Zeta Rho History
In the Fall in 1978, Eastern Illinois University was experiencing large and steady increases in student enrollment. Interfraternity Council President Dwight Kensil, noting there had not been a new fraternity on Eastern's campus since 1973, along with the Office of Student Activities, began the search for a new fraternity that would expand and enhance the fraternity system. On April 8, 1980, after an extensive selection procedure, Delta Tau Delta Fraternity was invited to colonize on Eastern's campus. Delta Tau Delta was chosen because of its reputation as a strong Inter-national Fraternity, financial strength, and excellent colonization program. On May 7, 1980, E.I.U. officially welcomed Delta Tau Delta Fraternity to its campus.
In October of 1980, under the guidance of Keith Steiner, Director of Program Development for Delta Tau Delta, and Chapter Consultant George Stewart, 40 men were inducted into the Crescent Colony of Delta Tau Delta. Four weeks later, 18 more men were inducted, establishing the foundation for a new chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity.
Under the leadership of the Crescent Colony's first president, Charles M. Marley, the colony members became a well organized fraternity and important members of the Greek community at E.I.U. THe House Corporation President Linden Shepard (Ohio '61) from Decatur and Housing Chairman Gary Wesselink. With the help of the newly organized House Corporation, a rental property was obtained for the Shelter of the Colony.
In the Spring of 1981, with a Colony Pledge class of six more Delts, the Colony began enthusiastic preperation for Greek Week activities. The Colony Delts gained the instant recognition of Eastern's Greek community by performing surprsingly well in all phases of competition, highlighted by a second place finish in Greek Sing, the premier event of Greek Week. Vice President Keith Rettke led the Delts in their Greek Week efforts by serving as their overall chairman. The Delts also exhibited superior sportsmanship throughout the week and were awarded the second most prestigious award, the Sportsmanship Trophy.
With the arrival of the 1981 Fall semester, 23 moved into the Shelter previously aquired. THrough the efforts of Co-Rush Chairman Bob Schoeberle and Ron Butts, the Colony inducted and activated the Alph Pledge Class consisting of 12 men. The total membership of the Colony had swelled to almost 60 men. On September 24, 1981, Colony President Michael P. Maoran presented a petition for Chapter status to a meeting of the Arch Chapter of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity in Indianapolis, Indiana. The following day, September 25, the Arch Chapter approved the petition pending on the positive report of a Phonarch. Phonarch Ken Glass was dispatched to the campus during the following week. Ken then reported to the International President Ken Folgers that the Colony had successfully met all of the requirements for Chartering. The Cresent Colony was formally initiated on November 14, 1981, and given the chapter designation of Zeta Rho.
Dr. Ralph B. Weller became the Chapter Advisor for Zeta Rho on March 10, 1983. He was a resident of Charleston, Illinois and a professor of MArketing at E.I.U. Before joining the faculty at Eastern, he held similar positions at the University of Wisonsin at Oshkosh and Eastern Michigan University. Born in Linclon, Nebraska, he was raised and educated in Colorado. He was a member of the Beta Kappa Chapter of Delta Tau Delta while attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. Dr. Weller passed away on September 14, 1998. He served our chapter for almost 15 years and will be missed.
An important goal was met in 1983, with the acquisition of a Chapter House located at 6 Lincoln Avenue (currently where McHugh's Hamburgers stands). The layout of the house consisted of 17 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a spacious basement, Chapter room, kitchen and dining room.
In 1986, Zeta Rho accomplished a major goal by winning its first Court of Honor award from the Arch Chapter. There were 13 awards given out that year. This award put Zeta Rho one step closer to winning the coveted Hugh Shields Award for Chapter Excellence and placed us in the top 23 Chapters in the U.S. and Canada.
"Dry Rush" was first instituted by the Interfraternity Council for the Spring '87 Rush. IFC decided that by not serving alcohol at recruitment parties, there would be a reduction in the number of students who were interested in getting drunk and an increase in the number of serious potential members.
In the Summer of 1987, the Zeta Rho Shelter moved into its present location at 1707 9th Street. This new structure, although smaller in size, occupies a location closer to campus.
In 1987, our Chapter was honored with our first Hugh Shields Award for Chapter Excellence. On Feburary 27, 1988, a delegation traveled to the University of Iowa for the Northen Division Regional Conferences in hopes of a repeat for the Court of Honor Award. We were honored with the award for the second year in a row. Following the banquet, three Hugh Shields Awards had been presented and hopes were dwindling among the Zeta Rho delegates, as there was only one left to be presented. As Northen Division President Keith Steiner (who had played a most important role in colozing Zeta Rho) presented the final award he said, "This Chapter holds a very special place in my heart.....therefore, I am honored and proud to present this award to the very first Zeta series chapter to ever win this award, ZETA RHO!" The representatives of Zeta Rho were ecstatic and teary-eyed as President Jay Huber and Vice-President Pat Brooks held the Hugh Shields flag high. The following evening, the coveted award was presented to the Chapter and another celebration filled with exitement and emotion greeted the display of the flag. The Hugh Shields Award was won not only because of the Chapter's efforts in 1987 but also because of the strive for excellence which began with the founders of Zeta Rho back in October of 1980. This award placed our chapter in the top 10 of the 123 Delt Chapters in the United States and Canada at that time. The Hugh Shields Award did not just happen; it was a culmination of seven years of hard work, dedication, blood, sweat and tears - but most importantly...TASTE, CLASS and PRIDE.
The Chapters history of these awards have been:
1986 - Court of Honor
1987 - Court of Honor and Hugh Shields Award
1988 - Court of Honor and Hugh Shields Award
1989 - Court of Honor and Hugh Shields Award
1990 - Court of Honor and Hugh Shields Award
1991 - Court of Honor
1992 - Court of Honor
1993 - Court of Honor
1994 - Court of Honor
The offical ground-breaking ceremony for Greek Court was held June 3, 1988 - IFC and the Panhellenic boycotted the ceremony, as they felt the University had "gone over their heads". Construction completed, Greek Court was dedicated on September 10, 1989, before a crowd of 100 chapter representatives and guests.
In the Summer of 1990, we acquired 1705 9th Street, which was renovated and made into the Delta Tau Delta Annex. The purchase of the Annex brought us one step closer to the final plan of constructing a new shelter that would house 40 to 50 members.
Homecoming has always been a tradition for Zeta Rho. We dominated the event for 15 successive years by using hard work and dedication. We as a chapter have made several accomplishments not only with our sucess with campus work, intramurals, student governemtn, and acedemic achievement but also with several improvements on the Delt Shelter itself. In the summer of 1993, with the help of our House Corporation, we re-roofed and re-carpeted both of the houses. All of these elements have moved Zeta Rho into the future. A future filled with the same traditions and successes that has made the Zeta Rho chapter of Delta Tau Delta.