UNION COLLEGE - SCHNECTADY, NY
Union College is world famous as the Mother of Fraternities, and the Union Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi had its basic beginning just one year after the founding of our Fraternity at Hamilton College. In 1833 the Fraternal Society was organized. It enjoyed a reputation for the moral and intellectual worth of its members.
This Society realized the benefits to be derived from affiliation with the leading national fraternity and the members believed the aims and principles of Alpha Delta Phi were what they desired. Consequently, early in 1859, one tutor and 16 undergraduates signed a petition for a Union Chapter.
On June 14, a Charter signed by Richard Salter Storrs, then President of the Fraternity, was granted. Soon after, the Chapter was duly instituted, with representatives from nearly all the chapters present. The first meeting was held on July 15, 1859, and with the establishment of the Chapter, the Fraternity Society ceased to exist at Union College.
For several years rooms near the campus were occupied, but by 1892 conditions had reached a point where the Chapters needed a home of its own. In the summer of 1898, a new Chapter house was finished and turned over to the active Chapter.
Strategically located on the main lane running between the famous Payne Gate and the Library, the Union Chapter House was the second fraternity house built on the Union campus, and remains as one of the few original fraternity houses still standing at Union.
Many improvements had been added since the erection of the house. These include a mahogany paneled dining room, one of the most beautiful rooms on the campus, and two mantels in memory of Brothers. A rigorous program of maintenance kept the Chapter house a vigorous and viable living abode.
In the early days, the active Chapter numbered between fifteen and twenty. The membership stabilized at around twenty-five, though at times it ran over thirty. During World War I the exodus of Brothers to enlist left only four members, who constituted the entire active Chapter. In World War II the Chapter House was rented to the College for use by civilian students. The nature of the speed-up plans of college training, and the rapid turnover of students made it advisable in 1943 to declare the Chapter inactive for the duration of the war. The Trustees were also disturbed by the problems of reorganizing at the end of the conflict; and in 1944, in an effort to solve these difficulties, pledged two sons of members, initiating them soon afterwards. A few Alumni held frequent meetings with the initiates for indoctrination and November 4, 1945 the Chapter was formally reactivated; and within one year had a membership of over thirty Brothers.
The Union Chapter remained strong through the 1950’s to the middle 1960’s, but, like many Fraternities across the country, suffered from the era of student revolt and rebellion. Membership dropped to sixteen Brothers by 1974, but through strong effort, membership soon doubled to over thirty Brothers and the number of active Brothers continues to increase to the present day.
In 1999 an agreement was reached with the college effectively selling them the Chapter house for use as offices. In the agreement, the Chapter was given Fero House on the campus as new housing, with the stipulations made that the school construct an additional wing onto the new house for dining and ceremonial uses.