Congratulations to Alpha Pi Chapter at Purdue for 76 years as a chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi. Help us commemorate this Founders Day by taking a few minutes to read through the impressive history of our chapter.
Alpha Sigma Phi National History
Alpha Sigma Phi was born at Yale on December 6, 1845. Three young men (the principal founder was just 17), all freshmen, met and laid down the basic principles of a society that today counts its membership in the thousands. Louis Manigault and Stephen Ormsby Rhea had met at St. Paul’s Prepatory School near Flushing, Long Island where both were members of the same literary society and were preparing themselves for admission to Yale. Manigault was the son of Charles I. Manigault, a wealthy South Carolinian rice planter who traced his ancestry to a Huguenot refugee who fled from Louis XIV’s persecution and came to America in 1691. Stephen Ormsby Rhea was the son of John Rhea, an important cotton planter of Louisiana who helped open the disputed territory of West Florida and made it a part of the U. S. and the state of Louisiana. The third young man who met with the two Southerners on that memorable December 6 was Horace Spengler Weiser of York, Pennsylvania. He was a descendant of Conrad Weiser, also a refugee from Europe who became famous in the French and Indian Wars, representing several colonies in treaty negotiations with the Indians. Horace prepared himself for admission to Yale by attending a private school in New Haven in 1844-1845. Early in his freshman year he met Stephen Ormsby Rhea who introduced him to Louis Manigault.
Their first official meeting was held in Manigault’ s room on Chapel Street on December 6, 1845. Between then and June 28, 1846 when the first pledge class was announced, the constitution and ritual were written and the fraternity pin was designed. The first pledge class of 14 members was initiated on June 24, 1846. After the birth of Alpha Sigma Phi, an intense rivalry began between Alpha Sigma Phi and Kappa Sigma Theta. This rivalry was expressed in their publications. Kappa Sigma Theta had The Yale Banger and Alpha Sigma Phi had The Yale Tomahawk. Soon, the first charters were granted and the birth of Alpha Sigma Phi as a national fraternity was soon established.
Alpha Pi (Alpha Sigma Phi Purdue Chapter) History
Euphemian Club (1928-1930)
At a time when national fraternities were not allowed on Purdue’s campus, the Euphemian Club lived in a house somewhere on Vine Street. The Euphemian Club, which was the forerunner of Phi Pi Phi and Alpha Sigma Phi, was started in the fall of 1926 by five students. The idea was to form an honorary brotherhood, which stood for Love – Honor – Obey. University recognition was granted October 11, 1927. As an honorary, the group found it tough going. They changed to a social fraternity in January 1928. Under the leadership of Louis Neubacher, growth continued and they were recognized by the PanHellenic Council, October 1929. Their next step was to identify the Euphemian Club with a national fraternity. We do know that they petitioned a group called Trigon which later became known as Tau Kappa Epsilon, but were turned down because they were too small. Instead they petitioned a small national fraternity known as Phi Pi Phi.
Phi Pi Phi (1930-1939)
On April 9, 1930 word of acceptance from the Euphemian Club’s petition was received from Phi Pi Phi. Twenty-two men were initiated and the installation of Phi Chapter of Phi Pi Phi Fraternity took place in the rooms of the Purdue Harlequin Club, May 17,1930. The installation was held in the Purdue Memorial Union. After being granted chapter status, the newly formed brotherhood acquired a house at 218 Waldron Street across from the Phi Mu house where the parking garage is now located. Before this, the house was owned by Kappa Delta Rho. The chapter continued from May 17, 1930 until October 21, 1939. During their nine years of existence the chapter initiated 84 men, an average of 9.33 men per year. The next step in the chapter’s heritage was the move from Phi Pi Phi to Alpha Sigma Phi.
Alpha Sigma Phi (1939-Present)
The initiation and installation of the Alpha Pi Chapter took place the weekend of October 20-22, 1939. Executive Secretary, Ralph F. Burns, Ohio Wesleyan ’32, was the designated officer in charge of the installation. Forty-five men were initiated on October 21, 1939 of which 38 men had been members of Phi Pi Phi Fraternity and 18 of the 45 were considered active members. The brotherhood thrived at the Waldron house with the mortgage being burned on October 28, 1950. New property was purchased next door at 220 Waldron on February 1, 1961 to meet the needs of expanding brotherhood. Due to the University’s proposal for a fraternity and sorority park off central campus and their desire to utilize the chapter’s land, funds were made available for the move to the Tower Acres. A massive alumni fund raising effort resulted in a ground breaking on October 8, 1965. The brotherhood moved into its present location on September 4, 1966 with a large celebration for dedication on October 29 of the same year. Since 1939, over 1,500 brothers have been initiated into the Mystic Circle.
Purdue Alpha Sigma Phi Alumni Corporation Secretary
951 David Ross Road West Lafayette, IN 47906