Beta Iota Chapter
Founded: May 30, 1931 Re-chartered: 1946; April 26, 1973; September 17, 1988
Distinguished Merit Award
Tufts University was founded in 1852. The Tufts Commons Club was organized in 1908 and took the name Delta Phi Sigma in 1921.The Commons Club was formed at Tufts for the advancement of better spirit and closer relationship among alumni and undergraduates of Tufts College, and to provide a place of welcome to non-fraternal alumni who wish to visit the campus. In 1910, the Commons Club was provided with an official residence on Fairmount Street, later moving to a "chapter house" located at 37 Sawyer Avenue. The club was again moved to a residence on Broadway before returning to campus in 1921 through the purchase of Tousey House on Professors Row.
In 1924, the Commons Club affiliated with a local fraternity, Delta Phi Sigma, and in 1933 joined Alpha Kappa Pi (later Alpha Sigma Phi), a national fraternity.
In 1931 it was chartered as Tau of Alpha Kappa Pi. The local fraternity had purchased a house on the college campus in 1915 and in 1921 purchased a house at 106 Professors Row, Medford, Massachusetts. That house served the chapter through the 1970's. Several members of the chapter were highly decorated in World War II.
The chapter was revived in the Fall of 1946 with a new name, Beta Iota Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi, but remained known as the "Kippie" house on campus into the 1970's. Faculty advisor to the local and chapter for many years, Edwin Rollins, Tufts '31, at 102 years of age, was the oldest living alumnus of Tufts in 1978. Due to anti-war and anti-establishment sentiment, the chapter was closed briefly in the early 1970's. Beta Iota Chapter was rechartered on April 26, 1973 as a result of efforts of local alumni led by John Budris, Tufts, Stan Thurston, Phi '66, then a graduate student at Harvard University conducted new member education for the colony. Grand Senior President Robert Miller, U Conn '49, presented the charter. The chapter returned to 106 Professors Row. The revival was short-lived as there only two classes of initiates.
In 1985 Chris Koenders, a high school friend of Andy Martin, Cornell '83, and John Keller decided that Tufts needed a top quality fraternity and organized an interest group. On May 3, 1986, the 29 man group was pledged by Tom Welsh, Westminster '79 and recognized as a colony of Alpha Sigma Phi. Grand Councilor Charles Vohs, Penn State '75, presented the colonization certificate. John F. Zamparelli, Tufts '47, was advisor to the interest group. Brett Clemmer was president of the colony. Beta Iota received its fourth charter (they are -- 1931, 1946, 1973, and 1988) from Grand Treasurer Charles Vohs, Penn State '75, in ceremonies at the Sheraton Commander Hotel on September 17, 1988. John Johnson, Tufts '60, was principal speaker at the installation. Randall Lewis, Oregon State '81, and Steve Zizzo, Illinois '84 represented the Fraternity Staff. The chapter faced hostility from a small but vocal section of the campus community who sought to eliminate the Greek letter societies from campus, and was disheartened by the death of a re-founder, Brian Kane, Tufts '88, in a campus accident unrelated to the fraternity. In late March 1992, with two seniors and several sophomores from the Fall 1991 new member class differing on policy, the group surrendered its charter and ritual materials. "ASP Newsletter" was issued by the chapter. The University retains funds from the chapter's prior house on Professors Row. The chapter's roster contains the names of 674 initiates.
Arba S. Taylor, Tufts '32, served as a national officer of Alpha Kappa Pi and Grand Junior President of Alpha Sigma Phi. John F. Zamparelli, Tufts '47, received the Distinguished Merit Award of the Fraternity in 1991. Arba Taylor, Tufts '32, Robert Lybeck, Tufts '32, William Ward, Tufts '36, and John Zamparelli, Tufts '47 have been awarded Delta Beta Xi keys.
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