History of DTS
In the spring of 1906, several men gathered together in a rooming house at 175 West 9th Avenue in Columbus, Ohio. The idea, conceived primarily by three men; Maxwell Corotius, Samuel N. Kerr, and Stanley B. Stowe, was the actual beginning of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity at the Ohio State University. The fraternity was incorporated under the laws of the State of Ohio on April 5, 1907 with 17 charter members.
The name, Delta Theta Sigma, and the four-fold purposes of the fraternity were drafted with the advice of Professor Smith of the Greek Language Department at Ohio State University.
The Delta Theta Sigma idea was contagious, not only at Ohio State University but also at many other agricultural college campuses throughout the Midwest. Within a few years chapters had been organized on ten other campuses. At a national convention in 1912, all of the chapters except the original chapter at Ohio State University voted to make Delta Theta Sigma an agricultural honorary fraternity. The local chapter at Ohio State University retained the original name, Delta Theta Sigma. The other ten chapters assumed the name, Gamma Sigma Delta.
Beta & Gamma
On November 26, 1927, representatives from Delta Theta Sigma at Ohio State University, Alpha Gamma Phi at Pennsylvania State University, and a former Farmhouse Chapter at the University of Wisconsin met in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in Room 211 of the William Penn Hotel. This meeting resulted in the formation of a new national agriculture fraternity, Delta Theta Sigma.
The First National Conclave
The first Conclave of the newly formed National Delta Theta Sigma was held December 21 – 22, 1928 at Alpha Chapter at Ohio. Biennial conclaves were held thereafter until 1941. At the first conclave, the structure and role of the National Chapter was further developed with the revision of the constitution to the basic form in which it has survived to the present, which was essentially a blending of ideas from all three chapters. The various parts of the national ritual were derived from established procedures from each chapter. For example, the installation of officers originated at Beta, the pledging ritual at Alpha, and the Fraternity Toast from Gamma. At this first conclave it was also established that one of the primary roles of the National Chapter was to be expansion, and the National Vice-President was placed in charge of expansion, a role that this office has traditionally held ever since.
The national publication, “The D.T.S. Shield” was authorized by the second Conclave in 1931, and the first issue was edited by E. W. Rohrbeck of Gamma in the following year.
In 1935, at the fourth conclave, the National Chapter instituted a National Scholarship Award to be given to the outstanding freshman in each chapter. This award evolved into the National Pledge Award, and finally it was replaced by the Outstanding Brother Award.
The National Scholarship Trophy, to be awarded to the chapter with the highest grade-point average, was a development of the seventh Conclave in 1941. At this conclave it was also decided to hold annual conclaves instead of biennial conclaves. However, the Second World War disrupted these plans and indeed, all other activities of National D.T.S. until 1947.
Although expansion had been actively discussed at nearly every conclave, no real success in this area had been recorded. As early as the 1933 conclave there had been some discussion of a merger with Farmhouse Fraternity. By 1947, there was a strong movement among alumni of both fraternities to merge the two. At this time Farmhouse had eight chapters. In 1947, representatives of Farmhouse attended the D.T.S. conclave and proposed a merger. In 1948, D.T.S. and Farmhouse entered into a two-year affiliation period which resulted in the joint publication of a newsletter and directory and mutual attendance at each others conclaves. This affiliation was culminated in 1950 by holding a joint conclave at Urbana, Illinois. The merger attempt, however, ultimately failed because of an uncompromisable disagreement on whether the National Fraternity was to have a Greek-letter name or to be called Farmhouse. The active chapters of D.T.S. played the decisive role in defeating the merger, which perhaps better than any other historical example points out the basic position of the active chapters in directing the affairs of National Theta Sigma.
In the decade following the merger failure, National D.T.S. and the local chapters made many changes which strengthened the fraternity. The now annual conclaves were major events in the active chapter programs with many more activities participating. In 1951, the workshop program at conclaves was instituted from which many innovations have resulted. The National Visitations of each chapter, which was instituted in 1957, was first suggested by a conclave workshop in 1952.
Revitalized expansion activities led to the establishment of a new chapter, Delta, at the University of Minnesota on May 24, 1958. This chapter was started virtually from nothing through the dedicated efforts of a dozen D.T.S. Alumni living in the Minneapolis – St. Paul area with the strong support of the national Executive Council and the three original chapters. During the 1960-61 school year, Delta Chapter rented their first and present chapter home located at 1485 N. Cleveland Avenue. Then, in the fall of 1966 growth required they rent the downstairs of the house next door at 1495 North Cleveland. This property was purchased in 1977 giving Delta expanded facilities and a very desirable location for future expansion.
