For more than 150 years, Delta Kappa Epsilon has played an important part of the University of Alabama. However, when the University acquired DKE’s “Mansion on the Hill” to make room for the grand expansion of Bryant-Denny Stadium, a group of alumni joined together to ensure that DKE’s presence on campus would not be overshadowed.
One of the first steps taken by this committee was to engage Pennington & Company to lead the process. According to Zeb Hargett, campaign co-chairman, “Pennington understands their particular fundraising target — Sororities and Fraternities — better than anyone else. This enables them to help your organization quickly and efficiently understand your fundraising capacity and establish reasonable goals for success. Then they invest the necessary time to walk you through the process with knowledge and understanding. They do all the heavy lifting and are very adept at keeping the campaign focused and on track.”
With an initial goal of $3 million, the campaign committee went to work, securing leadership gifts totaling $2.3 million through the intial “quiet phase.” With these gifts in place, scores of recruited volunteers were coordinated to spread the word about this exciting project and the Building for the Next 150 Years campaign was officially introduced to the entire membership.
The number of people who felt strongly about DKE and their continuing experience with the fraternity really stood out to Hargett.
“Definitely a community effort that has left us feeling proud of our accomplishments and satisfied that we are continuing a legacy of leadership at the University of Alabama.” He added, “In addition, it was great to interact with old friends and meet some new DKE’s that came before or after my College days. This instilled a real sense of pride in the entire organization that has meant to much in my life and the lives of my family.”
Remarkably, 558 alumni contributed to this campaign, an amazing 55% of the alumni base.
Hargett summarized, “I am thankful we chose Pennington to help with this project. We literally could not afford not to be successful. Without the leadership and knowledge of Pennington throughout the process, I do not think the campaign would have reached the level of success it did: $4 million and counting!”
Today, the DKE house, which was dedicated as “the finest fraternity facility in the South”, stands proudly on University Boulevard overlooking the spectacular new Walk of Champions entrance to the stadium. WIth its mix of new materials and many of the “mystics” of the old chapter house, the house is a stunning testament to the valuable time, energy, and financial resources DKE alumni contributed in what is being touted as one of the most successful fraternity fundraising campaigns.