Alpha Chi Rho’s basic principles are found in the Landmarks, formed by the Founders of the Fraternity over a century ago. They culminate in the noble traditions of Alpha Chi Rho and represent what our Founders believed was the ideal Brotherhood.
Membership from among those who are prepared to realize in word and deed, the Brotherhood of all men.
The insistence on a high and clean moral standard.
The paramount duty of Brotherly love among members.
Judgment not by externals, but by intrinsic worth; no one is denied membership in Alpha Chi Rho because of race, creed, or nationality.
These are the Landmarks of Alpha Chi Rho; its foundation and its heritage. The ideals which they express are to be lived out by every Brother of Alpha Chi Rho, not only during his college days, but also throughout his life. They are summarized in the exoteric motto of the Fraternity:
Table of Contents
- The Landmarks
- The Revered Founders
- The History of Alpha Chi Rho
- The History of the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation
The Revered Founders
Rev. Paul Ziegler (1847-1921) – Trinity ‘72
A member of the Beta Beta Society and Valedictorian of his class, Paul devoted his life to the ministry, composed the Landmarks and Ritual, and designed the Fraternity Badge. He authored the Exoteric Manual and all four of his sons were Alpha Chi Rho men and ministers of the Episcopal Church.
Rev. Carl Ziegler (1876-1967) – Trinity ‘97
Oldest son of Founder Paul Ziegler, a Beta Beta and a Lifelong Episcopal clergyman, he was the Alpha Chi Rho National Chaplain for many years. He was also the longest-lived Founder.
William H. Rouse (1866-1954) – Trinity ‘96
“…his sage advice and tactful approach was invaluable during infancy of our Fraternity.” He was the first President of Phi Psi Chapter and a teacher by profession who spent the later years of his life in Florida teaching English to Cuban and South American immigrants.
Herbert T. Sherriff (1876-1944) – Trinity ‘97
He attended high school and college with Carl G. Ziegler, wrote the first installment of the Fraternity’s history, and carried on a career in public health in Portland Oregon.
Rev. William A.D. Eardeley (1870-1936) – Trinity ‘97
He started his career as an Episcopal minister and later became a noted genealogist. He was also the first National President of the Fraternity, designed the Coat of Arms, and helped form the Phi Chi and Phi Phi Chapters.
The History of Alpha Chi Rho
History can be presented in many forms. This historical outlook on the trials and triumphs of our Brotherhood is taken from historical articles which have appeared in the Garnet & White, from personal letters in the Fraternity’s archives, and from personal discussions with Brothers who shared their stories with us.
The First Chapter
The year was 1894. Grover Cleveland was the President of the United States. The country was starting to recover from the Panic of ‘93, which seriously jeopardized the monetary and fiscal policies of both the country and individuals. There were approximately 117 students attending Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. Most of the students attending Trinity College were from preparatory schools located in New England. The college system of that day was much different than today’s system of higher education. Not every man went to college, but those who did were expected to help shape the future of our country.
The Reverend Paul Ziegler attended Trinity College and graduated in 1872. While a student at Trinity, Rev. Ziegler was a member of the local Beta Beta Society. In today’s terms, Beta Beta is a Fraternity, but in that era, it was known as a literary society. In the 1890’s, Reverend Ziegler and his family were living in Detroit, Michigan, and he wanted to send his oldest son, Carl, to his alma mater. This made the young Carl a unique student at Trinity; instead of an easterner who had attended a prep school in New England, he was a mid-westerner attending an eastern school that associated itself with schools such as Yale and Brown.
Upon entering Trinity, he became friends with William Rouse and Herbert Sherriff. Both Carl and Sherriff were rejected from Reverend Ziegler’s Fraternity, Beta Beta, which had now become the Beta Beta Chapter of Psi Upsilon Fraternity. This provided the impetus for the founding of our Brotherhood. Reverend Ziegler wrote his beliefs on what the new Brotherhood should stand for and portray. This document, the first Exoteric Manual of Alpha Chi Rho, was accepted by three men: elder and younger Ziegler, and Sherriff. It is interesting to note that Detroit, Michigan could be considered the true birthplace of Alpha Chi Rho.
The Exoteric Manual itself was only 6 printed pages of material. The Landmarks as we know them were not a part of this manual, and were not even created for another decade. This simple yet elegant manual set forth the purpose, beliefs, and ideals of this new organization, and was accepted on January 1, 1895.
When Ziegler and Sherriff returned to school, they interested four other men in joining the fledgling Fraternity. All four had either refused or been refused membership in the existing Fraternities at Trinity. Most all of the Fraternities were part of some old and prestigious national organization, and there were many doubts that such a new group had any hopes of survival. Two of the four dropped out of the group and left us with our Five Revered Founders. On June 4, 1895, the four undergraduate men exchanged the vows of Brotherhood in Ziegler’s room in Northam Towers on the Trinity campus. Soon after this, all the men left for summer break.
A personal letter from Ziegler to Rouse relates to us that the name of the Chapter, “Phi Psi”, came about because Carl thought it was a nice sounding name for a Chapter. They would need this Chapter name since it was planned from the very beginning that Alpha Chi Rho would spread to other campuses.
At the conclusion of the school year in 1897, Carl Ziegler and Herbert Sherriff graduated from Trinity. However, the Founders left the Brotherhood in the hands of 17 Brothers. They had become one of the largest Fraternities on campus, with over one sixth of the student body, and included the brightest scholars and athletes on the campus. The first Chapter Hall was a rented room and the Chapter had an eating club which cost $4.50 per week. At that time, the college did not provide meals and it was left up to the students to form clubs, join Fraternities, or eat with a private family in town. In addition to our respected membership, Alpha Chi Rho was the first Fraternity on the campus to accept local students or “townies” as members.
