, the Orange Bowl, the Sugar Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the College World Series, and more.
Lane says that Lambda Chi taught him a lot about how to get along with others and how to compromise. “I think it molded my personality,” he says. “How you meet people, how you treat people, and how they perceive you.” Lane gives a lot of credit to Lambda Chi for providing him the confidence to do auditions and job interviews, a skill set that paid off multiple times during his career.
day I think, ‘Wait a minute, do I really belong?’”. But then he starts remembering all of his accomplishments throughout his career. Skilled on camera as well as off, Lane enjoyed radio the most because it was more of an announcers medium — a medium that required only his voice to paint the picture.
“While you’re living it you don’t think much about it,” he says. “But as the years roll by you think about Lambda Chi. I think you also develop a loyalty not only to individuals but to the entire organization. You certainly come up with an understanding of different viewpoints.”
“Television has become a producer’s medium,” he says. “A TV announcer may see something and want to comment about it, but a producer may instruct him to say something else or to look at another camera angle.”
Currently, there is a handful of Michigan State Lambda Chis who still live in the Detroit area who played varsity baseball. Roughly once a month, this small group gets together for lunch and to enjoy each other’s company.
Golfing and Retirement Lane says that unfortunately his golf game has not improved much since he retired.
Those alumni include Beggs, Cornell Ghise (Michigan State 1952), Jack Hofstetter (Michigan State 1952), Bill Hopping (Michigan State 1954), and Vince Magi (Michigan State 1953).
“I’m a hacker, so I’ll never get better,” he chuckles. “Too late at this age. I’m looking for an illegal club and an illegal ball to use so I can get more distance.”
“We’re all much better ball players than we were then,” says Lane. “We lie an awful lot.”
About not doing play-by-play any more, Lanes says he misses the association with the players, coaches, and front office. Mostly, he misses the action.
Hall of Fame Induction In 1998, Lane says he was surprised and honored when he found out he was going to be inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame. “You look at some of the other guys,” says Lane, “and still to this www.crossandcrescent.com
“It was fun,” he says, reflecting on his career. “I don’t know where the time went, but it was fun.” 15
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