The Founding of Alpha Rho Chi
Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity was founded on April 11, 1914, when Arcus Society of the University of Illinois and Sigma Upsilon of the University of Michigan came together in Chicago, Illinois. Their union brought together two architecture student organizations into the first national architecture fraternity.
Sigma Upsilon (University of Michigan)
Sigma Upsilon fraternity was started in the fall of 1910 by eight architecture students. The original goal of the Sigma Upsilon organization was to be the Alpha chapter of a national professional fraternity, and the new brothers drafted their constitution and by-laws with that goal in mind. Sigma Upsilon's officers were known as Worthy Master, Worthy Scribe, Worthy Chaplain, Worthy Sentinel, and Worthy Usher. Their pledge pin was a pyramid on a circle. The new fraternity adopted the white rose as their official flower in June 1912. The chapter gained official recognition by the Michigan Committee on Non-Athletic Affairs in October 1912. In 1913, Sigma Upsilon began correspondence with Auburn University and the University of Minnesota regarding the establishment of new chapters at their respective schools. In February 1914, they began their correspondence with Arcus Society at Illinois.
Arcus Society (University of Illinois)
During the fall semester of 1911, fifteen architecture students at the University of Illinois formed a secret organization they called Arcus Society. Arcus became a public organization in the fall of 1912, when the University of Illinois Council of Administration granted formal approval for the founding of the society. The society was recognized by the faculty in the early months of 1913. Arcus limited its membership to sophomores, juniors, and seniors. Brother W. M. Wadsworth of Arcus Society began writing to various universities throughout the country looking for other architectural societies interested in forming a national fraternity. Correspondence was sent to Harvard, Washington University, Georgia School of Technology, Cornell University, the University of Pennsylvania, the University of California and the University of Michigan. This was the beginning of correspondence between Brother Chandler C. Cohagen of Sigma Upsilon and Brother Leo M. Bauer of Arcus Society.
The Conference of April 11, 1914
Chandler C. Cohagen of Sigma Upsilon and Leo M. Bauer of Arcus Society, met on April 10 – 14, 1914 at the Hotel Sherman in Chicago. Among the important issues of the meeting was the selection of a name for the new fraternity. Many names were discussed, but Dr. Nathan Clifford Ricker of the faculty at the University of Illinois had offered the only Greek name, "Alpha Rho Chi," taken from the first three letters of the Greek spelling of the word Architecture, arcitektonikh. The delegates discarded the constitution and by-laws, emblems, and other insignia of both organizations, keeping only certain elements that were selected for the new fraternity. The brothers from the Illinois chapter of Alpha Rho Chi then drafted the national constitution and by-laws and designed the fraternity's official badge. Brothers from the University of Michigan's chapter drafted the local chapter constitution and by-laws and designed the first coat-of-arms. The new fraternity retained Arcus Society's colors, azure and sanguine. The new motto, "Fidelitas, Amor et Artes", was a combination of the mottos of the two societies. The Illinois chapter drafted the charter forms and Sigma Upsilon the certificate of membership. The brothers adopted the white rose, formerly a symbol of Sigma Upsilon, as the official flower of Alpha Rho Chi.
Installation of the Original Chapters
Faculty representatives from the two schools prepared a list of names of prominent master architects of ancient Greece. From this list, the chapters selected names for their new chapters of the new fraternity. The Illinois chapter chose the name Anthemios and the Michigan chapter, lktinos. The Anthemios Chapter of Alpha Rho Chi was formally installed on May 22, 1914 and the Iktinos Chapter on June 5, 1914. Leo M. Bauer was the president of Arcus and H. J. Trum, the president of Sigma Upsilon at the time of installation. The Fraternity recognizes as its Founders Brothers Leo M. Bauer and Chandler C. Cohagen, who so freely gave their time and energy in the early days of Alpha Rho Chi Fraternity.
First Grand Council
The delegates to the Chicago convention empowered the societies which they represented to choose the officers of Alpha Rho Chi's executive board, the Grand Council. The Anthemios Chapter was given the elective power of the Worthy Grand Architect (President) and selected Leo Bauer for this position. Iktinos selected Chandler C. Cohagen as the first Worthy Grand Scribe (Secretary). George McConkey was selected as the first Worthy Grand Estimator (Treasurer). Professor A. H. Kimball was selected as the first Grand Lecturer.