At this time, it is important to relate some facts about our Founders. Paul Ziegler was originally a business man and pursued his ministry only after leaving the business field. He was also a strong advocate of prohibition. William Rouse was the oldest student Founder, and Carl Ziegler was the youngest. Rouse was the first President of the Phi Psi Chapter and was considered to be quite intelligent. A sign in the Northam Tower room where our ritual was first performed stated “Chickens Roost High, But They Must Come Down” – a statement which could be attributed to the attitudes of the existing Fraternities on campus. William Rouse, first Phi Psi President, never met Paul Ziegler, even though Ziegler attended the Institutions of the Phi Chi and Phi Phi Chapters.
After leaving Trinity, Carl Ziegler and William Eardeley were both living and working in New York. They became interested in expanding the Brotherhood to another campus and approached a man from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute. After discussions with these two Founders and acceptance by the Phi Psi Chapter (which had to approve all functions of each Chapter, especially Chartering new groups), three men started the Phi Chi Chapter at Brooklyn Poly. The initiation fee was $10, a considerable sum of money at that time. Spurred on by success, Eardeley, when later in Philadelphia, approached a man of good standing at University of Pennsylvania. The man, Howard Long, class of ‘00, thought that he was about to be attacked in the street when Eardeley first approached him. He rejected the proposal of starting a new Fraternity on the Penn campus, especially one that was only in existence for less than a year and had only two Chapters and no alumni of which to speak. However, Eardeley spoke to Long’s mother and his Episcopalian minister. These discussions helped convince Long to make a commitment to this new venture. Phi Phi was Chartered with 18 members in 1896.
When the Fraternity was founded, there were few rules or guidelines. Each Chapter was left to develop their own rules, but all policies had to be approved by the Brothers of the Phi Psi Chapter. This did not always make for easy times; it was no simple task to get permission from Hartford when things happened in Philadelphia. Although the Brothers were able to travel to visit each other, transportation was neither quick nor cheap, and telecommunications were not always quick or secure enough for secrets of the Fraternity. Each Chapter continued to grow and flourish, although some discontent was brewing among members who felt that the guidelines for membership were too stringent. The Fraternity needed to associate itself with a larger, more prestigious Fraternity.
By this time, a newsletter for the Phi Psi Chapter called the ‘Garnet and White’ was started. It soon turned that name over to the official magazine of the Fraternity. On June 23 and 24, 1899, the first National Convention was held in Hartford. Forty-one Brothers attended this first meeting. Brother Eardeley was elected to serve as National President, but to serve only for the duration of the Convention. No new policies were adopted; all power remained with the mother Chapter, Phi Psi.
Later in 1899, Brother Burton S. Easton, Phi Phi’98, approached two of his students at the University of Iowa about starting a Chapter. Three students eventually were granted a Charter as the Phi Upsilon Chapter. This new Chapter was in a different region from the other three and had a different type of student; communication across the country was difficult. By the end of 1900, a fifth Chapter had been established by four men at Columbia University. Within its first five years, the Fraternity had held a convention and started a magazine (which was run by an Editor from each Chapter). Things looked good for the Fraternity even though many in the existing Fraternity world looked upon them with disdain as inexperienced idealists.
As noted earlier, some of the original Brothers felt that the thoughts expressed in the original Exoteric manual were too lofty, too constrictive, and unattainable. They felt that the standards would hurt the future of the Fraternity by making it difficult to attract new members. They also wanted to pattern the Fraternity after existing institutions. This dissension led to discord among all Chapters in the Fraternity, and a contingent of discontents attempted to destroy the Fraternity from within. Upon hearing false news that Alpha Chi Rho no longer existed, the men who were known as the Phi Upsilon Chapter abandoned their Charter. They immediately joined Kappa Sigma at the University of Iowa.Alpha Chi Rho has not used the letter ‘Upsilon’ in a Chapter name since that time, in order to preserve the memory of this sad event in AXP history.
News of this spread and seemed to confirm that Alpha Chi Rho was dead. During 1902, the only Chapter that really existed was Phi Psi. Brothers such as Henry Blakeslee and James Wales, both of the Phi Psi Chapter, were two men bound and determined to make the Fraternity survive and prosper. It was decided that Alpha Chi Rho would stick to its principles and expel all those who were not willing to do so. This severely cut the membership of the Fraternity, almost by one-half. Addressing the issue of our principles, Revered Founder Eardeley commented, “…although benevolent men cannot do all the good they would, their duty is to do all the good they can.”
It was decided that the Fraternity needed more stringent organization. The official administrative duties of the Fraternity had to be taken out of the hands of the Undergraduates and put into the hands of Graduates. A National Council was created to run the affairs of the Fraternity and to oversee expansion, although approval still had to come from each Chapter for a Charter to be granted. Fees were introduced. Brother Henry Blakeslee, Phi Phi ‘98, was elected President of the Fraternity in 1903. We owe Brother Blakeslee much gratitude since his work, along with Council member Carlton Hayes (Phi Omega ‘04, later a United States Ambassador), laid the ground work for the contemporary form of Alpha Chi Rho. The Ritual was changed in 1903 when the Phi Alpha Chapter (formerly a member of the two-Chapter Fraternity of Psi Alpha Kappa) joined the ranks of Alpha Chi Rho. The Landmarks as we know them today were introduced in 1905.
The Chapters at Trinity, Brooklyn, Penn, Columbia, and the new Lafayette Chapter, were once again all active and prospering in 1903. Under the guidance and self-examination of devoted Brothers, Alpha Chi Rho began to make an impact on their campuses and, though wounded, was not about to die.
