A Brief History of Nu-Zeta Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha
A brief note from the Nu-Zeta Historian:
The following historical sketch is copied from an original record found in the Nu-Zeta files that we received from Nationals upon re-colonization here at Wittenberg. The original author or authors are unknown to us, but if you have any information about the Brothers who wrote these notes, or any additional information that may be of interest to the chapter, please E-mail us or write the Lambda Chi house at:
923 N. Fountain Ave.
Springfield, OH 45504
Yours in ZAX,
The Brothers of Nu-Zeta Zeta
Preliminary History-Fraternities and Sororities at Wittenberg
- Phi Kappa Psi - 1866
- Beta Theta Pi - 1867
- Alpha Tau Omega - 1883
- Phi Gamma Delta - 1884
- Tau Delta Theta (1901) - became Gamma Phi Beta - 1929
- Sigma Pi (1903) - became Alpha Xi Delta - 1904
- Gamma Beta Gamma (1913) - became Alpha Delta Pi - 1913
- Theta Gamma Rho (1915) - became Kappa Delta - 1927
- Kappa Phi Sigma (1921) - Chi Omega - 1924
- Kappa Phi Kappa (1922) shortened to Kappa Phi (1923) - absorbed Chi Sigma Nu in 1931 - became Ohio Gamma of Theta Kappa Nu (1931) - QKN merged with Lambda Chi Alpha (1939)
- Sadhe Aleph (1922) - became Alpha Theta Alpha (1928) - became Delta Sigma Phi - 1932
- Chi Delta Omega (1923) - became Beta Phi Alpha (1931) - became Delta Zeta - 1941
- Pi Theta Phi (1928) - became Phi Mu Delta - 1930
- Delta Gamma - 1956
- Sigma Kappa - 1961
The first fraternity at Wittenberg was a chapter of the national fraternity Phi Delta Theta, established here in 1852. The several decades prior to the Civil War were, however, times when fraternities were generally regarded with a great deal of suspicion by college faculty and administrators throughout the country. This was due at least in part to their secrecy which was seen as divisive within the community atmosphere on many small colleges. Hence, most fraternal groups chose to operate "underground," and their members avoided public identification. Clearly not existing in a very fertile atmosphere for growth, the first Wittenberg fraternity failed about 1854. There are two periods during which the establishment and growth of new fraternities appears to have been most successful; the approximately twenty years following the Civil War (during which Phi Kappa Psi, Beta Theta Pi, Alpha Tau Omega and Phi Gamma Delta were established at Wittenberg); and the decade following World War I, during which increased enrollments at American colleges created a demand for new and more fraternities (at Wittenberg, Lambda Chi Alpha, Delta Sigma Phi, Pi Kappa Alpha, and Phi Mu Delta). It is out of this later period that Nu-Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha has developed.
Kappa Phi Kappa
Ten charter members met on April 2, 1922 to form the organization which would later become Lambda Chi Alpha at Wittenberg. Harold Conover, Francis Winkey, E.R. Lopeland, William Caskey, Purdis Kenyon, Fletcher Carey, Chester Kessler, Lester Young, Donnel Keifer, and Reginald Barr took the greek letters Kappa Phi Kappa, with their espoused purpose "to promote and improve socially, mentally, and morally." Mr. Barr, Mr. Winkey, and Mr. Young were recognized as the founders. Weekly meetings were held Tuesday evenings in the reception rooms of the Bancroft Hat and Fur Co. and the new fraternity was officially given recognition by the college faculty on May 18th. It was decided early that a further purpose of Kappa Phi Kappa should be to make "the nucleus of a local fraternity which might later be worthy of admission into a national organization." A year later, in 1923, the name "Kappa Phi Kappa" was shortened to "Kappa Phi" at the recommendation of the college faculty, made necessary by the installation of the national education honorary Kappa Phi Kappa at Wittenberg.
