Letter from the Director
The Fraternal Movement
Anita Cory, M.S.Ed
Director, Center for Fraternity and Sorority Life
Kappa Theta, Ophite, Sigma, Beta Alpha, the Tolo Club, Phi Alpha Epsilon, Theta Kappa, and Pi Delta Phi may not be familiar names to many of our readers. Whether or not you are familiar with these names, can you deduce what they have in common? If you guessed they are the names of the first five local men ’ s fraternities and three local women ’ s sororities at the State College of Washington to become chartered as national fraternities and sororities you are correct.
Kappa Theta became Gamma Nu of Kappa Sigma in 1909
Ophite became Delta Iota of Sigma Nu in 1910
Sigma became WA Gamma of Alpha Tau Omega in 1911
Beta Alpha became WA Alpha of Sigma Phi Epsilon in 1912
The Tolo Club became Tau Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha in 1914
Phi Alpha Epsilon became WA Beta of Pi Beta Phi in 1912
Theta Kappa became Upsilon of Alpha Delta Pi in 1912
Pi Delta Phi became Alpha Sigma of Kappa Alpha Theta in 1913
Can you imagine the excitement the members of that day between 1909 and 1914 felt as they became “ founding fathers ” and “ founding sisters ” of chapters? Surely you share the pride they would feel today knowing that the legacy they began a century ago has continued to this day!
This is indeed an exciting year! Washington State University’s first national fraternity, Kappa Sigma, celebrated its century milestone in the spring of 2009. The entire Greek Community will mark and celebrate this once in a lifetime occurrence this fall with a week of activities. You can read more about this event in our article on the Greek Centennial.
Today, in a vastly different campus environment and American society, Greek alumni and students share the belief in the value of fraternity/sorority membership for undergraduates. Our experiences as undergraduate Greek students shaped us into the men and women we are today. Collectively, we believe the fraternal experience is still relevant, is still worthwhile, and is still a value added experience for college students. However, we cannot presume our fraternal experience is the same as today’s college student. The fraternal movement has always experienced times of favor and times when a lack of interest prevailed. We invite you to reflect, engage and participate in the thoughtful discussion with many of today’s fraternity/sorority leaders, both students and alumni.
This fall, we will continue the tradition of hosting a Greek Alumni Dialogue on Homecoming Weekend and other dialogues in cities around the state this fall and early next spring. Please look for more information about dates/times in the form of an invitation that will be sent to all alumni!
We invite you to celebrate with us this fall, and look forward to seeing you then!
Director, Center for Fraternity & Sorority Life