Brother Blakeslee served as President from 1903 until 1908, the longest term of any other Brother in the Fraternity. The “National Fraternity” was organized and prepared to spread our Brotherhood throughout the land, although not to every campus. Under the motto of “slow but sure,” Alpha Chi Rho began to Charter schools all over the country. Looking back, it might be said that some of the Brothers who needed to approve all Charters were “school snobs”; they desired to have Alpha Chi Rho only at the best and most prestigious schools. This slowed expansion somewhat, but reading through a list of the rejected schools makes one wonder what we would be like if they had been Chartered – schools such as Pitt, Brown, Carnegie Mellon, West Virginia, and the University of Colorado.
However, “slow but sure” moved more surely than slowly and by 1909, Chapters were Chartered at Dickinson College, Yale University, Syracuse University, the University of Virginia, Washington & Lee, and Cornell University (Charter members of Cornell included a man named Wilbur M. Walden, who would play a much larger role later on). In 1909, Alpha Chi Rho representatives attended a meeting of several Fraternities in New York City. At that time, we had 11 Chapters (all in the East) and were still considered as idealists by some of the larger and older Fraternities. However, Alpha Chi Rho was present in 1909 when the National Interfraternity Conference (NIC) was founded. We have remained an active member of NIC ever since, a record that not all Fraternities can claim.
The future looked very promising for Alpha Chi Rho. Even then, the Fraternity had begun addressing the issues of alcohol and hazing. The country was flourishing, but the storm clouds in Europe grew threatening. Expansion continued with the Chartering of Chapters at Wesleyan and Allegheny, both schools with religious affiliations. We were growing regionally but not nationally; the Chapters spanned only four states. With the acceptance of the Chi Delta local at the University of Illinois, expansion efforts were changed to expand to schools that were geographically close or in similar athletic conferences.
By this time, President Woodrow Wilson could no longer keep us out of the war. Reverend Ziegler, 60 years old, was the eldest Brother of the Fraternity. The majority of the Brothers were much younger and served in “the war to end all wars.” During the times following the war, expansion continued slowly with Chapters at Lehigh and Dartmouth. At 1920, good times were ahead for the country. The war was over, and the Fraternity was 25 years old – a surprise to many other Fraternities. We had survived and could boast 17 active Chapters (Phi Upsilon was the only loss). By this time, although the hurt continued, discussion of Phi Upsilon ceased and it became an historical footnote in the Fraternity. The name has been forgotten, but the Brothers vowed to remember the lesson they learned.
Through Prosperity and Depression
The “Roaring 20’s” saw the Chartering of the University of Michigan, our first Chapter in Michigan, close to the home of Paul Ziegler. Unfortunately, Revered Founder Paul Ziegler died during that same year (1921). He left four sons to carry on his ministry as well as his Fraternity. Carl, Phi Psi; Howard, Phi Psi; Winfred, Phi Omega; and Eustice, Phi Gamma – all Brothers in the Bond. Ziegler was always amazed that the little group he had helped foster and develop had grown so large. The Phi Omicron Chapter at the University of Wisconsin was Chartered in 1922. Among the Founding Brothers there was a married Phi Beta Kappa Brother who would become very important to the future of Alpha Chi Rho, Robert B. Stewart. Phi Pi at Ohio State, Chartered in 1923, brought Alpha Chi Rho to four of the Big 10 schools.
Not all campuses were considered for expansion. Some schools were judged inferior, often based on bad reputations or the lack of an endowment. All expansion efforts were directed by the National Council, which was totally volunteer- based. Despite the constant growth, we were still small enough that almost all Brothers in the National Fraternity knew each other. A significant step was taken in 1923 when the Phi Rho Chapter at Berkeley was Chartered. We were finally “National” in scope, with Chapters on both coasts.
Plans were made to undertake more vigorous expansion efforts in the west. This brought about the Chapter at Oregon State, Chartered in 1927. However, four years after the Chartering of Phi Rho, expansion efforts began to slow down. Why? One reason could be that the Brothers of Phi Rho looked down upon other western schools. The west was still being settled, and few schools had amassed a history like Oregon State. There were also few Brothers living in the west except for Phi Rho Brothers. Expansion might also have slowed because this was the time that many Chapters became serious about securing adequate housing for the future. Alumni money was spent on the local Chapters, not national efforts, and the Fraternity, using the Ritual as its guide, had never stressed monetary worth in the area of donations to the Fraternity. The Fraternity was run by volunteers who worked out of their homes and offices. The right to grant a Charter was transferred to the hands of the National Council.
By this time, all Chapters had housing, but some of the less established Chapters had difficulties in obtaining houses that were competitive on their campuses. The Fraternity was 30 years old, but other Fraternities had existed for more than 90 years and had endowments and alumni who could make significant donations. Alpha Chi Rho Brothers had distinguished themselves in politics, the ministry, law, and the arts, but 1929 proved a shock to the entire world and especially to Alpha Chi Rho. The stock market crash and eventual depression shook the country to its very foundations. Men could no longer afford college, let alone join a Fraternity. Things grew more desperate in 1930 and 1931. The Phi Zeta Chapter at the University of Virginia (who claims among its Brothers former Senator Hugh Scott of Pennsylvania and former Senator John Stennis from Mississippi) was unable to remain fiscally sound. Despite efforts and monetary support by the National Fraternity, the Chapter surrendered its Charter in 1931. The Depression continued and the Phi Xi and Phi Eta Chapters at Michigan and Washington & Lee surrendered their Charters as well. One bright spot was the Chartering of the Phi Tau Chapter at Iowa State.
