HO Charter Celebration ’73

The Installation of ETA OMICRON Chapter

Indiana University of Pennsylvania

November 3, 1973

The local fraternity Sigma Delta Chi at Indiana University of Pennsylvania  and  its  petition  for an undergraduate charter  were warmly received by Sigma Chi. The group had the active support of local alumni, including Grand  Praetor  Murray  McComas, and several years of operation as a local fraternity.

Indiana, Pennsylvania, is located about 55 miles east of Pitts­ burgh in the foothills of the Alleghenies. It is a farming and mining community having a 1973 population of 14,000. In 1871, the General Assembly, having observed the need for a teacher training institution in Western Pennsylvania, passed an act granting aid for the establishment of a normal school at Indiana. The first building, John Sutton Hall named in honor of the first President of the board of trustees, was opened for students on May 17, 1875.

In   April   1920,   control andOwnership of the school passed to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In May 1927, by authority of the General Assembly, the State Normal School became a college, with the right to grant degrees. In 1957 the college was authorized to offer coursework leading to the Master of Education degree. In 1959 the name was changed to Indiana State College, and a liberal arts program was begun.  In 1963 the name was changed to Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and degree programs at the doctoral and master’s levels were begun.

At the time of the founding of Eta Omicron Chapter the following fraternities were represented on the campus: Sigma Chi Delta, Theta Xi, Theta Chi, Phi Kappa Psi, Phi Sigma Kappa, Kappa Sigma, Tau Kappa Epsilon, Sigma Nu, Lambda Chi Alpha, Phi Kappa Theta, Alpha Chi Epsilon, Kappa Delta Rho, Delta Sigma Phi, and Sigma Tau Gamma.

In early 1969, a small group of undergraduates at I.U.P. decided that what they were looking for in a fraternity was not offered by the existing groups on campus. On March 11, 1969 the Sigma Chi Delta local fraternity was established, and in a matter of weeks contact was made with Sigma Chi chapters in the West Virginia-Western Pennsylvania Province. The brothers of Sigma Chi Delta worked toward one goal, gaining admittance into Sigma Chi.  Robert F. Kershaw, Grand Praetor of the Indiana Province and  a member of the Executive Committee,  was appointed  Investigating Officer to Sigma Chi Delta. He reported, in part:

The first evening, I met many brothers of Sigma Chi Delta at the fraternity house located on a fraternity row, 246 S. 7th St. They are one of four fraternities which owns its own house. The house capacity is 18, and it is convenient to the heart of the campus and downtown Indiana. I met with Dr. John Frank, Assistant Dean of Men and IFC Advisor. Dr. Frank is an Alpha Tau Omega from Youngstown University. The university and Dr. Frank have a very positive attitude toward fraternities. They are interested in seeing that the Greek system grows, and are very happy to see Sigma Chi come to I.U.P. In visiting with him, he pointed out they have never had any problems with Sigma Chi Delta, and that he was helpful in locating them in their first house to rent. There are approximately 800 men in the fraternity system here, and hopefully they will have more and more men going through rush.

Sigma Chi Delta was assisted by Chapter Advisors Dr. Dale E. Landon, Dr. Merle Rife and Dr. Joseph Clark, Texas-Austin ’57. All three were faculty members at the University, and helped finance the chapter house. Following a favorable vote by the chapters on the petition from Sigma Chi Delta, preparations were made for the initiation and Installation of Eta Omicron Chapter. Final events leading up to the Installation began with the Initiation week, Sunday, October 28 to Friday, November 2. The week was guided by Headquarters staff members Jeffrey K. Tuckey, Robert O. Schock, and Charles H. Harrington Jr. Initial ceremonies and Ritual team meetings were held at the Sigma Chi Delta house, and a reception for Sigma Chi alumni was held at the Holiday Inn on the evening of November 2. The final Initiation ceremonies were held at Davis Hall on the campus the next morning.


Receiving the eta omicron charter

Consul Richard Ingram, center, and founder Ralph Feather, right receive the Eta Omicron charter from Grand Consul M. Craig Nason.


Forty-six members became charter initiates as the first new chapter in the province in 64 years was installed under the direction of Acting Chief Installing Officer, Grand Consul M. Craig Nason, who took over for Chief Installing Officer and Grand  Trustee  Robert F. Kershaw,  who was unable to attend. Sharing Initiation responsibilities were Alpha Chi Chapter, Penn State University, and Mu Mu Chapter, West Virginia University.  They were assisted by members of other chapters in the province.

Four years of dedicated effort was celebrated at the Installation ban­ quet held at the Holiday Inn in Indiana. The Eta Omicron charter was presented to founder and first President of Sigma Chi Delta Ralph M. Feather and Consul Richard Ingram. A total of 225 brothers and guests enjoyed the banquet message presented by U.S. Congressman E.G. “Bud” Shuster, Pitt ’54. Past Grand Consul John W. Graham Q.C. was toastmaster for the banquet.