Phi Kappa Upsilon: Origins
A Narrative By Gary Lowell - Pledged Spring 1964
Russell E. Lawrence, born in 1889 in Terra Haute, IN, displays an aptitude for engineering and graduates with bachelors and masters degrees in engineering from Indiana’s Rose Polytechnic Institute. He works at General Electric until the outbreak of World War I when he joins the Research division of the Army Signal Corp. After the War, in 1918, he accepts a teaching position in the Engineering Department of the University of Detroit.
At U. of D. he institutes a
Lawrence’s personal qualities, industrial community connections, and a working knowledge of educational institutions are a primordial soup awaiting only a spark, which, once activated, creates Lawrence Institute of Technology and the Phi Kappa Upsilon fraternity.
The “roaring twenties” promises that everyone could be rich if only they would invest in the stock market. The promise draws many to the market for the first time where stocks could be bought with little cash. Accounts become increasingly leveraged – a classic bubble economy. The bubble burst on October 29, 1929. The great depression begins setting in motion a chain of events that eventually result in the founding of Lawrence Institute of Technology and the Phi Kappa Upsilon fraternity.
In 1929 people get their news from three “professional” paths; newspapers, movie newsreels, and radio - WWJ, Detroit’s oldest radio station, had only been on the air since late 1920. Otherwise, news travels by rumor, and rumor is the fastest. After two months of negative economic news – failed banks, plummeting demand and markets, increasing unemployment, bleak forecasts, little prospects, punctuated with debt/shame related suicides, rumors reach the University of Detroit. Dean Lawrence, feels compelled, over two successive weeks, to assure the
April 3, 2016
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•Dakotas, Montana, and Washington admitted to union.
•Thomas Edison shows his 1st motion picture.
•Eifel tower constructed.
•President Wilson sails for Versailles Peace Conference in France.
•Russian revolutionaries execute the former czar and his family.
•Worldwide spanish influenza epidemic strikes. By 1920, nearly 20 million are dead. In U.S. alone, 500,000 perish
•Adolf Hitler becomes Chairman of the Nazi Party in his rise to power and prominence in Germany.
•Albert Einstein receives the Nobel Prize in Physics.
•Boeing obtains orders for aircraft and abandons
•The recession of
•Socialists riot in Vienna; a general strike follows acquittal of Nazis for political murder.