In the late ‘30’s, things started to improve for the country and it appeared that Alpha Chi Rho would once again survive. For the first time, the Fraternity had a full time National Secretary/Executive Director – Wilbur M. “Curly” Walden, Phi Theta ‘11. He was to become one of the most important men in both Alpha Chi Rho and the inter-Fraternity world. He was a Charter member of the Fraternity Executives Association and well regarded for his opinions and sociability with the young men in the Fraternity. As the depression gave way, some Fraternities merged with stronger Fraternities to survive. Others completely disappeared. The Chapters at Yale and Ohio State were the last losses which could be attributed to the Depression. The Chapter house at Yale, known for the stage on the first floor where the Brothers put on plays, was sold to the university and is still used today by the theater department. The Ohio State Alumni Brothers vowed that they would reappear after things had become better.
By 1937, Brother Stewart, Phi Omicron ‘22, was working at Purdue University. The Pirathon Club at Purdue petitioned and was granted a Charter as Alpha Phi. Rutgers was considered for expansion as early as 1896 but it took over forty years for a Chapter of Alpha Chi Rho to appear there. The last Chapter Chartered in the 30’s was at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland. Forty men were initiated, although most of them were alumni of the local, Omicron Kappa Omicron. Things looked bright as the Fraternity prepared for the 40’s. A few Chapters were experiencing recruitment problems, especially Lafayette and the new Gamma Phi Chapter at Johns Hopkins. Five Chapters had succumbed to the depression but the Fraternity had resolved that they would return. Elaborate and extensive plans were made to further build the Fraternity, rebuild what was lost during the depression, and prepare for the 50th anniversary of the Fraternity which was only five years away.
A Call to Arms
December 7, 1941. Curly had made plans for progress but instead we faced an uncertain future. Europe and Asia were already entangled in the war and had been fighting for more than two years. The call to arms went through the country and Brothers of Alpha Chi Rho responded. There were no more men going to college, they were all heading to war, so with no supply of future men to pledge and men leaving school to enlist or be drafted, the Fraternity faced another crisis. How to survive? Robert B. Stewart (National President at the time) and Senator Scott from Pennsylvania made a plan for Chapters who were faced with great difficulties to return their Charters and all Fraternity materials to the National Office in New York City for safe guarding until the was over and the Chapters could be reactivated.
Over time, every Chapter surrendered their Charter and closed their doors. Brothers, undergraduate and graduate, headed off to war. The Garnet & White was still faithfully mailed to the men in the services (although it was shrunken to avoid excessive costs). The Garnet & White was fortunate enough to have Brother Bob Dell, Phi Kappa, a professional cartoonist, create a cartoon for each issue. The cartoons focused on the lighter side of the war. The Chapter at Johns Hopkins returned their Charter in 1942 and it was never restored. The Chapter at Oregon State consisted of 21 men at the time. Twenty were drafted on one day and the remaining Brother drafted the next. While an attempt was made to renew the Phi Sigma Charter in the 50’s, it never returned to active status in Alpha Chi Rho.
As the war dragged on, finances continued to cause great problems for the Fraternity. Most of the money was spent on Liberty Bonds, but the Fraternity, just barely recovering from the Depression, faced possible death. Serious negotiations were held with several national Fraternities during the war years, including Sigma Chi, Tau Kappa Epsilon, and Lambda Chi Alpha. However, it was decided that if we merged, we would lose much of our distinction as Alpha Chi. This was not the case for some other Fraternities, even ones larger than our own. No National Conventions were held from 1943-46. The Fraternity was kept alive through the guidance of Curly, the National Council, and the Garnet & White (each issue listed Brothers MIA or KIA). However, Brothers in the war were able to meet each other and reported meeting Brothers in Europe and in Asia. Robert B. Stewart had sold the idea to the government of using college campuses for training troops and housing them in Fraternity houses. This saved many Chapter houses not only for Alpha Chi Rho but also for Fraternities in general.
After V-J Day, men were allowed out of the service and were looking to begin or resume their higher education. This was made possible by the GI Bill, another idea that R.B. had helped create.
Nineteen Chapters came back to life within five years of World War II. Thanks to the GI Bill, men were overflowing on the college campuses. The war had broken down many barriers among people of different religions, race, and origins, but Alpha Chi Rho remained a “Christians only” Fraternity. At the National Convention in 1948, it was adopted that men of African descent would be eligible for membership, however, the need to be Christian remained. This was a subject that would later cause more upheaval in the country and in the Fraternity. One of the leading groups against “Christians only” were young undergraduates from the Phi Gamma Chapter at Wesleyan. The only expansion in the Fraternity during the 40’s was at RPI with the Delta Phi Chapter.
The 50’s saw another burst of expansion for the Fraternity world. Chapters emerged all over the country. It was popular to be Greek and more and more people were going to college, even women. It is unknown whether the exhaustive process of rebuilding after the war or the inner turmoil caused reduced expansion during this time. No new Chapter was instituted until 1955 with the Epsilon Phi Chapter at Temple. Expansion may have slowed due to the development of another group, the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation. Started with the National Council and helped along by Brothers John Hunter of Phi Lambda and Richard Conant of Phi Omega, efforts began to create an educational foundation to further the purposes of higher education and scholarship within Alpha Chi Rho. In 1950, after a few years of hard work, the Foundation began offering student loans at a limit of $100. Brother F. Prescott Hammond, Phi Omega, was its first Chairman of the Board. Sadly, Brother Hammond, a lawyer, entered the Chapter Eternal in 1956, but left his entire estate to the Foundation. Due to his most generous gift, the Foundation was off and running, granting more loans and looking into new program ideas. The Foundation office is named in honor of this infrequently talked-about Brother, but a Brother whose impact is still felt today.
