Zeta Beta Tau fraternity remembers brother through memorial alumni study room

Kate Jamison, Senior Staff Reporter

Few things can bring people together like brunch and the bond of brotherhood.

At 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and its members’ families gathered for ZBT’s annual homecoming brunch at the fraternity house on Broadway Street. This year had a deeper meaning beyond mimosas and scrambled eggs, as the fraternity was set to honor one of its fallen brothers, Doug Irgang, a member of ZBT and the Tulane University Class of 1991, who died in the World Trade Center on 9/11.

On Saturday, Irgang’s biological and fraternity brother Steve and his family, as well as 11 other members from his ZBT pledge class traveled to New Orleans 25 years after their graduation to dedicate a room in the fraternity house to their brother’s memory. 

“In his own quiet way, he was the funniest guy in the whole fraternity,” Steve Irgang said. “I want to thank you all for being here and for making this happen. You turned a horrible tragedy into a really good thing, and my family and I really do appreciate that.”

Located on the third floor, the Douglas J. Irgang Alumni Room will serve as a meeting and study space for the brothers of ZBT. The room has a large conference table, numerous chairs and is filled with ZBT memorabilia and photos of brothers throughout the years. Funding from the room came from over 50 alumni donors.

At the dedication ceremony, one of Doug Irgang’s ZBT brothers, Rob Bindeman, also of the Tulane Class of 1991, spoke about the meaning of the moment. 

“They told us on the first day of pledging, ‘Look around the room. These are going to be your best friends for the rest of your life,'” Bindeman said. “That very much has turned out to be true. At the end of pledging, they said ‘This is the last time you’re all going to be in the same place together.’ And that turned out to be true also. The only sadness of this fantastic weekend is that Doug Irgang is not here.”

The house that stands at 1006 Broadway St. however, isn’t the same one that Doug Irgang and the class of 1991 lived in. That house burned down a few years ago and was replaced with the three-story building that the brothers now call home.

“So while we are not able to be all in the same room together, one of the best parts of us will be here at the ZBT house,” Bindeman said. “Doug was bright and fun and smart and funny and hardworking, and his life was cut short, but now you guys have a space to aptly remember him.”

Current ZBT brother and Tulane junior Matt Coleman recognized the uniqueness of the ceremony.

“It’s awesome that 10 or 20 years down the line, I can come back here and feel just as welcome as they do,” Coleman said. “Alumni can come up to me and tell me stories … we’re all part of the brotherhood even if we are 20 years separated.”

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