UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON - SEATTLE, WA
Alpha Delta Phi’s roots at the University of Washington date back to June 1910, when a group of motivated young men formed a social organization named “The Kalevala Club.” The Kalevala Club quickly distinguished itself as a leader in scholarship, athletics, and extracurricular activities, and the club quickly grew in popularity and membership.
In September 1911, the group renamed itself “Theta Chi” (no relation to the fraternity that now bears that name), and it ratified a constitution to help the group address its growth and accompanying needs. During the ensuing 9 years, Theta Chi became one of the most preeminent student organizations at the University of Washington. Several national fraternities asked Theta Chi to affiliate with their respective organizations. However, the brothers of Theta Chi were most attracted to the ideals, standards, history, and quality of brotherhood offered by Alpha Delta Phi. The brothers therefore petitioned to become a chapter of Alpha Delta Phi, and on October 29, 1921, Theta Chi became the Washington Chapter of Alpha Delta Phi.
After 1921, the Washington Chapter continued to grow and prosper. It remained one of the most preeminent and popular fraternities at the University of Washington, and became one of the strongest chapters in Alpha Delta Phi International. To accommodate its growth, in 1928, the Washington Chapter completed construction of a beautiful new chapter house. That chapter house has been the home of Washington Alpha Delts ever since.
Between 1928 and 1996, the Washington Chapter enjoyed virtually continuous growth and prosperity; it was consistently recognized as one of the strongest and most popular fraternities at the University of Washington, and as a leader in scholarship, athletics, social activities, student government, and philanthropy. The Washington Chapter also historically distinguished itself among other chapters of Alpha Delta Phi. For instance, after Alpha Delta Phi International introduced the “E.O. Blackman Outstanding Chapter Award” in 1978, the Washington Chapter won that award in 1980, 1981, 1982, 1985 and 1991. More importantly, consistent with Alpha Delta Phi’s core ideals, the Washington Chapter strived to help its brothers become “entire men.” Indeed, the chapter historically provided each brother with ample opportunities to engage in social activities, athletic activities, and charitable activities, while simultaneously fostering an environment conducive to academic excellence.
In the late 1990s, as did other fraternities at the University of Washington, the Washington Chapter experienced a number of challenges. Although a confluence of unfortunate facts and circumstances contributed to those challenges, the chapter’s fundamental challenges were (1) the inability to recruit and retain a sufficient number of young men who possessed the talent, character, and determination to uphold Alpha Delta Phi’s core values and standards, and (2) the inability to retain juniors and seniors as livein members. Over a period of three years, the chapter was unable to overcome those challenges, which in turn fatally undermined the chapter’s organizational integrity and financial stability. Therefore, in November 2000, after evaluating a number of alternatives, the Washington Chapter’s alumni organization unanimously resolved to suspend the Washington Chapter’s undergraduate operations.
Since November 2000, the Washington Chapter has ceased to operate has an active fraternity at the University of Washington. However, the chapter has maintained its charter with Alpha Delta Phi International, the chapter’s alumni organization has remained healthy and active, and the chapter’s alumni organization has continued to own and operate the chapter house. Moreover, with the support of Alpha Delta Phi International, the chapter’s alumni organization has always intended to resume undergraduate operations at the Washington Chapter when conditions were more favorable. Toward that end, in 2001, the chapter’s alumni organization formulated a threestage plan to reopen the Washington Chapter. The three stages are Build, Launch, and Sustain.
The Build stage spanned 2001 to 2007. During that phase, a small number of prominent alumni took the steps necessary to improve the chapter’s finances, including leasing the chapter house to sororities and individual tenants to generate revenue. The alumni organization also invested more than $400,000 to renovate, repair, and improve the chapter house, and closely monitored the pulse of the Greek system at the University of Washington to determine the optimal time to Launch the Washington Chapter.
In 2005, for several compelling reasons, Alpha Delta Phi International and the chapter’s alumni organization concluded that the time was becoming ripe to transition to the Launch and Sustain stages of the Plan. Therefore, beginning in 2005, several alumni leaders who graduated from the University of Washington between 1943 and 1992 collaborated to develop a more detailed plan to Launch and Sustain the chapter. When formulating that plan, those leaders were ever mindful of the Washington Chapter’s proud history and traditions; the chapter’s high standards for personal and organizational integrity and character; and the core values upon which Alpha Delta Phi was founded in 1832.
After more than two years of work, the alumni leaders were satisfied that they had formulated a plan that was sound, that was consistent with Alpha Delta Phi’s ideals, that would return the Washington Chapter to a place of prominence at the University of Washington, and that would sustain the chapter at an elite level for generations to come. They also concluded that conditions were sufficiently favorable at the University of Washington to transition to the Launch stage of the Plan. Therefore, on October 25, 2007, the alumni of the Washington Chapter convened at the Seattle Yacht Club to announce their intent to resume undergraduate operations at the Washington Chapter in September 2008.
Since October 25, 2007, the chapter’s alumni organization has been undertaking the tasks necessary to reopen the Washington Chapter in September 2008. The alumni have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars, have begun making additional improvements to the chapter house, have created and funded the most generous scholarship program of any fraternity at the University of Washington – and are now actively recruiting well rounded, motivated new members who share Alpha Delta Phi’s ideals, and who are willing to dedicate themselves to the organization and one another as the members of the Kalevala Club first did back in 1910.