Eta Zeta’s history begins with the man affectionately called the “Mr. Sigma Nu” of Louisiana: C.A. Ives. Since the 1950’s, Brother Ives of Phi Chapter (L.S.U.) dreamed of establishing a Sigma Nu chapter in North Louisiana to maintain Sigma Nu’s prestige and strength and insure Phi’s own strength. Brother Ives labeled Louisiana Polytechnical Institute (L.A. Tech) as the best location for the establishment based on Tech’s solid reputation, location, and positive fraternal climate. In 1958, Louisiana Tech’s administration and IFC (Interfraternity Council) extended a formal invitation of colonization to Sigma Nu Nationals. Once the location was confirm a leader had to be found, and this man was Charles C. Chadbourn II. Dr. Chadbourn II was a Louisiana Tech professor of English and was educated at the following universities: University of the South (Sewanee; Union College of NY – Bachelor in English and French 1931, Columbia University, Syracuse University – Ph.D. in English and American Literature. While, attending Sewanee, Dr. Chadbourn II was initiated into the Beta Omicron chapter of the Legion of Honor and elected into Phi Beta Kappa. Another man important to the colonization of the Eta Zeta Chapter of Sigma Nu was the acting National Executive Secretary Richard R. Fletcher. Brother Fletcher acted as a middle man between National Headquarters and Brother Chadbourn II.
In April 1960, Brother Terry Ashton was sent by Sigma Nu Nationals to Louisiana Tech in order to discuss colonization in a meeting with Tech President R.L. Ropp, Dean S.X. Lewis, and other representatives of the universities’ Committee on Student Organizations to explain to them Sigma Nu’s proposed colonization procedures and they in turn would explain the local Interfraternity Council’s rules. Sometime after this meeting with Louisiana Tech administrators, Brother Terry Ashton met with a small group of hand-picked men in the Sigma Tau Delta (English fraternity) room of the old English Building with the intentof establishing a colony of Sigma Nu. At the conclusion of the meeting, officers of the colony were elected and plans laid for the fall.
President: Charles Chadbourn
Secretary/Treasurer: Bob Caverlee
Chaplain: Bob Vincent
Rush Chairman: Robert Huber
June 2, 1960, Brother Richard Fletcher was beginning to take a very active interest in the establishment of a chapter of idealists at Louisiana Tech. He decided to make the furthering of the Louisiana Tech Colony the first assignment of staff assistant Maurice “Mo” Littlefield, former commander of Delta Nu chapter of the University of Maine. September 13, 1960 began the first meeting of the academic year. The returning colonists were few and far between: Charles Chadbourn III, Robert Vincent, David Wilson, and David Wylie. Although their numbers were small, the men committed to form a fraternity unexcelled in the se United States.
Love, Truth, and Honor.
a) The establishment of a chapter of Sigma Nu to promulgate these ideals. b) The desire that each member live according to the creed of Sigma Nu. c) Initiation into the Legion of Honor.
In an article in the October 7th Tech Talk described Sigma Nu to the LA campus: “The colony hoped to better clarify some of its basic principles and philosophies. Sigma Nu believes in the Jeffersonian theory that the least form of government is the best and ideally, the only law is the unwritten law. The fraternity is conservative and not interested in size. It grows where there are men with ideals who prefer a challenge of an honor fraternity, and its membership is one of complete selectivity. This organization prefers to depart from the normal and does not believe that cups and trophies are a measurement of progress. It suggests that trophies would better serve their purpose if they were given to the lowest, since the lowest needs a reminder. Individualism is a virtue of Sigma Nu also. It attracts those who like the brotherhood or a fraternity that offers a challenge—maintaining that its honor and ideals are unequaled and that it is only the surperior individual that desires to try and live by them. Since the individual’s word is sufficient guarantee, Sigma Nu does not issue written bids.”
The end of September 1960 a brief ceremony in the office of Dean S.X. Lewis marked the official welcomed the Sigma Nu Colony to the Louisiana Tech campus as a social fraternity. Dr. R.L. Ropp, Tech President, welcomed the Sigma Nu and stated that the whole administration was behind the fraternity system 100%. IFC invited the colony of Sigma Nu to participate fully in all activities of the fraternity rush except the issuance of formal invitations to join the group.
