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History of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity at Wake Forest University

Lambda Chi Alpha is one of the oldest and, at the same time, newest fraternities at Wake Forest University. Originally, the fraternity was founded in 1924 as a chapter of Theta Kappa Nu. It was not until 1939, during the largest merger in fraternity history, that we became Theta Tau Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha. For the next forty years, the chapter had an exemplary record of culturing outstanding students and preparing them for a life of service and success. Within the Wake Forest community, such students include our very own chaplain, Ed Christman, and Dr. Duke B. Weeks of the Department of Anesthesiology at the Wake Forest Medical School. Also, Brothers Mike Queen and Bruce Gupton have served the Wake Forest community as members of the board of trustees.

Beyond the walls of Wake, Brothers of Theta Tau have contributed much of their lives to the public good. Examples include Justice I. Beverly Lake of the North Carolina Supreme Court and Justice James Thomas Turner, a federal judge on the US Court of Claims in Washington, DC. Also, Brother Norris McDonald has played a prominent role in the environmental justice movement, an initiative that combines issues of the civil rights movement and the task of ensuring minorities do not bear a disproportionate amount of pollution in their communities. In the corporate world, many Brothers of Theta Tau have gone onto successful careers, such as Brother James Perdue, CEO of Perdue Chicken, the third largest chicken distributor in the country.

In 1984, as a result of a mutual decision by the national organization and the administration, the chapter's charter was revoked and Theta Tau was designated inactive. It was not until ten years later, in 1994, that an interest group was formed leading to the eventual recolonization of Lambda Chi Alpha at Wake Forest University. The group, known as The Chis, was not satisfied with the current status quo of fraternities and set out to redefine the meaning of fraternal experience. It was with this reasoning that The Chis adopted a substance-free stance in the hope that Brothers would more fully focus on brotherhood and serving the community. Although many people helped found the interest group, there were five main leaders. They were as follows:
Brian Cornell (A Transfer Student from George Washington University)
Keith Rugh (A Graduate from Wake Forest in 1996)
Cameron Pierce (A Transfer Student to North Carolina State University in the Spring of 1995)
George Scott (The first High Alpha of the Reinstalled Fraternity)
Rob Brachowski (A Graduate in 1997)

Before Lambda Chi Alpha was re-colonized, the interest group was very active on campus, hosting events from athletics and dances to cookouts and philanthropic events.

In order for Lambda Chi Alpha to again be officially recognized by Wake Forest University, a four-step process of chartering and organization had to be completed. The first step was to gain the approval of the Chartering Committee of Student Government. This involved drafting a constitution and a set of bylaws that met Lambda Chi Alpha's and Wake Forest's requirements. Next, the general membership of the student government had to vote on whether or not they felt that the ideas and mission of the prospective organization were something that the students truly wanted and would benefit from at Wake Forest. These two steps were successfully completed and the process of chartering an organization advanced to the third step.

The third step of the process involved gaining the support of the Student Life Committee, a university committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students. This was one of the more complex steps in the process due to the rising anti-Greek sentiment among faculty and staff. Ultimately, the committee decided that Lambda Chi Alpha would enhance Greek life at Wake Forest because of the positive differences and influences between Lambda Chi Alpha and other Greek organizations. The fourth and final step of the chartering of a campus organization required the support of the Faculty Senate. To aid in this effort, Lambda Chi enlisted the support of Dr. Mark Leary, a renowned psychology professor and respected member of the faculty. He convinced the faculty that Lambda Chi would be a worthwhile addition to the campus and the faculty voted to allow Lambda Chi Alpha to re-colonize on the campus, pending the approval of the Grand High Zeta, the ruling body of the National Fraternity.

Following the national fraternity's approval, Greg Younghans, a Regional Leadership Director for the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, came to Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in January of 1995 to facilitate re-establishment of Theta Tau. He helped us set up the offices, approve the membership group, and participating in Wake Forest Interfraternity Council's (IFC) Spring Rush. In January of 1995, the first class of the new Theta Tau colony consisted of 24 students. The High Point University chapter performed both the Associate Membership ceremony and the Initiation ceremony for the group. Upon completion of the Initiation ceremony, the High Point chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha presented us with a bible, which is still used in our ceremonies today.

For the next three years, Lambda Chi Alpha strove to gain notoriety and stability on campus. Providing additional direction and support to the colony was Brother Dan Anthony, an alum of Miami University of Ohio and a practicing attorney in the Winston-Salem area. He served as the colony's first High Pi (alumni advisor). The early founders discovered the task to be an arduous one without either a tower displaying the fraternity's letters or a lounge to call a place of their own. Necessities that all other fraternities on campus took for granted. Some of the Brothers made their temporary home in Luter Residence Hall and held their meetings in classroom 104 of Wingate Hall, now the main office of the Divinity School. However, in the fall of 1998, with the diligence of Brothers Samuel Newlands and Tim Fisher, the High Alpha (President) at the time, the university granted to the fraternity a tower in Davis Residence Hall and a lounge underneath the Sundry Shop. Finally, after fourteen years, the letters of Lambda Chi Alpha returned to the campus of Wake Forest University.

Throughout this time, the young colony published the Theta Tauker in an attempt to reach out to the alumni of Theta Tau's past. Slowly but surely, the alumni responded. In the summer of 1999, Brother James Steadman, '64, contacted the colony and expressed the desire to hold a 50s and 60s reunion during Homecoming weekend. The idea was well received by the undergraduate brotherhood and resulted in a successful reunion that included a golf tournament, a tailgate party, a presentation from the undergraduate brotherhood, and an alumni banquet. The Homecoming weekend also accomplished much more than reliving memories and catching up with old friends. It sparked an interest to form an alumni association that would benefit the alumni as well as the undergraduate brotherhood. On December 2, 1999, the Theta Tau Alumni Association, Inc. (TTAA) was founded; Brother Walter Murray, '63, was its first president.

The road to receiving a national charter and receiving chapter status from the National Fraternity involved the fulfillment of 12 standards. Early on, the colony had met 11 of the 12, but struggled to achieve the last standard of acquiring 40 men. The colony succeeded in replacing their membership as Brothers graduated, but only maintained an average of 25 members. Throughout the colony's history, despite not meeting the final standard, Theta Tau constantly received favorable reports from visiting Educational Leadership Consultants and was described as being more efficient and financially sound than many other existing chapters. In the spring of 2000, with increased support from the alumni association and a proven record of success, the Grand High Zeta granted a national charter to the colony, elevating it to the status of Theta Tau Zeta, an official chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha.

Since re-chartering, the chapter has continued to excel, particularly in academics, chapter operations, campus involvement, and community service. In 2003, Theta Tau received the Grand High Alpha award, the most prestigious honor that the national fraternity can bestow upon a chapter.