Rho Provisional Chapter
University of Minnesota
Founded: March 28, 1916
Ideal Chapter Size: 80
President - Michael French
Vice President - Alex Abbema
Recruitment Director - Ian Wessel
Alumni Director - Taylor Radder
Grand Chapter Advisor - Ryan Brown
Alumni Association President - None
The University of Minnesota was established in 1851 and became the land grant college for Minnesota. The original Minneapolis campus overlooked the Saint Anthony Falls on the Mississippi River, but it was later moved about a mile downstream to its current location. The school shut down following a financial crisis during the American Civil War, but reopened in 1867 with considerable financial help from the Pillsbury family. It was upgraded from a preparatory school to a college in 1869. Northrop Mall is arguably the center of the Minneapolis Campus. It was based on a design by Cass Gilbert. Several of the campus's primary buildings surround the Mall area. The Cyrus Northrop Memorial Auditorium provides a northern anchor, with Coffman Memorial Union (CMU) to the south. Four of the larger buildings on the sides of it are the primary mathematics, physics, and chemistry buildings, and Walter Library. The Mall area is home to both the College of Liberal Arts, which is Minnesota's largest public or private college, and the College of Science and Engineering.
The Omar Club, was organized by 13 upperclassmen at the University of Minnesota in October 1914. Its name was changed to Alpha Theta Psi as it moved into the circle of fraternities at Minnesota. Under the direction of Raymond H. Kenyon, Columbia '10, in 1915 and 1916 the Omar Club petitioned for a charter in Alpha Sigma Phi. The second petition was accepted and the chapter was installed on March 28, 1916, exactly nine years after revival of the Alpha Chapter. The chapter's first house was at 1103 Fourth Street, S. E. The chapter placed first in fraternity grade point average in three of its first six years on campus. Fifty-eight initiates of the chapter served in the armed forces during World War I.
In the Fall 1921 the chapter bought a house at 925 Sixth Street, S.E., Minneapolis. The debt on the house became intolerable during the Great Depression and the chapter became inactive in 1935. Rho was the second chapter failure for Alpha Sigma Phi in the twentieth century. The chapter roll contains 267 names.
Dr. Owen H. Wagensteen, Minnesota '17, and Warren Hanna, Minnesota '18, have been awarded the Distinguished Merit Award of Alpha Sigma Phi. Lawrence S. Clark, Minnesota '20 served on the Grand Council of Alpha Sigma Phi and received the Delta Beta Xi Award. Clarence Iverson, Minnesota '16, Troy Rodlum, Minnesota '17, Richard Bracher, Minnesota '24, and George Shurr, Minnesota '18 have also received the Delta Beta Xi Award. Two Alpha Sigma Phi's served as President of the University of Minnesota: Cyrus Northrop, Yale '54, from 1884-1911 and James L. Morrill, Ohio State '11, from 1945 to 1960.
Rho Chapter's memory is kept alive in the "Friends of Rho Award" made by the Alpha Sigma Phi Foundation to the leading undergraduate liberal arts scholar in the fraternity annually.
The Rho Provisional Chapter was re-started in the fall of 2013 by Connor Gau, Chico State '11 and initiated by Doug Jones, Cornell '10. The Provisional Chapter has struggled with recruitment since the re-start, but recruited 5 men in the spring of 2014 to create positive momentum.
On November 12th, 2016, 36 men were initiated into the Rho Interest Group at the University of Minnesota. Assisting Director of Chapter Development Jeremy Ried, Elmhurst ’07, with the initiation were members from the previous Rho Provisional Chapter at the University of Minnesota. The ceremony took place in a Coon Rapids, MN park facility. This facility was provided by brother Tom Koch’s father who is the mayor of Coon Rapids.
On the following night, the Rho Provisional Chapter was also installed and John Schwieters, Minnesota ’16 was the Provisional Chapter President at the time of the ceremony. The installation ceremony took place in the Coffman Student Center on campus.
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