With only five members returning the September, the colonists set out to recruit men capable and worthy to accept their cause. Prior to their first rush, the colonists obtained rush recommendations from Collegiate Chapter Commanders and Division Commanders of Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, and Louisiana. These recommendations coupled with the men the colonists and alumni knew personally made up their target group. Because of their small numbers, the colonists decided only to rush those men on this “blue chip list”. After recruitment was completed, Sigma Nu had a membership of 21 colonists. These men included:
William Thomas Alsbrooks Raymond Johan Norre Donald Bass James Merrill Pelton Donald P. Burch Robert Byron Pipes Charles C. Chadbourn III Dan Reneau II Charles Edward Dunlap Charles E. Rodgers Jon A. Feerick Aubrey James Shepard Rel Gray Stafford Jean Vallery Edmund E. Jones Robert Keller Vincent Frederick Richard Kellogg David Elliot Wilson Paul Lyon David Feltus Wylie Can Cade Marsh
As fall progressed, the members of the colony wanted a place to call home. They finally decided to rent the office to the Old Cotton Gin house at 503 West Mississippi Street. Doug Bass and Stafford Valley cleaned and painted. Ray Norre and Van Marsh made a Sigma Nu sign for the front. The first house manager, James Pelton, and Byron Pipes made and printed the screens. Charles Rogers, an electrical engineering major, improved the wiring situation. Venetican blinds were added by Fred Kellogg. Finally, Charles Dunlop and Byron Pipes did a little yard work. With two bedrooms, one bath, a living room, a kitchen and rent at $40/month, it must be remembered as the “acorn that grew into the great oak”—Brother Chadbourn III. After their first rush, the colonists were hindered to certain activities because of the fact that IFC law demanded a six month probation period. To conquer the probation period, the colonists became very creative. They initiated a plan that would catch fire among the other Greeks on the campus—all members sat together at athletic contests with their dates. On November 11 the colony participated in the Student Union Campus Carnival with a dart throw booth. During the month of December, the men gave a Christmas party for the children in a nearby special needs education institution and serenaded the girl’s dormitories after the evening curfew.
On December 6, 1960 the group of young men were formally accepted as a Sigma Nu colony by the national organization. With approximately 60 guests and members gathered at the Louisiana Tech Student Center, Brother Chadbourn II defined the purpose of the ceremony was to recognize the new Sigma Nu Colony and a commitment from both sides: colony members and the national fraternity. Brother Fletcher reminded the colonists: “as you wear your pledge pin, the three key words- Men, Fraternity, and Honor should come to mind. The pledge pin merely gives you an opportunity to qualify for membership. You will become a Sigma Nu, (not join Sigma Nu) if, and only if, you individually are able to present a record which bespeaks your qualifications for a select society of Men of Honor. You can readily determine those qualifications yourself. Men of Honor pay their bills promptly, for example. They operate their lives on an honor basis. Their word is their bond. When they say they’ll do something, they do it. They carry their share of responsibilities, rather than look to others—as boys do. They meet their academic obligations too. So another milestone has been passed. Now you have an opportunity, during the remainder of the ‘waiting’ period, to develop a stated character purpose. We’re not interested in having just another chapter of Sigma Nu at Louisiana Tech. It must be a Sigma Nu chapter, a leader of Sigma Nu rather than by provincial standards, a fraternity chapter— a group committed to the fraternal ideal, and which uses every honorable means at its disposal to encourage and assist its members in achieving worthwhile goals.”
In order for the Sigma Nu colony at Louisiana Tech to earn a charter, the Sigma Nu “Law calls for the endorsement of all other chapters in the Division concerned”. This posed a small problem for Sigma Nu nationals. The Tech colony was geographically located in almost the center ring of five Divisions. The ruling was that the colony must have unanimous approval of all nearby chapters. As required by Law, the colonists must also send a written petition to all chapters of the Fraternity and win the approval of three-fourths of these 130 groups of Sigma Nu men. In other words the colonists must prove themselves worthy not only to nearby chapters, but also to a majority of the Sigma Nu chapters all over these United States.
