Theta Theta History

The history of the Theta Theta chapter is long and complex, marked by two and probably three entrances to the University before our most recent charter was received on November 14, 2009. By the fall of 1856, just over a year after the formation of Sigma Chi, there was interest by the existing three Chapters to expand to the University of Michigan. The expansion Chapter was given the name ‘Beta,’ and little else is known about this Chapter. Its members disbanded by the end of the school year, and the Beta ceased to exist.

During the 1873-1874 school year, there was a second movement for expansion at the University. The Chapter was granted the name ‘Psi Psi,’ and recruited men from the Literary Department, in which 300 students were enrolled that year. Competition against the other eight well and long established fraternities on campus was fierce, and by the end of the academic year, Psi Psi’s members surrendered their charter.

By 1877, all of Psi Psi’s members had either left the University, or joined other fraternities, except for Thomas D. Cone. His allegiance to the White Cross was steadfast, and he was determined to see the success of Sigma Chi at Michigan. However, when he began to bring together men for the new chapter, university regulations required a new chapter name, leading to the selection of the current ‘Theta Theta.’

Cone first turned to a pair of cousins transferring from the new Beta (College of Wooster), Orville S. Brumback and Bion L. Meredith. Brumback had been a founder of the new Beta, fighting through when Wooster was but two years established with an attendance of only seventy-five, and against the competition of four other fraternities. In addition to this adversity, his graduate studies at Princeton had been in the dark days of the Sigma, and had served as a further training school in fraternity methods and measures in the midst of unusual academic and social conditions.

Cone, Brumback, and Meredith recognized the difficulties entering into the Literary Department, and so turned to the Law Department to recruit new and existing Sigma Chi transfer students. A final cornerstone in the development of the Theta Theta came from the Law Department transfer student from the Lambda (Indiana University), Jeremiah W. Gladish.

A meeting in October of 1877 of Gladish, Brumback, Meredith, and other selected men drafted a petition to submit, which was received on October 30th. The Theta Theta charter was granted on November 20th of that year, and the first initiation took place on December 12th, led by Gladish, Brumback, and Meredith. A formal banquet with an elaborate literary program was held at the end of the 1877-1878 academic year, bringing prestige and popularity to the new ‘Law chapter,’ even among the chapters of the Literary Department.

They numbered twenty in size, and were the largest chapter of the Fraternity at that time. Most were graduate students, often leaders of their respective undergraduate chapters, and were eager to help out and further develop Theta Theta. The unique opportunity that the founders had was unparalleled by that of any other chapter up to that point in Sigma Chi history. Many of the founders went on to become prominent members of not only the Fraternity, but also in government and law. Of the first fifteen Grand Consuls, four came from Theta Theta’s first ten pledge classes.

After losing the original Theta Theta charter in 2003, a group of 29 students were recruited in the fall of 2008 by dedicated alumni and undergraduate students from other chapters in the area, led by headquarters’ representative Matt McCartt. Alumnus Jordan Sahs, acting Magister of the group, led this first group of men through their pledgeship and initiation into the Theta colony of Sigma Chi. The colony acted as though a chapter, developing its sense of brotherhood, continuing recruitment each semester, and attending fraternal conferences, including Provincial Workshop and Balfour Leadership Training Workshop. The expansion process was detailed and progressive, and the chapter built upon successes to reach our Ritualistic Initiation and earned its Charter on November 14, 2009.

Our 79 brothers come from ten different states and two countries, are fluent in twelve languages, and boast accomplishments in athletics, community service, academia, and pre-professional organizations. The future is bright for our chapter, and we look forward to further developing our alumni and undergraduate relations in the future.

Other info:

The Jordan Standard
The Spirit of Sigma Chi
The Sweetheart of Sigma Chi