The New Fraternity
The first goal of the young fraternity was expansion; to become a national fraternity for students of architecture and the allied arts. Although several petitions were reviewed at the first Convention, the only one approved for consideration was submitted by the Tau Epsilon Chi Society of Ohio State University, whose charter was issued as the Demetrios Chapter on February 25, 1916. At the second Convention, ten members of the Cyma Club of the University of Minnesota formed the Mnesicles Club to petition Alpha Rho Chi for membership in a national architecture fraternity. The Convention approved the petition after rigorous examination of their representative and the Mnesicles Chapter was installed on October 10, 1916. Correspondence was maintained with several other architectural societies, but at the onset of World War I the majority of the brothers entered the service, and the initial chapters stood at four. After the war, the Seventh National Convention was held in January 1922, during which two Virginians were initiated prior to the formal establishment of the Kallikrates Chapter at the University of Virginia on February 15, 1922. The Andronicus Chapter was installed a month later, on March 22, 1922, with eleven charter members at the University of Southern California. Expansion continued at a rapid pace with the addition of members at Kansas State, which formed the Paeonios Chapter on February 10, 1923. Ten members of the Delta Club at the University of Texas were initiated on April 19, 1924 to form the Dinocrates Chapter. The Polyklitos Chapter at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon University) was established on May 24, 1924. With the addition of the Theron Chapter at Oklahoma A&M (now Oklahoma State University) on May 23, 1926, the fraternity stood at ten active chapters and was truly national in stature. The Depression and World War II affected the strength of the local chapters, and several failed to survive. Only six chapters returned — Anthemios, Iktinos, Demetrios, Mnesicles, Andronicus, and Kallikrates — with strong alumni support and renewed membership. In 1954, the Vitruvius colony was established at Pennsylvania State University, and it was installed as a chapter on February 26, 1955. Next to be installed was a very active group from Arizona State University, who became the Satyros Chapter on May 13, 1962. Two surprised representatives from Virginia Polytechnic Institute (Virginia Tech) were initiated at the 31st National Convention; in turn they assisted with the installation of the Metagenes Chapter on March 23, 1969. With the addition of the Xenocles Chapter at the University of Texas at Arlington on September 13, 1970, Alpha Rho Chi returned to its former high point of ten active chapters. During the early 1970s, fraternity membership in general dropped again as controversy raged on college campuses over the Vietnam War and any "establishment" organization. Alpha Rho Chi continued on, installing the Cleisthenes Chapter at the University of Houston on March 11, 1972. The beginning of the 1980s saw college fraternities enjoy a renaissance and Alpha Rho Chi added four new chapters. In June 1980, the vigorous Daedalus Chapter was founded at the California Polytechnic State University to become the fraternity's second West Coast chapter. After a freezing initiation night at the Anthemios chapter house, the Daphnis Chapter of the University of Arkansas was installed on November 23, 1980. The Heracleides Chapter of the University of Oklahoma was installed with a down-home, Texas-style bar-b-que at Xenocles on September 6, 1981. After collecting the required ten members for initiation, the Rhoecus chapter was installed at the University of Kansas on April 8, 1984. In what was probably the longest road trip ever taken by an initiation class, the Apollodorus colony was bussed from the University of Florida to Metagenes, a 13-hour trip. They were officially installed as a chapter in Gainesville, Florida on April 10, 1986. On March 29, 1992, Alpha Rho Chi installed the Pytheos Chapter at the University of Nebraska. The Seshait Chapter at Florida A&M University was installed on March 12, 1994, becoming the first chapter with an Egyptian namesake. The co-op program at the University of Cincinnati created a unique installation for the Rabirius Chapter, whose members were initiated in two separate ceremonies; one held in Cincinnati on November 4, 2000, and the remainder of the members were initiated on January 20, 2001. In September 2001, a professor began correspondence with the fraternity in hopes of establishing a chapter of Alpha Rho Chi for the students at the University of Memphis. Up to this point, Alpha Rho Chi had limited expansion to accredited schools of architecture; however, after revisiting the fraternity's original objectives and mission, it was determined that there was no reason to exclude the University of Memphis — and on October 19, 2002, the Imhotep Chapter was installed in Champaign, Illinois. Improved communications — including the alpharhochi.org website and nearly universal email access — helped interested students of architecture discover and contact the national fraternity, accelerating the pace of expansion of new and reactivated chapters. Nicon Chapter was established at Florida International University on July 11, 2004. In the Northeast, the Vitruvius Chapter sponsored two new chapters simultaneously. Vitruvius installed the Domitian Chapter from the New Jersey Institute of Technology on January 30, 2005 and the Senenmut Chapter from the University at Buffalo on February 26, 2005 — the chapter's fiftieth anniversary. A colony at Tulane University was preparing its petition to establish a chapter when Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, closing the school for a semester and scattering the students across the country and to other continents. After regrouping, the Hadrian Chapter was finally installed on November 4, 2006.