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Tau Chapter

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Friend E. Clark Lecture




History of the Tau Chapter


In the year 1915 students in chemistry at West Virginia University, with the aid of Professor Friend E. Clark and other faculty members, organized a society known as "The Crucible".  Among its charter members were Dr. Collett and Dr. Lazzell who would become active members of Phi Lambda Upsilon.  The societies meetings were held monthly with scientific papers presented by faculty members as well as undergraduate members.  A definite standard of scholarship was required of all undergraduates as well as an active interest in chemistry.  The Crucible was allowed to become dormant a few years after its founding, but was reorganized in 1921.

On November 6, 1923 a petition for a chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon at West Virginia University was submitted by members of The Crucible.  The petition contained a formal letter to Dr. R.K. McAlpine at the University of Michigan, the then-current National Secretary, asking to become a chapter of PLU, a list of members along with their university record, a listing of the chemistry courses offered, the current faculty with their training, a description of the chemistry and chemical engineering departments, an article from Dr. Friend E. Clark whose was the current Chemistry Department Chair which outlined the new chemistry building to be built, a brief history of The Crucible, and finally letters of recommendation from various faculty of the time.  The petition was formally accepted on February 15, 1924.  Installation of the Tau Chapter took place on March 15, 1924 with Dr. Harry L. Fisher of the Goodyear Rubber Company coming to Morgantown as the installing officer and The Crucible became the Tau Chapter of Phi Lambda Upsilon.

The founding members of the Tau Chapter can be found in the original petition that is still held at West Virginia University.  The members who submitted the petition are:

Graduate Students:  Frank O. Brown, C. Russel Mahaney, Cless Yelving Fordyce, and Clarence D.L. Ropp

Seniors:  Warren S. Bourne, Paul J. Donham, Audrey E. Ford, Hugh Eckes Jones, Reed F. Meyers, and William E. Roberts

Juniors:  Paul J. Daughenbaugh, Alton Ree Fortney, Wayne Zearley Friend, John Paul Jones, and Randolph C. Specht