Two Men


The Epsilon Pi Alpha Fraternity did not suffer too much during this time; due partly to the help of two of the advisors of the time. The assistance and advice of these two men has helped keep the Eppies above water and survive the changes that were to come.


Between these two men there is a total of 37 years of help, advice, and friendship towards the Eppies. This period covers a time running from the late fifties to the present and covers some of the roughest times for fraternities on the Gustavus campus. The non-greek members of the campus were willing to find fault in almost every greek function, administration was searching to find more ways to make fraternities more acceptable to everyone, and any small infraction was soon acted on.


These two great men are Dr. Gustav Otto Richard Reusch and Chaplain Richard Elvee. Neither one of these remarkable men are Eppie Alumni or even Gustavus graduates, but through their help and friendship, they have earned a place in the ranks of Epsilon Pi Alpha membership.


Dr. Gustav Otto Richard Reusch, or Dr. Reusch as he was more commonly called, was born a peasant in imperial Russia, where he lead a very colorful life, meeting such people as Joseph Stalin and Nicholas II. After entering the priesthood at the request of his dying grandfather, he became a missionary in Tanganyaki (later named Tanzania), South Africa. Here he was to stay for over twenty years, during which time he was to kill 28 lions and tigers, fight crocodiles and wild bison to the death, and become the sixth man ever to climb to the peak of Mount Kilimanjaro. During his travels he became fluent in some 20 different languages. After meeting and marrying his American wife, he crossed over to the United States and settled in Saint Peter.


While at Gustavus, he taught religion and fencing, and became active with the Epsilon Pi Alpha Fraternity. In 1956 he became the faculty advisor and started to take part in almost every aspect of fraternity life. Dr. Reusch took a great interest in the Eppies, attending most rush parties and banquets for the next 15 years. His participation did not stop there however. Well into the 1960s Dr. Reusch took an active part in the initiation ceremonies. The members of the Eppies also took a great interest in Dr. Reusch's activities. From the very beginning they gave him money to send to the missionary work in South Africa. For almost 20 years, up to 1971, and long after Dr. Reusch retired, the Eppies regularly sent money for him to send to his missions, and in 1966 when the Eppies sponsored the Johnny Mathis show on campus, all the proceeds went to support missionaries in South Africa.


Dr. Reusch remained active with the Eppies for the entire decade of the 1960s. In 1963, the fraternity minutes describe a flag that was given to the Doctor for him to unfurl at the top of Mount Kilimanjaro on his last, and 65th, trip to the peak of that majestic mountain. Two years later, a plaque was presented to him which he placed on the side of Mount Sinai on his trip to that mountain. Even after his forced retirement in 1963, Dr. Reusch continued to make appearances at rush parties and fraternity banquets.


Twenty years of mutual interactions show that Dr. Reusch loved the Eppies and the Eppies loved him. Nothing more clearly shows this than the fact that the relationship between the Doctor and the Eppies was able to survive 12 years beyond the time in which Dr. Reusch left the Gustavus campus. Through 12 years of change and growth, and eight years of Gustavus students who knew him only through his appearances at Eppie functions, the bond between the Doctor and the Eppies held firm.


Dr. Reusch died in June of 1975 in Stacy, MN at the age of 83. That he left an impression on students and faculty is undeniable. Robert Peterson, almost 30 years after graduation, still remembered him as "an outstanding and remarkable man," and Mr. Emory Peterson, Librarian at the time of Dr. Rusch's death, wrote his biography. Dr. Richard Reusch was a unique human being and the Epsilon Pi Alpha Fraternity is better for having known him so well.


The second person associated with the Eppies, Chaplain Richard Elvee, came to Gustavus after graduating from Northwestern Seminary College in 1962. He became associated with the Eppies shortly after the retirement of Dr. Reusch in 1963. In 1966, he became the faculty advisor of the fraternity, and although he no longer holds that title, he is still a dear and beloved friend of the Eppies. In the 1960s and early 70s he also enjoyed many activities with the Eppies. He has been a frequent speaker at rush parties, banquets, and the annual pig roast. Chaplain Elvee has been associated with the Epsilon Pi Alpha Fraternity for 30 years now and throughout those years he has continued to support the Eppies and they repay him through their help and services. The Eppies have painted his barn, helped him with the addition to his house, cleared shrubs and debris from his land, and have helped him take care of the cleanup and straightening out of his land before he sold his house.


These two men, whose combined advice and help to the fraternity extend over half of the Eppies existence, are as much a part of the fraternity as any member. Their services and friendship have reserved them a special spot in the hearts of Eppies through the years and a place in the ranks of Eppie membership.