The History Of Our Chapter
Theta Tau Upsilon - The Beginning
The ideals of any fraternal organization must always be at a high level with definite achievement in mind. It must exemplify such scholarship and leadership that it is deemed as a leader among men. A fraternity must be able to demonstrate, time and again, an ability individually and through cooperative action to surmount problems as they arise, and to go on to give an even higher and wider service to the college and to the broader society.
With such intentions in mind, Robert J. Swindell, a professor of chemistry at the Indiana Institute of Technology, and a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity, had always had a strong desire to see a fraternity established with high standards and aspirations on the Tech campus. His motive was to inspire a constructive group of men to institute a fraternity with strength, vigor, and leadership.
In January of 1962, Professor Swindell approached three of his students -- John Hamilton, Richard Copits, and Lewis Bornmann -- and revealed his idea. Finding these young men in favor of the idea, he urged them to contact other students. Students whom they considered had the potential to form the body of a superior organization -- a body consisting of men with high scholastic achievements, leadership capabilities, and ambitious character. Thus, many selective students were approached, fulfilling the necessary requirements. All of these men were requested to keep the secrecy of the plan in order to starve off opposition.
On April 10, 1962, the group, consisting of sixteen men, assembled in the conference room of the McMillen Library. Here, Swindell presented a detailed explanation of the overall plan: to unite as a fraternity; to support high standards; to obtain pertinent positions in student government and to become affiliated with a national fraternity. Following Professor Swindell's speech, many questions were asked and answered concerning the starting procedures and the work to be carried out. Before the meeting was over, a motion was made from the floor by James B. Patrick to immediately start the ball rolling by first electing officers to lead the unnamed fraternity through its infancy. The following men were elected as the first officers: John A. Hamilton, President; Richard Copits, Vice President; James B. Patrick, Recording Secretary; Victor A. Smith, Treasurer. Thus a new fraternity was founded with Professor Swindell as faculty moderator.
Immediately upon taking office, President Hamilton set up committees and appointed committee chairmen. These committees consisted of a constitution committee, a pledge book committee, a name committee, a coat of arms committee, and a motto committee.
In order for the fraternity to be strong and influential, it was decided to increase the membership by using the same selective methods as before. Additional men were approached and selected on a basis of scholarship, interest, personality, and character, and within the following two weeks the total membership was more than doubled. At the second meeting, the name of Theta Tau Upsilon was adopted as the fraternity name. By this time, Theta Tau Upsilon stood for many absolute virtues, and the members themselves had established the true association of brotherhood in this short time. The enthusiasm amongst the brothers was exemplified by their intense interest to promote the Fraternity ideals, making Her a definite leader on the campus when recognized by the college. Every member worked diligently on their respective jobs to establish a Fraternity with supreme standards never before witnessed on the Indiana Institute of Technology campus.
These ideals that Theta Tau Upsilon represented were established as follows:
- To promote scholarship and academic achievement.
- To represent fellowship and live together harmoniously in the esteemed interest of brotherhood.
- To devote time and service to the college and community in order to contribute to their welfare.
- To guide and manage gentlemanly conduct with the best ethical standards of college manhood.
- To uphold an integral character and live up to the principles of a decent life.
- To recognize the privileges of other groups and duly respect their rights to liberty and equality.
Having established the ideals, the next step was to strengthen the Fraternity's position in student affairs on the Tech campus. Therefore, measures were taken to help promote the welfare of the Fraternity in the student government. The necessity for such steps was the need of recognition by the college administration and the Student Council.
During the ensuing weeks, the Constitution and Bylaws of the Fraternity were written, discussed, and revised three times in order to have a near-perfect system of fundamental laws to abide by. The composition of the Constitution and Bylaws stood as an example of the Fraternity's standards and it was ratified on May 24, 1962.
With the formal approval of the Fraternity Constitution, President Hamilton submitted all pertinent information to the Dean of Students in order to gain recognition by the college.
Sigma Phi Epsilon
As members worked together, they became stronger in enthusiasm and spirit, but they conducted their society for the most part on a secret basis. There was no strife in these early weeks; however, the news gradually drifted about that a new fraternity had been formed, a fraternity which proposed to become national. From here on there were many unfavorable opinions toward Theta Tau Upsilon among the other Greeks at the college. Despite any remarks threatening to restrain the Fraternity's development, Theta Tau Upsilon acknowledged a second faculty moderator, Robert R. Marshall, a professor of Mechanical Engineering at the college and also a member of Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity.
Throughout the rest of that term, Theta Tau Upsilon continued to strive towards their ultimate goal -- to become a chapter of a national fraternity. With this intention in mind, extreme interest was created by many independent students at the college.
During the summer term of 1962, Sigma Phi Epsilon National Fraternity was contacted as Theta Tau Upsilon requested information about the fraternity and the necessary steps to gain national status. During the Fall term of that year, Theta Tau Upsilon wrote and prepared its petition for colonization to Sigma Phi Epsilon, and after approval by the National Headquarters, Theta Tau Upsilon became a colony of Sigma Phi Epsilon on January 20, 1963. From that date on, the members worked in preparing the petition for an active chapter status to Sigma Phi Epsilon -- a writing comprised of some fifty pages. It was sent into the National Headquarters in Richmond, Virginia in late May of 1963, and after approval by the Chapters in Indiana and by the National Board of Directors, the colony was installed as an active chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon on November 2, 1963 in which 39 charter members were initiated. The new chapter was the seventh in its district (District 11) and was named Indiana Eta.
The Motto of Theta Tau Upsilon: Excellence and Dignity through Leadership
The Motto of Sigma Phi Epsilon: Virtue, Diligence & Brotherly Love