Iowa State’s first fraternity celebrates 125th anniversary

Melissa Berg

The greek community celebrated the anniversary of the first greek society at Iowa State, the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, marking 125 years at Iowa State.

More than 70 Delta Tau Delta alumni joined present members to celebrate the fraternity’s anniversary with a banquet at the Ames Golf and Country Club Friday.

Robert Roush, Jr., international president of Delta Tau Delta, spoke to the ISU members about the history of the fraternity, which has 130 chapters and colonies throughout the United States and Canada.

ISU Delta Tau Delta President Tim Bushaw said he joined the fraternity because of its strong membership and community involvement.

“It feels good to be part of the long tradition,” said Bushaw, junior in chemical engineering.

The Delta Tau Delta anniversary has special meaning for all 2,000 members of the greek community because the fraternity’s founding established the greek system on campus.

“It is a tremendous honor to host a fraternity that can boast 125 years of tradition, excellence and pride,” said Brian Tenclinger, coordinator of greek affairs. “The Gamma Pi chapter of Delta Tau Delta has been through a lot since they were founded in 1875.”

Dave Nagel, a 1963 alumni and Delta Tau Delta member, wrote “Delta Tau Delta: Pioneers on the Prairie,” a paper outlining the fraternity’s history.

According to his paper, the ISU Omega chapter of Delta Tau Delta was founded in 1875 when fraternities and sororities were violently opposed by most of the students at the college. Despite the opposition, 11 Delta Tau Delta members from Simpson College in Indianola chartered the new chapter at Iowa State.

Nagel described a disturbance that occurred May 25, 1888, when a mob of students invaded a reception for the Delts and the first sorority at Iowa State, Pi Beta Phi. Cyanogen gas and carbon bisulfide were released into the building, and the doors were barred shut. While members escaped through broken windows the mob hit them with rotten eggs. The raid is remembered today as the “Cyanogen Affair,” he wrote.

Nagel wrote that Delta Tau Delta members gave up their charter during a greek ban and became the Hawkeye Club. In 1904, however, the ban on fraternities was lifted and the Hawkeye Club became the Gamma Pi chapter of Delta Tau Delta.

Rasmussen, senior in marketing, said Delta Tau Delta and the ISU greek community have very strong traditions and pride.

“It is unique from other campuses because of the unity between the houses,” he said. “We all, for the most part, support each other.”