About the Chapter
The Delta Chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma at Emporia State University in Emporia, Kansas began with three founders in 1922. The chapter was first started in 1916 as Alpha Sigma Alpha Fraternity with 16 members. Over 1,500 men have been initiated since its inception.
- Ellsworth C. Dent is a member of the Delta Chapter
- The first Conclave was held at Emporia State with five chapters represented
- Delta Chapter closed for a short time because of World War II
The Delta Chapter became the third chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma in January of 1922. Delta had its beginning in 1916 with the local organization of Alpha Sigma Alpha Fraternity. During the 1917-1918 school year, Alpha Sigma Alpha recorded ten members enrolled and six who were serving in the armed forces of World War I. In 1918, Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, installed a chapter at Emporia State University (then the Kansas State Normal) and the Fraternity adopted the name Beta Alpha Tau.
With the return of brothers from the war, membership of the fraternity increased. All reports indicate that the men of Beta Alpha Tau were the most respected group on campus. In 1921 Beta Alpha Tau’s roster gave an indication of the type of men that were to build the Delta Chapter. Among those that year were Ellsworth C. Dent, who would become a pioneer of educational films and the longest serving president of Sigma Tau Gamma; L. Percy Young, destined to become one of the most outstanding American educators; and Floyd Ecord, an outstanding Kansas journalist.
History: The 20’s and 30’s
The chapter continued the tradition of excellence throughout the roaring 20’s. There was heavy competition considering that in the late 20’s the school had eight fraternities and an enrollment that was minuscule by current standards. The Delta Chapter, of course, was always one of the top groups. Most important during this time was the contribution of the chapter to the national organization.
During the fall of 1924, after the installation of the Zeta Chapter, the five groups met at Emporia and elected the provisional officers to serve until the first Conclave the following spring. The first Conclave, with Royal Alcott as Delta Delegate, elected J Walker Cross as Treasurer and Ellsworth Dent as Editor. The third Conclave was held in Emporia in 1927 and Brother Dent was elected Grand President of the Fraternity. Dent was to serve as President until 1936, the longest term of office in the fraternity history. His ability to lead Sigma Tau Gamma during infancy and through the major portion of the depression helped to make Sigma Tau Gamma the strong organization it is today. The highest individual award in the fraternity is the Ellsworth C. Dent “Man of the Year” award presented to honor outstanding leadership. During the first 24 years of existence, the chapter was represented on the national fraternity board. The service of the men has helped to create Sigma Tau Gamma today.
History: The 40’s and 50’s
Like most fraternity chapters, the Delta Chapter closed her doors and went to war. After the war, the chapter was back in business and was stronger than ever.
Several years after leaving 1028 Constitution, and after renting at various places, the chapter purchased a “new” home on West 12th Street. The most helpful person in Delta Chapter’s housing negotiation was Ves Sheeley who also to served the national organization as Secretary of the Sigma Tau Gamma Foundation from 1966-1970.
Throughout the 50’s, morals were high, and Delta Chapter prospered. Sigma Tau Gamma had truly become an important and influential organization on the college campus. The outlook for the future was certainly one of a prosperous fraternity.
History: The 60’s and 70’s
The first part of the sixties was not much different from the fifties. The house was larger than usual, the budget was larger, and intramurals, Homecoming, and White Rose were major considerations. They were fortunate enough in 1960 to convince Mrs. Esther Sears to become housemother. Despite the falling plaster and hissing radiator in her apartment in the house on 12th Street, she developed loyalty to Sig Tau that continued until her death in 1976.
During the late sixties and early seventies, changes came that no one had anticipated. The student movement took hold, with emphasis on “doing your own thing”, and the fraternity suffered tremendously.
Thanks to dedicated individuals and superior leaders, Delta Chapter rebuilt itself to its former standard of excellence. In 1976, Gene Merry was awarded the Ellsworth C. Dent “Man of the Year” Award and Delta Chapter was runner-up for the McCune Award. Keith Crow served the chapter well the following year. As president in 1977, Keith was runner-up for the Dent Award, and the chapter received the McCune Award and the IFC Outstanding Chapter Award. The rebuilding process could not have taken place without the support of Josephine Dell. Josephine served Delta Chapter as cook, housemother, and advisor during the critical rebuilding years and was considered the cornerstone that kept the house up during the early-mid seventies. These events along with the hiring of Virginia Peters as a housemother in 1977 put Delta Chapter in a good position to begin the decade of the eighties.
History: The Next 60 Years
The first two years of this decade were productive ones for Delta Chapter. The brothers had worked hard to keep membership at its maximum level. In the fall of 1981, the men worked hard to get the biggest pledge class since the late sixties. The scholarship is again at a level at which they can compete with the other Greek organizations. As is a tradition for Sig Taus, community service is given high priority.
Delta Chapter’s recent successes have been the result of a combination of good leadership abilities, motivation, renewed active participation, and pride. They are now in the process of proving what they’ve have known all along—that there is a need among men to form associations for mutual enjoyment and benefit. It is an opportunity for a student to be placed in a situation where he can develop his abilities to work with other, expand his intellectual and social horizons, and develop his leadership ability.
Through war, depression, and good times too—one thing—the ability of Delta Chapter of Sigma Tau Gamma to provide to us the opportunity of self-development in an enjoyable setting has provided the tie that binds us. It is this aspect of fraternity that will survive for the next 60 years, and it is also this aspect that enables a freshman pledge to communicate with those 1,500 men of Delta Chapter who have gone before. There will be new situations and new problems in the future, but the same spirit that has given the chapter a successful 60 years will also provide us another 60 years of Sig Tau excellence at Emporia State University.
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