Curly continued to run the Fraternity as the National Secretary/Executive Director. Each year, the issue of Christian-only membership came up at the National Convention and the Garnet & White ran opinion pieces on the topic. Colleges were pressing for all groups on campus to be nondiscriminatory. It was an issue of the day and an issue within the Fraternity.
While this issue continued to be a boiling pot, Chapters at Clarkson University, Gettysburg College, Thiel College (in PA), and Parsons College in Iowa were Chartered. At last, expansion efforts increased, while the turmoil over the first Landmark continued within Alpha Chi Rho.
In 1959, with poor health and after 25 years of service, Curly Walden stepped down as Executive Director. His length of service is the longest in our history, only 6 other men have taken his place since that time. Brother John F. Benke, Epsilon Phi, was hired as Executive Director. Sadly, Brother Benke killed himself within one year and he was replaced by W. Henson Watchorn of Phi Gamma. Hense was faced with leading the Fraternity into the 60’s.
Hard Times Ahead for Fraternities
The 60’s brought President John F. Kennedy and new hopes for the country. Discrimination was still a major polarizing issue in the country and in Alpha Chi Rho. At that time, our first Landmark (“membership from Christians only”) and the wording of the Ritual were major stumbling blocks. The Chapter at Wesleyan, Phi Gamma, led a revolt and their Charter was revoked. It is believed that the ensuing debate within the Fraternity slowed our expansion efforts once again. In 1961, the Kappa Phi Chapter at Slippery Rock was Chartered. The next two new Chapters were Lambda Phi at Quinnipiac College and Mu Phi at Clarion State College in 1964. Nu Phi at Steubenville College was Chartered in 1965 and became one of the largest Chapters. The Vietnam War was escalating, President Kennedy was dead, hair became longer, skirts became shorter and the generation gap developed. Fraternities were seen as “establishment” and membership started to decline.
The Chapter at Dartmouth was feeling pressure from the school to abandon its national affiliation and become a local Fraternity. Compounded with charges of discrimination, Phi Nu’s Charter was revoked. It continues this day as Alpha Chi Alpha Fraternity on the Dartmouth campus. Chapters at Hartwick College and Utica College were Chartered in 1966. The National Council made plans that would guarantee 75 Chapters for our 75th Anniversary in 1970. At that time, Chris Seidel of Phi Beta was the National Secretary. However, by that time, campus rioting, demonstrations, and more anti- Fraternity sentiment were taking their toll and it was not the time for expansion attempts. National Fraternities that faced serious problems merged into larger Fraternities. No other Charters were granted during the 1960’s. The Chapter at Phi Rho was closed over a disagreement regarding women living in the Fraternity house. This ended the bi-coastal Fraternity of Alpha Chi Rho. The biggest problem was that Phi Rho felt left out of many things – being so far away from all the other Chapters. Travel from coast to coast was still costly during that time and all travel was done by train. The Charter of Phi Omicron was returned because the Brothers could no longer maintain a Chapter at their campus and the house was threatened with fire-bombing.
During the mid 60’s, the issue of religious discrimination had come to a crisis level. Schools were demanding we drop our requirement of Christian-only membership and Chapters felt they were losing too many good potential members. Initially, it was agreed that membership would not be based on religion, but many segments, especially the Ritual, contained references to Jesus Christ. Not until the 1971 edition of the Exoteric Manual did we see the first Landmark in its wording today. The Ritual took longer to revise, since it required the approval of all Chapters, and was finally completed in 1972. This crisis was over, but another loomed ahead.
As student bodies and opinions changed during the 60’s a generation gap between those Brothers running the Fraternity and the Undergraduate membership. Expansion continued with Chapters at Robert Morris College, Southern Connecticut State College, and Alfred University.
The 70’s began and the war in Vietnam continued. The Kent State shootings caused students to question authority. We could not expand, our membership was shrinking, and the money due the Fraternity was not always being paid. A rift between the thinking of the National Council and the Undergraduates occurred at the National Convention in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The newly appointed Executive Director, Wes Dangler, Beta Phi, who had formerly served as National Treasurer, came to the Convention to make many sweeping changes. Initiation fees would no longer be charged to the Chapter, but rather to individual Brothers. Also, alternate Undergraduate National Councilors were elected. Finally, the Undergraduates took control of the voting and elected Rick Sinding, Beta Phi, as President. Rick was less than 30 years old at the time, and was our first Jewish president. At the time, we had 23 active Chapters. Phi Tau at Iowa State had died a slow death during the Vietnam War and was not strong enough to survive. Wes faced difficult challenges in his first year.
Healing the Wounds
Healing the wounds of the Brotherhood was vital, and Wes provided Alpha Chi Rho with healing words and dedicated work. The latest Chapter instituted into Alpha Chi Rho was Phi Kappa Beta Chapter at James Madison University (in 1972). It was the first three letter Chapter and our first Virginia Chapter since the death of Phi Zeta and Phi Eta. Crow Bowl was established in 1973 and this event brought more Brothers together than any other Fraternity event. The Fraternity had resolved its problems on discrimination and the new Ritual was in the Chapters’ hands. The war was over in Vietnam and Alpha Chi Rho started to grow to make up lost ground. Omega Phi was Chartered at LaSalle College in 1975. 1976 was the Bicentennial; Fraternities in the US were 200 years old and we Chartered 2 new Chapters – East Stroudsburg and Johnson Tech. Sadly, we had lost the Chapters of Slippery Rock and Quinnipiac. Parsons College had gone bankrupt and we lost a good Chapter there. Expansion efforts were retried at Ohio State and Cornell. Both failed to live. However, Ohio State did manage a few years before their Charter was withdrawn again. Phi Omicron managed to be revived. Chapters were started at Edinboro, Radford, Trenton State, WPI, and Fairleigh Dickinson.