The day of April 21, 1960 will be forever remembered as the ending of the probation period for the Sigma Nu colony. To commemorate this achievement, Miss Linda Lyles from Pan-Hellenic presented a gravel bearing the Sigma Nu crest. Of course the chapter celebrated this event on April 22nd with their very first social party. The colony’s first participation in Greek Week lasted from May 1-7th, and on May 1st Sigma Nu’s stood under the porch roof of Pearce Hall and presented a bouquet of white roses to the chapter’s first sweetheart, Mrs. Peggy Kemp, while singing “Sigma Nu Girl”.
Just before the brothers broke out for summer, they moved into a new house located at 600 Thornton Street. The house contained a chapter room, reception room, three bedrooms, kitchen bathroom and back porch. Brother Chadbourn II was advisor for nearly a year. He saw our chapter through the all-important petitioning period before initiation, and shortly after the Spring Semester turned his position over to Brother Ellis Sandoz.
September 15-19, 1961 began the rush season. Just what type of man was HZ looking for? “Above all he must be a man who holds his honor dearer than his life. But that is not all that we desire in a prospective pledge. We want men who have shown the ability to excel in some field of endeavor such as drama, music, athletics, forensics, business accomplishments, community service, religious work, or scholarship. In addition we desire men who have the ability and the determination to adapt to college life and its strenuous scholastic and social challenges. They need to have their financial affairs on a sound basis to be able to do what is needed. Sigma Nu is not looking for playboys—it wants men who have come to Tech to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” After its first formal rush as a Sigma Nu chapter, HZ welcomed seventeen new pledges of the HZ chapter.
Eta Zeta’s Pledge Program was developed to accomplish Eta Zeta’s goal as a chapter: to build better men. Overall the program is based in the ideals of Sigma Nu—Love, Truth, and Honor. These ideals and their applications are stressed time and time again to the pledge. Their basis in reality, practical idealism, is stressed and emphasized in the belief that this is Sigma Nu.
There were a number of social events that took place in the year 1961. The first Annual Sigma Nu Smudge Party took place at the fraternity house in November. All sorority pledges were invited to this interesting event. As the women showed up, they were greeted and given a card to fill out. On this card was a blank space for their name, address, and six boxes for eligibility status: married, engaged, pinned, dropped, steady, or eligible. One big box also appeared on this card for a lipstick imprint. After introductions, punch and cookies were served by our first White Rose and hostess, Peggy Kemp. The Sigma Nu Quartet plus One entertained each group with “I understand just how you feel” and other light music. Finally, Miss Kathy McBride, a Kappa Delta pledge, was chosen Miss Sigma Nu Smudge 1961-62. Also, the Sigma Nu Christmas Party in December highlighted and ended the year of 1961. David Wylie, Fred Kellogg, and David Rankin decorated the Banquet Rooms of the Louisiana Tech Student Center with soft blue lights. With the music provided by the Shamrocks of El Dorado, the group danced “the twist and the bounce and the hullygulley.” Miss Mary Jane King was chosen as the White Rose of Sigma Nu for the Winter of 1961 and the Spring of 1962. Miss King was a Phi Mu, a member of the state fair court, President of her dorm and on the AWS Activity Board. February 9, 1962 Brothers and guests of Sigma Nu attended a full length showing of the movie, “Little Abner”. Following the movie, an informal dance will be held in the Dance studio in Keeny Hall. April 24-29 1962 was Louisiana Tech’s Greek Week. Winning the Greek Week trophy was the Sigma Nu fraternity with 210 points. The award was based on the accumulation of the most points awarded in the contests. Finally, May 5, 1962 was the first White Rose Formal.
From this point on, the chapter of Eta Zeta has continued to strive to be the excellent chapter we were set out to be. Each year, we work to build better men and uphold the Sigma Nu ideals of Love, Truth, and Honor. The gentlemen of Eta Zeta are thankful for the chapter our founders created and strive to continue to build upon its legacy.