History of Theta Chi

Old South Barracks - Norwich, Vermont

Old South Barracks – Norwich, Vermont

1819 – Norwich University was founded in Norwich, Vermont. It was founded as a military academy and originally named the American Literary, Scientific and Military Academy. It is still in operation today.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, April 10, 1856, 9 p.m. – Theta Chi Society was founded in Old South Barracks at Norwich University, Norwich, Vermont. Arthur Chase ’56 was elected the first president and Frederick Norton Freeman ’57 was elected the first secretary. The following evening, two more cadets were initiated: Edward Bancroft Williston and Lorenzo Potter. The Alpha Chapter remained on campus until 1960 when the university disbanded its fraternities.

The three Founders of Theta Chi Society: Arthur Chase, Frederick Norton Freeman, Edward Bancroft Williston.

The three Founders of Theta Chi Society: Arthur Chase, Frederick Norton Freeman, Edward Bancroft Williston.

 

Charles Dole

Charles Dole

1873 – Charles Dole ’69, a member of Theta Chi, was serving as a professor at Norwich University. However, the finances of the school were in dire straits. This situation arose following a great fire at the university in 1866 that forced the school to relocate to Northfield, Vermont and depressed attendance in wake of the Civil War. Using his own wealth, Dole kept the university in operation at great personal loss, thus preserving Theta Chi and Norwich University.

 

 

 

 

James Michael Holland

James Michael Holland

1881 – Norwich University was reduced to 15 undergraduate cadets and Theta Chi was reduced to one active member, James Michael Holland ’83. Holland was not actively recruiting new members, however Phil S. Randall ’86 and Henry B. Hersey ’85 individually sought out Holland and convinced to allow them membership. With the help of Professor Charles Dole, Holland was able to initiate the two new members, thus preserving Theta Chi. Theta Chi has since remained a strong fraternity.

 

 

 

 

Park Valentine Perkins

Park Valentine Perkins

December 13, 1902 – Beta Chapter was installed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Boston, Massachusetts. Multiple charter requests were denied before this due to the conservative nature of the brotherhood. It was the third such petition by the M.I.T. group, led by Brother Park Valentine Perkins who had transferred from Norwich University. This marks the beginning of Theta Chi as a national fraternity.

 

 

 

 

February 22, 1908 – The Grand Chapter of Theta Chi was organized at Boston, Massachusetts. J. Albert Holmes was elected the first national president.

1913 – Eta Pi Rho Fraternity was established at the University of Virginia. W.P. Hazelgrove, a transfer from Hampden-Sydney College was instrumental in its establishment.

April 7, 1913 – A petition by Eta Pi Rho signed by William A. Adams, L.L. Miller, G.E. Gwinn, T.E. Didlake, L.G. Burton, R. Guy Leebrick, S.M. Jett Jr., was presented to the Grand Chapter of Theta Chi for a charter.

January 26, 1914 – The Xi Chapter of Theta Chi was founded at the University of Virginia. The installation occured the day prior; the installation committee was composed of: Dr. Robert L. Irish, Edwin D. Huntley and E. Wesson Clark. This directly followed the installation of the Nu Chapter at Hampden-Sidney College.

September 14, 1929 – Wirt Peebles Marks, Jr., Xi Chapter, was elected National President.

Fall 1968 – Xi Chapter relocated from its house on Carr’s Hill Road to its current residence at 600 Preston Place. The 600 Preston Place property was initially a private home since its construction in 1925 in the Georgian Revival architectural style. In 1957 it was sold to a local church for the minister’s family and in July 1968 it was sold to the Theta Chi Alumni Corporation. The Alumni Board members, including Hovey Dabney, a brother and University Rector, negotiated the purchase with funds from the sale of the house on Carr’s Hill Road to the University.