Greek organizations mark 100 years on campus

CSU’s Delta Delta Delta chapter in 1931

Two Colorado State University sororities and one fraternity celebrated the 100th birthday of their chapters this year.

It’s part of the first wave of Greek centennials expected in the coming years, according to Lindsay Sell, director of Fraternity and Sorority Life. Sigma Phi Epsilon, Sigma Nu and Gamma Phi Beta were the first CSU chapters on campus and marked 100 years in 2015, followed by sorority Kappa Delta in 2016.

This year, sororities Delta Delta Delta and Kappa Alpha Theta, along with fraternity Sigma Alpha Epsilon, hosted celebrations of their centennial year.

SAE logoGreeks at CSU

About 12.2 percent of the CSU student body is affiliated with one of the 26 fraternities and 20 sororities on campus, up from about 7 percent in 2013. They are overseen by one of four governing bodies: Interfraternity Council, National Panhellenic Council, Multicultural Greek Council and Panhellenic Council.

Sell points out that fraternities and sororities at CSU today are a far cry from the stereotypes created by movies like Animal House. None of the Greek houses permit alcohol, for starters. And since the chapter houses are all privately operated, that’s a decision made by student vote, not by the CSU administration.

“Peer accountability is an awesome thing when it works,” Sell said.

In 2016-17, fraternity and sorority members contributed a total of 68,437 hours of community service and raised $127,298 for philanthropic causes. And 53 percent of fraternity and sorority members reported being involved in at least one additional student organization on campus.

According to Sell, statistics indicate that the average GPAs of fraternity and sorority members outpace those of their unaffiliated peers. In fall 2016, the overall GPA for those in a Greek organization was 2.95, compared to 2.90 for the entire undergraduate population. In spring 2017, the Greek average was 3.06 compared to 2.95 overall. All grade reports and “chapters at a glance” documents that provide a variety of metrics by semester are available at

The Delta Delta Delta centennial reception, held Sept. 23 in the Lory Student Center Ballroom. Photos by Amy Adell

Delta Delta Delta

Delta Delta Delta held its centennial celebration Sept. 22-24, according to Anne Murlowski, a Tri Delta who graduated from CSU in 2008 with a journalism degree and served as a planning chair for the chapter’s Centennial Committee.

After visitors toured the Tri Delta house at 1307 Birch St. on Sept. 23, the chapter hosted a formal reception that night in the Lory Student Center Ballroom. It was attended by about 300 people, including the granddaughter of Amy Parmelee, a Tri Delta who was the first dean of women at CSU. Guest speakers included Jenni Oaks, a director on the organization’s executive board, as well as Chief Executive Officer Karen White. The Tri Deltas presented honors to members celebrating their 25- and 50-year anniversaries of being initiated. There was even one Diamond Circle Degree awarded to Virginia Pettibone, who celebrated her 75th anniversary, Murlowski said.

In addition, the chapter announced the launch of a fundraising drive for a Tri Delta Centennial Scholarship that will be awarded to one member each year.

“We’re excited that it went off as well as it did,” Murlowski said of the celebration. “People really enjoyed it.”

Kappa Alpha Theta, through the years

Kappa Alpha Theta

Kappa Alpha Theta hosted more than one celebration for its 100th birthday, according to Meg Brown, a Theta who graduated from CSU with a degree in political science and history in 1986.

Kappa Alpha Theta historical shot
The 1917-18 Thetas

The main event, held on Jan. 28 (the sorority’s national Founders Day), featured brunch at Block One in Fort Collins, complete with a birthday cake and the singing of “Happy Birthday.”

The event also included a screening of a video about the chapter’s history as well as remembrances from various alumnae.

Last summer, the celebration continued as a smaller group of members and alumni toured one of the sorority’s former chapter houses that is now part of The Music District on College Avenue, and known as The Sisters.

And for Homecoming and Family Weekend, Brown said, the chapter hosted a tailgating party at Trinity Lutheran Church before attendees walked to the football game at the new on-campus stadium.

SAE members
Current SAE members with Col. Bill Woods, center

Sigma Alpha Epsilon

The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity held a centennial reception at the Drake Center in Fort Collins on Homecoming Friday, Oct. 13. The event, hosted by members from the years 1955 to 1965, was attended by more than 250 parents, alumni and students, according to the chapter’s adviser, John Festervand of University Development. In addition, he said, a group of alumni established a new scholarship endowment at the CSU Foundation for the Colorado Delta Chapter called the “New Century Scholarship.”

“This is the first endowment of its kind at Colorado State, and I think it makes a big statement about alumni investing back in CSU and in something they were so passionately involved with as students,” Festervand said.

After hosting a brunch on Saturday, the fraternity held a tailgating party before the Homecoming football game, Festervand said. He added that the weekend’s events were a reminder that “the people you surround yourself will have a big impact on your college experience.”

He noted that three of those honored at the Oct. 12 Distinguished Alumni Awards Dinner were SAEs: Dr. Jack H. “John” Cochran, who received the College of Natural Sciences Distinguished Alumni Award; Donald Law, who received the Walter Scott, Jr. College of Engineering Distinguished Alumni Award; and Bill Woods, who received the Distinguished Athletic Award with his wife Jan, who was a Tri Delta.