Mr. Alpha Chi Rho, Curly Walden, died during the early 70’s. His spirit and love for Alpha Chi Rho is hard to match. In honor of this devotion to our Brotherhood, a fund-raising effort was held to create the Walden Scholarship. This was the first scholarship from the Educational Foundation.
Any wounds the Fraternity had were healed by the start of the 80’s. At the National Convention in Montreal, Brother Stewart addressed the Convention on the need to have a permanent home for our National Headquarters. We had left New York in the 60’s for New Brunswick and had then moved to Red Bank, New Jersey. He proposed a fund-raising effort never before attempted in Alpha Chi Rho and started it all with a large donation. It took several years of looking at plans, phone calls and letters, but within a few years, the Robert B. Stewart National Headquarters was proudly established in Neptune, New Jersey. Without the persistence of R.B., we still might not have a national headquarters. Chapters were started at SUNY/Geneseo, Stockton State, Longwood College, and Central Michigan. By this time, the Fraternity had had two staff members besides Wes taking care of the existing Chapters and always looking for new schools to work on.
The National Headquarters was dedicated on August 20, 1983. The National Staff had grown once again to include a Director of Chapter Services. New Chapters had started at Temple/Ambler, SUNY/Plattsburgh, Kent State, Lock Haven, and West Chester. We were growing and not losing Chapters! It was determined that we needed to pace our expansion efforts and make sure that our existing Chapters received as much attention and direction as possible. Expansion slowed somewhat with only 2 new Chapters at Towson State and Fairleigh Dickinson at Rutherford. Crow Bowl East was started by the Brothers at Epsilon Phi. The Foundation continued to grant more scholarships and would grant loans up to $2,000. Sadly, the Phi Alpha Chapter at Lafayette returned its Charter after several disappointing years of trying to survive.
1986 marked another transition in the Fraternity. After 13 years of service, Wes Dangler retired as the Executive Director/National Secretary of the Fraternity. His service to the Fraternity did not end, however. Wes became the first full- time employee of the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation, Inc. serving as its Executive Director. For the first time, both the Fraternity and Foundation had full-time employees. Brother James J. Spencer, Mu Phi ‘81, was promoted from Director of Chapter Services to Executive Director/National Secretary of the Fraternity. Fraternity growth and expansion was continuing and three consultants were hired to work with Chapters and Colonies. During the 1986-87 school year, Chapters were Chartered at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, the University of Massachusetts, SUNY/Brockport, and Albright College. Philosophical differences between the Fraternity and the administration at the University of Steubenville forced the closure of the Nu Phi Chapter. More operational manuals were created to assist Chapters in their daily operations and expansion continued. Expansion slowed somewhat and an attempt at becoming an international Fraternity with a Colony at the University of Windsor in Ontario failed.
Chapters were Chartered at SUNY/Buffalo and Mansfield University during the 1987-88 school year. The Crow Bowl football tournament was moved from its original location at Penn State to Utica College. Brothers left money to AXPEF and more scholarships were awarded. The traditional “Graduate Dinner” at Convention was changed to the Scholarship Banquet, at which AXPEF presented their scholarships, both Undergraduate and Graduate. Chartering increased with Chapters added at North Adams State College, Millersville University of Pennsylvania, George Mason University, and Kutztown University.
While new Chapters were being added, some Chapters were being closed, including the Eta Phi Chapter at Gettysburg. A plan to return was agreed upon with the College. The National Staff grew again and Brother Paul Thallner was hired to become the Assistant Executive Director of the Fraternity and an assistant to Wes Dangler in the AXPEF office. Also, at the National Convention in 1989, the Fraternity adopted a risk management policy and joined an inter-Fraternity group interested in reducing our risk management liabilities. The group Alpha Chi Rho joined is called FIPG. Our membership in this group enabled all Chapters to purchase liability insurance at a reasonable rate. Many Chapters who were previously insured with other carriers found that their insurance was canceled, regardless of their record. More schools started to require that in order to be a recognized Chapter on campus, the Chapter must show proof of liability insurance. Joining FIPG brought about many changes to the Fraternity’s social life, but has ensured that everyone would be covered in the case of a lawsuit.
A record year for Chartering occurred in the 1989-90 school year with 5 Chapters added. They were located at Western Michigan University, SUNY/Stony Brook, Northwood Institute, Southern Illinois University, and New York Institute of Technology. Not since the Fraternity revived inactive Chapters after World War II had so many Chapters been Chartered.
It was one complete year before another Chapter was Chartered, but within two weeks of each other in the spring of 1991, 2 Chapters were Chartered at Montclair State University and Rowan College of New Jersey. The Eta Phi Chapter at Gettysburg College was also re-Chartered during this time period. Due to a school merger, the FDU/Teaneck and FDU/Rutherford Chapters were merged, with the new Chapter having the name, Phi Epsilon Omicron. This name signified the merger of the two Chapters’ names. This Chapter continues at the FDU/Teaneck campus today.
Unfortunately, while expansion continued, many Chapters were declining in membership. It was the first year of what has been termed a “rush recession.” The number of students attending colleges and universities declined and fewer men were joining Fraternities, including Alpha Chi Rho. In order to remain fiscally sound, the Fraternity was forced to eliminate the position of Assistant Executive Director.
Another milestone was observed with the retirement of Wes Dangler as AXPEF’s Executive Director. For over 18 years, Wes had worked for the Fraternity or the Educational Foundation. While still active to this day, Wes’s day-to-day duties for the Brotherhood had concluded. Brother Scott A. Carlson (a former Leadership Consultant), Pi Phi, was hired to replace Wes as AXPEF Executive Director.
