For this year’s Founders’ Day blog series, we asked each member of the staff to go back to their days as a pledge class remember and learn about Chi Psi’s founders to tell us which one they most relate to. The results are sometimes funny, sometimes inspiring and always educational (about the founders and the staff). Next up, is Donald Beeson:
Few fraternities can boast a founder as colorful as Philip Spencer, but I sometimes wonder why the other nine founders chose to embark on a journey with someone who had an undistinguished academic record, was known for breaches of discipline, and was mostly recognized for his jokes and pranks. He did not possess the student profile of a modern-day Chi Psi.
Being force to pick a “favorite” founder is difficult, but I would gravitate toward Samuel Taber. He was the Founder that seemed to display the greatest curiosity, and I can only imagine he (and maybe the others) viewed Spencer as a distraction from the routine by providing constant entertainment through his spontaneity and irreverence.
Taber was an attorney by training, but devoted his professional life to agricultural research. He was civic minded, and enjoyed being actively a part of the political discourse in his community. Taber always described his occupation as “country gentleman,” an apropos title given his varied interests. While only 47 when he died, Brother Taber distinguished himself in several areas. Always an advocate for modern farming methods, he eventually served as the Vice President of the State Agriculture Society. He understood the economic benefits of a strong transportation system, and served as a director of the Harlem Railroad and as president of both the North Shore Transportation Company and the Long Island Steamboat Company.
While Philip Spencer might not represent the kind of man that we seek for our Brotherhood in 2014, Samuel Taber continues to exemplify the qualities of well-rounded gentlemen that we will always welcome into our Bonds.