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Gamma-Lambda History

The actual records of the history of the Gamma-Lambda chapter of the Kappa Sigma Fraternity consist of innumerable letters, multiple memos, news clippings, Chapter News Letters, and the actual minutes from Chapter meetings long ago. They are kept safely away in the Chapter rooms' closet. The following paragraphs piece together these items into a flowing epic of the chapter’s history.
The Early Days
In 1903, at the then Iowa State College of Engineering and Agriculture, a secret society existed named Glen Atri. They met off campus regularly for social, philanthropic, and educational needs. Later that year, Glen Atri came out of hiding and appeared on campus as a fraternity and was fully recognized by Iowa State's Student Clubs and Associations Board. The society changed its' name to Gamma Alpha.
Gamma Alpha quickly grew to become the strongest fraternity on campus with over 50 men, including Seaman A. Knapp Jr., son of Iowa State College's President, and a greater half of the Ames' Football club.
In 1907, influenced by the growing trend of affiliation with national fraternities, Gamma Alpha considered petitioning several national fraternities for a charter. Beta Theta Pi, Phi Delta Theta, and Kappa Sigma were all discussed as candidates. Kappa Sigma was unanimously selected as the organization that the men of Gamma Alpha were to pursue a charter from, on the basis of Kappa Sigma's strong national standing, and it's strong commitment to the undergraduate.
The demand for Charters from Kappa Sigma was great. It took a full two years for the men of Gamma Alpha to be granted a Charter from the Mother Chapter, Zeta at the University of Virginia.
On January 21, 1909, Gamma Alpha ceased to exist, and it became the Gamma-Lambda Chapter of Kappa Sigma Fraternity. The installation ceremony took a full weekend, as was attended by some of the greatest names in Fraternity history. Finis K. Farr, Kappa Sigma Historian, and author of "Kappa Sigma: A History," was present for the Initiation of new Brothers, and was the keynote speaker at the banquet celebrating Gamma-Lambda's induction in to Kappa Sigma. Also present at Gamma-Lambda installation ceremonies was Dr. Charles Richardson, Worthy Grand Procurator, President of the University of Arkansas, and co-founder of Chi Omega, Kappa Sigma’s sister sorority.
Kappa Sigma was the fifth national fraternity to join the Interfraternity Council at Iowa State College. In the ensuing years following its' chartering, Gamma-Lambda quickly took the reins of the IFC. In 1908, three of the five IFC executives were Kappa Sigmas, including President, Secretary, and Treasurer. This trend continued for well over a decade, with Gamma-Lambda calling 8 IFC presidents their own between 1908 and 1921.
Following the loss of the Chapter house to fire in 1927, Brother Hi Ostrander began planning the ambitious designs for a new house. The chapter house at 237 Ash Avenue was completed a year later and was the largest on campus at the time.
During World War II, nearly two-thirds of the chapter left to support the war effort. Gamma-Lambda’s claimed a strong commitment to the war effort, a commitment so strong, that the chapter house closed for the duration of the war. This was the only time that Kappa Sigma Fraternity suspended its' activities from the Iowa State campus, and allowed women to live within the chapter house.
Like a Phoenix from the Fire
During the 1950's, Gamma-Lambda grew to record size. From the years 1955 to 1957, Kappa Sigma had nearly 100 members on campus. The decade of the 50's was a very strong era for the Gamma-Lambda chapter, in 1957 fellow Gamma-Lambda, Brother Allen Whitfield was appointed Worthy Grand Master, the highest office in the National Fraternity.
The 1960's reflected the true sense of excellence for the Gamma-Lambda chapter. Kappa Sigma claimed multiple Homecoming, Veishea, and Greek Week victories. In 1962, the "New Section" of the house was completed, doubling the size of the Chapter house. The greatest mark of the decade for the chapter was in 1966, when Brother Allen Whitfield was named Kappa Sigma's "Man of the Year." The chapter received a plaque that reads, "Some May Equal, But None Excel."
1970 was a year of unparalleled achievement for the chapter. Gamma-Lambda won all of the Big 3 Greek Events, Homecoming, Greek Week, and Veishea. Three years later the Chapter house was awarded the Boyd House Award, for best kept Chapter house in the nation, along with the best Chapter newsletter.
The 80’s were kind to Kappa Sigma. 1985 brought the Most Improved Chapter Award from Kappa Sigma Nationals, and the ensuing years brought academic and brotherly prosperity.
A Rededication to Excellence
In the fall of 1993 a $1.3 million renovation to the Chapter house signified the chapter’s emphasis on excellence. The entire interior of the house was gutted, refitted with electrical, plumbing, and structural parts. The outside structure was, sandblasted, and re-tacked along with some other more superficial detailing. The Chapter house is the pride of Gamma-Lambda and is now regarded throughout the fraternity / sorority system as a top facility.
The current members of Kappa Sigma have dedicated themselves to guiding the Chapter through the next century with the same amount of diligence and commitment as was shown by Brothers of the past.