Phi Gamma Delta - University of Texas

Spring 2023 Newsletter

Texas Fiji of Phi Gamma Delta at the University of Texas

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The Longhorn Fiji–The University of Texas at Austin Established 1883 TEXAS FIJI H Spring 2023 T he active chapter of Texas Fiji continues to mature in its ongoing efforts to defy negative fraternity stereotypes and become a 21st-century fraternity that we can all be proud of. We aspire to be respectful and non-abusive to others, open to the greater community, and oriented to service. Friendship, knowledge, service, morality, and excellence are becoming more than just brand slogans. It is now time to turn our attention to the goal of protecting and renovating historic Buen Retiro. I asked Gary McClure '76 to share with us the recent efforts of the Purple Owl House Corporation to help us achieve that goal, which you will find below. Let's Press On! Stephen W. Kinney '74 BCA Head The executive board shares some Christmas spirit on the porch of Buen Retiro. PRESERVING OUR HISTORY AND LEGACY T exas Fiji was 25 years old in 1908 when Louis Goldbeck's six-year- old home was purchased for $25,000 to serve as the fraternity house. Christened "Buen Retiro," it has continuously served the fraternity for 115 years—remarkable considering that period and the sheer number of brothers who have passed through its doors! Heavily renovated only two times in 115 years, Buen Retiro was last revamped 35 years ago. The time has come for another renovation. Owned by a separate 501(c)(2) corporation, the Purple Owl House Corporation serves as landlord to the Tau Deuteron Chapter. The corporation seeks to modernize, update, and provide the functionality necessary to carry the history and tradition forward. After an extensive search, an architectural firm with historic experience and the ability to take on the project was retained. A Texas Historic Landmark, Buen Retiro's renovation is subject to review by the Texas Historic Commission, the City of Austin Historic Commission, and the normal permitting process. Appropriately, the board retained a historic preservation consultant to review the architects' work, prepare forms for submission to the historic commissions, navigate the commissions' constraints, and help obtain historic tax credits. We've completed the feasibility study, and the necessary renovations are extensive given the needs of the growing active chapter and the overall state of the facility. The kitchen, for example, is almost obsolete; we are serving over 150 men per meal in a kitchen that was designed for 75. Other major priorities include additional toilet facilities, new or repaired windows, and modernized mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems. We anticipate these improvements will be costly, but thanks to the efforts of several members in 1972 to obtain historic status for Buen Retiro, tax credits are available from the state of Texas and are anticipated to pay for 25% of qualifying project costs. While we are in the exploratory and planning phase of the project, we are asking any alumni who pay from $500,000 to $1.5 million in Texas franchise tax to consider a donation to this project in return for tax credits. These credits are applied directly toward franchise taxes owed in Texas. If you, or someone you know, might be interested, please reach out to Gary McClure '76, board president, at (325) 656-9890 or gary@ for discussion. The remainder of the funding will come from alumni gifts. Alumnus Bob Coffee '52 said it best in 1987: "To continue this tradition, we must attend to this house—and restore Buen Retiro to its former place as the graceful home of a great fraternity." Board of Directors Gary McClure '76 | Kevin Snodgrass '78 | Chad Auler '88 Jason Downie '88 | Curtis Hutcheson '88 | Daniel Madera '04 Tommy Ward '04 Funding Renovations for Bue n R etiro Page 2: Welcome, New Members • Remembering Shawn Mowles '81 | Page 3: Maximizing Potential • Chapter Officers

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