Alumni Spotlight | Dave Hughes, Ohio Wesleyan
Most brothers of Delta Tau Delta will talk about how their involvement in the Fraternity has changed their life. For some brothers, the impact of Delta Tau Delta has gone much further. For Dave Hughes (Ohio Wesleyan, ’61), the Fraternity’s influence can be traced for over a century.
Dave is an Indianapolis native who followed his family’s footsteps to Ohio Wesleyan University. Delta Tau Delta had been a part of his life for as long as he could remember; his father Francis was the international president of Delta Tau Delta, and his brother was a chapter vice president. Both of Dave’s grandfathers, a great-grandfather, and other uncles and cousins were all Delts as well. Because the influence of the Fraternity was so strong in his life, joining Delta Tau Delta was an easy choice.
However, Delta Tau Delta shaped Dave’s life in ways he couldn’t have predicted. In high school, Dave was not a good student, focusing most of his attention on extracurricular activities like golf. However, in college Dave found that the men of the Fraternity were very active in every aspect of campus life, including academics, athletics, newspaper and yearbook. Dave says he “became a student because of Delta Tau Delta.”
Dave also made connections and friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He is still regularly in touch with the other members of his pledge class, and reconnects with them at reunions. He also still appreciates the influence of Dr. Bruce Buchannan, a friend whole will be awarded the Alumni Achievement Award at this year’s KARNEA. Bruce pushed him to study, work harder, and be better in every area.
But Dave’s life is not the only example of how the friendships formed in Delta Tau Delta can shape a life. Dave’s family has an intimate connection to Branch Rickey, a famous Delta Tau Delta brother best known for breaking the color barrier in baseball by signing Jackie Robinson and creating the minor league farm system.
Branch Rickey was also the best friend and roommate of Dave’s grandfather, Don Beach. By 1940, Don had lost all of his money due to bank failures during the Great Depression. Branch had Don move his family out to St. Louis, where Don became Branch’s financial manager. They worked together for the next 40 years.
Branch also knew Dave’s paternal grandfather Edwin Holt Hughes, and even talked Dave’s father into asking his mother out on a date – which led to their eventual marriage. When Dave’s father could no longer afford law school, it was Branch Rickey who loaned him the money to finish. Later, Dave’s brother Donald married Branch’s granddaughter Caroline. The friendship and connection between these families is now in its 115th year. What an example of the unbreakable bonds of brotherhood!
As you can see, the choices we make now have the power to influence not only our lives, but the lives of future generations. That is why the Delta Tau Delta Educational Foundation is devoted to supporting and training the young men of the Fraternity to become leaders. We believe that the men of Delta Tau Delta will be the next generation of leaders, and we devote our resources to helping them improve our world for the better.