Alpha Theta Chapter
University of Missouri
Founded: November 23, 1929 Re-chartered: October 3, 1980
The University of Missouri was authorized by the Geyer Act, passed in 1839. It was the first state or public university west of the Mississippi River. Boone County raised the largest bounty for support of the school and was awarded the campus. The first degrees were conferred in 1843. Dissension over the location arose during the Civil War, and was resolved only in 1870, when the University of Missouri at Columbia became the land grant college of agriculture, and a College of Mines and Metallurgy was authorized for Rolla, Missouri.
Chi Alpha Chi was organized in the Fall of 1925 by R. W. Tudor, R. E. Landman, R. L. Speer, and Joyce Swan. In 1929 the local petitioned Alpha Sigma Phi for a charter. The petition was approved on October 26, 1929, and installation by Grand Junior President Benjamin Clarke, Michigan '10, took place on November 23, 1929. The initiation was performed by members of Xi and Phi Chapters. Alpha Theta was the fifth Alpha Sig Chapter at a "Big Eight" Conference school.
The first chapter house was at 508 Rollins Avenue; the second house was at 713 Hitt Street. In 1935 only five undergraduates returned to school, but they recruited seven men and relocated to 805 Virginia Avenue. By early 1936, the chapter had nine initiates and sixteen new members. In 1936 the chapter moved to 609 Rollins Avenue. William E. Byers, Marietta '08, was a loyal supporter of the chapter in this era. In the Fall of 1948 the chapter membership reached 54; the house was located at 1106 Paquin Street, Columbia, Missouri.
A chapter newsletter of the era was "The Lantern". In 1954 the chapter moved to 1111 University Avenue. James Moore, Missouri '30, was leader of the house corporation in the 1950's. News of Alpha Theta chapter slowly faded from the publications of the fraternity, and the chapter closed in the 1960's with a roster to that time of 290 initiates.
In the Fall of 1979, Pete Ziemke and Tom Leuther, members of the Alpha Omicron Chapter, transferred to the University of Missouri. They organized an interest group that was recognized as a colony on April 26, 1980. Grand Junior President Richard Gibbs, Oklahoma '51, presented the colonization certificate. The colony launched a new newsletter, "The Thunderbolt"; in 1988 the chapter newsletter reverted to "The Lantern".
The colony obtained rental housing at 805 Virginia Avenue. On October 3, 1980, Alpha Theta Chapter was re-chartered by Grand Senior President Richard Gibbs, Oklahoma '51. Undergraduate members of Alpha Alpha Chapter presented the initiation ceremony to the charter initiates. Tom Oliva, Missouri '80, was the first president of the restored chapter.
Tom Leuther, Alpha Omicron '78, Missouri '81 received the Frank F. Award. In 1982, through the efforts of James Reid, Sr., Missouri '36, and James Reid, Jr., Tulane '68, the chapter moved to 1120 Ashland Gravel Road in Columbia. The Landman Trophy was awarded to the undergraduate who contributed the most for the chapter annually. C. Gilbert Coburn, Missouri '31, served as Grand Secretary of Alpha Sigma Phi from 1960 to 1968. Notable alumni include Vernon Myers, Missouri '29, former publisher of Look Magazine, and James E. Shepard, Missouri '31, former general manager of Sperry Rand Corporation. Five alumni of the chapter have received the Delta Beta Xi Award. The chapter initiated 452 men through April 1994.
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