The first house was located at 30 E. Ward St. and was know as "Valley Forge." In 1924, Kappa Phi Kappa moved to 902-904 Woodlawn Ave., the original Woodlawn Hall. While it was demolished in 1929 for the construction of the Alpha Tau Omega house, an identical mirror image of it may be seen at the southeast corner of Wittenberg and College Avenues, opposite the KD house. In 1925, Kappa Phi moved to 619 N. Wittenberg Ave., next door to the Wittenberg School of Music. (When Kappa Phi moved once again in 1928, the house became part of the School of Music, and remained one of several school buildings until the construction of Krieg Hall. Both houses were demolished c. 1970 and the site is now the parking lot behind Ferncliff Hall - the Kappa Phi house was in the center.) February 1, 1928, the first truly permanent chapter house - which served successfully as the home of Kappa Phi, Theta Kappa Nu, and Lambda Chi Alpha until 1944 - was secured, at 825 N. Fountain Avenue.
Wittenberg's first fraternity housemother, or "matron" as they were called then, Mrs. Ethel S. Kincaid, was brought to the campus by Kappa Phi in 1929. She stayed for two years before moving on to the presumably more subdued atmosphere of Chi Omega, 41 W. College Ave. (now a vacant lot ). "Smokers" were popular rush functions and the tradition of formals dates back to this time.
Symbols and Emblems of Kappa Phi Kappa and Kappa Phi
The Kappa Phi Kappa badge was a black enamel shield on gold, with a star, scimitar, Greek letters "Kappa Phi Kappa," and the Greek word TEV (not sure on this one..it wAS blank in the oringinal I found this information in).
The Coat of Arms was a diagonally divided shield, further divided into quadrants by color. In the upper left quadrant were two clasped hands; in the lower right, two crossed swords or scimitars. In the late 1920s, a star also appears in the lower right quadrant, beneath the scimitars. The crest, at the top, was a wreath-encircled star. The Kappa Phi open motto, " ," appeared on a banner at the bottom.
The pledge pin was a black enamel square, with a gold star and scimitar.
The colors were sky blue and gold and the flower was the white carnation until 1927, when it was changed to the American Beauty Rose.
Chi Sigma Nu
Chi Sigma Nu was a local fraternity founded September 26, 1926, at Wittenberg by Harold Flarida and Fred Gimbel. The objects of the fraternity were "to promote scholarship, good fellowship and a true Wittenberg Spirit." The first home of Chi Sigma Nu still stands at 30 W. College Avenue. In 1928, the fraternity moved to 129 E. McCreight, near Limestone Street and in 1930, from McCreight to 810 North Fountain, next door to the Kappa Phi House, which may have provided some of the roots for the merger in November 1931 of the two local organizations - several months before Kappa Phi became Ohio Gamma of Theta Kappa Nu in April, 1932. (The Paedagogus is incorrect in its information regarding the absorption of Chi Sigma Nu by Kappa Phi.) The 800 block of Fountain Avenue was considered "fraternity row" in the early 1930s, with Phi Gamma Delta (809 N. Fountain - now Delta Sigma Phi), Pi Kappa Alpha (N.W. corner of Stoughton Place and Fountain), Chi Sigma Nu, and Kappa Phi.
Little is recorded about Chi Sigma Nu (they did have a baby grand piano - apparently unusual for that time in a fraternity house, as it is noted in reports from that period with a certain degree of pride), but it appears that Mr. Flarida and Mr. Gimbel had a great deal of inspiration from and interest in the already existing national fraternity Lambda Chi Alpha as exhibited by the ironic similarity of their coats of arms and the Chi Sigma Nu's choice of colors: purple, white, and gold.
Theta Kappa Nu
One May 17, 1931, with the granting of a charter, Kappa Phi became the fiftieth chapter of the seven year old national fraternity Theta Kappa Nu. Theta Kappa Nu had been a direct outgrowth of the demand for new national fraternities to meet the needs of the great influx of students which filled college campuses during the decade following the first World War. The fraternity was unique in that it had no single founding chapter, but instead was the result of the union of eleven already existing local fraternities who agreed in 1924 to lay aside their former names and adopt the common name, ritual, and symbols of a new national organization, Theta Kappa Nu. Formal installation was held the weekend of April 8-9, 1932, with the Baldwin-Wallace and Marietta Chapters of Theta Kappa Nu supervising ceremonies and ritual, which were held at Covenant Presbyterian Church. Kappa Phi at Wittenberg was then designated Ohio Gamma of Theta Kappa Nu.