The initial attempt to establish a colony of Delta Theta Sigma on the River Falls campus was made by Dr. A. J. Beaver, an alumnus of Gamma Chapter, who sought to find out if there was sufficient interest in establishing a chapter of Delta Theta Sigma at River Falls, Wisconsin. The first meeting was held on April 19, 1967, with representatives from Delta Chapter present. Twenty-five individuals showed interest in the development of another fraternity.
On May 2, 1967, twenty-two individuals were present for the second interest meeting and temporary officers were elected. Representatives from Gamma as well as Delta Chapters informed them of what Delta Theta Sigma had to offer.
Work began at River Falls toward establishment of a new fraternity. A petition was drawn up by a committee, signed by the twenty four individuals, and presented to the Delta Theta Sigma National Executive Committee. This presentation was made at the annual executive committee meeting at the Delta Chapter residence on May 20, 1967.
During June a letter of acknowledgement was received from National President Al Wolf on behalf of the National Executive Committee. This letter stated conditions to be followed during the period of colonization. These conditions were subject to the approval of the individual chapters.
Five delegates attended the 1967 conclave to seek permission to use the name of Delta Theta Sigma. The group was given this permission as long as they sought chapter status within a reasonable period of time. Shortly after the delegates returned from the conclave, a committee was formed to draft a constitution for the organization. Within a short period of time, a model constitution had been completed and presented to the group. After ratification of the constitution by the group, the constitution was presented to the Greek Letter Council and approval was received on January 29, 1968. Subsequent approval by the Student Senate on February 7, 1968, officially recognized Delta Theta Sigma as a fraternity of the River Falls campus.
The actives of Delta Chapter, serving as big brothers, conducted regular weekly pledge classes from March 13 to April 17, and on April 24, 1968, the pledges were initiated as active members of the River Falls Colony of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity. On the following Saturday evening the members held their first annual Spring Semi-formal.
During the summer vacation a petition committee drafted a petition to be presented at the 1968 National Conclave of Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity. Thirteen members attended the Conclave and witnessed the acceptance of the petition during the official meeting.
October 29, 1968 marked the end of the colonization period imposed by the Greek Letter Council. Subsequently two petitions were drafted and presented to the Greek Letter Council and the Student Affairs Committee where they were passed granting the colony permission to be installed as a chapter of National Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity.
April 26, 1969 was the most memorable day for the River Falls group. It was on that date that the River Falls Colony was officially installed as Epsilon Chapter of National Delta Theta Sigma Fraternity. Albert Beaver, Gamma Chapter alumnus, was instrumental in organizing Epsilon, and in 1970, helped them to purchase the house in which they are presently located. Epsilon extensively remodeled its house in 1980.
Our sixth chapter, Zeta, was organized and chartered at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana in the spring of 1982. With the help of four alumni: Neils Neilson, Gamma; George Van Scoyoc and Jim Vorst, Alpha; and Herb Ohm, Delta, the thirteen chapter members and one new member were activated by National Delta Theta Sigma officers in May 1982. Zeta was very fortunate to be able to rent a house their first year and are presently located at 127 Waldron Street, West Lafayette, IN. At the 2010 Conclave the Zeta Chapter lost recognition due to inactivity within the chapter.
In January of 1983 agricultural students at Wilmington College had a desire to belong to a national fraternity. After contacting several agricultural fraternities, Delta Theta Sigma was selected as the top choice. Through the leadership of senior J. Timothy McCarty, 36 students were recruited and expressed the desire to become founding fathers of Eta chapter. With the leadership and direction of national Officer Rick Harr, the Eta chapter was organized and chartered in the Spring of 1983. In the Fall of 1983 a large house near campus came up for sale. With the help of the National Executive Council, the purchase was completed and the house was occupied in January 1984. The house is located at 780 Rombach, Wilmington, OH.
In 1997 Delta Theta Sigma colonized the University of Minnesota-Crookston Chapter with much help from the Men of Delta Chapter. Theta was officially recognized as a chapter at the 1998 Conclave hosted by Delta Chapter. Founding members of the Theta Chapter include Korey Hegreberg, Hans Reinke, and Mark Erickson. Theta Chapter originally rented a house at 101 North Nelson. Theta Chapter purchased a house with the help of the Theta Alumni and the support of the National Executive Council which is located at 204 Gorgas Ave. Theta Chapter is looking forward to celebrating 15 years as a chapter this fall 2013.