Pig dinner is one of the largest events in our chapter's calendar. It is a time when the grads from the past join the brothers of the active chapter to untie in brotherhood and a night of celebration. The Mu Alpha Pig Dinner is held in the Spring at Hotel Morgan in Morgantown, WV.
Pig Dinner will be held on April 8th, 2006 and begin at 6:30pm. A recent letter was recently sent out to all grads and active brothers. Click here to recieve a copy of that letter.
The Origin of the Norris Pig Dinner and 'An Exile's Toast'
Roots in the 1890s with Noted Author Frank Norris (California 1894)
In the nineteenth century, "Class Day" was a public student exhibition featuring orations by chosen seniors, among other entertainment. At the class day exercises of the University of California in 1893, the dispensator was Brother Ralph L. Hathorn (California 1893). He took occasion to rap the Delta Kappa Epsilon and Beta Theta Pi fraternities for monopolizing campus activities, particularly the "glee club". Glee clubs provided musical entertainment and school spirit-- part chorus, part cheerleading section. In the days before phonographs or radio they were an important and popular campus activity.
Hawthorn's stunt consisted in bringing on the platform a barrel labeled "U. of C. Glee Club," tied with a cord symbolic of the strangle-hold established by these two rival societies. Out of this barrel tumbled a squealing pig-- a commentary on the Dekes' and Betas' singing ability.
Some say the pig escaped and was pursued by Fijis with murderous intent. At any rate, that night the suckling pig was incarcerated at the Fiji house on Dana Street in Berkeley. Frank Norris '94 wrote an elaborate mock ceremony. On May 18 at 6 P.M., twenty Fijis made the Delta realm resound with "All Hail the pig!" Hathorn, as master of ceremonies, then called upon every member present to renew his bond of allegiance, fidelity, and alliance, and to seal his vow on the bended knee by the solemn ordeal of kissing the pig's snout. After the banquet . . . at the break of dawn Frank Norris was inspired to propose that they perpetuate the memory of the occasion by a perennial alumni-chapter pig dinner and rally.
"These Fiji dinners occurred annually on the night before the big game and were always held at the Old Poodle Dog restaurant, then located on the southeastern corner of Sacramento and Dupont streets in San Francisco. This habit continued up to the time of the great fire in 1906. The dinners of the latter '90s were limited to University of California Fijis of whom there were less than a hundred, not one of whom would have missed the dinner. And I want . . . to say that, while the heartiest of good fellowship reigned and cocktails and red wine were to be had at all times for the asking, there were no evidences of over-indulgence to be found at these dinners. We were there for a good time and we had it, but the morning found us ready for the big game rally and all the excitement attendant upon this annual event. That was the Fiji attitude of those days.
"'An Exile's Toast' was written by Frank Norris in 1900 when he was living in Roselle, New Jersey. With the approach of the annual big game with Stanford, Frank found himself lonely and craving for the good times we Fijis used to have at this period with the result that the toast was written and mailed so that it was read at the annual Fiji dinner. We who heard Brother H. M. Wright read the verses utterly failed to realize what would be the future of 'An Exile's Toast'. In fact, it is a wonder that the original was ever saved for posterity.
"From this small dinner of those days when Delta Xi had less than fifty members upon its roster, has come the Norris Dinner of all Fijidom to symbolize the spiritual ideal of good fellowship in the fraternity so perfectly exemplified in Norris the Man." After the untimely death of Frank Norris in 1902 it was most fitting that this annual festivity should be dedicated to him and that the custom should be known hereafter as the "Norris."