Symbols and Emblems of Theta Kappa Nu
The Theta Kappa Nu badge consisted of four overlapping triangles. Each of three carried one of the Greek letters theta, kappa, or nu. The center triangle carried a white rose surrounded by the unfinished outline of a triangle. It was black enamel on gold, sometimes jeweled, sometimes not. When jewels were used, they occurred in fours at the outer edges of the three outside triangles.
The coat of arms appears in the Paedagogus. See "Our emblems then...and now." and now."
The pledge pin of Theta Kappa Nu was a square inside a circle. The square was divided into four small triangles by a superimposed "x."
The flower of Theta Kappa Nu was the white rose.
Lambda Chi Alpha
On October 11, 1939, Lambda Chi Alpha became the surviving name of the union which had been instituted with Theta Kappa Nu on a national level several years earlier. The actives of Lambda Chi Alpha at Ohio State installed Ohio Gamma of Theta Kappa Nu as Nu-Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha (the "Nu" in the chapter designation to indicate that Wittenberg was a former chapter of Theta Kappa Nu) in ceremonies in the lounge of the fieldhouse - the primary campus meeting room at the time.
During World War II, the fraternity, like many others on campus, became largely inactive, due to the small number of men at school. The house at 825 N. Fountain was sold, and in 1945, at the close of the war, Nu-Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha consisted of one man living on the third floor of another house, and a baby grand piano, probably inherited from Chi Sigma Nu.
In the year following, a block of rooms in Myers Hall was obtained and a fall rush program was initiated. The block of rooms was more than filled and a search for a house, with the help of the college, was begun. A small stone house was leased from the college for five years. A dining room was added to the rear and the fraternity thrived.
August 18-22, 1949, Nu-Zeta was the scene of the fist national Lambda Chi Alpha Management Training Seminar. Functions were held at the Shawnee Hotel, the chapter house and the Fieldhouse. Members of the Grand High Zeta, 104 chapters, and 9 colonies attended. A plaque presented to the chapter by the national fraternity commemorating this event hangs in the Piano Room.
The decade between 1950-1960 saw moves by many of the Wittenberg fraternities to re-acquire permanent homes, as post-war re-development led to a degree of financial stability adequate to permit expanding facilities. The expansion of fraternity facilities and the acquiring of large houses was encouraged by the college, which followed its own growth plans, as well. In 1951, Nu-Zeta secured a larger home at 926 N. Fountain Avenue, built for Mr. and Mrs. Warren Myers of the Robbins and Myers Co. in 1911-12. The basement was made into a board club (tube room), kitchen (pit), and shower room (furnace room). An addition was made to the rear of the house in 1959.
1963 saw the reintroduction of a Housemother at Lambda Chi Alpha, a position which was again eliminated in 1971, the same year in a Little Sister program was introduced. A fire on May 8, 1974 resulted in extensive renovation to the first and second floors of the chapter house.
Outstanding Men of Nu-Zeta
- Cyril F. "Duke" Flad: Kappa Phi, Theta Kappa Nu, Lambda Chi Alpha; Lambda Chi Alpha Traveling Secretary, Aug. 1, 1941 - Nov. 27, 1942; Executive Officer, Nov. 28, 1942 - June 15, 1943; Administrative Secretary, June 16, 1943 - Aug. 31, 1956; Executive Director, Lambda Chi Alpha, Aug. 31, 1956 - Nov. 29, 1968.
- J. Donnel Keifer: Kappa Phi; Lambda Chi Alpha Order of Merit winner, 1952.
Further Reading and Bibliography
- Wittenberg Yearbooks, Theology Reading Room, Thomas Library 1894 on.
- Kappa Phi Kappa, Theta Kappa Nu, and Lambda Chi Alpha scrapbooks.
- Cross and Crescent, May 1949, p.1.
- Cross and Crescent Winter Number, 1949, pp. 6-16.