Theta Chi fraternity dedicates new house

Stephanie Veldman

Three years ago, an accidental kitchen fire destroyed the Theta Chi fraternity house, leaving the members with no place to live and no clothes to wear.

With the help of alumni, they were able to rebuild the house.

And on Saturday, more than 260 alumni and family attended the dedication of the newly completed house at 219 Ash Ave., said Jon Fleming, Theta Chi alumni adviser.

“I feel this is really a success story for the Greek system,” said Eric Nelson, president of Theta Chi and senior in horticulture. “The fraternity fought back incredible odds, and this is something ISU can be proud of.”

Fleming said the cost of rebuilding the house was $1.4 million.

Insurance money covered some of the costs for the new building, but the fraternity found itself about $400,000 short.

Members of Theta Chi chose to turn to their alumni for support.

“The alumni really came through for us,” Fleming said. “We raised 132 percent of our goal through donations, which ended up being about $535,000.”

On Nov. 8, 1998, construction on the new Theta Chi house began.

The house was completed in July 1999, and in August, members were allowed to move into the new house.

According to Nelson, they now have 52 members total, with 45 of them living in the house.

“Our membership has dipped down into the high teens over the last three years,” Nelson said. “We were able to maintain the commitment of our members to rebuild the house and our membership numbers.”

According to Fleming, Homecoming was a weekend of celebration for alumni, family and members of Theta Chi.

They hosted three events for the alumni to attend.

Friday evening, there was an informal reception at the Pizza Pit and Welch Ave Station.

Saturday morning, the new Thea Chi house was officially dedicated.

Nelson formally thanked the alumni for their support and also presented Fleming with a plaque to thank him for his support.

“Jon Fleming has been the driving force behind keeping Theta Chi alive the last three years,” Nelson said.

“Without him, we couldn’t have survived.”

Saturday evening, Theta Chi hosted a formal banquet at the Memorial Union.

Nelson estimated more than 150 members and alumni were in attendance.

“This was the biggest event in [ISU] Theta Chi history,” Nelson said.

“I think the alumni that attended felt the tie back to Theta Chi and Iowa State and had a really great time,” he said.