Our Heritage

 chainlogoGraphic created by Terry Carter, 2011;  History provided by Terry Carter and Pete Carteaux

Important Dates – Building a Foundation

  • 1845 - Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity formed on December 6, 1845 at Yale University
  • 1884- Tri-State Normal College founded in Angola, IN
  • 1906 - College changes name to Tri-State College
  • 1924 – Alpha Delta Alpha Fraternity chartered at Tri-State College
  • 1925 – Phi Lambda Tau Fraternity chartered on April 10, 1925 at Tri-State College
  • 1929 – Alpha Delta Alpha and Phi Lambda Tau merge to form Alpha Delta Alpha
  • 1935 – Alpha Delta Alpha chartered as Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Pi
  • 1946 – Alpha Kappa Pi charter as the Beta Omicron Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi
  • 1975 – Tri-State College changed name to Tri-State University
  • 2008Tri-State University changed name to Trine University

Hanging in the “Old Gal” at 709 West Maumee Street, a certificate from National Headquarters of Alpha Sigma Phi recognizes seventy-five years of tradition, but cannot relay the extent of our Beta Omicron history.

Our existence actually began in 1924, in March as a matter of fact; Alpha Delta Alpha appeared on the Tri-State College Campus.  This was the onset that has led to the great chapter that we share today.  A year later, Phi Lambda Tau was chartered by the State of Indiana on April 10, 1925.  These two groups combined as a local fraternity, Alpha Delta Alpha.  In 1935, the Alpha Delta Alpha fraternity was chartered as the Alpha Beta Chapter of Alpha Kappa Pi Fraternity.  The first chapter house was at 415 W. Gilmore Street.

Alpha Kappa Pi

Just for the record, there is no roster number or pin number on the back of each fraternity pin; only the name of the member, the date of his initiation, and the designation 19BO35 which indicates the Beta Omicron Chapter founded in 1935.  However, official membership records for our chapter in the Alpha Sigma Phi national computer begin at roster #1 – what we call Pin #1 – with this merger of the entire Alpha Delta Alpha into Alpha Kappa Pi even though the next merger of  Alpha Kappa Pi and Alpha Sigma Phi was still eleven years away.

When In 1946 the chapter was re-designated the Beta Omicron Chapter of national fraternity Alpha Sigma Phi, it was the largest fraternity on the Tri-State College campus with 57 undergraduate members.

The chapter had a house in 1947 at 207 S. Superior Street, Angola.  It relocated shortly thereafter to 113 North Superior Street.  In 1962, the chapter retired the mortgage on its chapter house just in time to have it burn beyond repair in 1963.

No one was hurt in the fire, but there was some scrambling to find a new chapter house.  The brotherhood rented an old nursing home at 314 W. Broad Street, two blocks north of the ashes.

About that time, Tri-State University (name changed from Tri-State College) endured some financial hardships and new rules required all fraternities to move into the newly constructed dormitories as University student enrollment declined.  From 1969 to 1972 the chapter occupied the dormitory building located 333 S. Summit Street.  It was fun while it lasted, but the University charged five times as much rent as the Beta Omicron Chapter had been paying for mortgage and insurance.  The chapter went broke and thus was asked to vacate the premises.

The Alumni Association

With the fire insurance money being absorbed by the costly University-owned fraternity house, half a dozen alumni got together and incorporated an alumni association in 1972.  In 1973 the chapter moved to 109 N. Superior Street.  That’s the building which is now the Village Kitchen Restaurant and is next door to figurative ashes and many wonderful memories of the Old Gal at 113 N. Superior Street.

AlphaSig                                              113 North Superior Street

You can’t make up stuff like this, folks

Every story needs a comedy subplot.  Here is ours.  In the mid-seventies, the Board of Directors of the corporate Alumni Association used most of its money to purchase a decrepit chicken coop on five acres a mile out of town.  The idea was that the edifice could be restored to its former glory to be used as a fraternity house.  A long, thin, one-floor building seemed just right for a fraternity house.  Hens would flock there, and the undergraduates could drive to class. Or could bicycle, or jog.  Or just stay in bed.

There was a happy ending to the chicken coop chronicles (Hallelujah!).  A buyer appeared and paid the Alumni Association double what the Alumni Association had paid for it.   That brought the total cash in the Alumni Association bank account to $10,000.  Appropriately, the 200 West property transformed from sacred party grounds of the 70’s to basic sacred grounds as the location of a church.  (Amen!!)

A 35-year era begins

In 1975, five thousand dollars of the lucre went as a down payment on the $30,000 purchase of two buildings and land at 709 W. Maumee Street.  Much work by undergraduates and parents went into updating the two buildings to make them livable.  Undergraduates moved in beginning the winter quarter, 1976.  The next move from that Old Gal is now in the works.

current house

709 West Maumee Street

“To Better The Man”

Alpha Sigs have been and continue to be well integrated into campus life

  • Numerous leadership positions of campus organizations
  • Active involvement in the Modulus yearbook including editor
  • Varsity sports including Basketball, tennis, baseball, golf and lacrosse
  • Five Alpha Sigs have been inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame
  • Cheerleading squad (new way to catch the girls) and the first mascot
  • Public service to the community
  • National recognition for best alumni newsletter

Representing their alma mater

Of the thirty men who initiated into Alpha Kappa Pi on November 8, 1935, two would eventually serve as Trustees of Tri-State College. One has a building named after him on campus.  The other, a civil engineering graduate, led the company which was the prime facility-construction contractor for the Cape Canaveral Space Center.

Two more alumni have served as Trustees of Tri-State College and University.  One served the longest term ever as Chairman of the Board.

The results of good preparation

Career success for Beta Omicron alumni is so ubiquitous that it defies superlatives.  We have had a national officer of a trade association, an award winning sewage plant manager, a television news reporter, a PGA professional golfer, chiropractors, dozens of successful business owners and managers, award winning educators at every level, lawyers, Federal government managers, and recently successful law enforcement officers.

Engineering excellence abounds.  Patents held by Beta Omicron engineers are too numerous to count – from air conditioning systems, to production line machinery, to automotive parts to medical devices.  One former undergraduate chapter president won awards as an alumnus for working for NASA in Houston.  Another worked for NASA in Cleveland.  Two dozen engineering and business graduates have worked for all the auto giants and auto suppliers.  At least five alumni from different undergraduate eras have worked for the big plastics and chemical company, Union Carbide.

More than two dozen alumni have qualified as pilots.  Several worked professionally for airlines.  One won the Distinguished Flying Cross in the Navy.  Another dozen alumni served as officers in the various branches of the military.  One alumnus acted in Hollywood movies and then schmoozed with the U.S. President.

Among the alumni, there are dozens of master’s degrees and doctoral degrees of various persua­sions.  And on it goes.  We are an elite group of Brothers

The proud tradition continues

For seventy-five years (and then some), the Brothers of the Beta Omicron

Chapter have succeeded on campus, in their communities and throughout their careers.  The motto “To Better The Man” has been embraced by the Brotherhood regardless of location and will continue to drive the emotional and physical foundation of the new “Old Gal” located at 110 S. Darling Street.

Alpha2

Proposed Chapter House

110  South Darling Street