From time to time, Nabors celebrated Founders' Day not necessarily just to honor the Founders, but more importantly to recognize the starting of an organization that has meant so much in their lives and to give thanks for it.
The First Three
These observances started early. In fact, in the spring of 1940, a Founders' Day banquet was held at the house for the men living there. The exact date of that first commemoration is not on record, but it appears to have been in April as one might expect. On April 27, 1941, the second celebration was held. But, other than the date, there is no information about it. On April 18, 1942, the third Founders' Day celebration was a dinner--for 75 cents, believe it or not, at the Illini Union. Dr. R.W. Bartlett was the speaker.
Then the Tenth
After the third observance of Founders' Day in 1942, none was held until Sunday, April 24, 1949. This was the tent anniversary! It seemed unreal to some members that Nabor House was already 10 years old. It was an important milestone to all Nabors. They approached the commemoration with deep pride, much feeling, and warm emotion.
A banquet was held at noon in Latzer Hall, University YMCA--it cost $1.50 per person--with 65 people attending. Parents of several of the founders attended. During the program, Toastmaster Howard W. Lanus, '41, presented each founder an inscribed plaque to show the Fraternity's appreciation for what they had done. The Nabor House Trio, made up of Edward E. Duvick, '51 1/2, James G. McCurdy, '50, and J. Joseph Small, '50, entertained with a number of novelty tunes. The program concluded with Dr. A.W. Nolan, Honorary Member, as the featured speaker. Author of the Fraternity's initiation ritual and steadfast and staunch supporter of Nabor House, he exerted a strong spiritual influence on the men of Nabor House. For those who heard his address, those who knew him, but most of all so that all Nabors may read and have his impressive and inspiring words, his brief address is presented here:
SPIRIT OF THE NABOR HOUSE
Every true Christian citizen is a builder. The men of Nabor House are such builders. They are building not only a house, but a Christian citizenship. At the building of King Solomon's temple, they erected two pillars. The one on the right hand they called 'Jachin,' signifying stability. The one on the left they called 'Boaz,' signifying strength. And when the pillars were erected, they put on the lilywork; thus, the work of the temple was completed.
Activites commemorating the tenth anniversary started before the banquet and extended on through the year. The April 15, 1949 issue of the newsletter said that in its dedicatory statement: "This edition of Nabor Nubbins is dedicated to those men, both living and dead, who founded Nabor House. It is with humbleness and deep appreciation that we pay tribute at this time to those who have made Nabor House much of what it is today."
These were not festive-type activities. Rather, they were remembrances of having reached this important milestone, thoughts of things along the road to organizing and developing the Fraternity to its present level of success. They were words of appreciation and deep feelings about having the privilege to live in such a desirable atmosphere. Perhaps J. William Curry, '50, captured some of those feelings well when he wrote in the Dec. 15, 1949, Nabor Nubbins:
There was a lot of talk that they were starting another frat and that there wasn't much finance behind them. Besides that, how could a bunch of Indees manage a house--absurd!
Now the Twenty-Fifth
It was 1964. Nabor House had reached its twenty-fifth year. To celebrate this first quarter of a century, the spring 1964 issue of Nabor Nubbins was dedicated to the founders, saying in part, "...to those few who had the insight and fortitude to follow an idea and establish a dream, we truly dedicate this and all forthcoming issues of the Nabor Nubbins."
Two major events during the year were held to celebrate the anniversary. The first was a somewhat local observance. It was a Founders' Day Open House held from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, April 26, 1964, at the Illinois Chapter House, 811 W. Oregon, Urbana, Ill. Those attending represented members and alumni of Nabor House and their parents, University faculty members, representatives of other organized houses, friends, and other interested persons.
The second event was a special observance coordinated with Homecoming on Oct. 10, 1964, when more alums could participate in celebrating the anniversary. The homecoming banquet was held at the Inman Hotel in Champaign with the program centered around the 25th anniversary. Three of the founders--Burdette Lutz, Walt Parks, and Sam Ridlen--were joined by 85 others for the occasion. Dr. Karl Gardner, Associate Dean of the College of Agriculture, spoke on "Where We Have Been and Where We Are Going." The founders present discussed "Twenty-Five Years of Education, Cooperation, and Recreation and Its Future." Adding to the enjoyment and fun was the presentation by five actives and pledges of two musical numbers, "Are You Glad You Are in Nabor House?" and "I Used My Noodle When I Sold My Poodle."
Past the Thirtieth
A Founders' Day observance of the thirtieth anniversary was bypassed in 1969 because they Loy-Reinerd Memorial Library dedication was to be held later in the year. At the dedication on Nov. 1, 1969, Fraternity President Dale E. Ruckman, '59, opened the dedication program with remarks titled, "Thirty Years of History and Achievement." Following his remarks, Earl R. Swanson, '43, unveiled a handsome founders plaque to be hung in the Loy-Reinerd Memorial Library.
Dr. Orville G. Bentley, Dean of the College of Agriculture, spoke of his pleasure in working with students and that he was impressed by the caliber of leadership exhibited by Nabors on campus. He encouraged the Fraternity to continue providing the type of student environment which helps students develop education, leadership, and personal qualities which are so important in our society. An honorary member and long time friend of Nabor House, Dr. R.W. Bartlett, told of working with Garrett Loy and other early members of the house when the problems of acquiring property and continuing the group were encountered.
Onto the Fortieth
Homecoming on Oct. 6, 1979, took on an added dimension as the Fraternity celebrated "40 years of excellence and achievement" and recalled the five men who gave the organization existence on April 29, 1939. More than 160 people assembled at the Champaign Ramada Inn Convention Center. Special guests included Dean Orville G. Bentley and Associate Deans John R. Campbell and William N. Thompson, all from the College of Agriculture. The actives and pledges presented a slide show, "40 Years of Nabor House." Senetor Kennth G. McMillian, '66 1/2, addressed the group, reviewing the elements that have made Nabor House the unique type of fraternity that it is. Arien R. Speckman, '56, Fraternity President, closed our the evening as he presented Sam Ridlen with an inscribed chrome platter, expressing the Fraternity's appreciation for his contributions over the 40 years.
Now the Golden One
It was 1989. Fifty years had gone by. Golden years! Golden symbolizing fifty. Golden for the harvest produced by cooperation, education, and recreation in a fraternal Christian environment. These 50 years were celebrated July 14-16, 1989, at the Champaign Chancellor Hotel and Convention Center.
Participation in MIA
Nabor House became active in the Men's Independent Association (MIA) just after the house was reactivated following the ward. MIA was a student governance and activities organization for independent men's housing groups. While the exact date that Nabor House became a member has not been established, the house did receive a certificate in 1948 certifying that it was a member.