While the rush recession deepened, Chapters were Chartered at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, Frostburg University, and Drexel University. The Kappa Phi Chapter at Slippery Rock also returned to the active roster. The Phi Theta Chapter at Cornell, inactive for over 15 years, also returned. During the 1992-93 school year, the Phi Mu Chapter at Lehigh University was reactivated, having been closed a few years prior. Chapters were also instituted at SUNY/Albany and Wesley College, our first Chapter in the State of Delaware. The amount of a student loan was increased to $3,000 and a new scholarship was created by the Foundation. This scholarship was given by Jean Addams, the widow of Brother Paul K. Addams who graduated in 1929 from the Phi Phi Chapter at Penn. He served as President of the Fraternity during two different decades, Executive Secretary of the National Inter-Fraternity Conference and Executive Director of the Fraternity. In addition, he also served many years as Chairman of the Board of the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation. Along with Brother Robert B. Stewart, Brother Addams is the only other Alpha Chi Rho Brother to ever win the highest honor in the inter-Fraternity world, the NIC Gold Medal.
The 1993-94 school year saw Chapters instituted at Ramapo College of New Jersey and Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. The rush recession continued and the Fraternity, along with the Foundation, sponsored rush seminars for Chapters and provided free videotape programs on how to improve Chapter rush. Due to finances, another staff position was eliminated after the 1994 school year. We saw a new addition at the National Headquarters made possible by the Graduate Chapter at Millersville University. They donated a flag pole and memorial stone in honor of Brother W. Henson Watchorn. Hense had served as Executive Director of the Fraternity, National Vice President, and as Assistant Treasurer of AXPEF. This addition further enhanced the Headquarters and provides a fitting memorial to Brother Watchorn who, from the first day, insisted that the HQ’s should have a flag pole. The pole flies the American flag and a smaller Fraternity ensign.
Alpha Chi Rho at 100 Years
The Fraternity held its 1994 Convention in Harrisburg, PA, at which the delegates voted to end the tradition of annual conventions and instead, hold the convention every other year. The last annual convention would be held in 1995 to mark the 100th Anniversary of our Founding at Trinity College in 1895.
The year leading up to the Centennial saw Chapters Chartered in Elon College, North Carolina and at SUNY/Delhi in New York. Unfortunately, the Phi Psi Chapter at Trinity was closed and the house sold due to the college administration requiring that all groups on campus accept both men and women as full members. A proposal to permit the Chapter to accept women was proposed at the 1992 Convention in Pittsburgh, but it was soundly defeated.
The Fraternity’s Centennial was observed when the National Convention, traditionally held in August, was held in early June of 1995. A record number of Brothers and sweethearts were in attendance. All living Past Presidents in attendance were honored with medals to recognize their service to the Fraternity. June 4, our Founding date, was observed with a nondenominational service held in the Trinity College campus chapel. The service was conducted by the National Chaplain and various Brothers of different generations participated. It was a fitting way to end the Centennial Convention and to observe the day on which our Founders first gathered to share their oaths of Brotherhood.
The Fraternity had made it to its 100th anniversary. Despite wars, depression, rush recessions, and anti-Fraternity movements, the Brotherhood founded upon our four Landmarks remains. James J. Spencer, Mu Phi 1981, stepped down as Executive Director/National Secretary in 1996 after ten years of dedicated service.
“Spence” had navigated the Fraternity through an adjustment period from the party atmosphere of the mid 1980 to the academically geared 1900. D. Matthew Jenkins, Phi Kappa Lambda ‘92, a former Chapter Consultant/Expansion Director, was empowered by the National Council to lead the Fraternity into the next millennium. There were Charterings at two new schools that same year: Shepard College, Alpha Phi Epsilon and California University PA, Sigma Chi Phi. The following 1997 year, saw the birth of a symbiotic relationship with Habitat for Humanity of Baltimore, MD, and the Eta Phi Chapter. This was a challenging year for the Fraternity due to the fact that there were no longer any leadership consultants visiting the Chapters. Convention 1997, the first bi-annual convention, was held in Washington D.C., where the hot issues where assessment fees and Chapter-size policies. Nineteen Ninety-Eight began with the Chartering of the Tau Chi Phi Chapter at Monmouth University in March. Nineteen Ninety-Eight saw the return of staff to the National Office in the positions: Director of Marketing & Expansion and Director of Programs & Services. These two positions will also serve as traveling consultants as well.
The challenge of Brotherhood is a lifelong endeavor that encompasses all levels of life and Alpha Chi Rho. As the Fraternity poises on the new millennium one can only take pride in the previous success and perseverance of the Brotherhood. The Landmarks, mission and Ritual have given Alpha Chi Rho many great years. Our history clearly shows that by unselfishly following the Landmarks, our Brotherhood can continue to survive and flourish. Our history is behind us, our destiny lies ahead and if you have faith in Fraternity and take pride in the Fraternity as our Founders did, there is nothing that Alpha Chi Rho cannot do.
The History of the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation
In 1948, a group of Alpha Chi Rho Brothers decided to start the Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation. A Committee was formed under the skilled chairmanship of Walt Patchell who made the survey and recommended the plan. William H. D. Cox and F. Prescott Hammond coordinated the legal requirements and specifications. Amos Horlacher engineered the mechanics of scholarship operations.
The Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation was incorporated under the laws of Delaware on the 11th day of August 1950 and the first meeting was held on August 22, 1950. At this meeting was determined that there should be twelve trustees elected to the Foundation. The first Trustees elected were John R. Hunter, Wilbur M. Walden, Carlton J.H. Hayes, and William H.D. Cox – to three-year terms; P. Ormond Milton, Amos B. Horlacher, Walter W. Patchell, and F. Prescott Hammond – to two-year terms; and Horace R. Bassford, Frank E. Masland, Jr., G. Alfred Palmer, and Theodore Seidel – to one-year terms. At first meeting of the trustees was held on May 17, 1952, the first officers of the Foundation were elected: F. Prescott Hammond, Chairman of the Board; John R. Hunter, President; William H.D. Cox, Secretary; Walter W. Patchell, Treasurer; Wilbur M. Walden, Manager; and Arthur F. Searing, Comptroller. At this meeting, Trustees Carlton Hayes and Frank Masland resigned and with the death of Horace Bassford, three new Trustees were elected: Richard R. Conant, Dr. Ramsey Spillman, and Dr. William Edel. The committee on Grants, Aids, and Awards was created with Wilbur M. Walden and Amos Horlacher as members with the power to appoint other members, at least one of which is to be a lawyer. The first membership meeting was held on May 17, 1952. The first members of the Foundation (those Alpha Chi Rho Brothers who contributed to the Foundation) were Richard R. Conant, William H.D. Cox, F. Prescott Hammond, Amos B. Horlacher, John R. Hunter, Jr., Walter Patchell, William Wahl, and Wilbur M. Walden.
The first solicitation letter went out to 300 Alpha Chi Rho Brothers in September of 1952. The trustees decided that $800 be made available to students as loans and grants. The first grants were $50, and the loans $100. On October 26, 1953, Robert B. Stewart was elected a Trustee. In 1954, the foundation received tax-exempt status, William H.D. Cox resigned as Secretary and the Honorable Stanley G. Bedford was unanimously elected to fill the vacant post, Paul K. Addams was elected as a Trustee. The Hunter Fund was established on January 17, 1955 to start a scholarship for students studying architecture.
The proposed emblem of the Foundation, a crook with a right hand extending across the staff, was approved by the Trustees on June 28, 1955. In 1955, membership dues were $5 and lifetime membership cost was $200. In 1956, the Foundation made its first investments by purchasing twenty shares of General Motors stock and six shares of AT&T stock. F. Prescott Hammond passed away in 1956 leaving a bequest of $300,000 to the Foundation. Money and securities were received in 1957 and under the wise, financial guidance of Arthur Searing, the Foundation became strong. Student loans were increased to $600. By 1962 there were 126 student loans outstanding, totaling $45,225. The first Chapter mortgage went to the Phi Iota Building Corporation (Allegheny) to help purchase a new Chapter house. Student loans increased again to $1000 by 1964 and there were 175 loans totaling $90,000. In the 1960’s, the Foundation started giving library awards to Chapters that exceeded the all men’s grade point average: $100 for the first year, $200 for the second year, and $300 for the third and subsequent years. Solicitations collected totaled around $2000.
On January 24, 1972, Paul K. Addams was elected Chairman of the Board and served for fourteen years. In July 1972, Wilbur “Curly” Walden died and left $13,000 to the Foundation. A memorial fund was established in his name and contributions were solicited. His fund grew to $25,000 and the Curly Walden scholarship was formed. The Foundation began to underwrite a portion of the Leadership / Scholarship Institute (not to exceed $1000) and all the regional conclaves. Michael R. Fuller received the first Curly Walden Scholarship on August 24, 1974. The James B. McFadden Fund started with a $26,000 gift from the James B. McFadden Memorial Foundation. Henson W. Watchorn was named the loan manager responsible for processing and collecting student loans.
In 1975, the net assets of the Foundation surpassed the $1,000,000 mark, the Curly Walden Scholarship was increased to $2,000, and students could now borrow up to $1,500. Yearly solicitations raised over $6,500 per year. The Foundation added new services: a qualified Scholarship Advisor was paid $200 per semester, the Foundation paid the initiation fees for Brothers elected to honorary societies, and the Foundation reimbursed Chapters up to $400 for community service projects.
In 1979, the Headquarters Committee established a proposal to purchase a National Headquarters building. Richard Conant, in 1980, retired as Treasurer and Nelson Littel, Jr. replaced him. As the Foundation entered the 1980’s, its assets reached $11,200,000 and outstanding loans were $344,800 and mortgage loans totaled $153,000.
On October 26, 1982, the property at 109 Oxford Way was purchased for $125,000 to serve as our National Headquarters. The name R.B. Stewart National Headquarters was given in honor of the man who was the driving force behind the acquisition and the largest contributor. In 1982, W. Henson Watchorn was named Assistant treasurer and was assigned the duty of collecting student loans. Richard V. Olson died in 1983 and left $35,000 to the Foundation. Also, James McFadden’s mother-in-law added $20,000 to the McFadden Fund to establish a scholarship in his name. The Alpha Chi Rho Educational Foundation was incorporated in the State of New Jersey on September 13, 1984 and the R.B. Stewart National Headquarters was made exempt from property taxes in Neptune Township in November of the same year.
Brother Stanley G. Bedford became the Chairman of the Foundation when Paul K. Addams retired on January 8, 1986, after fourteen years as Chairman and thirty-two years as a Trustee. Weston L. Dangler was appointed as the Foundation’s first Executive Director on October 1, 1986. He was succeeded in 1991 by Scott A. Carlson. Currently, all paperwork for scholarships and grants are to be sent to Ruth Bedford.
Services provided by the AXPEF
- Awards ten yearly scholarships whose individual values are between $500 and $4000
- Provides loans of up to $3500 to seniors, juniors and graduate students who have a GPA above 2.8
- Provides grants for the following:
- Refunds up to $500 spent towards community service events per year
- Refunds up to $500 spent towards educational speakers per year
- Refunds up to $500 spent towards improving the Chapter library per year
- Pays all initiation fees into honor societies
- Holds educational seminars
AXPEF’s web address is www.axpef.org.