Gamma Epsilon Chapter
University at Buffalo, SUNY
Founded: February 2, 1950 Re-chartered: April 26, 2003
The State University of New York, Buffalo, traces its origins to a medical school established in 1846. Pharmacy, law and dentistry schools were added in the 19th Century. In 1931, education and arts and sciences curricula were authorized. In 1962, the University of Buffalo became the University of New York, Buffalo. By 1978, the main campus had shifted to Amherst, New York.
Sigma Chi Sigma was organized in December 1944. In 1948 its name was changed to Chi Tau Omicron, and this group was chartered as Gamma Epsilon Chapter of Alpha Sigma Phi on February 25, 1950. Grand Senior President Lloyd Cochran, Penn '20, was keynote speaker and presented the charter at installation. 25 alumni of the Sigma Chi Sigma local attended. The initial initiation was presented by members of Alpha Epsilon (Syracuse) and Gamma Delta (Davis & Elkins) Chapters. The chapter had a cottage at Evans Beach, New York. In 1962 Buffalo was taken into the New York State University system which then prohibited recognition of national fraternities. The chapter continued for a time as a local fraternity, Delta Beta Xi, without college sanction, but gradually died out. The roster contains 415 names. The chapter newsletter was "The Tomahawk, Jr." Kiernan Kreiss, Buffalo '51, received the Delta Beta Xi Award.
After several years of looking for an opportunity to revive the chapter, the alumni led a drive to restart the group and an interest group was formed in 1988. The undergraduate effort was led by Mark Palazzo, Marietta '88, who transferred to the school. Colony status was granted to an interest group seeking to reactivate the chapter on April 8, 1989. Grand Marshal Robert Cabello, Eastern Michigan '70, presented the colonization certificate to colony president Steve Phillips.
There were 26 members of the group at the time of colonization. Donald Brown, Buffalo '50 (Roster #8) was the senior alumnus in attendance at the Colonization Banquet; Kiernan Kreiss, Buffalo '51, was master of ceremonies. By January 1990, the colony reached a membership of 33, including 7 new members. However the colony did not meet chartering standards. In March 1991, colony president Ed Munz announced the group's dissolution. However, ten men led by Randy Divity continued the organization's struggle toward chartering, and continued for a time as an interest group but failed to grow into a chartered group. Jeff Ford was advisor to the group.
In October 1999, Gordy Heminger, Bowling Green '96 solicited an interest in re-organizing on the campus. An interest group was formed and grew to over 30 members. On December 9, 1999, 28 members of the interest group pledged and Gamma Epsilon colony was recognized. In Spring 2001, James Blayer was named Sig of the Year at Buffalo. In Spring 2002 a promising recruitment effort was marred by a fatal traffic accident involving a potential new member. The colony was placed on probation and precluded from recruiting new members. The colony was ultimately cleared of any fault or cause of the potential new members' accident. 13 members of the colony graduated in 2002. In the Spring and Fall of 2002, the colony's grade point average was the highest of any fraternity at SUNY Buffalo. In Fall 2002, nine men joined, and by Spring 2003, membership had grown to 40 men. The colony was re-chartered on April 26, 2003 (Winter 2005 Tomahawk places initiation and re-chartering on April 2 [year not specified]). Initiation was performed by members of the Stevens Tech, Binghamton, and McDaniel College chapters.
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